For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Predator becomes prey

Very often I see these robber flies eating each other and this was no exception.
He was busy sucking the juices out of a fellow member of the species. I wonder if they actively hunt them or wil only eat them if they are already dead?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pilansberg National Park - Part 1

We have a small game reserve near us which is only one and a half hours drive away, so I can leave at 4am and get there when the gates open at 5:30.
On this particular day, the first thing I saw was very fresh elephant dung but could not find the elephant. It is amazing how such a huge (5-6 ton) animal can just melt into the bush and you cannot find them.
Coming around a corner, I meet this White rhino standing looking at me, and I wait for him to amble across the road.
Because of the recent rain, the bush is very green with enough food for all the various kinds of animals found there.
I head down to this lookout point which is built by a dam and love the reflection of the trees in the water. I sit there a while drinking my coffee which I have brought with me in a flask and enjoy the sound of the birds in the trees.
I hear the roar of a lion nearby and quickly get into my car to see if I can find him, but alas, there is only his footprints in the sand.
A Glossy Starling sits in a nearby tree looking for food.....
....and this baboon sits on a hill acting as the lookout.
and Blue Wildebeest. Becuase the park is enclosed with a fence, the game wardens put these salt licks out for them in various places. Young wildebeest are brown when born and don't look anything like their parents yet. They can run as fast as the adults 20 minutes after birth.
The Redwing Starling has a mouth full of berries which he takes to a nearby pole to eat.
There are lots of herds of zebra........

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A visit to the zoo - Part 1

It was a beautiful autumn day and ideal weather to visit the zoo which includes a reptile park and aquarium. Although many of our trees are evergreen, there were still some like this White Stinkwood who's leaves were dressed in many colors.
From some of these trees, hundreds of caterpillars were hanging or lowering themselves to the ground.
The gardens had lots of flowers including this Disia plus ant. :) I am know a flower expert but I have always wondered if these are related to Irises. These are smaller but quite pretty.
All along the pathways are these little waterfalls and they give off a very restful sound.
I find it strange that these Flamingoes never fly away but I guess with food and water readily available, where would they go to?
The Goliath heron is the largest of the heron family, is found on large shallow inland waters and estuaries. It stands motionless in the water for long periods of time waiting for prey. It feeds on fish, frogs, small reptiles, and crustaceans and will take carrion if available.
Goliath Herons breed from June to January. The nest consists of a platform of sticks up to 1,5 meters in diameter which may be placed in a variety of situations from tree to cliff to marshy island. They are usually solitary breeders but also nest in colonies or a mixed heronry. The eggs are pale blue or greenish blue, usually two but may be more.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Winter walk - Part 1

Before I get to my post today I want to put in something I received via e-mail called:

Memo from CEO to manager:
Today a1 11 o’clock there will be a total eclipse of the sun. This is when the sun disappears behind the moon for two minutes. As this is something that cannot be seen every day, time will be allowed for employees to view the eclipse in the parking lot. Staff should meet in the lot at ten to eleven, when I will deliver a short speech introducing the eclipse and giving some background information. Safety goggles will be made available at a small cost.

Memo from manager to department head:
Today at ten to eleven, all staff should meet in the car park. This will be followed by a total eclipse of the sun, which will appear for two minutes. For a moderate cost, this will be made safe with goggles. The CEO will deliver a short speech beforehand to give us all some information. This is not something that can be seen every day.

Memo from department head to floor manager:
The CEO will today deliver a short speech to make the sun disappear for two minutes in the form of an eclipse. This is something that cannot be seen every day, so staff will meet in the car park at ten or eleven. This will be safe, if you pay a moderate cost.

Memo from floor manager to supervisor:
Ten or eleven staff are to go to the car park where the CEO will eclipse the sun for two minutes. This doesn’t happen every day. It will be safe and as usual it will cost you.

Memo from supervisor to staff:
Some staff will go to the car park today to see the CEO disappear.

It is a pity this doesn’t happen every day.LOL!! Is there a moral in this story too??

It is full winter here so there is not a lot around, yet if you look close enough, you can still find some interesting things.

This day, I stared out early and made an interesting discovery (for me, that is). I had always imagined that there was only one type of Lantana. This is an invasive plant which spreads very rapidly as the birds love the berries. The government actually gives people a free spray for this in order to get rid of it. My discovery was that there are actually two types with different color flowers.

Although I could hear the Guinea Fowl, all I saw of them was this feather left behind in the grass.
A Painted Lady flutters into sight and pauses conveniently for me to take a quick picture.
Wild cacti are everywhere.
…and some interesting fungi grow on a fallen log. When wet, this is the most brilliant orange color.
Pretty wild flowers are still in bloom......
…and the grass is standing tall.
Now here is something interesting. This creeper has flowers of about 1 inch in diameter. It get fruit which has spines on and when ripe, it loved by the birds. The red seeds inside are extremely sticky and attach themselves to parts of the birds, who fly off, and when the seed eventually drops off, has found a willing host to propagate it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Be careful where you park your car

Now I know you must all be thinking that that is a very strange title coming from me. :) The otherday I needed to do something straight after work so brought the car here. When I went out to it later, this little spider had made himself very comfortable on my rear-viwe mirror.
Luckily when it was time to leave, he had disappeared or else I would have had a hitchhiker too and my bed would have been too small for both of us. LOL!!
So the moral of the story careful where you park your car. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Winter walk - Part 2

There are some extremely interesting looking weeds about. This one is silver in color and has such an interesting shape. Each flower was about 1 inch in diameter.
The early morning dew was still on this one.
The path I was on lead down to the small stream at the end of the property.
The water is sluggish and green…..
….and I found some colorful lichen on the trees.
Can you just imagine in summer how many bugs I am going to find in this patch of grass??
At the end of the season, most plants are in seed. These are so light that the slightest bit of breeze disperses the seeds. Each head is about 4mm in diameter and contains hundreds of seeds.
Winter is the time for the aloes to bloom and this is one of the seasons first. The flowers look and feel like wax.
The pod of this creeper has burst open to allow the ripe seeds inside to disperse on the wind.

Winter garden birds - Part 2

Olive Thrush

Egyptian Goose - male

Crested Barbet

Asian (Indian) Minor

Guinea Fowl

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Spooky Grasshopper

This was a spooky-looking grasshopper with no color and almost no markings.
I do not have anything even near it in my book so cannot tell you anything about it. Sorry.
I thought I would share the pictures with you anyway. :)