FOCUS ON BUFFALO

Size-wise, the African or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is no pushover:

Look at the beautifully symmetrical curve of the horns on this one:

This buffalo must have been in a tussle a long time ago as a result of which it has lost one tip of its horn:

Red-billed Oxpeckers were re-introduced to the Addo and Great Fish reserves in 1990 and play a role in ridding animals of ecto-parasites. Here one can be seen inspecting the boss of a buffalo:

Here is an old buffalo:

Sadly, this is all that remains of a buffalo that was no longer able to defend itself.

NOTE: Click on the photographs if you wish to see a larger view.

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THE TEASING TURACOS

We hear the rasping korr-korr-korr call of Knysna Turacos (Loerie) in our garden almost daily, so we know they are there – somewhere in the foliage. These fairly large birds move soundlessly between the branches and from tree to tree, which means that we hear them more frequently than we see them. Sometimes a flash of red will catch my eye as one flies across the garden; only a flash mind you and then the bird ‘disappears’. Imagine then how delighted I was when a pair of Knysna Turacos appeared in the Dogwood tree and gradually made their way down through the branches towards the bird bath situated not far from where I was sitting, camera in hand.

They were tantalizingly close, yet so difficult to photograph! One looked at me obligingly while sitting absolutely still for several minutes.

After I had been watching them for half an hour one of the pair disappeared in the direction of the fig tree. One moment it was there and the next it was gone. I thought the other had too, until it reappeared in the Dogwood, from where it kept an eye on me for another twenty minutes or so. What a handsome bird!

Soon after, the other member of the pair appeared on my neighbour’s windowsill, where it spent some time looking at its reflection in the window.

Note: Click on the photographs if you wish to see a larger view.

ADD A LITTLE RAIN

Add a little rain to a drought-stricken garden and the result looks as though various hues of green have been splashed about with abandon. Here are two views of part of my front garden a week after a rain shower:

FANTASTIC FUNGI

We were blessed with a few millimeters of rain the other day – enough for the grass to green up and the leaves on the trees to unfurl and shine once more. Along with this wonderful revival of the natural environment and a discernible freshness in the air has come an abundance of fungi. See how this one has pushed its way through the previously hard-baked clay soil:

Some are clustered very close together:

Some are large:

While others, such as this one growing in a cow pat, are smaller and less robust looking. You can see a second one just peeping through below it:

The stems of the above look fragile in comparison with the one below:

Not all of the robust ones are large, as you can tell by the size of this one in relation to the pair of Village Weavers in the foreground:

PROTECTIVE PARENTS

When I wrote about Spotted Thickknees (Dikkops) in January, the last place I would have expected to see them again is a busy car park at an airport. I was striding through this car park to get to the long-term parking when my eye was caught by a slight movement to my left. Mr and Mrs Dikkop (Thickknee) were standing either side of their baby.

Naturally – all haste forgotten – I stopped for a closer look. This was tolerated for only a few seconds after the first photograph and then I was clearly told “Enough! No more!”

And so, I retreated.

Note: Click on the photographs for a larger view.