MORNING ABLUTIONS

My focus is usually on birds and wild animals, but on passing through the small town of Alexandria (Eastern Cape) early one morning, I couldn’t resist capturing this beautiful cat:

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A BUSHVELD GATHERING

A road beckoned to three generations of my family.

We came from all over the country to meet for a weekend at a farm in the Bushveld to celebrate what would have been my father’s hundredth birthday.

The firepit was at the centre of our celebrations.

The fire burned all day.

With a kettle constantly on the boil.

It was where we cooked

With plenty of pots to choose from.

A sheep was slow roasted over the fire to feed the gathering of the clan.

It was shady under the Karee trees.

Nyala came down to drink at the dam next to our gathering place.

There were impala nearby too.

Including a few black ones.

Redbilled Oxpeckers kept them free from ticks.

Pairs of Egyptian Geese kept us company.

As did some White-faced Ducks.

Blacksmith Plovers arrived and left throughout each day

We talked, we laughed, we cried. We remembered, we found out new things, we bonded all over again.

ROCK HYRAXES

As our town stretches out towards its edges, the natural habitat of various creatures gets pushed back. There was a time when one could come across a steenbuck or hares during a walk along the fringes of town. Now there are shops and more ominous clearing of the once pristine land. Animals that have managed to adapt to these changes are the Rock Dassies (the name ‘das’ is derived from the Dutch word meaning ‘badger’), known these days as Rock Hyraxes (Procavia capensis). These little creatures can usually be seen basking in the sun on large rocks, particularly during mornings and late afternoons. There are no rocks here, but they have moved into enormous heaps of gravel that were dumped in a corner of an industrial plot over thirty years ago and never used. Although they live in large colonies, we usually only see one or two at a time – surveying the environment either from the top of the gravel heaps or, occasionally, on the concrete posts of the fence surrounding the plot.

DON’T EAT THE DAISIES

Can any of you cast your minds back to Doris Day singing Please don’t eat the daisies? The opening lines of the song came to mind when I saw this Zebra enjoying the newly green growth after a very dry winter:

Please, please don’t eat the daisies,

Don’t eat the daisies, please, please.

Please, please don’t eat the daisies,

Don’t eat the daisies, please, please.

 

Then:

Too late!

MONKEYS

We seldom come across Vervet Monkeys in the Addo Elephant National Park and so were surprised to see this one as we rounded a corner:

It had obviously rained a day or so before our arrival for there were puddles all over the veld, most notably where the dirt roads were. A little further on we were met by this sight:

Drinking from the puddles in the road.

 

Note the baby tucked under its mother.