NOW WE HAVE GOATS!

We are used to members of the ever-increasing Urban Herd making themselves at home in our suburbs. These ones are chewing the cud on a pavement next to an outside garden shed.

A cow and her newborn calf take advantage of an unmown grass verge.

These cows are in the street behind our home.

There are an increasing number of donkeys roaming the town too. This donkey and her foal can be seen next to a school sports field.

Now we have goats added to the mix. This is only part of a herd of large, sleek goats seen roaming the suburbs a few days ago.

They look very at home!

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ZEBRAS IN ADDO

There is always a sense of anticipation whenever we enter a national park: what animal will we see first? On this day trip to the Addo Elephant National Park, zebras won hands down: they were everywhere!

Some ignored vehicles in order to continue grazing right next to the road.

This one was literally pulling up daisy-like plants.

It has been a good season for babies.

The herds of zebra were always accompanied by flocks of Cattle Egrets, eager to catch insects in their wake.

These two were standing apart from the rest.

RANDOM GLIMPSES OF THIS WEEK

The week leading up to Christmas always seems to be such a busy one – there is no end of tasks that need to be completed. My cell phone camera has kept track of some of the interesting sights and events of the week. Today was 38’C so I naturally sought the shade while having tea and watching birds – only to be attacked by mosquitoes!

I have noticed for some time that several Cape Honeysuckle leaves appear to be covered by a series of intricate white dots.

A closer look – thank you cell phone – reveals tiny insects probably sucking at the sap in the veins. I imagine these are a type of aphid. Eliza (see comments) has identified them as cotton mealybug (Phenacoccus solenopsis).

Imagine my surprise and delight at this unexpected courier delivery bringing Christmas cheer from afar!

The poppies in the back garden succumbed to the heat a long time ago, leaving the hardened seed cases behind – I rather enjoy their structural details.

I leave you with a ‘new’ Urban cow sporting an interesting pattern on her hide. Her calf is next to her – they are part of another large herd that have moved in to munch on the long grass growing near the vacated school playing fields.

OUR RICH WILDLIFE

Every time we visit one of our national parks I am reminded of how fortunate we are to enjoy seeing a wide variety of wildlife. The poaching of white rhino is an ongoing concern in South Africa – even in our protected areas – and so I always feel privileged to see one of these creatures in the wild.

We are used to seeing black wildebeest in the Mountain Zebra National Park and so it is fun to see blue wildebeest in places such as the Kruger National Park (where all of these photographs were taken).

Cape buffalo occur in the Addo Elephant National Park too, but this one is covered with Red-billed Oxpeckers.

Of course it is always a pleasure to see elegant giraffe.

Impala have been brought into several private game reserves all over the country.

No trip to the Kruger National Park feels complete unless one comes across a lion or two.