On very hot days it is not unusual to experience tiny grasshoppers jumping up from the grass as I walk through the garden. This one landed on an aloe leaf.
I almost walked into this golden orb spider attending to something securely wrapped up in its pantry.
Around the corner, I came across a rain spider protecting her nest.
This spider caught me by surprise while I was cleaning our swimming pool – its web was stretched between some plants growing along the edge of it. My first view was of the underneath of it.
I walked around to see what it looked like from the other side.
Then, coming indoors for refreshment, I found this cricket glaring at me from the bananas in the fruit bowl.
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.
While the Senecio polyanthemoides have started to go to seed, yellow flowers still abound in the veld – the Metalasia aurea (geelsteekbossie) are looking particularly beautiful right now.
These beautiful stands of bright yellow flowers brighten the verges of the roads and spill over banks.
The yellow is a particularly deep shade that is enhanced by the early morning or late afternoon sunlight.
I have not seen the Metalasia aurea growing in such abundance for a very long time – again I think it is the late winter and early spring rain which accounts for this long-lasting flush of beauty.
Clearly these amorous beetles approve of the flowers too!
We had to stop close to the edge of the country road this morning to let a larger vehicle pass. As I was the passenger, I had the opportunity to look at the vegetation for a few moments: fynbos, a patch of bright yellow flowers and a tangle of bush – nothing out of the ordinary. Except … I spied movement within the depth of the foliage: a Southern Boubou was skulking around in the branches. I could hear a boubou calling on the other side of the road … this one remained silent. It scuttled around some more, going ever higher in the bush until it called in response – beautifully clear notes from deep within the bush.
What is remarkable about all this, you may ask. Perhaps nothing other than the fact that when the boubou called, I knew where it was even though I could no longer see it.
So – we were about to set off when my attention was caught by something unusual on the leaves of the fynbos closest to the vehicle. “Hold on!” I opened the door slightly for a better look and reached for my cellphone at the same time. This is what I saw:
Isn’t this beautiful? It is a Hawk Moth caterpillar (Temnora pylas). I would never have made its acquaintance if we had not stopped at that particular spot for a minute or two.
A short distance further on we stopped again to confirm the sighting of three water buck on the side of a hill ahead of of us. Another vehicle approached – this time the country patrol vehicle of our local security company. It slowed down to pass us on the narrow dirt road and then stopped next to us: the driver wanted to know if we were okay. Thumbs up and smiles all round. Yes, we were fine, yet I felt happy that the man had asked, for when I checked my cell phone I saw that we had no reception in that spot – what if we had not been okay?
Sometimes chance meetings can make a positive difference to one’s mood for the day.
On this Friday evening I feel like showing you some images taken this week. I will begin with two warthogs that stopped to look carefully before they crossed a country road ahead of me.
I was struck by this tiny bright yellow spider hiding among some rather dry poppy leaves in our back garden.
While I was watching birds in the front garden, this little bug dropped down from the branch above me and walked about my notebook.
I have commented on the swathes of yellow flowers gracing the veld at the moment. I came across this clump growing in a crack along the verge in my street.
Looking up, I cannot help admiring the jacaranda tree that has come into bloom.
Looking down, here is part of a snake that was lying in the road. Unfortunately it had been run over by a vehicle – which is how I could approach it so closely with my cell phone!