An advantage of overnighting in a national park is that one can enter the game area before sunrise. We left our Forest Cabin to go through the gate at half past six: the air was cold and felt ‘heavy’ to breathe; the horizon was only beginning to blush in the east; and there was a heavy dew on the grass. While this is a magical time in which to see a variety of animals, it is not kind light for photography. Rooidam waterhole looked for all the world as though it was a simmering cauldron with steam rising from its surface. We could barely see the pair of Egyptian Geese preening themselves near the edge:
The darkness was fading fast though, which meant that within a few minutes I could capture their ghostly reflections in the water. A little further along the road we came across the first of many zebra, their manes almost glowing as the sun rose higher:
The colour of zebra changes according to the light and where they have been rolling on the ground. These two were walking away from the rosy sunrise:
Our early rising was rewarded by this magnificent sighting of a herd of buffalo grazing out in the open:
The early morning light now cast a golden glow over everything. We drove on for a closer view of them:
These two on the edge of the herd are covered with a thick layer of mud. Moving on to Hapoor Waterhole, we spotted a terrapin catching the early morning rays of the sun:
Whenever I scroll through my photographs I am surprised at the number of patterns that jump out at me. At the risk of boring readers with yet another lot, I have a few more to show. The first are raindrops on the grass. There is a great delight in these shining drops for we received some unexpected rain last week – enough to green up the grass on my unmown lawn and to give the flowers in the garden a ‘lift’:
After the rain comes sunshine and these patterns shining on the side of our swimming pool caught my eye. The pool was filled with grit and leaves after the rain:
Thanks to the ongoing drought, it is a while since I have been able to enjoy large marigolds in the garden. None of the many seeds planted this year have shown a sign of sprouting. Nonetheless, I enjoyed finding this picture in my archives:
I have shown several Eucalyptus trees of late; here is a closer look at the leaves of one of the trees growing around the corner from where I live:
Next is a picture regular readers may be familiar with. This is Bryan, the angulate tortoise that came to live in our garden for some time until eventually the desire to travel on overcame him. I love the pattern on his shell:
Lastly, I cannot resist adding this stained glass window:
It strikes me that if you look at anything close enough and for long enough, a pattern will emerge. Take this cauliflower for example:
I seldom get an opportunity to walk along the beach and when I do, apart from the waves, shells and seabirds, I am mesmerised by the patterns made by ripples in the shallow water:
I admire images of centuries old stone bridges as well as more modern concrete and steel bridges from abroad. Sometimes in this part of the world we have to make do with something more humble, like this flat wooden bridge:
For several years we had an angulate tortoise living in our garden – until he decided the time was right to seek a mate and he wandered off:
I also enjoy patterns seen in weathered rocks:
Lastly, this one may take you by surprise:
It was sent to me by a family member several years ago.
… along the road. It was happy for me to take a closer look:
It is two years since I encountered the strange looking creature at my door that proved to be my first sighting of a spotted thick-toed gecko (Pachydactylus maculatus), even though it is meant to be among the more common species of gecko in South Africa. These small geckos measure between 48 and 58 mm and so it is easy to see why my second such visitor that appeared on my doorstep earlier this year was almost overlooked.
This little gecko is well camouflaged against the cement steps. The anti-slip grooves in the step look enormous in comparison with it.
Here you can see its rounded snout and large round eyes more clearly. The four rows of elongated spots are not always as clear as this one sports.
The patterns on my previous visitor had fused to form irregular bands.
These geckos eat spiders – of which there are many in my garden – as well as small insects such as grasshoppers or crickets.