It is an icy, grey day during which winter is stamping its feet in a determined fashion to freeze out any idea of spring unfurling in the wings. What better way of beating the winter blues than focusing on red:


Greater Double-collared Sunbird

Amethyst Sunbird at nectar feeder


Crassula perfoliata

Virginia creeper


The veld has been tinder dry for weeks as the relentless drought continues. A grass fire, fanned by hot wind, raced through the mountains around our town at the weekend, engulfing us in a blanket of smoke and ash. Today the Mountain Drive area looks bleak and black. Yet, Earth Day is one that encourages us to look at our environment more closely; to get to know it better; to consider what we can do to protect and nurture it better; as well as being thankful for what we have.

How extremely thankful I am for the 4mm of soft rain that we were blessed with during the night!

This has encouraged the canary creeper buds to open – these are the first of what should become a waterfall of bright blooms.

The Crassula ovata is also covered with buds waiting to open.

Meanwhile, the Cape honeysuckle flowers are already providing swathes of bright colour and a useful source of nectar.

The Virginia creeper is showing off its autumn colours.

In keeping with these autumnal colours, it is fortuitous that an Olive Thrush was the first bird to greet me this morning.

Happy Earth Day!


The weather gods are laughing at me as I write this because the forecast temperatures for the rest of this week are all under 20 degrees Celsius. Nonetheless, look at what we experienced only a few days ago:

It has been glorious being able to don summery clothes again, sans warm jerseys or jackets, and even to walk around the house barefoot early in the morning without feeling chilly. Winter often has the last laugh though, for the end of August/beginning of September can be very cold indeed.

There has been no rain and so our garden is practically crisp and devoid of colour – except for this very last colourful leaf hanging onto the Virginia creeper:

This is the final flag of farewell to winter as we turn our thoughts towards spring – the birds have done so for some time already – and hope for rain, new shoots, and a season of new beginnings.