23 February, 2011

February’s wildflowers

When I woke there was autumn’s morning mist, burnt off a few hours later. The summer is still hot, but mid thirties rather than pushing 40 C. This year I will be using Gail at ClayandLimestone's Wildflower-Wednesday meme for  indigenous/native/wild flowers  blooming this month in our garden. For me that means indigenous to South Africa, and working on avoiding the summer rainfall plants from the far side of our country. The ones that hang their heads and whisper, it is h o t here … and need as much watering in summer as any commonorgarden exotic foreign plant!  Somewhat intimidated by Californian discussions about planting the right cultivar for My Watershed. In this First/Third world country … I’d be certified insane if I asked the nursery, but is it from Porterville, adapted to the Swartland summer?

Mid-month I will round up the exotics, especially the roses, which are beginning to sprout for their autumn flush. What is most visible in the garden now is blue. Blue sage and Plumbago in drifts.

Blue sage

15 February, 2011

Birds at the mouth of the Berg River

Our dentist has moved to Saldanha, a one and a half hour drive away. We travel via Velddrif, where the road crosses the mouth of the Berg River on a long low bridge like a causeway. To the mountain side and home is a wide salt marsh with reed beds and mud flats, teeming with birds and there is a bird hide. To the sea side many flat pans where brine is evaporated in the sun to harvest salt. And the flamingoes take their harvest there too. Salt-of-the-earth from Marie Theron, an artist who lives nearby.

We are – always in a hurry, busy busy busy, things to do, appointments to keep. So we have passed this bird hide a dozen times. Last week when we had half an hour we stopped. He took pictures. I was somewhat daunted, not a dedicated birder. I looked out and saw birds. Every one seemed to be different, and all unknown. Flamingoes in a huge flock across the river. Almost close enough to touch, near the bird hide, blacksmith plovers. For the rest, I have picked out the better pictures and ploughed thru my birdie books. Who are you? Waders and migrants … 

There was a pied kingfisher, 29 cm, black and white, hovering patiently, diving for lunch, then returning to its favoured tree stump. Where it ‘beats the fish to death before eating it’. And back to hovering over the next likely patch of water. Resting on the bank, a white breasted cormorant, but he had his back turned to us, and was having a quiet nap.

Little? stint or a grey plover?

11 February, 2011

February walking in our garden

Macros enchant me, because the camera and I agree on what we are looking at.  This year I will do the indigenous=native with Gail at clayandlimestone for her Wildflower Wednesday. Remember the 23rd February if you follow this meme.   And the commonorgarden=exotic=alien will be in these mid-month walks. Roses, kitchen herbs, fruit trees, inherited plants, zone denial, and I just couldn't resist that!

From the outside, looking in

Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.

Midnight in Darkest Africa

Midnight in Darkest Africa
For real time, click on the map.