Sweet Nectar

Sweet is the nectar that the little sunbirds and Cape sugarbirds enjoy flitting around the garden.

WPC: Sweet

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WPC: Tour Guide – Let’s find the penguins

Playing tour guide, my first stop is this vantage point overlooking the splendid vista of False Bay.  Simon’s Town lays at the foothills, and way in the distance on the opposite side is Cape Hangklip.  The small town bustles with a distinct naval ‘air’ having been established as a naval base by the British in 1799 and where today the SA Navy is stationed.  We’ll pass through it, as we’re on our way to visit Boulders to see the African penguin colony.

The Boulders area is dotted with impressively sculpted granite rocks sheltering discreetly placed sandy coves.  Here a colony of African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) have found a comfortable nesting area.   From just two breeding pairs in 1982 the population numbers have increased to about 2200 in recent years.

We will venture down the boardwalk to see the main nursery.

As you will note the houses are quite nearby – this is as close to an ‘urban’ colony as can be imagined.  The area is fenced off, but often the penguins stray beyond the boundaries and care must be taken driving or parking to check if all is clear.

Sadly the African penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species, and the birds are in considerably more trouble than rhinos.   With the decline in shoal fish such as pilchards and anchovy they could be heading for extinction in the not too distant future.

To end the tour, a nod to the eminent granite Rock Stars, all of 540 million year old. A pathway follows along the coast for a nice leisurely stroll and swim to top off the experience.

WPC: Tour Guide

Hat’s off to baboons

A rustle of fur.

Sunbleached tresses, all windblown and tousled.  The Cape Peninsula Chacma baboons have a touch of the ‘beachcomber’ in their looks.  They’re rather unique in that they include shellfish and marine invertebrates in their diet and it’s quite a treat to observe them foraging in rock pools.

In contrast here is a shot of a male baboon from the arid regions of Namibia; it’s a wonder that baboons can survive in such extreme environments with little available water and soaring temperatures.  Recently I came across an article on their behavioural adaptations and the ability to thermoregulate the body core.  Temperature fluctuations occur when drinking water and sand bathing and could alter as much as 5.3*C.

Short back and sides, sparsely clad fur.

The Baboon species is the most adaptable of the non-human primates inhabiting a range of habitats from coastal, savannah, forest and desert ……. and some might even say that they’re pretty adept at living on the urban edge.

 

 

The Scend of the Sea

At times the elements conspire in perfect harmony to produce exquisite serenity.  The harsh wind retreats and the sea wallows quietly:

In the scene below Venus Pool lies unruffled in a silken sheen.

Conditions can change quickly though and the Atlantic Ocean can push up in rambunctious form with that devillish “Cape Doctor”, the southeasterly wind and the full moon spring tides.  Sometimes it also drives low cloud scudding across the Peninsula in a ‘black’ mood and cloaks the mountains in a foggy blanket of moisture.    On one such morning, we stand and watch in awe as waves come belting out of the ocean in a heart thumping rhythm smashing into the rocky ledges.  It’s as if Mother Nature lifts up her skirts to dance a fandango.  Two swimmers enter the pool and in a daring dash of defiance in the face of such raw power, they sprint across and back to safety.  Whatever it is, this sense of ebullience, we leave feeling high on elation.

WPC:  Variations on a theme – tying into the moods of the sea.