The Beach Scene

“Wandering with my camera, I often find my eye drawn to strange bedfellows.  Juxtapositions. Foils, unexpected pairings ….”  so says Michelle at WordPress in her challenge for the week as she sets the topic “Juxtaposition” for this week’s challenge.

Here, over our summer season, the beach scene generally hums and you never quite know who’ll be there strutting their stuff.  So it looks as though feathers are in this year for the latest in beach attire….

Neck contortion and a bit of preening.
Just checking the fluffy bits.
Ma and Pa ostrich
Ma and Pa ostrich checking out the beachgoers.
Ma's quite unfazed by all the fuss.
Ma’s quite unfazed by all the attention.
All part of the day's outing.
All part of the day’s outing – swimming, sunbathing, cooling off at the water’s edge.

Female Baboons Move up the Ranks.

Where food is concerned the Cape Peninsula’s Chacma baboons keep a strict pecking order and usually males dominate, with the alpha male reserving top status.  With the recent spate by the authorities to cull off aggressive male baboons an interesting development appears to be taking place.  Female baboons are now honing assertive raiding skills.

Beach traditions.

On Boxing Day tens of thousands of people head to the beaches around the Cape Peninsula and this year it was a hot,  sizzling kind of day.  Colourful scenes were cast,  revelers enjoying the day.  A day to chill, complete with barbeques, picnic fare, families in a day out with all their beach paraphernalia.  Many of the Peninsula’s fine white sand beaches are kept “pristine” by the regular removal of kelp and other detritus.   But some are left to nature’s cycles, and in this case local knowledge is an advantage, spelling the difference between comfort and discomfort.   In August i wrote about the anatomy of a working beach, the complex symbiosis of sea wrack and the legions of ‘detritus movers and shakers’.    Here is the summer guise of the same beach, still very much the domain of bird and buck, sand hoppers and sea lice.

Hanging-lose,-feathers'-awry_01What’s a gal to do when the mercury is rising and her feather’s equate to a winter’s weight duvet?  Feathers awry – Seeking-the-breeze_ruffling-feathersstretch to catch a little breeze?


The heat of the day catches, mirages form shimmering on the horizon.  Even the buck are caught in a state of ennui.  A swishing tail flicks away the bothersome flies.

The-bachelorsThe young bachelors hang near the dried-out stream bed.

Swift-terns,-ruffled-feathersSwift terns line the rocks, feathers’ slightly ruffled in a soft sea breeze.

Slender-sunfish,-Ranzania-laevisThe rotting dried out corpses of Slender Sunfish lie on the beach; victim of the southeasterly winds and the upwelling of the chill Benguela current.

Beach-partyAn intrepid party of beach goers arrive; foreigners – French speaking.   As they set up in the midst of sand hopper terrain, not far from the high methane scent of rotting kelp,  i can’t help but wonder how long they’ll last before moving to a more hospitable venue.


Changing Seasons: Head in the Clouds

This week’s challenge to share a picture that means CHANGING SEASONS.

Cheri Lucas posted these comments : “We know our readers hail from all corners of the globe, so we’re excited to see different landscapes, as well as more creative, unexpected interpretations.”

Last week i posted photographs on one of the Cape’s most dynamic harbingers of summer, the infamous Cape Doctor.

Even now as i write this post the good Doctor is howling, which is a sign that summer is truly here.  Our climate is described as being “Mediterranean” – wet, cool winters and long, dry summers punctuated by galeforce sou’easterly winds.  Along with these gusting winds come the clouds, gorgeous swirling, eddying and highly mobile formations which wreath the mountains with a clinging wadding.   Higher up and the skies are blue and clear, so i guess i would describe this season as when the ‘clouds sit upon the mountains’, or as it is famously known, the “Tablecloth” effect. The moisture clings to the plants, leaving behind on the summits more than twice as much water as precipitated by rainfall.   The other vital effect that the Doctor provides is keeping the health of the marine environment by driving the surface water away from the coast, causing an upwelling of the nutrient rich, cold Benguela current.   The process is the lifeblood of the region supporting massive numbers of fish, seabirds and seals.  This soupy mix of nutrients and algae provides the foundation for all other life in the Benguela marine ecosystem – a broth of zooplanton and phytoplankton which sustains the links in a perfect food chain.