Rain

A feeling of elation lingers as the soft rain which has fallen over the last two days, soaks into the parched earth and the raindrops glisten like jewels.  The dam levels supplying Cape Town’s needs are still way below par but through this respite we can visibly see the vegetation greening up and the first signs of spring are emerging.  Through my dining room window there’s a buzzing scene.  Wagtails are in-coming carrying nesting material, while the sugarbirds and sunbirds flit about foraging for nectar.  The protea pincushions (Leucospermum) are coming into bloom though i still put out the occasional bottle of sugar water (fructose/sucrose formula) for the sunbirds.

The ‘tweeting’ going on is full of robust conversation; the wagtail pair call constantly with urgency – “Where are you, where? Bring in the next twigs, need fluff, fluff?”  While the sugarbirds have the gruff throaty voice of nightclub singers; deep and croaky.  They have the least melodious of songs while the dainty sunbirds have ‘chirp’; full of small bird attitude.  My guidebook describes their calls as a wheezy single “tsearp” or  double “teer-turp”. And with that, a jubilant “hallelujah” from all of us here on the rainy shores of the Cape Peninsula.

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Delta

Here it is: a single photo showing the passage of time, transitions and change.  This bleak scene signifies change – climate change.  A dry riverbed with almost no water may well be a typical scene in the future.  Described as a water scarce country, South Africa’s average annual rainfall is a mere 464mm. While parts of the country suffer drought conditions, the Western Cape is in dire straits.   This is “The new normal”, we are told.

This week Erica poses the WP  challenge:  Delta. Share a picture that sybolizes transitions, change and the passing of time.

The storm brings a feast for Cape baboons

Two days have passed since the storm and the sandy beach where I photographed the galloping zebra has altered in the aftermath. Today it is strewn with huge piles of kelp,  dislodged by the powerful waves and borne in on the spring high tide.

The kelp brought with it a bonanza for the baboons, a feast of  mussels still attached to the fronds.  The baboons living along the coast supplement their diet with this highly nutritious resource which is rich in omega oils.  They tucked in with gusto, and I noticed that some of the older females had packed their cheek pouches until they bulged into hanging pouches.  There was a lot of ‘chatter’ as they sucked and chewed and a delightful sound of ‘hiccups’ as one greedy adult male gulped down the morsels far too quickly.

The Road Taken: Ecosystem Engineers

Travelling through Sweden last summer, a back road through a forest took us through an unexpected landscape.  It looked as though a storm had cast it’s devastation striking down trees which lay hapzardly across a water course.  On closer inspection it turned out to be a piece of skillful engineering accomplished by a rather innocuous looking creature.  It was my first encounter with the extraordinary feats of a beaver family’s industrious accomplishments.

Their ability to physically alter habitats by cutting down trees, building dams, digging canals and building lodges has resulted in their recognition as ecosystem engineers.  The resulting change to the environment is far reaching, benefitting and altering the distribution and abundance of many organisms.

WPC: “The Road Taken”.