Spring Rites

Spring bustles along here in full bloom; the flowers in riotous colour.   The Bontebok antelope are in the midst of their calving season and the adults are skittish and protective of their newly born fawns.

A skirmish between a Bontebok male and a baboon quietly foraging nearby turned into a surprising joust as the baboon strayed too close to a heavily pregnant Bontebok female.

The newly born Bontebok young are on their feet within minutes of birth; up and ready to go.

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Shape Shifters

The craggy landscape beckons and the late afternoon light casts a spell.  Hiking along a ridge line above the coast from Olifantsbos (Cape of Good Hope Reserve)  shadows and shapes merge – figures appear.  Buck species like the shy Grey Rhebok keep a distance and then meld with the scenery. Red Hartebeest scamper behind boulders. Eland, the largest of the antelope species, show their majestic form.  As they pass in front of the ochre coloured sandstone they blend with the rocks, and with a shift in imagination – like slipping through a portal to travel through time and space, a different realm appears.   There was a time when animals were people and the San Bushmen captured scenes depicted in their rock art when Hare, Mantis and Eland had different stories to tell.

Cape Grysbok

Cape_Grysbok_Raphicerus_melanotis

It’s almost a year since a devastating fire rushed down this section of the mountain in a destructive path.  The vegetation is recovering well and how wonderful it is to see this shy and timid species of endemic buck, the Grysbok on this rainy, drizzly-wet morning.   All the more remarkable is that it is so close to the suburban edge.  They are solitary animals, except during the mating season when they are found in pairs and here we see that this is a female (the male bears horns).    This is one of the smaller species of antelope – it weighs in between 9 – 12 kgs.  Residents in this area have occasional sightings and these close encounters leave the viewer with a sense of awe for these secretive little creatures.

Bontebok young

September through to November is the birthing season for Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus dorcas); this antelope species is endemic to the fynbos region and is found here in the south western Cape.   It’s elegant colours blend well with the surrounding vegetation.   Within a couple of hours of birth the young are fit to go.