A crisis looms here in the Cape as drought grips the city of Cape Town and the surrounds. It is interesting to see these scenes at Olifantsbos beach where a gaggle of Egyptian geese and baboons hang out together, drawn to a fresh water spring very close to the edge of the tidal line.
This is a fairly unusual scene, seeing ostriches so close to the water’s edge. The shot was taken on a hot and still summer’s day, and there they were cooling down on the wet sand. While currently our winter weather is set in and the nor’ westerly storms hammer the coast, oh! we dream of ‘Summer Lovin’ ….. this week’s photo challenge!
Recently during a spell of calm, sunny weather I went kayaking along the calm waters of False Bay towards Boulder’s Beach and came across a seal hunting an octopus in close proximity to swimmers on the beach. A lot of activity ensued with the seal thrashing the octopus on the surface of the water. I wasn’t sure whether the intention was to stun the octopus or use force to dismember the legs. The swimmers were completely unfazed, and there i was imagining the octopus accidentally landing on some onlookers’ head. Any sensible person would have moved away, right?!
The element of surprise is the part i look forward to most when walking on our favourite beach. Yesterday I set off hoping to get some better photographs than the one below of some of the European swallows which like to inhabit an area near the coastal pathway. I admire these hardy little visitors who cover a long distance to spend summers on our shores.
It was a heavenly day, but the wind picked up and the wise little birds were sheltering in a different area. Meanwhile the surfers, fishermen, and kite boarders looked to be revelling in the freshning spindrift.
The swallows are forgotten as the antics of the baboons catch my attention. The three juveniles and baby can’t resist sliping and sliding down the dune and in their indulgence of the rough and tumble of everyday play :
Sliding, cartwheeling, with sheer exuberance.
All in a tangle of limbs.
Peeping from behind the reeds.
The little sets the pace.
On their way.
No wait up a while.
Stop for a nibble or two.
Rough and tumble.
Pa, the Alpha male comes padding by on a mission to get across the sand to the car park.
The family follow, romping along.
Meanwhile one of the sub-adult males is engaging in a reconnaisance of a different kind.
He’s on the prowl for food.
Checks out the door handles.
Looks inside for bags.
Tries a variety of techniques to get in, pressing on the glass windows, levering the gap between glass and window frame with his teeth.
Finally he finds an unlocked door and raids the car.
Fortunately there’s no food, but he still searches the bags.
As soon as the alpha male arrives, he beats it and leaves the scene.
Savvy baboons: they have learned that where there are people and cars, there is a possible source of easy food. Leaving bags on car seats and in sight through the windows will certainly attract their attention. Lay out a picnic or light a barbeque in their domain and they will come to investigate and even make off with food that’s laid out for the taking. We could take better care not to tempt them with human food when we come into the areas which overlap with their homerange.
It’s always a thrill to come across baboons foraging along the shoreline and in the rock pools and such was our luck today at Cape Point, Platboom beach. Generally their preferred diet is plant based, but several troops have adapted to eating mussels, limpets and crustaceans such as crab. It provides valuable omega oils and proteins to their diet. There were about twenty or so baboons in this troop and I couldn’t help admiring the statuesque alpha-male with his thick ‘cape’. The inland troops tend to be much darker in colour, while the coastal troops have much lighter fur – sun bleached highlights, with a bit of a ‘beach-bum’ attitude.
It’s always a thrill to see baboons foraging along the coast.
They have adapted to eating molluscs and some crustaceans.
Kelp has washed ashore after stormy seas, and presents opportunities to scavenge.
The shore also provides pickings.
Here the alpha-male dips a hand into the water.
The males develop a ‘cape’ of thick fur, and here the fur has a sun-bleached appearance.
A young female is engrossed in cracking mussels.
The low tide presents the opportunity to get at the mussels.
The alph-male is in fine shape, glossy coat, albeit a sunbleached, beach-bum look.
The mussels provide omega oils, and valuable protein in their diet.
I love this shot, they are content to just watch the world go by….