Sweet is the nectar that the little sunbirds and Cape sugarbirds enjoy flitting around the garden.
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.
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 water crisis in Cape Town looms closer to Day Zero. Praying for rain!
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.
It rained on New Year’s eve here in Cape Town and we awoke at dawn on the morning of the 1st to the gentle patter of raindrops still falling. Now five days later it’s back to parched earth and the dam level aggregate has dropped to 29.1%. We are worried; very worried. The City Council warns that Day Zero could happen as early as 18 March – that is when the taps will be switched off and citizens will have to queue for water at designated collection points.
Meanwhile the summer season is in full swing; beaches, scenic sights, vineyards, restaurants are all buzzing with festivities and happy visitors. At times residents feel overwhelmed and scuttle off to the lesser known spots. Or get up early to beat the queues to the beach or nature parks.
This past week the mornings have been sweetly scented and cool and as we’ve set out to hike or cycle through our favourite nature reserve we’ve tended to see animals on the move, generally moving through an area foraging. Recent sightings of five different baboon troops highlight how their behaviour changes when their territory overlaps with the park’s recreational areas or how the attractants in town, like the refuse bins lure them off the mountain. For most of the year the baboons forage on natural vegetation or in the rock pools. Come summer and the picnic spots draw them like bees to a honeypot.
Below the Buffels troop check out the barbecue area for scraps.
In contrast the baboons in the photos (below) of the Kanonkop troop like to forage in natural vegetation.
On the Atlantic side of the Peninsula, another troop – probably the Olifantsbos troop dash across the beach in a strong breeze to get to the rock pools to forage for mussels and other shellfish delicacies.
The Smitswinkel troop are generally kept off the road by the conservation rangers, but this season we’ve found them on the road several times – a hazardous situation for both baboons and motorists.
Baboons from the Waterfall troop sometimes make excursions into town to raid the rubbish bins –