Finding predators lurking in the garden is not that usual in our neighbourhood, but for a while a female rooikat (Caracal caracal) comfortably took up residence alongside the urban edge rearing her young over a couple of years. Sightings of her and the kits were always thrilling, whether hunting or just passing through.
The charismatic African penguins living in my neighbourhood are back in the news. A notice was put out last month by the South African National Parks board that a strain of avian influenza virus (H5N8 strain) has been detected in the colony at Boulders Beach. So far penguin eighteen deaths have been noted. The state veterinarians are working to contain the outbreak. Let’s hope they succeed.
Sleek they are not, but so charming in their demeanour. Meet the Rock Hyrax, (commonly known as a dassie) related to the elephant and dugong – the connection to their rounded physique. A lively little colony of about 15 members live at the bottom of our garden, though their numbers fluctuate while caracal finds them a delicious delicacy. When the female dassies lie sprawled in abandon on the sunwarmed boulders i can’t help but admire their aura of plumply feminine ‘curvaceousness’.
That’s my take on Ben’s theme for this week. For other photographer’s pics on the subject, hit the link “Rounded”
Living by the coast has it’s drawbacks sometimes – the seasonal wind and sea fret can impact the hardiest of coastal dwellers. Just when we thought spring had settled a couple of low frontal weather systems had us scurrying to get out the winter layers again. On the Atlantic side the seas were huge, and one of the unexpected visitors to our rocky beach was an exhausted young Cape fur seal. It hauled out of the water and spent the day on the rocks recuperating. Seal pups are only weaned when they are about nine months old. Baleful eyes warily watched as I attempted to remain discreetly hidden.
Generally the dassie (Rock hyrax) colony commands rights over the rocks and sandbathing facilities, little seal was the first intruder and then up popped a Cape clawless otter.
It was all action for this photographer, as the next to appear (out at sea) were Southern right whales. Their sheer size and tonnage have us entranced and the trick is to figure what is happening out there by trying to piece together the body parts which randomly appear – a ventral fin, the size of the flukes – is it adult or newly born? Or perhaps the cavorting of mating rituals?
Further along the road at the penguin colony the chicks are looking quite bedraggled in various stages of growth:
Looking sleek and probably almost ready to fledge and make off on it’s own, this juvenile’s plumage will soon change to adult colouration.
False Bay is sometimes referred to as the “Serengeti of the seas” for it’s rich marine life and influx of seasonal species. Though there is the fear that many species are decreasing in numbers and little is being done to protect the resources.
There’s a good reason for motorists to pay attention to the warning signs which dot the roadside along the Cape Peninsula’s scenic drive: Beware the baboons – keep car doors locked and car windows closed!