The Summer Season

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 –

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The Baboon Baby Pics

It was one of those perfect spring days, warm and sunny and the local baboon troop came down to forage along the beach.  Playful, curious and full of energy, the youngest baboons explore their surroundings.  Observing them from a distance and not intruding into their space (keeping 10m away) is part of a photographer’s required etiquette around these wild animals.

“Discovered”

“Stats” haven’t really been too much of a motivation for me, that is until this past week when my site unexpectedly started ‘pinging’.    Topics relating to the Cape Storm got great press pushing up the visitor numbers to an all time high.   Then came a further boost with a shout out from Ben Huberman on Discover: Editor’s picks.

I feel quite overwhelmed by the response and would like to post a hearty welcome to all the new followers.

Baby baboon hi

To Ben and the WordPress team,  i send a big thank you and a gift of virtual flowers – protea repens.  The birds love them for their rich sugary nectar and are also known as the sugarbush protea.

Sugar bush protea

 

The protective role of ‘big sister’

It is interesting to watch young baboons act out gender roles.  The juvenile males rough and tumble and play fight while the young females practise an infant-protective role in their play.

While mum is foraging baby scampers off to explore. But he is not left on his own for long before ‘big sister’ comes to supervise his activities.