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Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: May 2021 Sitamani Country Diary

May has been very cool and dry, only 4mm of rain fell during the month. The grasses have dried and leaves of the deciduous trees have almost all fallen.

The maximum temperature 22 C on a few days

The minimum temperature 5 C 31 May

Rainfall 4mm only 5% of the precipitation in April

Saturday 1

For a brief time the clouds lifted to reveal a snowy Drakensberg

A gravid female mantis watched me with beady yellow eyes

The male Greater Double-collared Sunbird was busy feeding in the Bottle-brush

Purple-blue Bulwer Mountain under a winter sky

Moss

Old Man’s Beard

In the evening the Common Duiker grazed near the house

Wednesday 5

A  Lunate Ladybird, Cheilomenes lunata, Larvae scurried across the verandah step

Saturday 8

Changing colours of a stunning sunrise

Fresh droppings of the Common Duiker left evidence of a visit

Thursday 13

A dried Agapanthus seedhead cracked open to reveal seeds

Friday 14

‘Here comes the sun little darling….’  Through Ouhout, Leucosidea sericea leaves

Saturday 29

Soft winter sunset

Sunday 30

Common Duiker sunning themselves down near the orchard

Moon on the wane

Ornamental remains of Berkheya setifera flower heads

Aloe maculata leaves tinged pink by frost

Aloe maculata buds

A Drakensberg Prinia on the skyline

Otholobium polysictum

Plectranthus calycina seedhead

Senecio harveianus one of the few bright colours on the hillside

Spiderweb still covered in dew

Spent leaves of Vernonia natalensis create silver sculptures

Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: April 2021 Sitamani Country Diary

April has been much drier than the last few months, only 37mm of precipitation by the 28 April. Then the first cold winter weather and rain started on the 29 April. It seemed as if overnight we had changed seasons.

I haven’t been able to wander the hillside as often as I would have liked, but we have had some stunning weather effects and iconic Autumn flowers.

The maximum temperature 27C 14 April

The minimum temperature 6,5C 30 April

Rainfall 73,3mm

Thursday 1

No April Fool, but this gem, a Baboon spider, probably Theraphosidae, Harpactira species

Monday 5

Responding to the small amount of moisture these Earth Stars, Astraeus species appeared in leaf litter

Wednesday 7

The morning view from my window looking west

Thursday 8

Glorious cloud effects in the late afternoon

Monday 12

Another stunning sunset

Wednesday 14

Then a completely different, soft mood

Monday 19

Looking down on the path I spotted caterpillar droppings beneath a Tree Fuchsia, Halleria lucida
Looking up amongst the leaves I spotted a Wahlberg’s Emperor Moth caterpillar, Imbrasia wahlbergi, then many more
Sadly this one has been parasitized by a wasp, the cocoons clearly evident on the wasted caterpillar

Three juvenile Southern Rock Agamas soaked up the warmth from the wooden slats

Thursday 22

A brief walk revealed some delightful sightings

A Fork-tailed Drongo on the chimney

Lobelia erinus

For me the glowing orange stands of Leonotis leonurus are the flagship of Autumn in the KZN Midlands. Vibrant colour splashed amongst the golden grasses and turning leaves, a joyful burst of sunlight before winter hibernation.

Sutera floribunda

Plectranthus calycina

Helichrysum cooperi

Berkheya rhapontica

Friday 23

Autumn colour landscape

A dainty Turreted awl snail, Euconyma turriformis, the first time I’ve seen a living one!

Tuesday 27

A partial Sunbow in cirrus clouds

Later a vibrant sunset

Friday 30

Wind during the night dislodged a Southern Double-collared Sunbird nest. The carefully smoothed inside, felt-like, hours of patient cobweb gathering to create the cosy interior.

Monkeys and Common Grey Duiker are relishing the acorns from the Pin Oak trees. Black-backed Jackal call almost every evening and twice I’ve heard Spotted Eagle-Owls hooting at dawn.

Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: March 2021 Sitamani Country Diary

This March I’m dedicating this diary to my Dad, Dennis Reginald Field, 1927 11 13 to 2021 03 28. It is a picture diary, if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be living here and enjoying the myriad of delights the natural world offer daily. Dad loved nature and this dolerite ridge in particular. Thank you Dad, may your spirit fly free!

The maximum temperature 28C

The minimum temperature 9,5C

Rainfall 111,5mm

Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: February 2021 Sitamani Country Diary

February was a very mild month, often in the past few years it has been hot and dry. The first three weeks were relatively drier and warmer, on Sunday 21 the hottest day of the month was recorded, 27C, several mornings dipped to 10C. On Wednesday 24 storms raged and we had 73mm of rain overnight, and another 20mm on Thursday 25, bringing the total rainfall to 162,5mm for February.

The hillsides are still green, though now there is a touch of gold with the seeding grasses. The exotic Silver Birches in the garden have dropped all their leaves and the Pin Oak avenue has red splashes of colour in the leaves.

Evening skies in February are always beautiful, light lingering until about 7pm, long after sunset.

This month I haven’t been able to spend as much time wandering the hillsides, here are some of the highlights.

Tuesday 2

The two Pterygodium magnum orchids reached their full height and flowering, about 1m.

Tucked amongst the flowers a Crab spider, Thomisus species, waited patiently for a meal to arrive.

Wednesday 3

The dawn sky was vibrant between bands of clouds.

Thursday 11

A brighter dawn sky.

A female Forest King Emperor, Charaxes xiphares penningtoni, flew into the house, giving me an opportunity to photograph it.

Wednesday 17

I managed a brief walk before doing some Bramble control work.

Habenaria pseudociliosa

Kniphofia laxiflora

Schizoglossum bidens species

Conostomium natalense

Thursday 25

After two days of rain, water drops sparkled on bared branches in early morning sunlight.

Sunday 28

Field slugs eating a Puff ball fungi

A simply glorious dawn

A few times during the month I have seen two female and one male Common Reedbuck, usually in the orchard. Twice I’ve spotted a Black-backed Jackal moving swiftly into the Mondi pine plantation. A delight is the pair of Cape Wagtails that have taken up residence in the garden.

Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: February 19-21 2021 Wildflowers in the Southern Maluti-Drakensberg World Heritage Site


A Southern Secrets Hiking and Backpacking Guided Hike
http://www.southernsecrets.co.za

Playing and fossicking amongst flowers has to be one of my very favourite pastimes, combine that with hiking, spending nights in the Drakensberg, excellent company who also relish these spaces and gems, and you end up with memories of an experience to treasure!

We walked up to Tarn Cave from Bushmans Nek, spent time in the Rock Garden of Sehlabathebe and returned via the Bushmans Nek Pass.

This is a list of those flowers I identified over the three days (88). Not all were photographed and these are the ones I remember seeing.

Orchids were in abundance (18):

Brownleea galpinii

Brownleea parviflora

Corycium sp. the flowers were over.

Disa brevicornis

Disa fragrans

Disa versicolor

Disperis cooperi

Disperis tysonii

Habenaria dives

Habenaria laevigata

Habenaria schimperiana

Holothrix thodei

Pterygodium hastatum

Satyrium cristatum

Satyrium longicauda

Satyrium microrrhynchum

Satyrium parviflorum

Schizochilus flexuosus

There were also many other stunning flowers blooming (69):

Alectra basutica

Alepidea natalensis

Aponogeton rannunculiflorus

Aristea woodii

Berkheya possibly onopordifolia

Berkheya rhaphontica

Chlorophytum sp.

Clematis brachiata

Commelina africana

Cotula socialis

Crassula natalensis

Crassula umbraticola

Cratercapsa tarsodes

Cynoglossum austro-africanum

Cyphia tysonii

Delosperma lavisiae

Diascia barberae

Diclis reptans

Dierama argyreum

Drosera natalensis

Erica aestiva

Erica alopecurus

Erica cooperi

Eucomis autumnalis

Eucomis schijfii

Felicia filifolia

Geranium multisectum

Geranium wakkerstroomianum

Gladiolus crassifolius

Gomphostigma virgatum

Helichrysum adenocarpum

Helichrysum heterolasium

Helichrysum rugulosum

Hermannia woodii

Hesperantha baurii

Hesperantha coccinea

Hesperantha tysonii

Huperzia saururus fern

Hypericum aethiopicum subsp. sonderi

Kniphofia laxiflora

Kniphofia triangularis

Limosella inflata

Lindernia conferta

Linum thunbergii

Lobelia erinus

Melasma scabrum inflated fruit

Moraea brevistyla

Moraea inclinata

Moraea trifida

Nidorella undulata

Papaver aculeatum

Polygala hottentotta

Protea dracomontana

Protea roupelliae

Protea subvestita

Scabiosa columbaria

Sebaea natalensis

Sebaea marlothii

Selago flanaganii

Stretocarpus pentherianus

Themeda triandra

Urginea macrocentra seeds

Ursinia alpina

Wahlenbergia krebsii

Wahlenbergia fasciculata

Wahlenbergia huttonii

Xerophyta viscosa

Zaluzianskya microsiphon

Zaluzianskya pulvinata

Bibliography

A Field Guide to Wildflowers KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region: E. Pooley

Mountain Flowers A Field Guide to the Flora of the Drakensberg and Lesotho: E. Pooley

Orchids of South Africa A Field Guide: S. Johnson, B. Bytebier, H. Starker

Ferns of Southern Africa A Comprehensive Guide: N.R. Crouch, R. R. Klopper, J. E. Burrows, S. E. Burrows

Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: January 2021 Sitamani Country Diary

The first month of 2021 is over, the summer season is at its height. Green, verdant growth with plentiful rainfall. Already a few exotic trees have leaves that are starting to turn colour and some mornings there has been a slight crispness to the air.

We have had over 240mm of rain this month, the coolest morning 8 degrees Celsius on the 2nd and the warmest day 28.5 degrees Celsius on the 22nd Jan.

There have been many insects and the juvenile birds are being fed by their diligent parents. This diligence also means at the slightest hint of danger, including a human with a camera, they quickly take cover, the Cape Robin Chats, Southern Boubous, Fork-tailed Drongos and Speckled Pigeons are amongst them. I suspect the Cape Robin Chat nest is in the hedge that borders on side of the vegetable garden, as this seems to the base for the juvenile, who has ample cover in the rampant growth.

The wide variety of nature on display is really only touched on this month, here is some of what I saw:

Saturday 2


The African Hoopoes are temporarily resident on the peripheries of the garden.


The misty valley provides a perfect foil for Senecio isatideus


Bouquets of Berkheya setifera

Tuesday 5

In the early morning many creatures greeted me outside the kitchen door


Wahlberg’s Emperor Moth, Imbrasia wahlbergi


A Granular Agate Snail, Archachatina granulata


Leopard Goat moth, Azygophleps inclusa


This striking white and black moth


Delicately poised on the edge of the step a field slug


A gorgeously patterned moth

Later I explored the grassy hillside


Eulophia hians var. nutans


Silene burchelii


Eulophia zeyheriana


Moraea brevistyla


Eulophia tenella


Indigofera tristis


Eulophia ovalis var. bainesii


Gladiolus ecklonii


Eulophia ovalis var. ovalis


Stunning cloud effects after the recent rain


Bolbitius vitellinus


Green-banded Swallowtail Papilio nireus lyaeus


A small epiphytic fern growing on a tree amongst lichen

Thursday 7


Simply magical discovery of this delightful little epiphytic orchid, Mystacidium flanaganii, growing on an evergreen oak at the edge of the garden

Saturday 9


I spotted this delightful Net-winged beetle sp., Family Lycidae, from the sitting room window

Monday 11

Hangingfly, Family Bittacidae


Crested Coral Fungus Clavulina cristata


A sunbird flitting amongst the grasses

Tuesday 12

A few of the moths drawn to the kitchen light


Specious Tiger Moth Asota specios


Marbled Emperor moth

Wednesday 13


A glorious dawn sky

Thursday 14

Only the second time in 26 years that I seen this stately orchid growing here


Pterygodium magnum


The first time I seen Corycium nigrescens flowering here

An absolute highlight for January is when


Brunsvigia undulata flower. This year there were at least 20 flowering of the about 50 plants here on Sitamani


Gladiolus sericeovillosus


Blister Beetle Decapotoma sp. feeding on Gladiolus sericeovillosus

Sunday 17


Satyrium longicauda

Monday 18


A beautifully ornate moth, I haven’t found an ID yet

Friday 22


Pterygodium magnum flowers opened

Monday 25

I was so excited, having collected a very special book,


The Field Guide to the AMARYLLIS FAMILY of Southern Africa & Surrounding Territories, Graham Duncan, Barbara Jeppe, Leigh Voigt! Not only is it the time of year when

Brunsvigia undulata are flowering here at home, but two of my photos,


one of the whole plant


and a cover picture for the Indian Ocean Coastal Belt biome, (Mtentu River mouth), are included in the book. I am deeply honoured. The design, stunning illustrations, photos and content combine together to create the most beautiful book, I will treasure it!
 
“THE FIELD GUIDE TO THE AMARYLLIS FAMILY & SURROUNDING TERRITORIES is a sequel to The Amaryllidaceae of Southern Africa, this field guide is the culmination of 46 years of dedicated perseverance and expertise. Small, sturdy and easy to handle, this is an excellent book for identifying bulbs in their natural habitat. There are over 265 watercolour paintings and 560 photographs, a map for each species and comprehensive text.
 
To order your copy of the Field Guide to the Amaryllis Family you can read more about it on their website, www.galleypress.co.za or order from orders@galleypress.co.za.
For more information, please email leigh@galleypress.co.za.”

Wednesday 27


Predawn rays


Kniphofia buchanani

Thursday 28


Crocosmia aurea

Friday 29


Satyrium cristatum var. longilabiatum


An amazing fungi growing on the stump of a felled tree possibly a Pseudophaelus species

Saturday 30


Finally photos of the juvenile Cape Robin-Chat, who had discovered the joy of the verandah bird bath!

Sunday 31

Over the month I’ve heard Black-backed Jackal calling in the evenings and several times while out doing bramble control work, have startled a very fine male Reedbuck. He is very nervous and vary of humans, probably as poaching has been ongoing for months. The Common Duiker decided my Agapanthus next to the house were tasty treats, ate all but one of the buds….

19 January 2021 Wildflowers on amahaqwa, Bulwer Mountain

On Tuesday, Nikki, her motto – Celebrate the Small Stuff, and I had glorious day doing just that, walking on amahaqwa, Bulwer Mountain, the skies opened to the bluest of blue, only eclipsed by the Agapanthus in full bloom.

This is a mountain ridge that is essentially an extension of the Drakensberg, albeit cut off from the main escarpment. As a result, there are the same rock strata, including getting above the Clarens Sandstone, and many of the flowering plants of the Drakensberg and Little ‘Berg are found here.

These are some of the flowers we saw….

Corycium nigrenscens

Disa versicolor

Disperis oxyglossa

Eulophia zeyheriana

Habenaria lithophila

Neobolusia tysonii

Pterygodium hastatum

Satyrium longicauda

Satyrium parviflorum

Schizochilus angustifolia

Afrotysonia glochidiata, a first for me

Agapanthus campanulatus

Ajuga ophrydis

Albuca setosa

Alepidea natalensis

Argyrolobium harveyanum

Berkheya possibly onopordifolia a first for me

Chaenostoma possibly polelense subsp. polelense another first for me!

Chironia krebsii

Chlorophytum cooperi

Crassula vaginata

Craterocapsa tarsodes

Crocosmia pottsii

Cycnium racemosum

Cyphia elata

Cyphia tysonii

Delosperma lavisiae

Diascia integerrima

Diclis reptans

Eucomis bicolor

Gunnera perpensa

Hebenstretia cooperi

Heliophila rigidiuscula

Hesperantha baurii

Indigofera woodii

Jamesbrittenia breviflora

Kniphopia triangularis

Linum thunbergia

Lotononis eriantha

Lotononis lotononoides

Manulea crassifolia

Myosotis semiamplexicaulis

Peucedanum thodei

Pimpinella caffra

Plectranthus grallatus

Protea roupelliae

Schizoglossum elingue subsp. elingue

Schizoglossum elingue subsp. purpureum

Senecio oxyriifolius

Sutera floribunda

Watsonia confusa

Zaluzianskya microsiphon

Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: December 2020 Sitamani Country Diary

The 2020 has finally drawn to a close. One aspect that continues is the cycles of nature and has been one of my greatest solaces. During December many wonderful and varied life forms revealed themselves here, a time of growth, renewal and beauty.

On the last night of December, 31, I measured 39,5mm of rain, this brought the total for December to 207,5mm. The highest daytime temperature was 30C on two days, 27 and 29 December, the lowest nighttime temperature was 8,5C on the 2 December. A sultry, warm summer month with rapidly growing foliage.

Now that the Summer Solstice has passed, 21 December, we begin the gradual passage to winter, though usually our warmest month is February.

Here are some of the wonderful flora and fauna seen during the month.

Wednesday 2

A soft misty day.

A very large Common Cannibal snail, Natalina cafra, was resting in the passage way.

Monday 7

This unusual moth had avoided being eaten by the early birds.

Tuesday 8

Whilst doing alien Bramble eradication I came across this stunning

Pineapple Lily, Eucomis autumnalis

Vernonia natalensis

Dipcadi viride

and spotted these Cicada, Family Cicadidae, nymphal skins

Thursday 10

This lovely unfurling Fern caught my eye.

Anthericum cooperi

Stachys aethiopica

Friday 11

A simply stunning sunrise

The last of the waning moon in the brightening sky
Soft morning predawn light over a mist filled valley
Finally the sun popped over the far hill

A gorgeous, small spider, moving very quickly, I learnt was of the Family Theridiidae, a Tidarren species.

Saturday 12

A short walk was rewarded by these lovely finds,

Orange Poppy, Papaver aculeatum

Berkheya setifera and Silene bellidioides

Silene bellidioides

Cyanotis speciosa

Searsia species

and this lovely moth

Later that morning I was astounded to see a Narina Trogan in a tree near the house, I grabbed my camera, pointed and clicked, but didn’t manage to capture this special sighting! The distribution does cover this area, my guess is that now the trees and shrubbery have grown up near the house it has become more inviting for forest birds. Two days later I saw a Bush Blackcap in the Buddleja next to the sitting room window. Both were first time sightings here.

Sunday 13

Gaudy Commodore, Junonia Octavia

Pelargonium luridum

Aristea woodii

A small bee species on Aristea woodii

Albuca setosa (=pachychlamys)

Common Sandman, Spialia diomus ferax

Agapanthus campanulatus buds

A delightful hairy caterpillar

Hirpicium armerioides

Xysmalobium involucrum

Indigofera hilaris and Aristea woodii

Senecio isatideus

Alepidea natalensis

Aspidonepsis diploglossa

Hypericum lalandii

A myriad of tiny creatures in the Eucomis autumnalis flowers

Koppie Foam Grasshopper, Dictyophorus spumans

A striking black and orange Grasshopper

Haemanthus humilis

Asclepias albens

Aster bakerianus

A bee-mimic fly, Phytomia incisa

One of the most perfect Orthochilus foliosus orchids I’ve seen

The top view of a Schizocarphus nervosa (=Scilla nervosa)

Ornithogalum graminifolium

Monday 14

It is always so exciting for me to find this glorious moth

Wounded Emperor, Neobunaeopsis Arabella

After a stormy afternoon the sun reappeared before setting

A double rainbow to the east refracted in the last of the rain showers

Tuesday 15

Family Mantidae, Common mantids

This amazing, Family Ascalaphidae, Owl Fly,  was perched on the veggie garden gate

Friday 18

Bladder Grasshopper, Pneumora inanis

Saturday 19

A Carpet Bell flower, Craterocapsa tarsodes, that I usually associate with Sani Top

Fern, Ophioglossum vulgatum subsp. africanum

Mammatus, meaning mammary cloud, is a cellular pattern of pouches hanging underneath the base of a cloud

Wednesday 23

Handmaiden moth, Family Ctenuchidae

I discovered this hatched Fork-tailed Drongo eggshell beneath the Japanese Maple in the garden.

Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: November 2020 Sitamani Country Diary

November has been a gloriously wet and verdant month, we’ve recorded rain on 22 days of the 30, a total of 196,5mm. The hillside is green with a wealth of flowers. The only flowering plant that doesn’t seem to enjoy the wet, cool conditions are the orchids, only one seen this November. The coolest temperature was on the 19th at 8C and the warmest 33.5C on the 8th. Most days were overcast and often misty.

Here are some of the wonderful flora and fauna seen during the month.

Monday 2


Trachyandra saltii


Eriosema kraussianum amongst the rock


Bagworm on Hypoxis

Tuesday 3

Although the light was poor, I couldn’t resist taking these late afternoon photos


Speckled Mousebirds


Male Red-collared Widowbirds almost in full breeding plumage


A soft end to the day

Saturday 14


Lotononis corymbosa


Vernonia hirsuta


Berkheya macrocephala


Caterpillar


Schizocarphus nervosus (=Scilla nervosa)


Dipcadi viride


Indigofera hilaris


Indigofera hilaris


In the KZN Drakensberg swathes of spectacular flowering, neon orange Watsonia socium, have covered the mountain slopes, our hillside has also glowed.


Watsonia socium


Striga bilabaiata


Striga bilabaiata


Wahlenbergia krebsii


Ledebouria sp.


Yellow-spotted Ground Beetle, Craspedophorus bonvouloiri


Cyphia elata


White Bramble, Rubus rigidus

Monday 16

I was so excited to see that an Ochna arborea had self-seeded in the little indigenous shrubbery I planted. Normally I’ve seen these beautiful, slender trees with beautiful ‘dappled’ bark in the mountains, their distinctive red and grey green, turning to black, seeds sparkling in the green foliage.


Ochna arborea


Ochna arborea

Tuesday 17


Cool dawn colours

Monday 23

Although I didn’t manage to take a photo, as we were having early morning coffee a russet orange Slender Mongoose, with a black tipped tail, darted across the lawn into the longer grass, so lovely!

Thursday 26


This interesting invertebrate was on the kitchen doorstep.

Friday 27


My find of the early morning was this large Granular Agate Snail, Archachatina granulata


I was on my way to look at the hillside covered with Silene bellidioides, in overcast conditions, they were still open. They are night flowering plants.


Silene bellidioides


Amongst the forbes, where there is good grazing, was this pile of Common Reedbuck droppings


Soft light and light mist in the valley below


Pill Millipede


Sisyranthus trichostomus


Pelargonium luridum


Vernonia natalensis


A delightful hairy caterpillar


Mariscus congestus


Hypoxis iridifolia

As I was wandering through the grasses I disturbed a Common Reedbuck. He stood up, watched me, then cavorted, before settling to observe me once again.


Common Reedbuck


Haemanthus humilis


Silver Bramble, Rubus ludwigii


Arrow-leaved Arum, Zantedeschia albomaculata


Lobelia erinus


Ajuga ophrydis


Otholobium polysictum


Cyanotis speciosa


Asclepias albens


Watsonia socium


A Bagworm on Cyanotis speciosa


The only orchid flowering this November Orthochilus foliosus


Clutia cordata


Pentanisia prunelloides


Ficinia cinammomea


A delightful spotted moth

Saturday 28

The most gorgeous dawn

Monday 30

To round off the month, the sky was filled with vibrant colour in the evening after a storm.

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Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: October 2020 Sitamani Country Diary

Last October we only had 37.5mm of rain, this year the total rainfall for the month is 129mm, almost 100mm more! Being optimistic I had planted out the vegetable garden in the middle of October and it has been worth it, seedlings appearing and in the last few days seem to grow visibly! Over the 30 and 31 October we have had 46.5mm of rain. The coldest morning was on the 11th, 4C and the warmest day on the 28th and 29th October, 29C. As the ground moistened wildflowers started appearing in greater abundance, with some, for me, unusual species seen.

Friday 9 October:


To my delight I spotted an Emperor Swallowtail, Papilio ophidicephalus, feeding on Jasmine flowers.

Monday 12 October:

Although Swee Waxbills, a fairly common endemic, are around all year, they are very ‘shy’ and this is the first time I’ve managed to take photos, not great, but a record.

Swee Waxbills
Swee Waxbills

It was a misty morning after a shower during the previous night

Wednesday 14 October:

I hadn’t observed this species, Euphorbia striata, here before, though have seen other Euphorbia species here

Thursday 15 October:

During October there have been many Ladybird beetles on the wing, this one came indoors, and is not one of the alien species usually seen.

Saturday 17 October:

Soft predawn light in the haze.

Sunday 18 October:

I managed to spend time wandering our hillside, finding a wealth of flowers and other natural discoveries.

Acalypha glandulifolia, male

Ledebouria sp.

Hebenstretia dura

A Grass funnel-web spider web

Helichrysum cephaloideum
Helichrysum cephaloideum

Kniphofia bracystachya
Kniphofia bracystachya

Eriosema kraussianum

Gebera ambigua

Acalypha glandulifolia, female

A bee laden with pollen and Oxyopidae, Lynx spider, on Senecio macrocephalus

Senecio macrocephalus

Oxyopidae, Lynx spider, possibly Peucetia on Senecio macrocephalus

Sisyranthus trichostomus

Red Grass, Themeda triandra

Tulbaghia leucantha
Tulbaghia leucantha

Spiral unfurling of a new leaf, Common Tree Fern, Cythea dregei

Anemone fanninii

Aspidonepsis diplogossa

Hermannia woodii

Ledebouria cooperi

Twig Wilter, Holopterna sp.
Twig Wilter, Holopterna sp.

Olive Thrush

Speckled Pigeons, who are raising two fledglings

A dark velvety spider, possibly Ctenus corniger

Psammotropha mucronata

Moraea graminicola

Monopsis decipiens

Helichrysum aureum

A bagworm on Helichrysum aureum

A beautiful, elegant, striped Grasshopper

Gladiolus longicollis

Dwarf Everlasting, Helichrysum chionoshaerum

An unusual Fungi

Hibiscus aethiopicus

Dwarf Spikethorn, Gymnosporia uniflora
Dwarf Spikethorn, Gymnosporia uniflora

Schizoglossum flavum, I think it is the first time I’ve observed this here
Schizoglossum flavum

Albuca pachychlamys, unfurling spiral of buds

Polygala virgata
Polygala virgata

Tulbaghia ludwigiana, definitely a first observation
Tulbaghia ludwigiana

Eriosema salignum, orange form
Eriosema salignum, yellow form

Soap Aloe, Aloe maculata, seed pods

Raphionacme hirsuta

Pachycarpus natalensis

Drimia elata

Caterpillar Grass, Harpochloa falx

Rumex woodii, the flowers are tiny, more visible later in the season are the red ‘paper heart’ seeds

Tuesday 20 October:

Cherry Spot moth, Diaphone eumela

Asparagus africanus

Thursday 22 October:

Glowing cloud effects at dawn

Friday 23 October:

Common or Cabbage Tree Emperor moth, Bunaea alcinoe

Wednesday 28 October:

Once again, I saw an Emperor Swallowtail, Papilio ophidicephalus, rather battered, possibly the same one seen earlier in October

Evening light after the storm

Thursday 29 October:

Family Megachilidae, Leafcutting and Mason bees, possibly a Mason bee, Megachile sp.

Friday 30 and Saturday 31 October:

Rain and more glorious rain!

During the month Greater Striped Swallows have returned, I heard the distinctive call of a Black Cuckoo and had several sightings of the Common Grey Duiker and a male, female and juvenile Common Reedbuck.