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Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: November 2017 Sitamani Country Diary

November 30, 2017

02 Cover Snowfall 2017 11 16 IMG_0565

Once again snow blanketed the Drakensberg on the 16 November, we even had a dusting here at Sitamani. It also brought the second good rain of November. Although I was away for most of the month, each time I returned home there was a noticeable greening and growth. The cold weather in October and November have had an adverse effect on most of the flowering plants, there have been some exceptions, which have thrived in these conditions.


03 Mammal Mole-rat Crytomys mahalia IMG_0567

One morning I discovered a Mole-rat on the surface near a large mole hill. On closer inspection I realised it was Crytomys mahalia, a rather special species that Professor Nigel Bennet had found on the 13 December 2005. That was the last time I had seen one.


These are some of the interesting variety of flowers seen:

04 Flora Alepidea natalensis IMG_0594

Alepidea natalensis;

04 Flora Aristea woodii IMG_0600

Aristea woodii;

04 Flora Asidonepsis diplogossa IMG_7281

Asidonepsis diplogossa;

04 Flora Chlorophytum cooperi IMG_0595

Chlorophytum cooperi;

04 Flora Dierama latifolium IMG_0619

Dierama latifolium;

04 Flora Dipcadi viride IMG_0624

the grass-like appearance of Dipcadi viride always fascinates me;

04 Flora Dipcadi viride IMG_0630

Dipcadi viride;

04 Flora Haemanthus humilis IMG_0572

Haemanthus humilis;

04 Flora Hebenstretia dura IMG_0611

Hebenstretia dura;

04 Flora Indigofera hilaris IMG_0591

Indigofera hilaris is one of the species that have flourished this season, there are masses on the hillside;

04 Flora Lotononis corymbosa IMG_7278

Lotononis corymbosa;

04 Flora Merwilla nervosa IMG_0577

Merwilla nervosa;

04 Flora Miraglossum sp IMG_7280

a lovely Miraglossum sp.;

04 Flora Pelargonium luridum IMG_0637

Pelargonium luridum;

04 Flora Rubus ludwigii IMG_0618

Rubus ludwigii;

04 Flora Trachyandra asperata IMG_0590

Trachyandra asperata;

04 Flora Vernonia hirsuta IMG_0633

Vernonia hirsuta;

04 Flora Vernonia natalensis IMG_0582

an abundance of Vernonia natalensis;

04 Flora Wahlenbergia krebsii IMG_0580

Wahlenbergia krebsii;

04 Flora Watsonia socium IMG_0573

Watsonia socium starting to flower, interestingly they are virtually over on Sani Pass, so flowering later here;

04 Flora Xysmalobium involucratum IMG_0604

a very yellow form of the scented Xysmalobium involucratum

04 Flora Zaluzianskya elongata IMG_0601

and Zaluzianskya elongata.


05 Fungi Horse Mushroom Agaricus arvensis IMG_0596

A large Horse Mushroom, Agaricus arvensis, nestled in the grass after the good rain.


There seem to have been fewer moths and other insects, these caught my eye;

06 Invertebrates Assortment of Bee and Beetles IMG_0609

an assortment of Beetles and a Bee;

06 Invertebrates Gaudy Commodore Junonia actavia IMG_0593

Gaudy Commodore, Junonia actavia in Summer colour;

06 Invertebrates Hoplocoryphella sp Mantid IMG_0620

a delicate Hoplocoryphella sp. Mantid

06 Invertebrates Pill millipede IMG_0581

and a Pill millipede.


Black-backed Jackals have been in full voice in the valley, Common Reedbuck are heard now more than seen as there is good grazing on the hillside.


Although I didn’t have my camera with me, one of my special sightings was a stunning male African Paradise-Flycatcher, it’s distinctive blue head and long trailing orange tail flitting amongst the shrubbery! This is a first here at Sitamani, so hoping to see it again. A Masked Weaver made an attempt to build a nest, but it seems to have been abandoned. Red-winged Starlings seem intent on trying to gain access to the inside of the house, needing assistance several times to find their way out again.

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