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

January 1, 2018

December has been the month of water in varying forms, soft mist,

01b Cover 01 IMG_0006

layered clouds, light showers,

01b Cover 02 IMG_0700

torrential thunderstorm rain and hail,

01b Cover 04 IMG_0572

often ending the day with a rainbow in the evening light.

01b Cover 05 IMG_0485


Although the hills are vibrant green, flowers are sparse, though most species are represented, the exception being the usual variety of orchids, only one species flowering.

01b Cover 06 IMG_0156

A Wild Pomegranate, Burchellia bubalina, that I planted over twenty years ago, has flowered for the first time, a wonderful memory of Mum.

02 Flora 01 Wild Pomegranate Burchellia bubalina IMG_0079

Some of the flowers in bloom are:

02 Flora Anthericum cooperi IMG_0568

Anthericum cooperi;

02 Flora Asclepias albens IMG_0116

Asclepias albens;

02 Flora Berkheya speciosa IMG_0712

Berkheya speciosa;

02 Flora Commelina africana IMG_0147

Commelina africana;

02 Flora Cyanotis speciosa IMG_0579

Cyanotis speciosa;

02 Flora Haemanthus humilis IMG_0113

Haemanthus humilis;

02 Flora Hibiscus aethiopicus IMG_0569

Hibiscus aethiopicus with an ant drinking from a dew drop;

02 Flora Lobelia erinus IMG_0158

Lobelia erinus;

02 Flora Nemesia caerulea IMG_0709

Nemesia caerulea;

02 Flora Orthochilus foliosus IMG_0601

Orthochilus foliosus, the only Orchid in flower;

02 Flora Papaver aculeatum IMG_7695

Papaver aculeatum;

02 Flora Pelargonium luridum IMG_0578

Pelargonium luridum;

02 Flora Pentanisia prunelloides IMG_0085

Pentanisia prunelloides;

02 Flora Silene bellidiodes IMG_0693

Silene bellidiodes;

02 Flora Silene burchellii IMG_0096

Silene burchellii;

02 Flora Striga bilabiata IMG_0090

Striga bilabiata

02 Flora Zantedeschia albomaculata Spotted-leaved Arum IMG_0081

and Spotted-leaved Arum, Zantedeschia albomaculata.


Two mushrooms appeared in the moist conditions:

03 Fungi Amanita rubescens IMG_0620

Amanita rubescens

and Psathyrella candolleana.


On summer mornings, the bird dawn chorus is one of my favourite times of day!

04 Birds African Hoopoe IMG_0738

An African Hoopoe delicately stalked the grass for tasty morsels.

04 Birds Cape Canary IMG_0586

Cape Canaries flit in flocks, singing as they move through the grass.

04 Birds Dark-capped Bulbul IMG_0235

The verandah birdbath is still a firm favourite for a Dark-capped Bulbul.

04 Birds Greater Striped Swallow IMG_0438

The Greater Striped Swallows surveyed the misty landscape from a railing.


05 Invertebrates 01a Brown-veined White Belenois aurota aurota IMG_0171

At last a handful of Brown-veined White butterflies, Belenois aurota aurota, flew through on their annual migration in late December.

05 Invertebrates 01a Long-Tailed Blue Lampides boeticus IMG_0604

A Long-Tailed Blue, Lampides boeticus, sunned itself one early morning.

05 Invertebrates 01b Handmaiden Moth IMG_0625

A daytime flying moth, one of the tiny Handmaiden moths perched on grass seeds.


05 Invertebrates Grasshoppers IMG_0591

A pair of Grasshoppers posed on leaves.


A first sighting on Sitamani was a Large Green Longhorn beetle.

05 Invertebrates Large Green Longhorn beetle IMG_7736

05 Invertebrates Large Green Longhorn beetle

From Questions and Answers, Insects and Spiders of southern Africa; published by Struik in 1993; Author: Susan Matthews, Consultant: Dr Mike Picker, Illustrator: Christeen Grant.


05 Invertebrates Millipede IMG_0130

Millipedes are on the march across the grass

05 Spider Small Crab Spider IMG_7751

and I spied a Small Crab Spider beautifully camouflaged on flowers.


I’ve heard Black-backed Jackals on most nights. Two pairs of Common Reedbuck are seen frequently below the house and the Duiker are feasting on fallen plums.

  1. Hope 2018 will be as breathtaking and beautiful as 2017 was for you. Xx

  2. Barbara Clulow permalink

    Lovely photos. Thanks. Happy 2018!!!!

  3. Lovely as usual Christeen! Particularly love the Silene in wet grass. xxx

    • Thank you so much Nikki, yes, I too loved my dewy morning walk and was enchanted by the Silenes! xxxxx

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