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

August 1, 2020

We have now been 127 days in Lockdown here in South Africa. July is the quietest month of winter. Firebreaks are burnt, smoky skies with vivid dawns and sunsets as the sun rises and sets behind a veil. Despite this, new life is already appearing, small green leaves, winter flowering plants, birds spring cleaning nests as the days grow longer.


The temperature dipped to 0,5 Celsius on two mornings, 14 and 17, the warmest day was on the 10 July, 22 Celsius. As a cold front passed over we had 3mm of rain, the total for the month.


As I have been working hard to launch my website, Christeen Grant Creative Arts on the 25 July, I haven’t walked the hillside as often as in the past couple of months. Before dawn on the 7 July I heard Common Reedbuck whistling, and we have seen one, then two on our hillside on the 14 and 30, so they have eluded the poachers so far. In the early evening of 7 July I had a wonderful close encounter with a male duiker wandering into the garden, special moments.



Sunday 5 July:

2020 07 05 Bulwer Mountain IMG_6613

The full moon setting behind Bulwer Mountain


Tuesday 7 July:

2020 07 07 IMG_6729

Golden Sunset


Friday 10 July:

2020 07 10 IMG_6747

Dawn splendour


Thursday 16 July:

2020 07 16 IMG_6785

A smoky evening


Wednesday 22 July:

2020 07 22 IMG_6818

Winter beauty, setting sun through winter branches and smoky skies…


Friday 24 July:

2020 07 24 IMG_6831

Gilded leaves welcome the sun


2020 07 24 IMG_6832 Southern Boubou

Southern Boubou having an early morning drink


2020 07 24 IMG_6837 Olive Thrush

An Olive Thrush enjoying the mild sunshine just outside my studio as I work.



Wednesday 29 July:

On a walk over the burnt hillside I spotted

2020 07 29 IMG_6847 Black-winged Lapwing

A Black-winged Lapwing


2020 07 29 IMG_6850 Ouhout Leucosidea sericea

2020 07 29 IMG_6851 Ouhout Leucosidea sericea

2020 07 29 IMG_6854 Ouhout Leucosidea sericea

Ouhout, Leucosidea sericea, are starting to flower earlier this year


2020 07 29 IMG_6855 Buddleja salvifolia

A lilac form of Buddleja salvifolia


2020 07 29 IMG_6859

A nest from last season revealed


2020 07 29 IMG_6861Buddleja salvifolia

2020 07 29 IMG_6862Buddleja salvifolia

The Buddleja salvifolia have flowered spectacularly this year, the heady honey fragrance filling the air


2020 07 29 IMG_6871 African Monarch Danaus chrysippus aegyptius

An African Monarch, Danaus chrysippus aegyptius, warming up in the sunlit grass


I found two beautiful downy feathers

2020 07 29 IMG_6872 Spotted Eagle-Owl feather

2020 07 29 IMG_6873 Spotted Eagle-Owl feather

Spotted Eagle-Owl feathers


2020 07 29 IMG_6875 Greater Double-collared Sunbird nest

Beneath the Greater Double-collared Sunbird nest


2020 07 29 IMG_6876 Greater Double-collared Sunbird nesting material

I found  scattered piles of nesting materials, and for a few days thought maybe an African Harrier Hawk had raided the nest. Happily I’ve seen both the male and female since, so assume they had a spring clean and turfed out old materials.


2020 07 29 IMG_6877 Halleria lucida

The Halleria lucida are still flowering profusely, a fire-glow in each tree


2020 07 29 IMG_6878 Cape White-eye on Greyia sutherlandii

Cape White-eye feasting on Greyia sutherlandii 


Friday 31 July:

2020 07 31 IMG_6894

Soft morning mist in the valley below

Sometimes in life the way that was so clearly laid out is changed, like a mist enveloping the path in front of you. The path is still there, the path of life. However we need to adapt our thinking to negotiate it, possibly change the route to continue. Sometimes we need to trust to move forward, as each step reveals itself. Life is change.


  1. All lovely photos Christeen, especially the first moon shot and the sunrises and sunsets too. How encouraging to see the ouhout, buddleja and Greyia sutherlandii in flower. They are ahead of ours here. It is so true what you say about needing to adapt and negotiate change. Wishing you all the best going forward.

    • Thank you Carol! Normally the Buddleja are flowering in July, but the Ouhout is very early, despite the very dry conditions. My best wishes to you too, with love! Christeen xxx

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