Skip to content

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

February 1, 2021

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, or order from
For more information, please email”

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….

  1. You have so many absolute stunners here Christeen. This is another post to treasure and visit repeatedly. So hard to believe the first month of this year has already gone by!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: