Fauna and Flora Friday: 25 June 2021 -White Pekin Duck

The Pekin or White Pekin is an American breed of domestic duck, raised primarily for meat. It is a mallard derived from birds brought to the United States from China in the nineteenth century and is now bred in many parts of the world. .

The White Pekin is large and solidly built. The body is rectangular as seen from the side and is held at about 40º to the horizontal; the tail projects above the line of the back. The breast is smooth and broad and does not show a pronounced keel. The head is large and rounded, and the neck is thick. The plumage is creamy white, and the legs and feet are a yellowish orange. The beak is yellow, fairly short, and almost straight

Mature Pekin duck hens (females) weigh around 4.1 kg. Mature drakes (males) weigh approximately 4.5kg. The average lifespan of a Pekin duck is roughly eight to 12 years.

White Pekin Ducks, Vygeboom dam, Durbanville
White Pekin Ducks, Vygeboom dam, Durbanville
White Pekin Ducks, Vygeboom dam, Durbanville
White Pekin Ducks, Vygeboom dam, Durbanville
White Pekin Ducks, Vygeboom dam, Durbanville
White Pekin Ducks, Vygeboom dam, Durbanville
White Pekin Ducks, Vygeboom dam, Durbanville
White Pekin Ducks, Vygeboom dam, Durbanville
White Pekin Ducks, Vygeboom dam, Durbanville
White Pekin Ducks, Vygeboom dam, Durbanville
White Pekin Ducks, Vygeboom dam, Durbanville

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Have a wonderful day.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 11 June 2021

Good day everyone,

Today I would like to share some interesting information on the Peppermint Plant.

I got the information from Wikipedia.

Peppermint, Mentha × piperita

“Peppermint, Mentha × piperita, also known as Mentha balsamea Wild is a hybrid mint, a cross between Watermint and Spearmint. Indigenous to Europe and the Middle East, the plant is now widely spread and cultivated in many regions of the world. It is occasionally found in the wild with its parent species.

Peppermint generally grows best in moist, shaded locations, and expands by underground rhizomes. The rhizomes are wide-spreading, fleshy, and bear fibrous roots. The leaves can be 4–9 cm long and 1.5–4 cm broad. They are dark green with reddish veins, and they have an acute apex and coarsely toothed margins. The leaves and stems are usually slightly fuzzy. The flowers are purple, 6–8 mm long, with a four-lobed corolla about 5 mm in diameter; they are produced in whorls around the stem, forming thick, blunt spikes. Flowering season lasts from mid- to late summer.

Young shoots are taken from old stocks and dibbled into the ground about 1.5 feet apart. They grow quickly and cover the ground with runners if it is permanently moist. For the home gardener, it is often grown in containers to restrict rapid spreading. It grows best with a good supply of water, without being water-logged, and planted in areas with part-sun to shade.

The leaves and flowering tops are used; they are collected as soon as the flowers begin to open and can be dried. The wild form of the plant is less suitable for this purpose, with cultivated plants having been selected for more and better oil content. They may be allowed to lie and wilt a little before distillation, or they may be taken directly to the still.

Fresh or dried peppermint leaves are often used alone in peppermint tea or with other herbs in herbal teas (tisanes, infusions). Peppermint is used for flavoring ice cream, candy, fruit preserves, alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, toothpaste, and some shampoos, soaps and skin care products.”

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Have a wonderful day.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 28 May 2021

Felicia aethiopica, Felicia, Astertjie, Blou Blommetjie

Annual or perennial herbs or shrublet. Thinly hairy, soft shrublet to 1 m, with elliptical to oval leaves, often flexed downward, and radiate flower heads, 20 mm in diameter, with blue rays and a yellow disc; involucral bracts in 2 series, with 3 veins each. Rocky flats and slopes in southern South Africa.

Felicia aethiopica, Felicia, Astertjie, Blou Blommetjie. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town
Felicia aethiopica, Felicia, Astertjie, Blou Blommetjie. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town
Felicia aethiopica, Felicia, Astertjie, Blou Blommetjie. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 7 May 2021 – Rose Campion

Silene coronaria, the Rose Campion, is a species of flowering plant in the family Caryophyllaceae, native to Northern Africa, the Middle East, Southern Europe, and many parts of the United States. Other common names include dusty miller, mullein-pink, and bloody William. In the United Kingdom, it is still widely referenced under its synonym Lychnis coronaria.

It grows naturally on rocky, scrubby hillsides. The plants do well in rock gardens, xeriscaping, wildflower meadows, and cottage gardens. The genus name ‘Lychnis’ (Greek for lamp); comes from the fact that the felt-like leaves; were used as lamp wicks in the olden days.

It is a perennial growing to 80 cm (31 in) tall by 45 cm (18 in) wide, with grey felted leaves and single, bright magenta flowers. The soft, pale, gray-green foliage makes the perfect backdrop for the brightly colored flowers, with each blossom lasting only a day. The foliage adds texture to the garden when the flowers are not in bloom. Flowers are sparse the first year but numerous in the second year. In the third year, the numbers of blossoms begin to decline, but they are eager seeders that regenerate themselves every year.

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 30 April 2021 -Black-headed Heron

Black-headed Heron, Ardea melanocephala

A large, grayish heron of drier habitats; note distinctly dark cap and nape contrasting with white throat. In-flight, the underwing is strongly contrasting black-and-white. The juvenile is duskier and duller. Juveniles resemble juvenile Gray Herons, juvenile Black-headed Herons have slate-gray rather than yellow legs. Gray Heron also has uniformly gray (not black-and-white) underwings.

It often feeds in shallow water, spearing fish or frogs with its long, sharp bill. It will also hunt well away from water, taking large insects, small mammals, and birds. It will wait motionless for its prey, or slowly stalk its victim.

The black-headed heron is largely sedentary, meaning that they will only migrate in response to a depletion of food. They are happy to nest in colonies of mixed bird species, often consisting of as many as 200 other birds. Generally, they hunt alone, but are not opposed to the idea of hunting while in a loosely-congregated feeding flock. A heron may travel up to 30 kilometers a day between its preferred feeding ground and its roost. This is a monogamous bird, sticking to one partner for life.

Herons usually breed in the wet season in colonies in trees, reedbeds, or cliffs using sticks, leaves and straw .

The male will use a loud yelp to attract a mate. Once the breeding pair has mated, she will build the nest from the materials that he gathers and then she will lay between 2 and 4 eggs in it. Both the male and the female are responsible for incubating the eggs until they hatch. Little is known about these chicks until they fledge, which happens at around 52 days of age, a week after which they become completely independent of the care of their parents.

Up to 35 breeding pairs can be found in one large tree, making this a very social, gregarious time for the adult birds.

Black-headed HeronArdea melanocephala, Tsaarbank, West Coast National Park
Black-headed HeronArdea melanocephala, Tsaarbank, West Coast National Park
Black-headed HeronArdea melanocephala, Tsaarbank, West Coast National Park

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 23 April 2021

Cleretum bellidiforme, Livingstone Daisy, Bokbaaivygie

It is a low-growing succulent annual growing to 25 cm (10 in), and cultivated for its iridescent, many-petalled, daisy-like blooms in shades of white, yellow, orange, cream, pink and crimson. In temperate areas it is popularly grown as a half-hardy annual, and lends itself to mass plantings or as edging plants in summer bedding schemes in parks and gardens.

It is adapted to disturbed sand, such as found on riverbanks or desert dunes; the small flat seeds easily slip deeper in loose sand out of the summer sun. It is also found on clay slopes, limestone ridges and granite outcrops. It is very short-lived, the seeds germinating with the first autumn rains, and growing and flowering from late winter to spring (July to October).

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 9 April 2021

Blacksmith Lapwing, Vanellus armatus

It is not difficult to recognize a Blacksmith Lapwing. Their plumage is boldly marked in black, white, and grey, and they are unlikely to be mistaken for other species. They have grey and black wings, while the rest of the body and the head are boldly patterned in white and black – also the underparts. They also have red eyes. Females are bigger than males, but both sexes generally look alike.

They typically live where their needs are best met, or environmental conditions are most suitable for them to live. If nothing tempts them to stay, they will merely pass through on their way elsewhere. Blacksmith Lapwings prefer areas of short open grassland with plenty of water. Such as mudflats around dams, open gardens, parks, sports fields, sewage pans, rivers, lakes, and estuaries.

They look for food on foot when they run around, scanning the area for small aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates to eat. This includes insects, worms, dragonfly nymphs, larvae, beetles, ants, mollusks, crustaceans, and occasionally some plant material.  

During the breeding season, the species often react aggressively to other lapwings that may enter its wetland habitat. Nests are shallow depressions on bare ground or short grass, close to water, and tend to be spaced at least 400 m apart. The blacksmith lapwing breeds in spring, but its choice of nesting site and timing may be opportunistic. The young separate gradually from their parents and do not return to natal areas afterward.

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 26 March 2021

Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis

The Cattle Egret is a stocky heron with an 88–96 cm wingspan; it is 46–56 cm long and weighs 270–512 g. It has a relatively short, thick neck, a sturdy bill, and a hunched posture. The nonbreeding adult has mainly white plumage, a yellow bill, and greyish-yellow legs. During the breeding season, adults of the nominate western subspecies develop orange-buff plumes on the back, breast, and crown, bill, legs, and irises become bright red for a brief period before pairing. The sexes are similar, but the male is marginally larger and has slightly longer breeding plumes than the female; juvenile birds lack colored plumes and have a black bill. 

The adult cattle egret has few predators, but birds or mammals may raid its nests, and chicks may be lost to starvation, calcium deficiency, or disturbance from other large birds. This species maintains a special relationship with cattle, which extends to other large grazing mammals; wider human farming is believed to be a major cause of their suddenly expanded range. The cattle egret removes ticks and flies from cattle and consumes them. This benefits both species, but it has been implicated in the spread of tick-borne animal diseases. Their feeding habitats include seasonally inundated grasslands, pastures, farmlands, wetlands, and rice paddies. They often accompany cattle or other large mammals, catching insects and small vertebrate prey disturbed by these animals. Some populations are migratory and others show post-breeding dispersal.

It is a white bird adorned with buff plumes in the breeding season. It nests in colonies, usually near bodies of water and often with other wading birds. The nest is a platform of sticks in trees or shrubs. Cattle egrets exploit drier and open habitats more than other heron species.

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 19 March 2021

Cape spurfowl or Cape francolin , Pternistis capensis

The Cape Spurfowl is 40–42 cm in length. The male is larger than the female. This large spurfowl appears all dark from a distance apart from the red legs plumage is finely vermiculated in grey and white, with a plainer crown and nape.

The sexes are similar in plumage, but the male has two leg spurs, whereas the female has one short spur. The juvenile is similar to the adults but has duller legs and clearer vermiculations. The large, dark francolin is unlikely to be confused with any other species in its range.

The Cape Spurfowl is a common resident of the Western Cape’s Strandveld, Renosterveld and fynbos regions, especially at lower altitudes. It forages in altered habitats like parks, croplands, orchards, vineyards, and Racosperma plantations.

The Cape Spurfowl is a bird of scrubby open areas, preferably close to running water. It breeds in spring and early summer when it is also most vocal. Its nest is a grass-lined scrape under a bush, and six to eight eggs are laid (but sometimes two females will lay in one nest). This species can become very tame if disturbance is limited. It will run rather than fly if disturbed, but even while quite small, just a few weeks old, it flies readily and strongly when startled or pressed.

Cape spurfowl or Cape francolin , Pternistis capensis , Postberg, West Coast National Park
Cape spurfowl or Cape francolin , Pternistis capensis , Postberg, West Coast National Park
Cape spurfowl or Cape francolin , Pternistis capensis , Postberg, West Coast National Park
Cape spurfowl or Cape francolin , Pternistis capensis , Postberg, West Coast National Park

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 12 March 2021

Babiana nana, Bobbejaantjie

It is a genus of flowering plants in the family Iridaceae composed of about 80 recognized species. The majority of these species are endemic to the Cape Provinces of South Africa, especially Namaqualand, as well Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

Cormous perennials, often with hairy stems. Leaves sword- or wedge-shaped, pleated, and usually hairy. Flowers in a 2- ranked or spiral spike, subtended by green, usually hairy bracts with dry tips (rarely dry and papery), often blue, less commonly white, yellow, pink, or red, bowl-shaped or 2-lipped, the tepals united into a short or long tube; the stamens either arched together or symmetrically arranged, the style dividing into three short branches. Southern Africa, mainly winter-rainfall parts. The corms are favored by baboons and porcupines, hence the allusion in the vernacular name bobbejaantjie.

Babiana nana, Bobbejaantjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park
Babiana nana, Bobbejaantjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park
Babiana nana, Bobbejaantjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park
Babiana nana, Bobbejaantjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen