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: 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

Fauna and Flora Friday: 5 March 2021

Helmeted Guineafowl, Tarentaal, Numida meleagris

The Helmeted Guineafowl is a large bird 53 to 58 centimeters with a round body and a small head weighing about 1.3 kilograms. Their plumage is gray-black spangled with white. It has no feathers on its head. They are decorated with a dull yellow or reddish bony knob, bare skin with red, blue, or black hues. The wings are short and rounded, and the tail is short. Various sub-species are proposed, differences in appearance being mostly a variation in shape, size, and color of the casque and facial wattles.

Helmeted Guineafowl, Sonstraaldam, Durbanville

This is a gregarious species, forming flocks of about 25 birds outside the breeding season that also roost communally. Guineafowl is particularly well-suited to consuming massive quantities of ticks, which might otherwise spread Lyme disease. They are terrestrial and prone to run rather than fly when alarmed. Like most gallinaceous birds, they have a short-lived explosive flight and rely on gliding to cover extended distances. Helmeted Guineafowl can walk 10 km and more in a day.

Their diet consists of a variety of animal and plant food. During the non-breeding season, they consume corns, tubers, seeds, agricultural weeds, and various crop spillage. During the breeding season, more than 80% of their diet consists of beetles. Guineafowl is equipped with strong claws and scratches in loose soil for food, like domestic chickens, although they seldom uproot growing plants in so doing. They may live for up to 12 years in the wild.

Males often show aggression towards each other and will partake in aggressive fighting. They will attempt to make themselves look more fearsome by raising their wings upwards from their sides and bristling their feathers across the length of the body. They may also rush towards their opponent with a gaping beak.

The nest is well-hidden in long grass or under a bush. They lay 6 to 19 light yellowing-brown eggs. Only the female incubates for 26 to 28 days. It has been noted that domesticated Guineafowl hens are not the best mothers and will often abandon their nests. They are seasonal breeders.

Helmeted Guineafowl, Sonstraaldam, Durbanville
Helmeted Guineafowl, Sonstraaldam, Durbanville
Helmeted Guineafowl, Sonstraaldam, Durbanville
Helmeted Guineafowl, Sonstraaldam, Durbanville
Helmeted Guineafowl, Sonstraaldam, Durbanville
Helmeted Guineafowl, Sonstraaldam, Durbanville
Helmeted Guineafowl, Sonstraaldam, 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.

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

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 26 February 2021

Cullumia squarrosa, Snake Thistle, Steekhaarbos

Spiny shrubs, often sprawling, sometimes cobwebby. Leaves alternate, overlapping, small, with spiny or bristly margins and often spine-tipped. Flowerheads solitary and sessile, radiate, with 4 rows of stiff, hairless, often recurved involucre bracts with spiny margins, joined at the base. Ray florets sterile, 4-toothed, yellow. Disc florets fertile, deeply 5-lobbed; fruits oblong or ellipsoid, smooth, without a pappus. Coastal Bush in the extreme southwestern Cape.

Cullumia squarrosa, Snake Thistle, Steekhaarbos,Durbanville Nature Reserve
Cullumia squarrosa, Snake Thistle, Steekhaarbos,Durbanville Nature Reserve
Cullumia squarrosa, Snake Thistle, Steekhaarbos,Durbanville Nature Reserve
Cullumia squarrosa, Snake Thistle, Steekhaarbos,Durbanville Nature Reserve
Cullumia squarrosa, Snake Thistle, Steekhaarbos,Durbanville Nature Reserve
Cullumia squarrosa, Snake Thistle, Steekhaarbos,Durbanville Nature Reserve

“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 February 2021

Egyptian Goose, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca

The Egyptian goose – also known as the Nil goose – is named after its origin, The Nile Valley in Africa. It is a large, very distinctive waterbird with conspicuous eye patches of dark chocolate-brown. The female resembles the male, though smaller, often with darker markings on her beak. The genders can also be told apart by their calls, as the male makes a hoarse hissing noise, while the female produces a harsh, trumpeting quack. Young Egyptian geese have a duller color and have a gray tinge on their forewings, and their crown and neck are darker, with yellowish legs and beak. They are approximately 63-73 cm, and their wings 34-41 cm.

Egyptian Goose, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca
Egyptian Goose Chick, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca
Egyptian Goose, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca

Egyptian geese are widespread throughout Africa except in deserts and dense forests.
Egyptian geese remain together in small flocks during the year, primarily for protection. During the breeding season, they pair up and stay with the group. They are mostly non-migratory and will generally move about only if the water in their area is in short supply. They are good swimmers but spent most of their time on land. They may wander away from the water searching for food, but at night always return. Both genders are aggressively territorial with their species during breeding and often pursue intruders in flight, attacking them in “dogfights” in the air.

Egyptian Goose, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca
Egyptian Goose, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca
Egyptian Goose, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca
Egyptian Goose, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca

They are primarily herbivores, feeding on grass, seeds, stems, leaves from various plants, grains, potatoes, and other types of vegetables.
They are monogamous, and a pair stays together for their whole life. Males are quite aggressive during mating. Each male performs an elaborate and noisy courtship display, producing loud honking noises to attract a female. These geese breed in spring or when the dry season ends. They nest on their own on the ground, sheltered by vegetation. Females lay 5 to 11 creamy-white eggs. Incubation is by the female only and lasts for around 28 to 30 days. Births are synchronized. The male and the female take care and feed the chicks. The chicks reach maturity when they are two years old.

Egyptian Goose Chick, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca
Egyptian Goose Chick, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca
Egyptian Goose Chick, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca
Egyptian Goose, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca
Egyptian Goose, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca
Egyptian Goose, Kolgans, Alopachen aegyptiaca

“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 February 2021

Indigofera procumbens, Indigo, Lewertjie (Little Liver)

It is a trailing or spreading perennial reaching 10 cm in height. It may spread from underground stems.

The leaves are digitately trifoliolate, the leaflets obovate with entire margins. The blades are hairless or sparsely hairy, folded slightly along their midribs, sometimes with a tiny mucro at the tip.

The orange, copper, rose or purple flowers grow in racemes on fleshy stalks. Flowering happens between June and October.

It can be found in the Western Cape long the West Coast and inland to Clanwilliam and Worcester. It is a coastal fynbos and low-lying Renosterveld.

I took these photos in August 2015 and August 2020 in Postberg Private Nature Reserve in the West Coast National Park.

Indigofera procumbens, Indigo, Lewertjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park (2015)
Indigofera procumbens, Indigo, Lewertjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park (2015)
Indigofera procumbens, Indigo, Lewertjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park (2015)
Indigofera procumbens, Indigo, Lewertjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park (2015)
Indigofera procumbens, Indigo, Lewertjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park (2020)
Indigofera procumbens, Indigo, Lewertjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park (2020)
Indigofera procumbens, Indigo, Lewertjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park (2020)
Indigofera procumbens, Indigo, Lewertjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park (2020)
Indigofera procumbens, Indigo, Lewertjie, Postberg, West Coast National Park (2020)

“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: 29 January 2021

Red-Knobbed Coot, Fulica cristata

The red-knobbed coot has all black plumage with a white bill and frontal shield. 2 Red knobs are found on the head, at the top. It has grey legs and red eyes. These red knobs are more conspicuous during the breeding season. As a swimming bird, its toes are partially webbed.

Red-Knobbed Coot, Sonstraaldam
Red-Knobbed Coot, Sonstraaldam
Red-Knobbed Coot, Sonstraaldam
Red-Knobbed Coot, Sonstraaldam

The female is around the size of a small chicken, 39 cm long. The male is larger.
They feed mainly on plant matter but will occasionally eat insects.

Red-Knobbed Coot, Abrahamskraal, West Coast National Park
Red-Knobbed Coot, Abrahamskraal, West Coast National Park

The coot is a highly territorial species and will try and bully any intruders, even geese up to twice their size. Sometimes it seems they are running across the water without flying.

Red-Knobbed Coot, Abrahamskraal, West Coast National Park
Red-Knobbed Coot, Abrahamskraal, West Coast National Park
Red-Knobbed Coot, Abrahamskraal, West Coast National Park

Monogamous, the red-knobbed coot builds a floating nest on a mound of vegetation and lay up to 8 eggs at a time.

Red-Knobbed Coot, Abrahamskraal, West Coast National Park
Red-Knobbed Coot, Abrahamskraal, 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: 22 January 2021

Lampranthus aureus, Golden Vygie

Lampranthus aureus is a neatly rounded, erect, small shrub that grows up to about 400 x 500 mm.

The leaves are paired, free or slightly fused at the base, dark green, and grow to 50 mm. The most attractive aspect of the plant is its unbelievably bright orange flowers. The shiny orange flowers in clusters on short stalks are 60 mm in diameter and appear from August. Yellow forms also occur. After flowering, a woody fruit capsule that has five locules follow.

Lampranthus aureus is best suited for winter rainfall areas and hot summers. The plants do not thrive where they are subject to prolonged periods of frost. They can withstand extreme dry conditions and do not need much care.

They are pollinated by insects when flowers are fully open.

The swollen leaves ensure the survival of it during long, hot, and dry spells. Brightly colored flowers invite pollinators and ensure seed production. Another adaptation for survival is an abundance of seeds produced. The more seeds there are, the better the chances of germination and survival.

According to the current Red List, Lampranthus aureus is Vulnerable. 

“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: 15 January 2021

Common Greenshank

The common greenshank can appear very like a marsh sandpiper when wading, but the bill on the greenshank has an upturned appearance and the body is heavier and less slender in appearance. Greenshanks have long green legs and a long bill with a grey base.

When not breeding, the plumage is grey to brown above and a pale white below. During breeding season, the upper body becomes heavily streaked and marked, a bold black chevron type marking becomes visible on the chest.

The common greenshank feeds on insects, crustaceans and small fish. They are surface feeders and feed along the shoreline. They will feed both nocturnally and diurnally.

The common greenshank is found in fresh and saltwater areas, in marshes, mudflats, lakeshores and lagoons. The common greenshank is found throughout South Africa, except in the very arid areas. They are a summer visitor to South Africa.

“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: 8 January 2021

Hedera, Ivy

Hedera, commonly called ivy (plural ivies), is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central, and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa, and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.

On the ground, they remain creeping, not exceeding 5–20 cm in height. It can climb up to at least 30 m above the ground on suitable surfaces like trees, natural rock outcrops, or man-made structures. 

Ivies have two leaf types, with palmately lobed juvenile leaves on creeping and climbing stems, unlobed cordate adult leaves on fertile flowering stems exposed to full sun. 

The juvenile and adult shoots also differ. Juvenile leaves are slender, flexible, and scrambling or climbing with small aerial roots to affix the shoot to the substrate (rock or tree bark). Adult leaves are thicker, self-supporting, and has no roots. 

The flowers are greenish-yellow with five small petals; they are produced in umbels in autumn to early winter and are very rich in nectar. The fruit is a greenish-black, dark purple, or (rarely) yellow berry 5–10 mm diameter with one to five seeds, ripening in late winter to mid-spring. The seeds are dispersed by birds that eat the berries.

“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: 18 December 2020

Kelp GullLarus dominicanus

The kelp gull superficially resembles two gulls from further north in the Atlantic Ocean, the lesser black-backed gull, and the great black-backed gull, and is intermediate in size between these two species.

The adult kelp gull has black upperparts and wings. The head, underparts, tail, and the small “mirrors” at the wing tips are white. The bill is yellow with a red spot, and the legs are greenish-yellow (brighter and yellower when breeding, duller and greener when not breeding). Juveniles have dull legs, a black bill, a dark band in the tail, and an overall grey-brown plumage densely edged whitish, but they rapidly get a pale base to the bill and largely white head and underparts. They take three or four years to reach maturity

In South Africa, the kelp gull breeds in spring and early summer at Wolfgat Nature Reserve (Swartklip) and Rondevlei. They usually breed on off-shore islands and, nests are sometimes found on unfrequented cliffs. The nest is a scrape in the soil and lined with grass, feathers, or twigs. Two to three eggs varying in color from light green to turquoise or ochre with dark markings are laid.

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: 11 December 2020

Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis

Also known as Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 

Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 

I am sad to say that it is on the SANBI Red List of South African plants.

The name of this species indicates that the plant must be something special. The Latin word speciosissimus means spectacular or the showiest of all. 

It grows in dry fynbos on rocky sandstone slopes and in valleys in the Vanrhynsdorp, Clanwilliam, Piketberg, and Tulbagh districts. 

It is a vigorous shrub, 0.45-2.5 m high, strongly resiniferous, and smooth. Branches leafy in the upper part, bare below. Leaves (40-60)-200 mm long, needle-like with up to 7 to each side of the central nerve. Individual flower heads are borne on stout stems 80-400 mm long. Outer bracts of flower heads are fused into a deep cup that is inflated in the lower half and narrowing into a beak towards the open end, 8-15 mm high. Flower heads are large, up to 90 mm in diameter, with 16-35 ray florets, the rays 17-45 mm long, and yellow color. Central disc florets are numerous (100-400). Seeds are 6-7 mm long and without hairs.

Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 

Flowering is mainly from August to November but may start in July and continue into January. 

I took the following photo’s just outside of Citrusdal on 1 August 2020. This was the first time I have captured this beautiful flower. I went back to my archives to see if I captured it in 2013 when I did the Tour de Sanparks. Not one photo…. I feel very blessed that I got a chance to capture it forever.

Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 

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: 4 December 2020

Hartlaub’s gull Chroicocephalus hartlaubii

It is a small gull which is a non-migratory breeding resident endemic to the Atlantic Ocean coastline of South Africa and Namibia. It is also known as King gull. It is predominantly coastal or estuarine and is rarely seen at sea far from land.

Hartlaub’s gull is 36–38 cm in length. It is a mainly white gull with a grey back and upper wings, black wingtips with conspicuous white mirrors, and a dark bill and legs. It has a very faint lavender grey head when breeding but otherwise has a white head. Sexes are similar. 

It breeds in large colonies, and the main traditional breeding colony for the Cape Town area is on Robben Island. The adults fly to the mainland to find food for their chicks, a round trip of about 24 km. The Hartlaub’s gull takes two years to reach maturity. Juvenile birds have a brown band across the wings. They differ from same-age grey-headed gulls in that they lack a black terminal tail band, less dark areas in the wings, darker legs, and a white head.

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: 27 November 2020

Burchell’s Zebra, Equus quagga burchellii

Burchell’s Zebra,is a southern subspecies of the plains zebra. It is named after the British explorer and naturalist William John Burchell. Common names include the Bontequagga, Damaraland zebra, and Zululand zebra . Burchell’s zebra is the only subspecies of zebra which may be legally farmed for human consumption.

Like most plains zebras, Burchells live in small family groups. These can be either harem or bachelor groups, with harem groups consisting of one stallion and one to six mares and their most recent foals, and bachelor groups containing two to eight unattached stallions. The males in bachelor herds are often the younger or older stallions of the population, as they are most likely not experienced enough or strong enough to defend breeding rights to a group of females from challengers. These small groups often congregate together in larger herds around water and food sources, but still, maintain their identity as family units while in the population gatherings.

Formerly, the Burchell’s zebra range was centered north of the Vaal/Orange river system, extending northwest via southern Botswana to Etosha and the Kaokoveld, and southeast to Swaziland and KwaZulu-Natal. Now extinct in the middle portion, it survives at the northwestern and southeastern ends of the distribution.

Burchell’s zebra migrates the longest distance of any terrestrial animal in Africa, traveling 160 miles one way.

Burchell’s Zebra
Burchell’s Zebra
Burchell’s Zebra
Burchell’s Zebra
Burchell’s Zebra

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: 20 November 2020

Oxalis purpurea, Grand Duchess Sorrel

Got the following information in my Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa by John Manning.

‘Stemless perennial with the leaves divided into 3 broadly heart-shaped leaflets, finely fringed on the margins and purple beneath, and lare purple, pink, yellow or white flowers with a yellow tube, 25-40mm in diameter. Widespread and common on damp flats and slopes from Namaqualand to the Eastern Cape. Flower time from May to September.

I took the following photos in the West Coast National Park.

Oxalis purpurea, Grand Duchess Sorrel
Oxalis purpurea, Grand Duchess Sorrel
Oxalis purpurea, Grand Duchess Sorrel
Oxalis purpurea, Grand Duchess Sorrel
Oxalis purpurea, Grand Duchess Sorrel

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: 13 November 2020

Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii

I got the following information in my Stuarts’ Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa. By Chris & Mathilde Stuart. The photos was taken in the Goegap Nature Reserve just outside of Springbok.

Brants’s Whistling Rats are stockily built, with tails shorter than the head-and-body length. Body colour is very variable and ranges from pale reddish-yellow with white underparts to a brownish or greyish yellow with grey underparts. The tail may be similar in colour to the upperparts or dark above and pale below.

Brants’s Whistling Rats can be observed in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Goegap Nature Reserve, South Africa. They occur mainly in areas receiving less than 300mm of rain per annum.

Brants’s Whistling Rats commonly live in colonies, but they do not share burrows; may live in Solitary. Large Brant’s colonies stand out on the landscape because they are generally stripped of most vegetation. When alarmed they stand on their hind legs, in close proximity to the burrow.

Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii

They occasionally feed at the food site, but more commonly they bite off pieces of vegetation and carry them back to eat at the burrow entrance. When feeding, they stand on the hind legs, using the front feet to hold and manipulate the food.

Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii

They are vegetarian, eating the leaves of succulents and other green plant food, as well as seeds and flowers.

Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii

Brants’s Whistling Rats gives birth to 1-4 young, mainly during late summer and gestation last up to 38 days. Their lifespan in the wild is around 2 years.

Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii

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: 6 November 2020

Dimorphotheca pluvialis, White Rain Daisy, Reënblommetjie

Dimorphotheca pluvialis is a glandular-haired annual herb and grows up to 30cm. It has lance-shaped, lobed to toothed leaves, and radiate flowerheads, 40-50mm in diameter. The rays are white and purple at the base and darker on the reverse side. The disc is dark purple.

Dimorphotheca pluvialis, White Rain Daisy, Reënblommetjie

Dimorphotheca pluvialis is an annual endemic to sandy and clay flats and slopes from Southern Namibia, Namaqualand and the Southern Cape.

During spring huge fields are covered with this bright white daisy, forming a dazzling mass. In their natural habitat the flowers are pollinated by small horseflies that get covered with pollen as they fly from one daisy to the next in search of tiny amounts of nectar.

Fields of White Rain Daisies at Postberg Nature Reserve
Fields of White Rain Daisies at Postberg Nature Reserve
Fields of White Rain Daisies at Postberg Nature Reserve
Fields of White Rain Daisies at Postberg Nature Reserve
Fields of White Rain Daisies at Postberg Nature Reserve

These annuals are adapted to germinate, grow, flower and set seed during the rainy winter and to survive the long dry summer as seed. The seeds are interesting in that two different forms are produced. 

Flower season is between August and October. They are normally the first flowers to showcase their beauty after rain.

Dimorphotheca pluvialis, White Rain Daisy, Reënblommetjie
Dimorphotheca pluvialis, White Rain Daisy, Reënblommetjie
Dimorphotheca pluvialis, White Rain Daisy, Reënblommetjie
Flower season at Postberg Nature Reserve

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 October 2020

Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.

I got the following information in my Sasol Birds of Southern-Africa Book.

The bill is short, strong and conical. It is black in breeding males and pale pinkish-brown in non-breeding birds. The eye of the breeding male is red. The legs and feet are pinkish brown.

Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.

The male Southern Masked Weaver in breeding plumage has a black facemask, which extends onto the throat and covers just the forehead and the sides of the face. The underparts and rest of the head are bright yellow, and the back is plain yellowish-green.

Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.

The female has a brown or red-brown eye (may be red in some breeding birds) and is dull greenish-yellow, streaked darker on the upper back. The throat is yellowish, fading to dirty white on the belly.

They are common in gardens, parks and around farmsteads. It is usually seen singly or in small groups. It may also form larger flocks, and is often seen in mixed bird parties, and flocking together with other seedeaters.

Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.

They eat insects, seeds, parts of flowers; nectar.

Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.

It nests mainly from September to January. Males are polygynous (have more than one partner) and usually nest alone, building a succession of nests (about 25 nests each season), although several males may nest alongside in one colony. Nests are usually situated in trees, and often around homesteads, or over water. The nests are typical weaver nests – made of tightly woven strips of reed, palm or grass. The nests have a neat finish, and once selected by the female she will add a lining of soft grass and feathers

Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.
Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.
Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.
Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.
Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.

This poor guy has been building his nest since August 2020. Every time he is finished, and it is time for the female comes to inspect she, ripped the nest into pieces. Mother nature is also against this poor guy. After a windy day, the nest lies in shreds all over the grass. But he does not give up.

Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.
Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.
Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.
Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus.

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 October 2020

Wachendorfia paniculata Butterfly Lily, Rooikanol

Butterfly Lilies are perennial plants. The leaves are in a loose fan and oriented edgewise to the stem. The flowers are in a cylindrical or open panicle on a semi hairy stem. The flowers are yellow to brownish, with dark markings on the base of the upper three tepals.
These plants can be found on damp slopes and flats in southwestern South Africa, flowering best after a fire.

I took the following photos in the West Coast National Park in 2015.

Wachendorfia paniculata Butterfly Lily, Rooikanol
Wachendorfia paniculata Butterfly Lily, Rooikanol
Wachendorfia paniculata Butterfly Lily, Rooikanol
Wachendorfia paniculata Butterfly Lily, Rooikanol
Wachendorfia paniculata Butterfly Lily, Rooikanol
Wachendorfia paniculata Butterfly Lily, Rooikanol
Wachendorfia paniculata Butterfly Lily, Rooikanol

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: 16 October 2020

Black Harrier Circus maurus

The Black Harrier is a medium-sized African Harrier whose range extends from South Africa to Botswana and Namibia. It has a wingspan of 105–115 cm (41–45 in) and a body length of 44–50 cm (17–20 in). When perched, this bird appears all black. In-flight, a white rump and flight feathers become visible. Its morphology is comparable to that of other harriers, with a slim body, narrow wings, and a long tail. Male and female plumages are similar. Juveniles have buff underparts and heavily spotted breasts.

The Black Harrier feed mostly on small rodents and birds and will occasionally take reptiles, catching them while flying low over its hunting grounds.

In South Africa, the distribution of the black harrier is distinctly polarized in both the Western and Southern coastal plains. Nests are concentrated either along the coastal strip or inland in a more montane habitat. Nests are generally absent from transformed and cultivated lands.

Black harriers are migratory birds and, their annual movements cover the southern half of the land surface of South Africa (including Lesotho). The majority of these birds undertake an unusual west-east migration. Pair members do not travel together and, they don’t use the same non-breeding areas either. It has been suggested that black harriers migrate to deal with declines in food availability.

Unusually, Black Harriers travel almost twice as fast during their summer post-breeding migration as they during their winter/spring pre-breeding migration. In many other species, this is often reported the other way round. One reasoning for this is that it is part of their pre-breeding behavior and that the extra time is used to find the best breeding areas.

Home ranges during the breeding seasons and non-breeding seasons are of similar sizes, suggesting similar levels of food availability. Black Harriers return to breeding areas they have used previously and, they return to their birthplace to breed.

Black Harrier Circus maurus
Black Harrier Circus maurus
Black Harrier Circus maurus
Black Harrier Circus maurus
Black Harrier Circus maurus
Black Harrier Circus maurus
Black Harrier Circus maurus
Black Harrier Circus maurus
Black Harrier Circus maurus
Black Harrier Circus maurus
Black Harrier Circus maurus
Black Harrier Circus maurus

Thank you very much for taking the time to have a look at my work.
Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 9 October 2020

Sunflax Heliophila coronopifolia

Annual herb with stiffly erect stems to 60cm, roughly hairy towards the base, with thread-like or variously lobed leaves and blue flowers with a white or greenish centre. They close at night and in cool weather. Widespread on sandy flats and slopes. They often form massed displays in Namaqualand and the southwestern Cape.

I took these photos of the Sunflax flowers in the West Coast National Park.

Sunflax Heliophila coronopifolia
Sunflax Heliophila coronopifolia