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Cape Town wildlife I

I have the amazing opportunity now I live in South Africa to experience a different side of nature; one that most of you will probably only see in wildlife documentaries, if at all. So I hope you’ll forgive me if I occasionally deviate from the crafty nature of my blog to share some photos of the plants, birds and animals I see! As these will probably be inspiration for my future crochet designs, I don’t think it’s totally off-topic, and I hope you’ll enjoy a few glimpses into the nature of South Africa. (Please just skip these posts if they don’t interest you – I promise they won’t take over the blog!)

In this first post, I’ll show you some of our garden birds…

Wild Guineafowl roam freely everywhere – these are part of a group of about a dozen that patrol the grounds of our flats and the surrounding streets. They look a bit like small turkeys and they bob their heads quickly as they walk (as captured by the motion blur in my photo). Their loud call sounds like a squeaky bike wheel, and when several start up, it gets pretty raucous…

cape sugarbird (female)
The Cape Sugarbird feeds on the nectar in protea flowers, as shown here (this type of protea is called a Sugarbush and produces copious nectar which can be used as a natural sweetener). The female (above) is nice-looking, but the male is the real stunner…

cape sugarbird (male)
…his tail feathers are twice as long as his entire body! Very impressive when he’s sitting like this, but it looks like hard work to fly dragging those feathers behind him…

hadeda ibis
There’s nothing in this picture for scale, but ibis are very large! I’ve only seen them in zoos before, so having them as a common garden visitor is pretty amazing – we see them from our window, pulling worms out of the lawn with those long beaks. This type of ibis is called Hadeda (rhymes with la-di-la!) and is named for its loud call of “ha-ha-haadada”. When a group fly over or sit in a tree shouting that in unison, you really know about it!

Larger than the common starling you’re probably familiar with, the Red-Winged Starling looks fairly unexciting, until it takes flight… Do you see that edge of rusty red-brown on its wing? Their entire wings are that colour when in flight, so they look much more interesting as they fly by than they do when they land. I haven’t been able to capture that in a photo though 🙂

I know doves aren’t exactly unusual, but they are so sweet I thought you might like to see one anyway. There are two common types of dove here: the Cape Turtle Dove and the little colourful one pictured here, the Laughing Dove.

I first saw White-Eyes on holiday in Hawaii, so they feel like a very tropical bird to me. Very small and shy, the Cape White-Eyes are very hard to photograph because they don’t stay in plain sight for long. This is the best photo I’ve been able to capture so far, but I’ll keep trying 🙂

There’s so much more amazing wildlife here. I’d love to write more posts like this and share what I see with you, but only if I have an interested audience: I don’t want to bore you! If you’ve enjoyed this post, please leave a comment so I know you’d like to see more…


  1. Ohhh my goodness, these photos are such a highlight of my day. I lived in Grahamstown for 5 months and was stunned and delighted by the ibis – we always said they sounded like velociraptors, lingering on the roofs of buildings in the early morning. I absolutely love the bird that drinks protea nectar – how amazing!! Thanks June! These are wonderful!

  2. Falls-Acre said

    Wonderful photos! Definitely continue to share!!

  3. Gillian McMullen said

    I LOVE looking at your amazing photography and learning about South Africa. I lived in Kenya for three years when I was in high school and I’ve forgotten most of what it looked like, but this is bringing it back to me. Thanks so much for posting these photos, and please do keep going!

  4. Maria Stenmark said

    Marvellous, how beautiful, I want to come to South Africa at once, this is just great!!! I’m birdwatching in Sweden (as a hobby) and to find both crotcheting and wonderful birds at the same time/ spot is simply amazing.. Thank you! <3

  5. Merry Thornsburg said

    Hi June!
    I love your pictures! Thanks for sharing about South Africa…praying you all get settled soon…can be quite stressful, I’m sure! I can’t wait to see new patterns!

  6. Rachel said

    Yes, please keep up the nature pictures. The birds are so very different from our Canadian ones. Thanks.

  7. Else said

    June, what a blessing you have here! Keep on sharing about wildlife; I’ll read the posts. These bird pictures are stunning and wonderful catches.

  8. Hi June!

    I really enjoyed this post; I would love to see more!
    I hope you are settling in well at your new home.

    God bless!


  9. James said

    Wonderful, Interesting, and Beautiful post. LOVE IT!

  10. Tara said

    It’s wonderful seeing such familiar (to me) birds through the eyes of someone newly arrived! Keep them coming! 🙂

  11. Mary said

    Please continue! I love the photos of S.A. If you can, please include landscape/cityscape shots, I would love to see those. And if you ever go on safari-please post pics of that!

  12. Pam said

    Do you ever see any large spiders? LOL I am terrified of them, thus I never go anywhere where they are large!

    • June said

      Pam, our first sight as we arrived in SA (while we queued at immigration at the airport) was a gigantic scary beetley-cockroachy thing – the biggest I’ve ever seen. Not the best start I can imagine for our new life! So far though, that’s the only scary bug I’ve seen (no giant spiders yet!); I just hope it stays that way…

  13. Amanda said


  14. Dave said

    Those are fantastic June. Keep them coming as far as I am concerned. Very Kewl pictures of these neat wildlife you have in your back yard! that is the best that they are just in the backyard and locally around. Fantastic. Glad things are going very well. Smiles, Hugs and cookies!

  15. jamie said

    Keep posting similar pic’s 🙂 I can’t wait to see your creations from all this inspiration!

  16. Dawn said

    Thanks so much for sharing these stunning photos! I hope you continue to share them with us!

  17. Mack said

    I love the photos and would definitley like to see more wildlife!

  18. April said

    Absolutely would love to continue seeing this wonderful wildlife. You are letting us travel vicariously through your adventures. And I always love your photography. Thank you!

  19. Jana said

    Of course!!

  20. Ann said

    Totally enjoyable – thanks June! Wouldn’t mind hearing about the new foods you’re experiencing too. 🙂

    • June said

      I’ll have to disappoint you on the food front for now, Ann, for the most ridiculous reason: I can’t seem to remember how to parallel park… After driving on the right for 8 years and not once needing to do it, the knowledge seems to have departed my brain for good. There’s very little off-street parking here, and people have been warning us not to walk around after dark (not sure how justified that is, but there is certainly some level of desperation-related crime here) so we’ve been a bit limited in our restaurant choices based on where I can park! I’m sure this stupid situation will all change once we get settled in properly 🙂

  21. Alice said

    Please post more pictures of the birds and animals of South Africa. I know that I’ll never be able to visit there. I’m new to your blog site.

  22. Susan Carder said

    I have been a silent follower for a short while, but I went to your archives and started from the beginning. I love your blog and especially your patterns. AND I love the bird photos, the are spectacular! Thanks so much for sharing your adventures with us! Blessings to you and your new journey.

  23. Morgan said

    It is so amazing that all of these birds are just outside your door! I love the pics, please keep sharing!

  24. Catlyn said

    I agree, more please! 🙂 Reading about your life in South Africa is just so interesting!!

  25. Kimberly & guide dog Abby said

    More photos and stories, please! Enjoying your posts very much.

  26. Anne said

    Love seeing the pictures. I don’t think I will never travel there so it is great to see other places and creatures. Hope all aspects of your transplant go well leaving you time to sight see and share with us.

  27. Sierra Pelona said

    I love natural history, and I would enjoy future posts about your local wildlife very much! 🙂

  28. Tove said

    I love reading about birds and animals, and are very much enjoying your posts about your new life in South Africa, so I hope you will write more posts like this one. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  29. Margriet said

    I’ve been to South Africa 1996 and i have left a part of my heart there! It was my best holiday ever!!! I loved the colors, the people, nature, the animals…so I’m enjoying your pictures very, very much 😉

  30. Heather said

    More please! The photos are lovely.

  31. Allison said

    Well, I am a long time “silent follower” of your blog, and I thought I should speak up and say that I really do enjoy these photos! My husband and I are nature lovers and we both liked reading about your new surroundings. =)

  32. Patti Jo said

    I loved sharing the pictures with my kids!

  33. camelama said

    thank you so much for sharing! Wonderful.

  34. Linda Perkins said

    The pictures are great! I really enjoyed looking at them. Thank you so much for sharing.

  35. wrchili said

    I’d love to see more wildlife pictures!

  36. Tabitha said

    LOVE it! Please keep sharing.

  37. Nancy Harris said

    I forgot to check the box for followups, which I want

  38. Nancy Harris said

    I LOVE your bird pictures! and your comments about them. I go to the site Pixdaus every day, sometimes twice a day, to see the beautiful photographs they display, so I’m familiar with some birds from Africa. My daughter is an avid birdwatcher, so I forward to her the foreign and exotic bird pics. Sometimes I think I may be silly to spend that much time on birds, but they are so beautiful and miraculous and fun to study. I made your little pumpkin last night, a lovely success. I returned to your site to make the stalk, decided to read your blog. I don’t know how to do the magic circle, was looking for directions on your site. Would love to know how you happen to be in South Africa ( you wrote “now”, so I guess there’s a story behind that. I love your patterns, will try the pointcietta after I finish the afghan and stole I’m working on now. Hope to hear from you. Nancy

    • June said


      1. Magic ring instructions, in case you’re still stuck:
      2. We just moved to South Africa as my husband is an astronomer and he accepted a position at the Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town. Luckily, my job as a pattern designer means I can work from anywhere! If you read back over the past few months of posts (not as daunting a task as that sounds: I’ve been too busy to post much!) you’ll see what I’ve gone through to get here, and it’s not over yet: we’re still living out of suitcases in temporary accommodation while we wait for our shipping container with all our furniture and possessions to arrive from Canada 🙂
  39. Kathy said

    I loved this post! Please keep sharing about SA when you can!

  40. Hattalahutta said

    Yes! Give us more, please 🙂 You are so lucky to have all those beauties around you every day! Can you tell I’m jealous? I think I saw those doves when I was studying in Egypt a few years ago, they are totally cute 🙂

  41. Liz said

    More please! This is amazing!

  42. Andrea said

    Love it! Don’t stop :). Since my chances of ever making it to South Africa are slim to none it is cool to see the sights from the perspective of someone that it is new to!

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