This is the twelfth post in my monthly series on the fascinating nature I encounter here in South Africa.
That’s a whole year of photos, and so I think this is a good point to take a step back and make some changes…
I really enjoy sharing my photos with you, but the monthly deadline has added too much pressure to my overly-busy life, so, after today, I’m changing the format to an occasional series instead of a monthly one. That means I’ll be able to do a post when I have something amazing to show you and have the hours necessary to first choose and edit a handful of photos from the hundreds I’ve taken, and then research and write the accompanying text.
I know this decision will disappoint some people, but writing these posts has become more of a burden than a joy, and continuing like that makes no sense. One post a month doesn’t sound like much, but my business has me working through most of my waking hours at the moment: I need to do less, so I can reclaim my life. With the deadline pressure removed, I’ll be able to write my nature posts when I want to, and they’ll be better for it.
For my final monthly post, I’ve selected the most interesting photos I haven’t had a chance to show you yet, starting with one from today! We checked in on the penguin colony (see my previous photos here) and the first babies are hatching – African Penguins are endangered, so this is wonderful to see:
A fluffy African Penguin chick emerges from his burrow (left) into the rain, to be fed by one of his doting parents.
A couple of months ago, I saw, in the distance, a tiny antelope cross the road I was driving along, and noted where it had disappeared into the bushes. I pulled over when I reached that point, and discovered that it was grazing in full view a couple of metres back from the road! We’d have driven right past it if I hadn’t happened to see it and known where to stop and look:
This adorable mini antelope was easy to identify as a Cape Grysbok (male) – it looks exactly like all the Cape Grysbok photos I’ve seen online, which makes our Christmas mystery antelope even more of a mystery, as it’s clearly not the same species as this cute little guy…
Okay, now scroll down quickly if you hate giant bugs…
This grasshopper (in my garden) is absolutely enormous – at least 3″ long! Very interesting at a distance, but the time it flew directly at my face was not fun…
Okay, you’re safe, we’re back to cute now:
At first sight, we thought this was a chipmunk, but it’s actually a striped mouse (there aren’t any chipmunks here). Very cute!
We have access to such a variety of wildlife here, all within a couple of hours (or much less) from home. Both of these photos were taken less than half an hour’s drive from our house:
Not the greatest photo, but I hope you can just about see an adult (left) and 2 baby dolphins (back, front) in this photo.
And this is a terrible photo apart from the content: a real wild zebra! We’ve seen them a couple of times before, but only from the road, so this weekend I had my first opportunity to capture one with my camera (from a great distance, hence the photo quality), on the slopes of Table Mountain.
I’ll be aiming to get some better photos of both dolphins and zebras in time. If you’ve been avidly reading these posts, you may remember the sub-standard kingfisher photos I showed you a year ago. A tiny, lightning-fast, nervous bird is not easy to photograph, but, thanks to a bird hide, some patience, and figuring out the manual focus setting on my camera, I was finally able to take some good Malachite Kingfisher photos:
I think this is my favourite – not the most dignified shot, but I love how the tiny striped feathers on his head are blowing about in the wind!
Putting these posts together has been a lot of work, but also a nice record of our first year in South Africa. I’ll obviously never stop appreciating and photographing wildlife – both for fun and as inspiration for future designs – so I’m sure I’ll have more photos to show you soon as time permits.
At a bird sanctuary, I stroked a little wood owl! It was incredibly soft and fluffy.
As a grand finale to this year of nature appreciation, I thought you might like to see this time-lapse video I recorded of a spectacular sunrise over the city of Cape Town. I recorded it exactly one year ago today, but hadn’t found the time to edit it until now. This was taken from the apartment we lived in when we first arrived in South Africa, which, although cold and inconveniently situated miles from the observatory, had a spectacular view out over the city and harbour:
Maui liked the view too
Now we’ve exchanged the commute and the view for our own little house in the suburbs, a garden full of wildlife, and a beautiful river just down the road. It was a good trade, but I’m glad I have this video to remember the city sunrise by, and I hope you’ll enjoy watching it too:
Click through or full-screen it to see the full size version
Thank you for accompanying me through my year of nature photos – please leave me a comment if you’ve enjoyed this series!