Author: Cheryl King

An Owl of a Weekend

An Owl of a weekend – that’s the only way I can describe this past weekend.  With great sightings of Marsh Owls along with a good few Pearl Spotted Owls as well as an unsuccessful search for a White-Faced Owl, I just had to say this was a weekend of owls. Our weekend started with a two-hour drive from Johannesburg to Zaagkuilsdrift in the Limpopo Province.  Just off the N1, with another 24 km of dust road to the lodge, it felt like it was raining birds.  The treat for me is that I saw many birds that are not...

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Ashburton’s Aloe Festival 2018

As promised in my previous post, here are some photos taken when we spent a day in the Lower Mpushini Conservancy during Ashburton’s Aloe Festival.  From their programme (left) you will see the festival was over two days filled with much activity, fun and enjoyment. Being typical birders, we started our day very early at Spencer’s Place which opened to the public at 6 a.m.  It was a freezing morning, so we decided to hold off with the birding and enjoy a hot cuppa along with some rusks.  This was all in the company of a few dogs, ducks and beautiful Palomino horses.   Our trail started next to the stables, so after petting each of the friendly horses, we ambled through the farm gate and made our way along the trail towards the river (which sadly, was dry). Being winter, we didn’t find many birds but that’s to be expected.  I just love being out in the crisp fresh air, surrounded by nature.  Our plan was to visit all the venues open for the festival, but we spent far too much time wandering on the bird trail.  Guess we needed to be more disciplined and not chase each and every bird we saw or heard. There were a number of interesting talks to choose from.  Unfortunately, we were too late for the “walk and talk” by Richard Boon about trees...

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Aloes – Celebrate these Beautiful Plants

It’s Aloe Season here in Kwa Zulu Natal. Bitter Aloes or Cape Aloes as they are sometimes called (Aloe Forex), are beautiful plants that vibrantly bloom in Kwa Zulu Natal between May and August. This popular South African plant occurs in a broad range of habitats.  You will find them along our beachfront in Durban (purposely planted of course), along river catchment areas, on rocky hills and in gardens.  If you lucky to find an area where hundreds are in flower, you will be treated to a magnificent show of brightly coloured flowers adorning a dull brown winter landscape. ...

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World Oceans Day 2018

It’s World Oceans Day.   What’s your favourite sea creature? Perhaps it’s the beautiful turtle?  Then again who doesn’t love to see a pod of dolphins frolicking in the waves, or whales seemingly loafing around on the ocean surface?  I have a friend who loves octopuses.  When we used to dive together she would let out a huge squeal under the water whenever she saw one.  Mine is pelagic birds, particularly the magnificent Albatross with its massive 2m wingspan.  Crabs are cute! No matter which creature is your favourite, they’re all in big trouble.  Change that, they’re in colossal trouble!...

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Albatrosses – Masters of the Air

I’ve always had a love affair with the ocean. First, it was swimming as a young girl with my dad to backline way past the other bathers.  Only once did we get into trouble when lifeguards had to haul us out.  It was more embarrassing than frightening. Then it was scuba diving.  Although I no longer dive, to this day I can look out onto the ocean and “see” the world below.  Beautiful coral, colourful cute fish, amazing starfishes and tiny nudibranchs to mention a few. No words describe swimming with a friendly whale shark at Sodwana or listening...

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