Ostrich and their Young..

The Ostrich have started with their young, if you remember I posted the dance of romance… well here’s the result….(click on the high lighted to see the dance of love of the ostrich)

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Pretoria.. The City of Jacarandas…

Jacaranda.. the genus name is also the common name.

Pretoria.. the executive (administrative) and de facto national capital.

The month of October sees this beautiful city come alive with the colour of the Jacaranda. There are reputed to be between 50 000 and 70 000 trees in the city. The first two trees where planted in 1888 and have spread their wings throughout the city… The city streets are lined with them and their beautiful show cannot be disputed… This is just one short street I use to go and visit my Mum in the home for those getting on in age….

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The tree has since been declared an “alien invader plant” and categorised in the third category. In terms of the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, No. 43 of 1983, as amended in March 2001, it can be kept only on certain strict conditions in South Africa: 1). shall not occur on any land or inland water surface other than in a biological control reserve. However, plants already in existence at the time of commencement of these regulations (March 2001) may continue to exist, provided they are not within 30 metres of the 1:50 year flood line of a river, stream, lake or other type of inland water body. In addition, the “executive officer” can impose further conditions on Category 3 plants already in existence at the time these regulations were imposed, which might include removing them if the situation demands it.

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2). It must be controlled by the land user to curtail the spread of these plants.

3). It may not be planted, established, maintained, multiplied or propagated.

4). It may not be imported, sold or acquired.

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5). and it can be exempted from the above regulations through written exemption from “the executive officer”, provided there is a good reason for it.

I’m sure our internationally know capital city would receive an exemption.

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Puff Adder.. Not a Rapper..

African puff adders (Bitis arietans).

Bitis arietans is a venomous viper species found in savannah and grasslands. It is responsible for causing the most snakebite fatalities in Africa owing to various factors, such as its wide distribution and frequent occurrence in highly populated regions.

The venom has cytotoxic effects and is one of the most toxic of any viper. The venom yield is typically between 100–350 mg, with a maximum of 750 mg. About 100 mg is believed to be enough to kill a healthy adult, with death occurring after 25 hours.

An ugly snake to be avoided in the bush as he will not move away like most snakes, but will strike with deadly force and cause a very sore painful bite.

When I was an learner Land Surveyor, involved in a job at Victoria Falls in Rhodesia I came across one of the biggest Puffies I’d ever seen. Thinking it dead, I poked it with a survey rod and it struck immediately, not being the conservationist I am now, I killed it. That evening we all met at the Peters Motel for drinks, it had the biggest pub in the area (at least 20m long, 60 foot), I took my now dead snake with me, the pub was full of tourists and locals and on entering tossed it on the pub counter. 30 seconds later the pub was empty, the two barmen had exited via the dirty glass opening (smashing 100s of glasses) and I stood laughing my head off…. some how the Manager/Owner was not amused and banned me for life… I took Linda there many years later… he remembered me, but after explaining I’d settle down and was no longer “bush happy” he forgave me… I’m still sure he loaded my bill that day… here’s some photos of one I found the other day… he refused to go into the strike pose which is very strikingly (no pun intended) beautiful….probably too cold…

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Northern Black Korhaan.

Northern Black Korhaan or White-quilled Bustard (Afrotis afraoides)

This bird is one of the characters of semi-arid grasslands.    In flight the white primary “windows” are diagnostic. It is a conspicuous bird, with a plain black neck, bright yellow legs and red base to the bill being key features. It is common and widespread, mostly sedentary and usually solitary.

The call is a raucous “kraak kraak” from the ground. It has faster notes in display flight.

It lives in arid and semi-arid savannah and grassland and also old agricultural lands. Its eating habits are omnivorous, preferring insects and small reptiles, also seeds. It’s eggs are laid on bare ground.

Courtship is elaborate, involving multiple females and one male and featuring exaggeratedly undulating flight displays, playful chasing and the male displaying his white breast patches. The male is extremely protective of his 200-300 m2 territory, fighting other males by striking with his wings, after which the other male usually flies off.





















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Fork-tailed Drongo

Fork-tailed Drongo, Common Drongo, African Drongo, or Savannah Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis),

This is a difficult bird to get a good photo of.. the eye is dark red and with the black colouring it always appears as though it has no eyes…

The Fork-tailed Drongo is a common and widespread resident breeder in Africa south of the Sahara. These insect-eating birds are usually found in open forests or bush.

These are aggressive and fearless birds, given their small size, and will attack much larger species, including birds of prey. The male is mainly glossy black, although the wings are duller. It is large-headed and has the forked tail which gives the species its name. The female is similar but less glossy. The bill is black and heavy, and the eye is red.

The Fork-tailed Drongo is 20 cm long. It has short legs and sits very upright whilst perched, like a shrike. It fly catches, or takes prey from the ground and if there’s a bush fire you find it there.

I actually managed to get the eye in the photo on the left…

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