Impala Lily.. a lowveld beauty with a bite.

The Impala Lily (Adenium multiflorum)

If there is one reason to visit the Kruger National Park in winter, it is for the Impala Lily.. A most showy plant, resembling a miniature Baobab tree in a way, but the flowers in Winter are just too beautiful to describe….

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(photo courtesy of Victor Lourens… but then he’s my Grandson so I just use it without his permission)

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This plant contains a watery latex which is highly toxic. Domestic animals have been known to die after consuming it, but amazingly there have been no noted deaths in wild animals that feed on the Impala Lily. The latex is extracted from the bark and trunk and is prepared as a poison for the tips of hunting arrows and also as a poison to stun fish. The latex is also made into a "magical potion" used by many different African cultures both in South Africa and Mozambique.

The poisons within the Impala Lily latex are known to contain over 30 types of chemicals that can affect the heart. This is not necessarily all negative, as, when given in the correct dosage and mixed in with the right medicinal ingredients, it could possibly be used in the treatment of cardiac arrest.

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When the plant is finished flowering it makes long seed pods and then, and only then, do the new leaves begin to show…

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They are such beautiful shows of colour in an otherwise drab winter coloured grass that one can’t help but spot them from far…

Hello.!! I’m Back..

Having just walked in after a long trip, I was more than surprised to see I’d had so many visits and comments whilst away.. But you haven’t only been busy commenting on my posts, but I see, whilst I’ve been in an area that when you ask if there’s internet connection, they ask “what’s the internet?” you’ve all been busy posting yourselves… Now I’m going to have to play catch up..

Was our trip successful? Beyond all expectations. To sit with Managers and Course Superintendents that only see the benefit of “terratry” was a great experience.

To sit with some of the top Superintendents in the country, that rave about and order the product, is just the cheery on top of the cake. For my baby that took far longer than we expected to reach maturity, I have now grown to be a proud parent, and for our company this means just so much.

I had very little time out with my camera, but spent 6 hours in my favourite place, The Kruger National Park where I did get some great captures to share with you all… so here is just one to whet your appetite…

“Hello” the Bulldog is back….

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Okay I lied three to whet your appetite..

Lilac Breasted Roller.

Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus).

The average size of the Lilac Breasted Roller is 14.5 inches. The washed green head is large, the neck is short, the greenish yellow legs are rather short and the feet are small. The beak is strong, arched and hooked-tipped. The tail is narrow and of medium length. The back and scapulars are brown. (Damn this sounds like a lot of people I know)….

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The Lilac Breasted Roller feeds on grasshoppers, beetles, occasionally lizards, crabs, and small amphibians. They take prey from the ground.

To feed they swoop down from an elevated perch next to their prey and eat it on the ground or return to a perch where they batter it before swallowing it whole. (Missed the battering in these two photos)

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Rollers get their name from their impressive courtship flight, a fast, shallow dive from considerable elevation with a rolling or fast rocking motion, accompanied by loud raucous calls. Click on link to hear a sound recording..    click on arrow below bird on web site.

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Yellow-billed Stork…A Fisherman’s Tale..

Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis).

The Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) is a large wading bird in the stork family (Now that must have come as a surprise to you… a yellow-billed stork part of the stork family..??? Bulldog go to bed.. you need sleep.) It occurs in Africa south of the Sahara and in Madagascar. Its a medium-sized stork. Length: 97 cm; average body weight for males: 2.3 kg; for females: 1.9 kg. Plumage mainly pinkish-white with black wings and tail; bill yellow, blunt, and de-curved at tip.

Ok and how and what do they eat???? wake up….

They have a fishing technique of using one foot to stir up the water to flush out prey. A quick muscular reflex in the neck enables yellow-billed storks to catch almost all of their food in the water. Brilliant.!!!! I know, I know, they eat……Crustaceans, small fish, frogs, insects and worms.

Now here’s a gob-smacking fact for you….!!!!

The books say these birds do not socialise with each other… notice do not … then I wonder what is going on here.. a committee meeting, a union..?? A gathering of the clan to remind each and everyone “Hey, fellows we don’t like socialising, have you forgotten the fact.???” Or is this the Bus Stop to tomorrow..?? A funeral.? A wake.? Someone should let them know they don’t like socialising…!!!!!!

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Now this one looks as though he’s saying “if that croc gets any nearer.. I’m going to have to move..”

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Ooooooh… a fishing we will go, a fishing we will go, hi ho a merryio a fishing we will go….

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African Wild Dog

(Lycaon pictus) the African wild dog.

It is also known as, African hunting dog, Cape hunting dog, painted dog, painted wolf, painted hunting dog, spotted dog, or ornate wolf.

This is the largest African canid and, behind only the grey wolf, is the world’s second largest extant wild canid. Adults typically weigh 18–36 kilograms (40–79 lb.). A tall, lean animal, it stands about 75 cm (30 in) at the shoulder, with a head and body length of 75–141 cm (30–56 in) plus a tail of 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 in).

The African wild dog may reproduce at any time of year, although mating peaks between March and June during the second half of the rainy season. Litters can contain 2-19 pups, though 10 is the most common. Weaning takes place at about 10 weeks. After 3 months, the pups leave the den and begin to run with the pack.

Females will disperse from their birth pack at 14–30 months of age and join other packs that lack sexually mature females. Males typically do not leave the pack in which they were born.

In a typical pack, males outnumber females by a factor of two to one, and only the dominant female can usually rear pups. This situation may have evolved to ensure that packs do not over-extend themselves by attempting to rear too many litters at the same time. The species is also unusual in that some members of the pack, including males, may be left to guard the pups while the others, including the mothers, join the hunting group.

The African wild dog hunts in packs and small groups. Like most members of the dog family, it is a running hunter, meaning that it pursues its prey in a long, open chase. Nearly 80% of all wild dog hunts end in a kill; for comparison, the success rate of lions, often viewed as ultimate predators, is only 30%.

After a successful hunt, the hunters will regurgitate meat for those that remained at the den during the hunt including the dominant female, the pups, the sick or injured, the old and infirm, and those who stayed back to guard the pups.

There were once approximately 500,000 African wild dogs in 39 countries, and packs of 100 or more were not uncommon. Now there are only about 3,000-5,500 in fewer than 25 countries. They have been decimated by stock farmers who believe they are vermin. In South Africa very few are found outside of protected areas…

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