Tag Archives: glow worms

Dargle Wildlife Sightings – September 2015

Rupert Powell – Bukamanzi Cottage

As ever it’s only been the smaller creatures who have stuck around long enough to have their photograph taken – the duiker, reedbuck and hares that I’ve been seeing around the cottage buzz off pretty quickly. The little mouse with a black stripe down its back was the best character this month

2015-09 mouse

– a friend and I were having tea on the verandah when she appeared from beneath his arm. She had been nesting in one of the cushions and had darted out to object at being sat upon. She preened around for a bit before a gigantic leap into the garden. No sign of my swallows yet but I live in hope that they’ll return and sit on my bed-posts as they did once before. My love for my spiders was severely tested when I found one crawling up my face as I brushed my teeth. There really is a limit.

A Frog…

2015-09 frog

and a moth

2015-09 moth

Jen Fly – Kildaragh Farm

This chap found a warm place in the wood basket in the TV room, during the last cold snap.

Fly 1

I released him in the orchard . The toppies soon spied him and their alarm calls got all the other birds in quite a panic.

Fly 2

Pat Mckrill had this to say: ” From what I can see from the photos, I’m pretty sure it’s a Herald snake. The almost white belly colouration is typical and although not too clearly shown in the pictures, the head is darker than the rest of the body – another identifying feature. As with your specimen, a lot of Heralds lack the upper lip colouration, from whence came the iconic ‘Red Lipped Herald’ name, as well as the often well-defined light spotting along the body – also not visible. The prominent backbone on your snake would suggest that it’s searching for an early season frog.”

Fly 3

Mike and Anne Weeden – River Run Farm, Hopedale

While driving home on the Dargle Road the other night we saw three adult bush pigs crossing just east on the Dargle River bridge. They were fairly unconcerned by our approach but unfortunately we were unable to get a photo.

Nikki Brighton – Old Kilgobbin

What are your favourite sounds of Spring? Trees drip on leaf litter and rain trickles on tile roofs. The solid wu-hoo of a Spotted Eagle Owl and the screech of tree dassies. Pre-dawn chitter becomes a chorus, and as the morning wakes, oriels and clattering weavers join in too. The zing of a bee swarm moving their Queen. Faint patter of startled grasshopper hatchlings scattering. Skree of Yellow billed Kite, flap of a single Spurwinged Goose and sky high echo of Blue Cranes. The whisper of bat wings in the evening.

Cape Batis

Cape Batis

Grasslands are starting to bloom – Urginea capitata and Tulbaghia leucanthra in rocky places

Tulbaghia leucantha

Tulbaghia leucantha

Hypoxis - such bright yellow stars

Hypoxis – such bright yellow stars

Scadoxus puniceus - Snake Lily

Scadoxus puniceus – Snake Lily

Cyrtanthus contractus after the fire

Cyrtanthus contractus after the fire

Cheerful Senecio speciosus

Cheerful Senecio speciosus

Tritonia lineata on the road verge. Love the dark veins in the delicate yellow flowers.

Tritonia lineata

Tritonia lineata

These striking Merwilla plumbea stems had disappeared when I walked by a few days later – presume eaten by something.

Merwilla plumbea buds

Merwilla plumbea buds

This may be Orthonna natalensis but I really don’t know for sure.

Orthonna natalensis?

Orthonna natalensis?

Cyrtanthus breviflorus in the wetland

Cyrtanthus breviflorus

Cyrtanthus breviflorus

Arums flowering already too

Zantedeschia aethiopica

Zantedeschia aethiopica

Tiny orange mushrooms amongst the bracken fronds

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

I saw two single reedbuck, and one group of three. No Oribi spotted for the Annual Oribi count.

Common Reedbuck

Common Reedbuck

Samangos must be really hungry. They have eaten all the lemons on my tree.

Samango monkey eating a lemon

Samango monkey eating a lemon

This fellow boldly helps himself to apples and pears in my kitchen. I now hide my fruit in the oven.

Samango monkey eating my fruit

Samango monkey eating my fruit

Katie Robinson – Lemonwood

Wood Owls: I have been looking after Woody

Woody wood owl

and Jesse

Jesse the Wood Owl

Jesse the Wood Owl

for a few weeks now. They were given to me by Tammy at the Raptor Rescue Rehabilitation Centre for release in the forest.

After familiarising themselves with the sights and sounds of the bush, tonight is the night they venture out into the wild. I will miss them both and I so hope they remain in the area, or even better, make their home in my wood owl box at the edge of the forest, also erected by Raptor Rescue. They have been a delight to have here. What stunning birds. Good luck guys.

Another excitement for me is the arrival of a small family of Rock Dassies which I saw deep in the forest for the first time ever a couple of weeks ago. Such inquisitive creatures with the most endearing faces. Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera with me when they were close enough to photograph, but I will continue to try to capture one as they are sure to make everyone smile. The leader, I have called him Walter, sat for about 5 minutes, only about 50 metres away when I first saw him. He seemed completely mesmerised and unfussed by me and the dogs (who didn’t even notice him). What a pleasure.

I have had the privilege of using the Dargle Conservancy trail camera for a few weeks and have had some wonderful sightings of bush buck, bush pig, rock dassie, samango monkeys, water mongoose, porcupine, genet and jackal. I even caught a short video of 2 porcupines mating which I had never worked out before. How do they do it? In short, very carefully but the much smaller male made it look very easy! (If you would like to see some of Katie’s videos, then please visit the “Dargle” Facebook page, or you will have to come to the AGM next year to view the vids!)

Ashley Crookes – Copperleigh Farm

I think I have finally beaten Sandra Merrick for amount of images in 1 month! I had so many great opportunities and have enjoyed using my new Samsung cellphone to capture all of these images! I may just be retiring my poor old Canon…

Inhlosane gave me some great shots this month, usually around sunset I would walk the dogs and see these scenes

Inhlosane

Inhlosane

and this one was taken from our driveway

Inhlosane at Sunset

Inhlosane at Sunset

and this is by far my favourite capture so far

Inhlosane in the late afternoon

Inhlosane in the late afternoon

The sun rays were magnificent over the ridge towards Ivanoe

Sunset

Sunset

The little stream is still struggling a little, hopefully the rains will come soon (it’s only 10cm wide in this pic)

Little stream

Little stream

There’s an abundance of orange ladybirds at the moment

Pole with Orange Ladybirds

Pole with Orange Ladybirds

Yet have only seen a couple of locusts so far

Black and Blue Locust

Black and Blue Locust

A spider trying to stock it’s larder

Spider on its web

Spider on its web

A crab was a bit lost running up the trail!

Crab on Trail

Crab on Trail

And for the first time I saw a dung beetle (very hard at work) on the farm

Dung Beetle

Dung Beetle

Some lovely wildflowers

Wildflowers 1

The Natal Green Snake was trying to hide in the bushes of the garden

Green Snake

Green Snake

The Night Adder was hiding in an old sack in the shed, I thought it was dead…I was wrong! It hissed and told me it wanted out

Night adder which was hiding in an old bag in the shed

Night adder which was hiding in an old bag in the shed

The Red Herald Snake was lying next to the trail late in the afternoon, hence the bad image, I managed to capture one action shot with the tongue out!

Red herald snake

Red herald snake

A Porcupine was visiting the old potato fields and left his or her trademark

Porcupine was visiting

Porcupine was visiting

And here’s something I’ve also never seen here before…

Glow Worm

Glow Worm

…a Glow Worm!

Glow Worm

Glow Worm

And finally, a stunning sunset peering from behind an old farm gate – enjoy!

Old Farm Gate at Sunset

Old Farm Gate at Sunset

Kevan Zunckel – ZUNCKEL ECOLOGICAL & ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES

Kar asked me ages ago to send this to you, so sorry for the delay. I took this picture in a wetland in the upper uMngeni catchment just south of the Umgeni Vlei but on communal land while doing ground truthing work for the SANBI/UKZN project on ecological infrastructure (29°33’32.82″S 29°50’48.24″E). It was close to the road and tried to hide behind a reed but not successfully – hence the nice photo opportunity. Another one flew out a bit deeper into the system so it was great to see that there was a pair. I was with a colleague who is an avid birder and who was extremely excited about the sighting, so I guess it was quite significant.

Bittern

Bittern

Pat and Sandra Merrick – Albury Farm

The reedbuck have been returning – saw 8 around the dam one evening, 3 on the hill and 2 duiker. On another evening 7 reedbuck, 1 oribi and a duiker on the hill.

Reeduck grazing the burn

Reeduck grazing the burn

The european swallows arrived on the 23rd sept. Have seen the blue crane on and off over the month. Sometimes just one. We’ve seen a pair of Black-bellied Korhaan walking on the hills behind house and once on our driveway.

Petronia I think - nesting time

Petronia I think – nesting time

Stanley bustard flies over the farm quite often. It’s been 2 months since we’ve seen the Waterbuck. The Fan-tailed Widowbirds arrive in numbers on our lawn every day. The wagtail has 3 eggs – her nest is in the jasmine creeper once again.

Canary

Canary

The sparrows are nesting outside our study window again this year and the swallows are looking for a place to nest around the house.

African Harrier-Hawk (previously known as a Gymnogene)

African Harrier-Hawk (previously known as a Gymnogene)

African Harrier-Hawk looking for a meal in the hillside rocks

African Harrier-Hawk looking for a meal in the hillside rocks

Our neighbour told us that he had found 2 dead male reedbuck near his dam – it looked like they had been fighting as there were lots of puncture wounds.

Dark-capped Bulbul

Dark-capped Bulbul

The interesting news is that I put a picture of a ringed wattled crane in the dargle newsletter in the july issue. No one came forward with information about the ring tagging of this bird. Then on facebook on the Karkloof conservancy page, it was mentioned that a ringed wattled crane had been identified, so I sent them my picture to see if they could identify my one. It was sent to Tanya Smith and she identified it.

Ringed Wattled Crane

Ringed Wattled Crane

Comment from Tanya Smith of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s African Crane Conservation Programme re Sandra’s July Sighting of a Wattled Crane: “This bird was ringed as a wild chick of about 11 to 12 weeks of age, it was a chick of a pair we monitor closely with the farmers in the Kokstad area. It was colour ringed as a chick by me and Cobus Theron on a farm called Hebron located between Franklin Vlei and Kokstad in January 2014. This is the first re-sighting we have had of this chick since it left the farm as a flying teenager, and considering the distance it has moved since then it is a great sighting, so thank you very much for taking the time to take photographs and to report the information. I am not sure of the sex of the bird unfortunately.

Black-shouldered Kite

Black-shouldered Kite

Another interesting story was told to me by a friend at Mount West: She was looking at a Common Duiker walking along her dam early one morning – it was following a serval – the serval was aware of being followed but seemed unconcerned.

Here is the pic of the Duiker looking at the serval, but you have to look very hard to see the serval!

Common Duiker following a Serval

Common Duiker following a Serval

Here the Serval is out in the open

Serval being followed

Serval being followed

Neville van Lelyveld : Farm Report for Iain Sinclair, Benn Meadhon Farm

Spotted a pregnant Oribi last month, and somewhere in this picture, the Oribi is hidden.

Oribi

Sunset over the farm

Sunset

Dargle Wildlife January 2012

This is some of the interesting wildlife spotted in the Dargle area over the summer holidays.

Malvina and Evert van Bremem

We were really surprised to see these Star Stinkhorn mushrooms in our lawn!

Kate Pallett – Corrie Lynn Farm

I have been watching 3 wagtail chicks growing in this nest right outside my bedroom window! Similarly, we saw a Paradise flycatcher on a nest of 3 chicks on a walk with Barend last week.

On New Year’s eve we camped on top of the hill to watch the sunrise. Just after dawn we saw a group of 5 Yellowbilled Kites fly out of the forest.

Barend and Helen Booysen – Kilgobbin Cottage

On one of the forest walks we were very fortunate to see three Narina Trogons all at the same time.  Our guest, Richard Watt, was over the moon and sent this message:

“Thank you so much for the unforgettable forest walk – it was truly amazing!”

Justin and Karin Herd – Bee Tree Farm

The Carniverous snail has been with us for a number of years (Natalina cafra).  He/she is quite tame and takes the bad snails from me and polishes them off.  She deposited two eggs this year but they didn’t hatch.  I am in contact with Dai Herbert of the Natal Museum to see if I can breed them.  Also some interesting flowers that have started appearing in the grassland on my rehabilitated section.  Disa crassicornis and Pterygodium magnum.

Clive Shippey and Shirley Bishop – Northington

We, like many I am sure, often have the distant sighting and hearing of the fish eagle. Swallows abound at the moment and I had the distinct privilege of being the centre of attraction for upwards of half an hour whilst mowing a field. These exquisite little fliers swooped and dived all around me sometimes as close as a metre having no fear for the noisy tractor. There must have been in excess of 150 of these little beauties.

Eidin Griffin and Malcolm Draper – Wits End

Our sightings have been glow worms and fireflies in early January around the steps. A Burchells Couchal which is resident at the bottom of the garden and swops from tree to tree, regular sunbirds, kites, a reedbuck popped out just behind the house and of course the resident bees in the tree near the verandah which cluster together for warmth on cold days and get very busy in the heat. Thanks for collecting the sightings -it is giving us good incentive to keep the Roberts book on the verandah at all times!

Sandra and Pat Merrick – Albury Farm

About 3 weeks ago our 8 baby Shell Duck arrived on our dam, now fully grown.  What a joy to see that they are all alive and thriving.

Dec: Crested and blue crane have been at the dam on and off.

Spoonbill, spurwing, egyptian, plovers, yellowbill duck, cormorant, Grey heron

Black and malachite sunbird nesting in our plane tree. rock pigeons, swallows, sparrows, starlingsall nesting in roof and chimney of our house and our barn owl is back too.

Lately we have had a few reed buck jumping over our fence into the lower garden area to browse. The jackal have been crying out during the day lately – the sound coming from behind us at Bronners – perhaps its the babies?

a male bush buck ran down the hill, shot under the fence and disappeared into the gum plantation on our farm.

Jan: Blue crane still visiting dam and crested crane flew over today.

Saw and heard fish eagle today. 5 spoonbill on dam plus about 20 spurwing geese.  Several egyptian geese and yellow bill ducks.

Our 2 barn owls are back causing havoc with the security beams every night.  One fell down our chimney last week during the night and found him perched on a door next morning.  Pat has built an owl box which we are hoping they will settle in.

Malachite and black sunbirds active. Gymnogene, yellow billed kite, Pinstriped whydah Olive thrushs feeding their young under shrubs. Cormorant and hamerkop sitting on rock on our pond near house. Wagtails, common stonechats, rock pigeons, starlings, sparrows, and swallows, cape robin, drakensberg prinia around house area.

A sparrow has given birth to several young in hollow pole next to our gate.

Colleen van Heerden – Khululeka

The sounds of nature early in the morning, the rising of the sun, the blue & black butterflies that literally flutter by. This place is amazing, and has become so close to my heart. We are truly blessed to live in such a magical place and space.

Andrew and Susi Anderson – Lane’s End

Bronze mannequins nesting in Australian bottle brush

Couple of pairs of Paradise Flycatchers nesting

Cape Robin nesting

Steppe Buzzard – hunting chickens

Dwarf Chameleon

Nile Monitor Lizard

5 Blue Cranes circling and calling

The Cape Robin reported nesting last month is raising a Redchested Cuckoo chick – have been hearing a very strange high pitched call for a few days and finally saw the culprit the cuckoo calling for food!

Nikki Brighton – Old Kilgobbin Farm

Butterflies and moths everywhere – I can’t identify many yet. Lots of colourful dragonflies – from brilliant blue to copper. Masses of beetles: Longhorns, Stinkbugs, Ladybirds; songololos, very big earthworms, bees and carpenter bees, paper wasps.

Plants:

Watsonia pillansii,  Nemesia sylvatica, Walenbergia, Littonia modesta, Kniphofia laxiflora, Lobelia, Monopsis decipens, Monopsis stellaroides, Aristea ecklonii, Allophyllus africanus, Impatiens flanaganiae, Conostium natalense, Eriosema, Hypoxis parvula, Helichrysum odoratissimum, Helichrysum ruderale, Tephrosia macropoda, Watsonia densiflora, Aloe ecklonii, Zantedeschia aethiopica, Englerodaphne pilosa, Zantedeschia albomaculata – gorgeous red colour instead of usual cream, Crocosmia paniculata, Sophubia cana.

Mammals:

Seen: Reedbuck, Samango monkeys

Heard: Jackals, tree dassies

Tracks: water mongoose, Serval and Jackal

Birds:

A group of 5 blue cranes flying overhead calling.

European storks seen for the first time this summer on 17 December.

A Reed Cormorant flew straight at me while I was swimming in the dam – I think it thought I was a rock, as it had to flap wildly so as not to land on me!

Gymnogene raiding fork-tailed Drongo nest

lots of Grey Herons and a Purple Heron and a pair of yellow billed ducks

Emerald Cuckoo, Black African Cuckoo, yellow billed kite, Egyptian geese, Pied Crows, Stone Chats, Jackal Buzzards, White eyes, Mousebirds, Thick billed weavers, Southern Boubous, Chorister Robins, Cape Robins, Thrushes, Cape Batis, Rock Pigeons, Ring necked Doves, Grey headed Sparrows, Bulbuls, Black headed Oriel, collared sunbird, Fork-tailed Drongo, Pin tailed Whydah, Knysna Loeries, Bronze mannekins, Hadedas, Swallows, wagtails nesting in ivy covering old shed.

Heard – Red Chested Cuckoo, Buff spotted flufftail, Wood Owls, Fish Eagle, Burchell’s coucal.

Reptiles:

A python was seen on Old Kilgobbin by Philemon Dlala who was clearing american bramble!  Terribly exciting, although it does mean there is a patch of bramble left unsprayed in the middle of the field.  This Rinkhals skin was found nearby.

I disturbed what I think was a green olive snake in the grass beside the forest and it slithered quickly up a tree.

There are still plenty of frogs about and lots of tadpoles in the dam.  Clicking frogs still very audible at night.

Last summer, while Joel was swimming in the dam, a green water snake swam alongside him. While he was thinking it would be best to have a little space between them, a fish eagle swooped down and snatched the snake.  An incredible experience. As Joel quipped afterwards “Most of my friends train in the pool at Virgin Active, they don’t know what they are missing.”

Katie Robinson – Lemonwood

I have seen a couple of very large porcupine running down the road in front of me when I was driving home the other night, both rattling their quills and looking larger than life.  Two Serval on the drive and a very long black looking snake (about 2 metres) crossing the drive a couple of nights ago.  A keen birding customer spotted a Narina Trogan in the forest quickly followed by a bluemantled flycatcher.  Several sightings of Tree Dassies sitting in the elbows of trees staring at walkers as they climb the hill.  The noise of the Christmas beetles is almost deafening in the forest at the moment.