Our Bushveld Yard Animals
The Summer Change
Immediately outside our African yard, the tawny, grey, sun-baked landscape of the bushveld winter has been transformed in a few short weeks into a lushly fertile paradise. Then, a grey veil of dry branches hid the game behind a mist of twigs. As the rains have come and gone and come again, the trees turned green, and smaller creatures began showing themselves, popping up all over the yard when least expected.
Look closely at the photo of the river and you may be able to make out the Egyptian Geese on the sandbank, another in the water, and there’s even a mama goose with four youngsters – see if you can spot them. Standing around on the river bank are Cattle Egrets and a lone Heron (only visible if the photo’s enlarged,) while Weaver nests dangle in the trees in the foreground and on the far bank.
Dappled light and dancing leaves replace the tawny grey, playing with pattern and texture, revealing glimpses of animals through the canopy. It’s all beautiful and green; a deep ocean of emerald, lime, khaki and olive, stretching out in front of us to the river and into the Kruger, beyond. All this beauty comes at a price! The easy photos of animals at the water hole and the wonderful birds in the Nyum Nyum Tree are not so easy to catch through all the now leafy drapery. See our image from winter here.
This is the fate of the last banana put out for the birds on the Nyum Nyum Tree. Within a few minutes, the pieces of fruit were covered by these beetles. No, covered is the wrong word. They packed themselves on the banana pieces, in some places five bugs deep. In a few minutes, every bit of banana was gone except for the empty skin. We’ve called them Love Bugs, ‘cause of the hearts on their shells… Any kindly entomologists out there know what these are – please share?
Beware Your Footsteps
I don’t know who got a bigger surprise, me or this Giant Plated Lizard, I nearly stepped on at the bottom of the stairs.
Very Chatty Little Blokes
This little guy is a Dwarf Mongoose, fully grown and part of a group of seven. They disappear when the stripies (Banded Mongoose) appear.
The More you Try
I tried over and over to get a decent shot of this Ground Squirrel but I was all thumbs. Fortunately there was one shot more or less in focus.
No Closer Man!
Under the deck downstairs, it’s cool and shady. There’s a grumpy warthog that likes to go there sometimes, but the real king of the castle is this Land Monitor – one and a half meters of scaly, reptilian power. They climb trees and are extremely fast.
Other Inhabitants of this African Yard
Plated Lizard One lives under the rocks off the balcony by the driveway
Not Fruit Eaters
The Red-billed Hornbill spend a lot of time foraging on the ground for food.
Commonly Known as Stripies
These Banded Mongoose belong to a pack numbering around thirty to forty individuals who were all feeding under the Treehouse balcony. They’re the brave ones who stayed on to have their picture taken while all the others ran off. The whole pack lives on the edge of our African yard, where the thick bush begins some 20 meters away.
Sung to Sleep by the Lions Roar
As I write this, the lions are roaring about 500 meters away… Time for bed…