Day 551 – Intaka Visit

Out of bed (fairly) early, considering the kids are still on school holiday and off to Intaka Island – close, quiet, safe, cheap – for a slow, short, gentle wander. Loads to see and ‘tog, including (but not limited to) bitterns, herons, bishops, kingfishers, weavers, sunbirds, cormorants, ibises, warblers and canaries. And that was just the birds.

Best spots of the day were the Malachite Kingfisher – Alcedo cristata – because it’s cute and colourful:

…and this Purple Heron – Ardea purpurea – killing off the local invasive fish population (a Perca fluviatilis, I think):

This morning’s photos are on Flickr here.

There was an old guy sitting in one of the hides there with a camera setup which was at least 10x the price of mine. When he pressed the shutter, it was like one of those automatic rifles going off.

SO. FAST.

#goals

I’m still learning with this new lens, so mine might not be quite up to the quality (or quantity – damn!) of his, but I quite like them, and you don’t get to see his to compare, and I can certainly see myself popping back out there and spending some quality time stalking more photographic prey as I try to improve.

It’s really not like it was much of a hardship to spend a couple of hours out there this morning.

Bit knackered now, mind.

Day 536 – Frerg

After 25 minutes of standing in the drizzle yesterday morning, I was reminded of the 1989 hit Getting Away With It by supergroup Electronic:

“I’ve been walking in the rain just to get wet on purpose”

But actually, my primary aim was to find a frog, which I eventually did.

It wouldn’t have been hard to find him if he’d been sitting on the grass like this. But he wasn’t, of course.

The Cape Rain Frogs in our area are vocal little things keep us awake all night when it rains, but they are notoriously difficult to locate because they are small (5cm long), well camouflaged and hide in tiny little burrows under the vegetation. When they’re quiet, you literally wouldn’t know that they were there. So I used the occasional croaks to home in on this little guy bit by bit, before finding him and ever so gently easing him out of his hole to meet the kids and the camera.

When he was making a noise and I was actively searching, at least anyone watching me would have know that I was doing something. For the other 95% of the time, I was just standing silently and attentively in the rain. It must have looked odd.
Fortunately(?), the rest of the family was still in bed.

After a few photos and some education, we popped him back safely in his little hole, ready to continue chatting to his local friends and to warn us of the next nocturnal precipitation.

Day 522, part 2 – 100%

101.6% in fact.

Yep, this bad boi, which gave us this, dumped 66mm of rain onto our back garden, saved enough to drop into the catchment areas to do this:

So moist.

And that almost 2 months before we managed to get over the 100% mark last year.

Prior to that, the dams were last full in 2014.

We have a very well-pubicised relationship with water supply and dam levels in Cape Town, and while this is obviously very good news, we still need to save water whenever we can, and there are still shedloads of projects continuing to ensure that we don’t (almost) run out again. As described here.

Day 511 – Animal pics

I promised a while back to get some more photos edited and uploaded and lawd bless ma soul, I have done it.

Here they are! Yes, mainly animal pics because we were very much there (which was here) to look at animals.
Some animal pics are better than others; some really good, some not so good, but these are the ones that I liked.

Inverdoorn is a private game reserve in the Karoo. It’s not deepest, darkest, wildest Africa. But it does offer the opportunity to see – and get close to – some really amazing animals that you might see in DDWA. They also do a lot of rehabilitation work, especially with their cheetahs, and with really good deals for locals (no, this isn’t a sponsored post) at the moment, it’s a whole lot cheaper (and a whole lot less hassle) than heading up north.

But of course, up north has its benefits too and personally, I think it’s unfair to compare this with a Kruger trip (and they probably shouldn’t try to on their website), but as a really easy standalone weekend away from Cape Town, with good food, good drink, great accommodation and the chance to see some big animals, I’d totally recommend it. Covid protocols were really well-observed, too.

But you weren’t here for my thoughts on the place. You just wanted to see the animal photos, right?

Right.

Day 462 – Not a good idea

I do recognise the need to stimulate the economy. I do see that we need money brought back into the country and businesses running again. I don’t miss the tourists, but I do know that we miss their cold, hard cash.

But surely this is not a good idea.

83 confirmed booking for cruise ships between October and the end of the year? Ah Jesus.

How’s the cruise industry looking at the moment? Awful.

That’s because cruise ships were one of the earliest vectors for Covid-19, and – despite their best efforts, things haven’t improved much. So alongside this sort of headline:

Are ones like this:

And this:

And once one or two passengers have got it, there will inevitably be a whole lot more to follow.
This isn’t rocket science. Stick several thousand people on top of each other for a few weeks and any illness is bound to spread. That’s why the government – very sensibly (gasp) – banned cruise ships from SA ports very early on in this whole ugly mess.

Before cruise liners, ships from foreign parts had a great history of bringing unwanted diseases to vulnerable populations:

Note: For “Black Death” read “Covid-19”; for “the Black Sea” read “Walvisbaai”; for “Messina” read “the V&A Waterfront; for “Sicilian authorities” read “Wesgro”, and for “covered in black boils that oozed blood and pus”… meh… maybe something about a fever, no sense of smell, and an inability to breathe. You get the idea.

And before Covid, cruise liners were food-poisoning hotspots, be it Norovirus, rotavirus, Salmonella or even unusual stuff like Staphylococcus. Thankfully, when that sort of thing is brought ashore, while it may not be very pleasant, it doesn’t close down entire cities and countries. If the statisticians and epidemiologists are right (and they’ve been pretty good so far) we will be a couple of months away from our fourth wave when the majority of these ships arrive. If they are bringing more Covid in with them, then we might see the whole of the summer washed out by more restrictions, and that would certainly be the death knell for any businesses who had somehow managed to survive that far.

Sure, cruise ships (especially 83 of them) are high reward customers for our local tourism industry. But equally, cruise ships (especially 83 of them) are also very high risk customers for all our local industries.

Much as they did with the proposed Horseshoe Bat Market in Woodstock back in March, someone surely has to stand up and just nip this one in the bud. For all our sakes.