Monday, 30 July 2012

Otter in the Dunes

Last week I was at a series of talks about fynbos and research in the fynbos area and it was housed at Cape St Francis Resort. On one of the days there was some time allocated with no talks so I took a walk along the famous surf break on the beach at Cape St Francis. 

At the far end of the beach there are a small series of dunes that look out over Jeffries Bay and down to Port Elizabeth. While walking here I came across what at first looked like a cat running around. I then realised it was an otter, a cape clawless otter. It had not seen me as it was so intent on reaching a pool that had formed in the dunes. I dropped to my stomach in the wet sand and crawled to the edge of the pool.

I only had my medium zoom lens with me but he was so close I managed to get some rather nice photos. I watched him swimming around for a while until he disappeared into the dunes. I then realised the talks where due to begin soon and had to rush across the dunes like Lawrence of Arabia to be back in time.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Here in the mountains at Blue Hill there are plenty of baboon although they are very wary of humans due to being shot by farmers. They are very unlike the Cape Point baboons.
Using my camera-trap set right in the hills miles from the house and managed to capture some natural baboon behaviour (although I was hoping for a leopard).
Below are two videos from the camera trap followed by a few photos.

The baboons run at the first sight of people.
 Here they are keeping an eye on me.

And this guy didnt make it, maybe prey to a leopard?

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Birds of the Blue Hill

Here at the Blue Hill on the border between the Western and Eastern Capes within the Kouga and Bavianskloof area is a paradise for birders. The birds are not wary of people for some reason and allow great viewings, even from the actual house. I have collected a few of my photos so far of bird life to show you all.

I am sure that plenty more such images will follow. So here they are.

Orange breasted sunbird (male)
Cape Grassbird

Cardinal woodpecker

Juvenile Orange Breasted Sunbird

Another Male Orange breasted sunbird


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Blue Atlantis Escape

So some exciting news. It rained in the karoo. And by rain I mean rain. So much rain fell in six hours that the rain gauges here overflowed, and they hold around the 10% of the average annual rainfall for the area. So what fell in the whole 48 hours I do not know.

The extent of the flood

Roads have been swept away, power lines and phone lines toppled, people cut off for days including myself. The two access roads to the Blue Hill where swept away and turned into rivers. The river crossings where river rapids clogged with trees and other debris.

The river crossing
The river in the photos is usually just a trickle. I have no comparison images yet.

More flood
Along with wind was rain and a huge branch from a tree snapped off and narrowly missed the hilux vehicle.

The large branch

Luckily we had only just stocked up on food so for the few days we had been isolated we had enough supplies to stop us resorting to cannibalism. On the way out the full extent was seen. Many streams where raging torrents. All the way to Cape St Francis where I am now safely sitting in nice weather the rain had taken its toll aswel.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Kudu and Buck

Here are two camera trap images collected from near to the main house at Blue Hill escape. The camera was only out two nights and captured these videos and more not uploaded. the first is a shivering grysbok or duiker, not sure which. The second is an inquisitive kudu looking at the camera. I have baboons to also show you but not sure when.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Arrived in South Africa

Well here I am in South Africa staying at the Blue Hill Escape. I have had my camera up already and seen plenty of signs of the cape mountain leopard, spoor and scat. 

The baboons are quite a frequent sight but much more nervous than the peninsular ones. Probably due to the fact they have been hunted here and shot as vermin. I am on the bird survey at the moment having set off today with bavianskloof nature area next up. 

Birdlife is everywhere with sunbirds singing meters from where I stand. Redwing starlings, my favourite bird, nests in the roof above my room.

The location is so remote at night it is absolutely deafening with the quietness. This also has the effect that the sky at night is unbelievable which this time-lapse I created shows.


Images unfortunately will be in a future post as I have limited internet and they are all in RAW format at around 30mb each.

My camera trap has captured some nice baboon behaviour as well as some species of buck and kudu. These will be up soon.

Finally an image not in RAW for you to show the starts. 

Milky way showing the southern cross and pointers in the top right.  (30 second shutter, 3200 iso.)