Thursday, 20 September 2012

Flower Power

Its flower season in the Western Cape and there is nowhere better to see this display that on the west coast and in particular Postberg within the West Coast National Park.  I know this park quite well having spent some time 2 years ago with the field rangers. I returned last week to see the part of the park only open during flower season, Postberg. This part of the park is privately owned but part of the park. It also houses many large endangered mammals such as bontebok, black wildebeest and cape mountain zebra. It is great to see them amongst the stunning flowers on a sunny day. The flowers stay closed on overcast days.

A down side of the flowers is the amount of people rushing through the rest of the park to get to Postberg which lies at the end of a peninsular. I was overtaken by people who must have been doing over 100km/h when the speed limit is 50km/h. I rarely got over 30km/h and was overtaken by so many people, embarrassingly very old people who sit with there head on the windscreen and chairs as far forward as they can go. This resulted in many dead animals. I saw a few mongoose, birds tortoise and a snake all hit by cars. The people also missed out many great sightings. I alone saw the humpback whale playing in the surf outside of Postberg and the black harrier flying along the road.

However it is worth a visit but drive slowly, there is more to see than just the flowers here.

Black headed heron in the flowers

The black harrier no one wanted to see

Bontebok enjoying the flowers 
Black wildebeest int purple

Myriad colours

Flowered Plain

Ostrich in the flowers

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Snake by the Pool

I am currently in Langebaan on the West Coast and the flowers are still amazing and colourful, and I still need to do a post on them. But today I saw something to override the flower post. A beautiful snake. 

When I first came to Langebaan in 2009 I was exploring the garden when I saw a Cape cobra by the pool. We eventually captured the deadly snake and released him by the national park. Now every time I go by the pool I take a cautious look around the corner first.

Today I was greeted by a snake. My first thoughts where the snake had finally made its way home after 3 years. But no this was no cobra. In fact I am not 100% sure what it is. I checked up in the snake book on the shelf and seems to me it is a juvenile mole snake. The book only showed an adult but the description of a juvenile fits as does its range. 

Mole Snake?

Maybe a juvenile?
Anyway after taking a few photos it spotted me. It curled up into an aggressive pose much like an adder will. The book said it can be aggressive but is not venomous. I did not know this at the time and it came after me. I retreated a bit before it gave up the chase and disappeared into a hole in the ground. Hopefully he will return so I can get a better look at him.

If anyone can positively identify the snake please let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

3D Francolin

A while ago on my other blog i posted some 3D images that dont require glasses (link). Today while in the west coast national park looking at the amazing flowers, (which will be in a future post) I took a few photos of this francolin. I noticed two where very similar and thought I would see what would happen if i tried to apply the 3D effect. It seems to have worked to a degree. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

An Ant-Bear

So a few weeks ago I captured footage of a cape mountain leopard. On the camera there was also another interesting individual, the aardvark or ant-bear. This gut was in the same location as the leopard, just a week later. The area seems to be a busy place so I have returned my camera there to try and capture my number 1 animal, the ratel or honey badger. 

The aardvark wondered around in the distance in this first video probably looking for its favourite food, termites. The aardvark tears a termite mound apart with its sharp claws and then has easy access to the little guys inside. 

The next video shows the strange animal much closer. If you refer back to my post on the leopard (link) you can compare the sizes of the two animals as they both stand in the same location. 

The termite mounds all around the area are filled with large holes created by these guys but smaller holes just a few mm wide are scattered all over the mounds. These give the mounds a pitted appearance and are made by another creature not termites or aardvark. These are made by the ground woodpecker. They use their bills to poke about inside the mound and pick out some juicy termites.

Ground Woodpecker