Monthly Archive: March 2011

Cape Batis

The Cape Batis, or Batis capensis, is a smallish passerine bird in the wattle-eye family. A passerine is a bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. It is resident in the highlands of southern and eastern South Africa and Zimbabwe. Its diet consists mainly of insects and is usually found in moist evergreen mountain forests and wooded gorges. Both the male and the female will aggressively defend their territory. When larger birds of prey, animals or humans approach, the bird will often perch conspicuously near the intruder and angrily protest audibly.
The Cape Batis hunts by flycatching, or by taking prey from the ground like a shrike.
Thanks to Zane for this incredible picture with some references and thanks to SASOL Birds of Southern Africa by Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton.

Cape Batis

Orange Vygie

The Orange Vygie or Lampranthus Aureus is a flower native to Southern Africa. The shiny orange flowers are borne singly or in clusters on short stalks, are 60 mm in diameter and appear from August. Yellow and purple forms also occur. Plants are all pollinated by insects at midday when flowers are fully open. In the past these plants were known as midday plants. They are also referred to as ‘municipal workers’ as the flowers open at 9 am and close at 5 pm.

Orange Vygie

Robber Fly

The Robber fly is from the order Diptera, Family Asilidae. They are predators to other bugs and are always wanting to devour large quantities of food. They mostly prey on other insects and are capable of attacking and killing bees, wasps, dragonflies, grasshoppers and even spiders. They tend to feed on whatever insects happen to be available in a particular area.
When hunting, the robber fly finds a perching location in order to locate suitable prey. Once located, robber flies catch their prey in mid air. They inject their prey with saliva from their proboscis. The saliva contains neurotoxic and proteolytic enzymes. The neurotoxins paralyze the prey and the proteolytic enzymes digest proteins in the body tissues. The robber fly will then return to its perch and consume the liquidized body tissues of the prey.

Robber Fly

White Hibiscus

Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. It contains several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. Member species are often noted for their showy flowers and are commonly known as hibiscus, sorrel, and flor de Jamaica, or less widely known as rosemallow. The genus includes both annual and perennial herbaceous plants, as well as woody shrubs and small trees.

White Hibiscus

Crowned Lapwing (Plover)

The Crowned Lapwing (Vanellus Coronatus) has a black cap surrounded by a white ‘halo’ giving this bird its name. The legs and basal part of it bill are a reddish pink color. There is also a black band separating it’s breast from its belly. They live in short grass, on golf courses or on playing fields.

Crowned Plover

Wall Crab Spider

Wall Crab Spiders, from the family Selenopidae, are common in houses, especially in the eastern regions of South Africa. These are pretty common house spiders and are also known as Flatties. They have flat bodies and legs that are spread out like a crab. They have long spines on the legs possibly for sensing movement. They are extremely agile and can move very fast when either hunting or if they are disturbed.

Wall Crab Spider

Lightning Strike

We recently had a pretty awesome thunder storm here in Port Elizabeth. This is something that does not occur that often in this area. This was a lucky shot I took after taking multiple shots in the one direction for over an hour.
Did You Know?
1. If you have wet clothes on, lightning will do you less harm
2. Lightning hits the Empire State Building (NY, USA) about 23 times a year
3. About 71% of all people struck by lightning survive. The fatal cases are usually the result of cardiac arrest. However, those who survive often suffer from serious health and psychological problems like loss of memory or sensitivity, insomnia, impaired hearing, or constant pain.
4. The chance to be killed by lightning is 1 in 2,000.000.

Lightning Strike

Dark Capped Bulbul

The Dark Capped Bulbul – Pycnonotus Tricolor is the most common bulbul in the eastern area’s of South Africa. It is different from the African Red Eye and Cape Bulbuls by its black (not red or white) eye ring. Their habitats range from savanna to forests and gardens. The females will lay 2-3 eggs at a time. Their main diet includes; fruit, seeds, flowers, nectar, insects and spiders. Extracts taken out of Sasols’ Complete Photographic Field Guide to Birds of Southern Africa

Dark Capped Bulbul