Monthly Archive: June 2011

King of the Jungle

The King of the Jungle, the African Lion, or Panthera Leo, is a carnivorous animal which is part of the Cat Family. They stand about 1.2m high and are
150 to 230 Kgs. They tend to live in savannas, grasslands, dense bush and woodlands.
Lions are the only cats that live in groups, which are called prides. Prides are family units that may include up to three males, a dozen or so females, and their young. All of a pride’s lionesses are related, and female cubs typically stay with the group as they age. Young males eventually leave and establish their own prides by taking over a group headed by another male….

King of the Jungle

Only male lions have manes. Males defend the pride’s territory, which may include some 259 square kilometers of land. These intimidating animals mark the area with urine, roar menacingly to warn intruders, and chase off animals that encroach on their territory.

King of the Jungle

King of the Jungle

King of the Jungle

King of the Jungle

Female lions are the primary hunters. They often work together to prey upon antelopes, zebras, wildebeest, and other large animals of the open grasslands. Although most of the animals are faster than the lions, the working together helps catch the prey.

King of the Jungle

King of the Jungle

King of the Jungle

King of the Jungle

King of the Jungle

All these pictures were taken at Lalibela Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

King of the Jungle

Cape Wagtail

The Cape Wagtail or the Motacilla Capensis is a greyish brown wagtail with a shortish tail. It is a common resident to grasslands, gardens and also usually near water. It’s diet consists mainly of insects and other invertebrates as well as the occasional tadpole or small fish. The pictures were taken in my garden with a Canon 450D camera using a 100-400mm IS Lens.

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Red Beauty

While on a quest to search for spiders and other sorts of bugs for my website, we came across this beauty. It was hiding amongst the grass, but was not to difficult to see because of the contrast of the red flowers versus the green grass. Would really appreciate an identification as we have no idea what plant it is.

Red Beauty

Red Beauty

Honey Bee Mimic

The Honey Bee Mimic comes from the Family Syrphidae and the Order Diptera. It forms part of the Hover Fly Group with its scientific name being Eristalinus Taeniops. It is identified by being a medium sized bee mimic with black bars on its eyes, a dull orange thorax and a yellow and black striped abdomen. If it is caught, it buzzes aggressively but is completely harmless as it has no sting. They are widespread in Africa and Asia.

Honey Bee Mimic

Red Veined Dropwing DragonFly

These dragonflies are from the family Libellulidae. This particular specimen is Trithemis Arteriosa. They are widespread and common with a wingspan of around 58mm. This one is a dull orange colour probably indicating that it is a female. The males are typically red bodied with red leading wings. Their food mainly consists of passing insects.

Red Veined Dropwing DragonFly

Eerie Red Moon

On June 15 2011 a Lunar Eclipse took place. This one was classified as a Central lunar eclipse which is defined as an eclipse where part of the moon passes through the center of the Earth’s shadow. These are the darkest eclipses and relatively rare. This was the first of two such eclipses in 2011. The second will occur on December 10, 2011. This was also the longest total lunar eclipse in 11 years.
A lunar eclipse happens when the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow. Earth always has a shadow, which is created by the Sun. On those rare occasions when the Moon, Earth and the Sun are all lined up just right, the Moon passes through this shadow. This would happen every full moon if the Moon orbited around the Earth in the same plane as the Earth orbits around the Sun. The Moons orbit, however, is tilted about 5 degrees above the Earth-Sun plane. This tilt itself, however, rotates, allowing eclipses to happen when the tilt of this plane lines up with the Earth-Sun plane, blocking sunlight.

The moon about one and a half hours before the start of the lunar eclipse.

Eerie Red Moon

The moon about 45 minutes after the start of the lunar eclipse.

Eerie Red Moon

The moon about 50 minutes after the start of the lunar eclipse.

Eerie Red Moon

The moon about 55 minutes after the start of the lunar eclipse.

Eerie Red Moon

This picture was taken exactly one hour after the start of the eclipse.

Eerie Red Moon

African Hoopoe

The African Hoopoe or Upupa Africana, is a cinnamon-colored bird with a long slightly decurved bill and a long, black-tipped crest that is held erect when the bird is alarmed. African Hoopoes are Ground feeders and eat mainly insects, although they’ll also eat small reptiles such as lizards. They use their bill for probing the earth and animal dung. They also turn over leaf litter to find prey. Vegetable matter (seeds or berries) are eaten but in very small quantities. The African Hoopoe isn’t a sociable bird and is generally found either singly or in pairs. This photo was taken by my eldest daughter, Kira with an old Canon Powershot Pro1 Camera.

African Hoopoe

Another shot of this bird, but with my camera.

African Hoopoe

Another hoopoe picture, but this time much closer.

African Hoopoe

Red Eyed Dove Preening

The Red Eyed Dove or Streptopelia semitorquata is slightly larger and darker than the Cape Turtle Dove. Its habitat ranges from Bushes to gardens to parks. The Red-eyed Dove is a pigeon which is a widespread resident breeding bird in Africa south of the Sahara. It is a common, if not abundant, species in most habitats. The Red-eyed Dove is a largish, stocky pigeon, typically 34cm in length. Its back, wings and tail are pale brown. When flying, it shows blackish flight feathers. The head and underparts are dark vinous-pink, shading to pale grey on the face. There is a black hind neck patch edged with white. The legs and a patch of bare skin around the eye are red. Red-eyed Doves eat grass seeds, grains and other vegetation. They often forage on the ground. In this photo, the dove is preening itself next to it mate. This picture was taken at a place called The Island on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Red Eyed Dove Preening

Common Green Mantid (Mantis) Head

This picture is a macro shot of a Common Green Mantid (Mantis)Family Mantidae. Its scientific name is Sphodromantis Gastrica. These mantids have large bodies of about 55mm in length, they are robust and bright green. The females are much fatter than the males. Their diet consists of mainly caterpillars and insects. They are extremely common in gardens, in trees and in undisturbed vegetation. This macro was taken with a Canon MPE65 Lens at about 3.5X.

Common Green Mantid