Birding near McGregor


Yesterday we went to McGregor and the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve in order to try to supplement our Karoo birding list.  We had wonderful clear warm weather with no wind whatsoever, but nevertheless, the birds we wanted to see eluded us. Sadly, the dams are still empty and the area is in desperate need of rain.  Our afternoon was punctuated by a few isolated drops and there was some thundery activity around, but it remained dry and dusty!

Interestingly, we saw an enigmatic black, white and grey bird with a clear breastband.  It was obviously a wagtail, but the lack of any brown colouration suggested that it had to be a Mountain Wagtail.  This meant a bird very far out of its area and also out of its habitat, so we were reluctant to name it, but there really was no other choice.  I did not get a photograph!

We managed…

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A Mountain near McGregor


Today Renee and I went to the little Karoo near McGregor in search of a Protea Canary. We did not find one, but in our efforts we found a wonderful road up to the communications tower on Galgberg.  The road climbs from McGregor at an altitude of 240 mamsl through farmland and eventually onto a tarred service road to the tower.  It is a narrow and steep road that winds up to a final height of 1400 mamsl! The views are spectacular and the vegetation is beautiful fynbos.  We saw a couple of klipspringers and very few birds, but it was well worth the drive.  Luckily we did not meet any other traffic on the road.

We had lunch, an excellent meal, at the lovely Cafe Temenos, complete with peacocks and a small art gallery, on the main road in McGregor.

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Birding at Strandfontein


Renee and I visited Strandfontein this morning hoping to see the African Crake and Knob-billed Duck that have recently been reported there.  We were not disappointed as we managed to see both of them.  Luckily we ran into Trevor Hardaker and he put us on the right track.  The Crake was especially rewarding as it walked right up to us and seemed quite unafraid.

In addition to these two birds we saw another 53 species, so the visit was certainly worthwhile.  Light drizzle accompanied us as we arrived there, but it soon dissipated and we had good, clear, if cold, weather.

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Bonsai Saturday

Bonsai Eejit

Yesterday I managed to fit in some bonsai here in LA. I had the opportunity to visit Huntington Gardens for a few hours and gallop around the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, and of course take in the bonsai display. Well worth a visit. I only wish I’d have had time to give the whole place a look over.

Next stop was Fuji Bonsai, Roy Nagatoshi’s nursery, cram-packed with trees and a great welcome from the guys and gals who were there for the Saturday morning workshop.

I then popped over to see Robert Pressler at Kimura Bonsai as he’d got in touch and kindly invited me to visit. I have loads of photos from all these places, but hotel wi-fi doesn’t want to play, so you’ll have to wait until I get back home, or a get better connection for the full run down.

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Appreciating Life Through Death


DSC_0857 Grim Reaper lurks through the bonsai garden.

Today is MondayMay 29th 2017. It is Memorial Day in America, a federal holiday to remember the men and women that died who served in the armed forces. It’s interesting that just minutes before I started writing this, that I just made that connection.Since today I’m not working, I usually have time to do other leisurely things such as blogging. I wanted to make this post today because I now have a little bit of time, however, I have been thinking about making this post for about a month now. Appropriately enough, it’s Memorial Day which makes this subject even morefitting. Many brave men and women died in service to protect what we enjoy (sometimes casually) livingin America in the form of freedom, security, and peace. I truly appreciate this and will not take it for granted.

As much as I would prefer…

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Beautiful Pots and Kusamono

Bonsai & Yamadori from Tony Tickle

Here are a few pots that I have purchased recently, for sure the skill of kusamono potters in the West is getting better year on year. Pots from these potters can be purchased at Bonsai Europa 2017  even though the pots are beautiful, they reach a higher level of beauty when the best plant is paired with the pot.


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