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What

Orange-breasted Sunbird Anthobaphes violacea

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

August 27, 2020 09:48 AM EET

Description

Male > Female. Male with an orange-yellow breast, bottle-green head and elongated central tail feathers very distinctive.

Common endemic, sedentary with local movements in response to nectar supply. Inhabit fynbos with many ericas and proteas.

Found around a little stream, during a hike, in Baviaanskloof.

Photos / Sounds

What

Fiscal Flycatcher Melaenornis silens

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

August 27, 2020 09:24 AM EET

Description

Sexes similar. Male with upperparts black. Confusion most likely with Southern Fiscal (Lanius collaris) but lacks heavy hooked bill and white 'V' on the back.

Common endemic, sedentary in South but altitudinal movements undertaken by most northern populations in Winter. Inhabit open woodland, from moist to semi-arid regions.

Found during a hike in Baviaanskloof.

Photos / Sounds

What

Cape Robin-Chat Cossypha caffra

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

August 27, 2020 08:55 AM EET

Description

Sexes alike. Pale orange throat and grey sides to neck, breast and belly diagnostic.

Here, fresh plumage corresponding to Autumn and Winter. Common, some populations are resident, but winter altitudinal movements in many areas. Inhabit thickets, forest margins, riparian fringes, parks and gardens. Call is a distinctive, guttural wur-de-dur alarm and contact call.

Found around the accommodation, in Baviaanskloof.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Small-spotted Aloe Aloe microstigma

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

August 26, 2020 01:03 PM EET

Description

Stemless or short-stemmed succulent, with densely spotted, brown-toothed leaves and conical, mostly bicoloured racemes of tubular flowers.

Found during a hike in Baviaanskloof.

Photos / Sounds

What

Kebab Bush Crassula rupestris

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

August 26, 2020 01:02 PM EET

Description

Shrublet to 50 cm, with pairs of fleshy, oval to lance-shaped, greyish or pinkish leaves with red or yellow, horny margins, and short-stalked, rounded clusters of whitish star-shaped flowers tinged pink, 4-6 mm long.

Found during a hike, in a rocky area, in Baviaanskloof.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Chacma Baboon Papio ursinus

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

August 26, 2020 10:13 AM EET

Description

Fairly large size, with a long, dog-like snout in adults. Uniform grey to grey-brown colour.

Wide habitat tolerance, but requires rocky cliffs or tall trees to retreat at night or when threatened.

Found during a hike, in a valley, in Baviaanskloof.

Photos / Sounds

What

Monster Tiger Beetles Genus Manticora

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

August 26, 2020 10:06 AM EET

Description

Very large, spectacular and unmistakable. Dark brown with enormous mandibles. Elytra flattened, with dull metallic sheen and fine hairs, each arising from a small tubercle.

Flightless. Voracious nocturnal predator of arthropods and ground-dwelling insects. Larger jaws in males may help to hold female during mating.

Found during a hike, in a sandy area, in Baviaanskloof.

Photos / Sounds

What

Spotted Sand Lizard Pedioplanis lineoocellata ssp. pulchella

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

August 26, 2020 02:36 PM EET

Description

Two large black-edged transparent scales at each lower eyelid, no enlarged tympanic shield. Blackish body, with a greyish head and a greyish broad vertebral stripe lined by two rows of 14 and 15 light grey spots. On each side there is one dorsolateral and one lateral cream-coloured stripe and an additional row of spots in between. The limbs are grey with light spots.

Found in a large variety of habitats from the coast to mountain slopes. Generally associated with rocky areas.

Found during a hike, on rocky outcrops, in Baviaanskloof.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Southern Rock Agama Agama atra

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

August 26, 2020 02:26 PM EET

Description

Growing up to 25 cm, thin dorsal crest that runs the length of its body. Typically short, plump body and a thin tail, with a triangular head. During the breeding season, the heads of the males become bright blue. The males also take to sitting on top of prominent rocks and are therefore a common sight in mountainous areas of South Africa. The females and young are a more uniform greyish-brown and are much more shy.

Found during a hike, on rocky outcrops, in Baviaanskloof.

Photos / Sounds

What

Toktokkies Tribe Sepidiini

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 10:11 AM EET

Description

Large, stout, globular, black. Pronotum smooth with some puncturing as sides. Elytra smooth.

Ground-dwelling, often on 'koppies'.

Could be Psammodes gibbus if it had longitudinal reddish brown lines on the elytra, or Psammodes hirtipes, which is very similar, black, with punctured femora, and whitish down on tibiae and tarsi.

Found during a hike in Assegaai, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Blue Plumbago Plumbago auriculata

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

July 5, 2020 09:49 AM EET

Description

Shrub or scrambler to 2 m, with oblong or paddle-shaped leaves bearing lobes or ears at the base, and spikes of pale blue, salver-shaped flowers with a slender tube, 20-30 mm long. Thicket and scrub through eastern South Africa.

Found during a hike around the so-called area of Manleys Flat, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Ring-necked Dove Streptopelia capicola

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

July 5, 2020 09:31 AM EET

Description

Sexes similar, males bigger than females. Similar to, but greyer than the larger red-eyed dove, and without bare red skin around the eyes. White outer tail feathers conspicuous in flight (unlike the red-eyed dove).

Very common resident, with nomadic movements recorded in arid regions.
Inhabit woodland, savanna, farmlands, parks and gardens.
Feed on seeds of grasses, cereals, shrubs and trees, but also fruits, earthworms, termites and other insects.

Call like a loud kuk-koorr-ko, repeated 10 to 40 times. Call throughout the day and sometime at night.

Found during a hike around the so-called area of Manleys Flat, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Poison-Bulb Boophone disticha

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 09:54 AM EET

Description

More conspicuous in leaf than in flower, for the leaves are arranged in a neat fan. Subglobose bulbs, 15-20. diam., with many hundreds of tunics, the outer brown and firm in texture. Leaves (8-16) ensiform, distichous, erect, coriaceous, glaucous, closely ribbed, narrowed gradually to the point, hairy on the margin, not ciliated, often much undulated.

Found during a hike in Assegaai, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

What

Southern Yellow-billed Duck Anas undulata ssp. undulata

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 10:29 AM EET

Description

Sexes similar, males bigger than females. Overall dark plumage, bright yellow bill and greenish speculum distinctive.

Common resident or nomad. In pairs or flocks from a few birds to hundreds. Found in open habitats, near still water bodies. Feed mainly on plants, and to a lesser extent insect larvae and snails.

Found during a hike in Assegaai, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

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Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 11:35 AM EET

Description

Lampranthus description:
Flat-growing, erecting in shrubs with smooth stems and fibrous roots. Free paired leaves or slightly fused at their bases, always equal or similar (up to 50 mm in length), cylindrical or three-sided with blunt or taperings tips and smooth surfaces occasionally dotted.

Flowers singly or in small clusters, usually on short stalks. Five sepals and numerous white, yellow, orange, red or purple petals.

Raised rims on the fruit, the glaucus colour of the leaves (tips reddish tinged common) and relatively big flowers suggest Lampranthus.

" In this case I believe this to be L.spectabilis. Solitary large flowers, and leaves with sheaths forming a swelling when young, later leaving a free triangular piece of stem tissue " (see comment below).

Lampranthus commonly cultivated, can withstand drought well but do not thrive in areas subjected to prolonged periods of frosts.

Found in a rocky slope, during a hike in Assegaai, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 12:21 PM EET

Description

Sexes similar, males bigger than females. Yellow breast patch and red eyes diagnostic. Southern ssp. florisuga (from approximately Durban southwards), both sexes lack black breast band.

Common resident. Largely sedentary, with winter movements to lower levels recorded in south of range. Usually in pairs or small family groups and may maintain territory year-round.

Found in moist woodland, riparian thickets, lowland and mid-altitude forest, luxuriant Acacia savanna, and large gardens. Feed mainly on insects, also recorded taking fruit and nectar. Call made of repetitive krunk-krunk-krunk, replied by the female krik-krik-krik.

Found during a hike in Assegaai, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Common Impala Aepyceros melampus ssp. melampus

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 03:08 PM EET

Description

Medium-sized, slender antelope. Sexually dimorphic, females hornless and smaller than males. Males grow slender, lyre-shaped horns, strongly ridged and divergent, circular in section and hollow at the base. Two-tone coat colouration, reddish brown back and tan flanks, white underbelly. White rings around the eyes and light chin and snout.

Found during a hike in Assegaai, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Southern Black-Flycatcher Melaenornis pammelaina

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 03:10 PM EET

Description

Small, delicate, largely arboreal passerine. Females duller than males, with slight brownish tinge to black plumage and eye lighter brown. Lacks deep red eye of drongos, deeply forked tail and differs in habitats (more sluggish and less demonstrative). Plumage similar to larger male black cuckooshrike but has square (not rounded) tail and lacks orange gape at the base of bill.

Juveniles dull blackish-brown, spotted and streaked above with rufous, blotched buff below.

Common resident, almost sedentary and usually in pairs or small family groups. Found in a wide range of woodland types and forest edges. Feed on insects, occasionnaly nectar from aloes and small fruits.

Call made of high-pitched whistles, often a 3-phrase tseep-tsoo-tsoo.

Found in a tree during a hike in Assegaai, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Blesbok Damaliscus pygargus ssp. phillipsi

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 03:43 PM EET

Description

Prominent white face and thin horizontal brown stripe above the eyes. Body colour brown with a lighter-coloured saddle on the back, and the rump an even lighter shade. Legs are brown with a white patch behind the top part of the front legs. Lower legs whitish. Both sexes carry horns, ringed almost to the tip.

Found in open veld or plains of South Africa and Namibia.

Found in the open plain, during a hike in Assegaai, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

What

King Protea Protea cynaroides

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 20, 2020 11:16 AM EET

Description

Multi-stemmed, resprouting shrub to 3 m, with hairless, long-petioled leaves with an elliptical to rounded blade (120-300 mm long), and large, cup-shaped flowerheads (120-300 mm in diameter). Floral bracts pale (like on the picture) or deep pink and often silky outside (style: 80-95 mm long). Moist sandstone slopes in the southwestern and southern Cape.

Found on the Oldenburg Trail, in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

What

Grand Cushionbush Oldenburgia grandis

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 20, 2020 01:51 PM EET

Description

Shrub or small, gnarled tree in the family Asteraceae. Grows up to 5 m high on sandstone crops. Thicky corky bark and large leaves clustered at the ends of branches. Leaves dark green and leathery, reminiscent of loquat leaves but larger.

Emergent leaves densely and completely felted with white hair (and smooth to the touch). Most of the felt is lost as the leaf matures, but some persists on under surfaces.

Occurs in the mountains around Grahamstown only ! Found on the Oldenburg trail, in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

What

Natal River Crab Potamonautes sidneyi

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 12:48 PM EET

Description

Carapace roughly heart-shaped, wider than long, with distinctly rounded anterolateral borders, tapering to posterior. Front, entire postfrontal crest distinct. Strong granulation. Colour variable, from brownish (see picture) and purplish to black.

This species can be identified by the robust carapace, the possession of broad, short limbs and the typical granulation and beading on the anterolateral and frontal carapace margins, as well as the scabrosity of the epibranchial corners.

Found in a slow stream, during a hike in Assegaai, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Garden Locust Acanthacris ruficornis

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 12:24 PM EET

Description

Large (body length 65 mm), familiar, with midline cream stripe down dark brown thorax and wings. Hind tibiae have well-developed white and red spines. Hind wings pale lemon.

Feeds on leaves, buds and flowers of various trees, but also on grasses. Adults common in autumn, when approximately 120 very large eggs are laid loosely in a weak pod, often in freshly turned soil. Winter is probably spent in the egg stage, and nymps appear in October.

Wings of adults produce a crackling sound in flight. These strong insects can break human skin when they kick, using the spines on their hind legs. Nymphs jump weakly.

Found on bushes or trees in open ground, especially in stands of Acacia saligna, but also in gardens (explaining the name). Absent from very arid areas.

Found during a hike on Assegaai trail, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Common Pearl Charaxes Charaxes varanes ssp. varanes

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 11:28 AM EET

Description

Large (wingspan of males 68 mm, females 78 mm), easily recognized by pearly white basal area of wings, outer part orange-brown. Fore wings with 2 rows of orange spots parallel to outer margin. Hind wings with row of dark brown spots and crescent-shaped brown marks along outer margin, and a slightly clubbed tail. Underside of wings orange-brown, ressembling a leaf.

Adults attracted to sap flows and fermenting fruit. Larvae feed on plants from the genuses Allophytus, Cardiospermum and Rhus. Lives in thick bush and forest.

Found on a branch, on the Assegaai hiking trail, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Swamp Bluet Africallagma glaucum

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 10:32 AM EET

Description

Face light blue and black. Head above with black transverse band. A blue line runs across occiput but
usually does not quite reach eyes. Sometimes this line is broken, forming postocular spots. Eyes light blue with black cap. Cap coincides with black head band. Synthorax black and light blue stripes. Wings clear. Pterostigmas dark grey, almost black, with fine pale margins. Abdomen light blue with a black dorsal line of varying widths, appendix fully blue.

Inhabit pools, dams and still parts of streams and rivers where conditions are swampy and with an abundance of short grasses and sedges. Glides swiftly across the water, close to the surface, frequently landing on an emergent
grass blade, small stick or lily.

Found next to a swamp, during a hike in Assegaai, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Forest Malachite Chlorolestes tessellatus

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 09:57 AM EET

Description

Fairly large, slender damselfly, with dull metallic green body. Eyes greenish to grey, with some brown. Synthorax above dull metallic green with indistinct parallel pair of dull yellow stripes. Males have strongly black and white banded wings. Pterostigmas equally bicoloured, very dark brown and cream, or light mid-brown. Abdomen dull metallic green above, striped dull green and pale yellow at side.

Inhabit small, clear streams with pools in forests (mostly at 400-1200 m, although occasionally sea level). Highly camouflaged when it is clear-winged, but very conspicuous in its banded form, and highly territorial. Hangs from twigs or stems under bushes or trees, becoming more conspicuous when it moves into a sunfleck.

Male specimen found hanging on some stem, on a forest trail in Assegaai, Eastern Cape.

More informations on damselfies and dragonflies of South Africa (by Michael Samways) : https://entomologia.net/l_odonata/odonata_dragonflies%20and%20damsels%20of%20south%20africa.pdf

Photos / Sounds

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What

Spotted Thick-toed Gecko Pachydactylus maculatus

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

June 14, 2020 09:53 AM EET

Description

Geckos from the genus Pachydactylus are characterised by dilated toe tips, usually with undivided scansors. Body scales are small, granular and non-overlapping, with scattered, larged keeled tubercles. Fat body, back grey to greyish-brown in colour with four rows of blackish, elongated splotches melding at time to form irregular crosslines, belly off-white. Rounded snout.

Nocturnal species, feeding mainly on arthropods (spiders and small insects). Females lay 2-3 clutches of hard-shelled eggs, from September to February. Incubation lasts 100-120 days.

Found in a broad range of habitat types, chiefly in relatively mesic areas (moderate or well-balanced supply of moisture), where it uses rocks, old termitaria, logs or debris as refuge sites. Occurs from sea level to at least 1 600 meter high. One of the most common species of South African geckos.

Found with a missing tail under a flat rock, on the hiking trail in Assegaai, Eastern Cape.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

February 12, 2020 11:40 AM EET

Description

Large, robust and bright green, usually with white spot near anterior corner of each fore wing. Sides of abodmen may be mauve and yellow. Females much fatter than males.

Nymphs lack wings and curl the abdomen up over the body. Familiar boat-shaped egg case.

Unusual in that diet consists mainly of caterpillars. Egg case made of a series of vertical chambers along either side of a central "keel", each chamber containing a single egg.

On foliage of trees and shrubs in domestic gardens and a variety of type of undisturbed vegetation. One of the most common species in the region.

Found one a small tree of the coastal walking pathway in Hermanus.

Photos / Sounds

What

Cardinal Woodpecker Chloropicus fuscescens

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

March 23, 2020 01:03 PM EET

Description

The cardinal woodpecker is a widespread and common resident breeder in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. It occurs in a wide range of habitats, ranging from dense forest to thorn bush. They are fairly vocal and are easily identified by their call notes. The sexes are distinguishable by their head patterns : the male has a read head, like on the pictures here.

Found in my garden, in Grahamstown, pecking on a tree around midday.

Photos / Sounds

What

Smooth Plough Shell Bullia rhodostoma

Observer

alexiadievart

Date

March 22, 2020 02:31 PM EET

Description

Narrow, with a long pointed spire and smooth creem shell. Aperture orange and operculum with smooth margins.

Dominant plough shell on the South and East coasts of South Africa, congregating in enormous numbers around carrion cast up on exposed sandy beaches. Lighter than the finger plough shell (Bullia digitalis), and surfs higher up the shore. Slow-growing, reaching 10 mm after one year and 40 mm after 10 years.

Found on the beach in front of the Mpekweni Beach Resort, in the Eastern Cape.

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