Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ambrose went walkabout!

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose and I went walkabout! Mum left the dining room window open in the morning and I decided to see what it was like to go outside again. 


Not long and I was meowing under Mum's bedroom window to be let in. Although she opened the window I couldn't jump up. My leg was too weak. So Mum came outdoors, scooped me into her arms and carried me back into the house. 

I spent the morning in the sunny dining room (Mum closed the window) and then later on Mum's 'lectric blanket in the bedroom. 

Oh well, I guess I still have a few more weeks to get stronger...

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dairy farm auction

This week I attended my first farm auction since I was a little girl of about eight. I vaguely remember going to a tobacco auction with my dad in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

The mega farmer was diversifying by selling off his dairy herd. The retirement home (where my MIL lives) did the catering and the farmer offered a portion of the profits to  the centre.   

I was asked to take photos for next week's provincial newspaper. 
The first photo I took was of an old dog on the yard 
Another riding in its yoomen's shoulder bag
Pens of dairy cows waiting for the auction to begin
A close-up of a Holstein cow 
A crowd sits in on the auction

I've included a video of the auctioneer in action. I'll be interested to know if readers understood anything the man said! 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here

Friday, July 29, 2016

Moon's last quarter July 2016

Last quarter, visibility 44%; age 24 days; 27 July 2016 at 4.03am

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday here


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Giant Kingfisher on National Road

On our way down to Cape Town (which I posted about yesterday), we stopped at a "One Stop" : roadside filling station, restrooms and cafe. I'd made food for the road;  Grant had made a flask of coffee and we decided to have it here. 

As we drove in, I saw a rather large "spotted" pigeon with a huge bill on top of a security light. I squealed that I thought it was a kingfisher and Grant said he couldn't stop there as there was another car right behind him. I snapped the bird in passing (photo below) and thought that would be my only photo. 
The photo I managed in passing! 

We parked under the awnings and while Grant took the food out of the boot, I ran back (camera bouncing on my chest) to where I'd seen the bird.
As I got there it flew off... another pole nearby where I focused on it and snapped away. By now I'd seen that it WAS a Kingfisher; in fact, it was a Giant Kingfisher - one of my all-time favorite birds. 
Giant Kingfisher
With the white breast band and rufous belly, I identified it as a female Giant Kingfisher
I zoomed out to remind me (when I downloaded the photos) that I'd seen this bird on a pole (center) right alongside the N1 National Road between Bloemfontein and Cape Town! (a passing truck and trailer is just visible at the bottom of the photo) 
The male Giant Kingfisher has a rufous chest and white belly  unlike this lady with her speckled chest, white breast band and rufous belly
I was thrilled to get several photos of this bird. Here I caught the sun glint in her eye 

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here.  Please do pop over to Stewart's bird blog (by clicking on the link)  He has beautiful photos of a large water bird called a Shoveler. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My world of travel

Hi everyone; I've finally come to roost rest back home and am I pleased!

During the week of the 10th of July, we made a quick trip to Cape Town again. We left early on Monday morning, slept over in Cape Town that night  the men concluded their business and we turned around and came home on Tuesday. That night we arrived home at 11.30. And boy, my body felt it the next day! 
Sunrise at 7.07 on Monday. We had completed 160kms of the 1240km trip here!
The scenery in the Southern Free State and entering the Karoo is always stunning

Looking into the future! 
About 2 1/3rds of the journey, we passed Three Sisters - a small town named after these three hills nearby
Quite near to Cape Town, we entered a tunnel running under DuToits Kloof - the Huguenot Tunnel
We approached Cape Town at about 5.05pm
 Peak hour traffic; fortunately Rudi, who knows this city well, took over the driving 
Tuesday  morning at 8am the sun was only just beginning to make an appearance. This is normal on the western shores of South Africa
I had fun taking photos from the back seat
And then we were in the Huguenot Tunnel again
The Cape Winelands and its stunning scenery
At one of our leg-stretching stops, I came across this sign on a gate...
...and this pretty flower below it!
One of the many "stop/go" waits we have when traveling on South African roads. It's never a  long stop and of course, I enjoy the opportunity to take photos while the car is stationary!
Soon we passed a farm with white Springbuck in amongst the traditional buck

 I was lucky to get these three images as we drove by in the car
At another leg-stretching stop in the Karoo, I photographed the setting sun - 5.30pm
I also convinced the men to gaze out over the veld in order for me to have a human element in my photo. Rudi (left) was quite obliging; Grant - on the other hand - isn't one to linger on a trip and wanted to get HOME. So he posed a bit grudgingly. LOL! 

I'm linking my post to Our World Tuesday here


Monday, July 25, 2016

Cormorant's lunch

Hello everyone; it's a freezing cold and stormy day here in the Free State.  We're clocking in 7 degrees Celsius. This is COLD to South Africans who have more sunshine in a year than most countries. 

On Saturday morning I took the dogs for a walk to the golf course. Thank goodness I did. I don't think we'll get out there in the next three days which is how long this weather is going to last. 

While the dogs cavorted in and out of the water, I sat on a metal bench at no 5 hole and tried to focus on the resident little grebe on the dam.  The sun was overhead and the glare on the water made it difficult for me to see the images on my screen.  

Suddenly a cormorant (which I thought I'd seen diving near the grebe), flew up out of the water and into a nearby tree. It hardly landed when it took off again and skimmed the water flying to the other side of the dam. I saw something dangling from its bill.  I tried to pick it up on my lens and managed a few photos. Then it landed in the water again and swooshed it head under the water. 

When I downloaded the photos at home, I was surprised to see I had captured the whole sequence of a Reed Cormorant devouring a platanna  (frog) for lunch. 
The second time the cormorant landed in the water, I managed to snap the frog in its bill 
I was surprised to see that I'd captured these images as I couldn't actually "see" what I was photographing at the time
I was amazed to see how the cormorant used its tail as a rudder while it dealt with the frog

I remember from a time in Tanzania when I photographed a cormorant catching a platanna, that it turns the frog around to be able to swallow it head first. The photos below show this sequence. 

The cormorant flew up into a nearby tree, stretched its long neck and swallowed a final time 
Drying off in the sun

Here's wishing you all a wonderful Monday.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Warm kitties and a dog

Hi Bozo, this is Ambrose and this week I have complete photos showing I'm improving every day. I still don't go outdoors as my leg is a little weak (says my Mum!) 

It's very cold here at the moment and we kitties are warming up at the fireplace.

Dad Ginger and I, Ambrose 
I'm having a good stretch! 
My leg is still thinner than the other and not easy to stand on
The fire keeps us all warm

Unca Shadow went outside but soon asked to come indoors
Skabenga,  the dog also enjoyed the warm room 

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