Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mixed Bag of Offerings

Pastoral Perfection!

I have had a busy few days which left very limited time for blogging of any description. I have tried to visit as many of my favourites as possible, but due to time constraints am not always able to leave a comment.

Apart from the usual busyness I had a wonderful day out with a very good friend of mine on Monday. We drove out into the countryside and ventured somewhat off the beaten track in search of eye-catching scenes and a good place to enjoy a leisurely lunch. On Tuesday, my husband took our three older dogs with him when he went to do a short site inspection. Despite having taken precautions (spraying the dogs with tick spray) they all returned home covered with ticks! That entailed much hasty bathing of all five dogs, as we decided to play it safe and do the two pups as well. Following this, all of their beds and bedding, and the bedding that is used in the bakkie, had to be washed and dried. The dogs were all fitted with new tick collars in addition to their monthly tick and flea spot treatment. That took the best part of the rest of Tuesday! At present, we also have a couple of birds building their nests in the garden and have been eagerly keeping tabs on the Sunbird pair. We have yet to discover the whereabouts of the Robins' nest, but watch them flying hither and thither with beaks full of building material. We have also been following the movements of a pair of owls that move between us and our neighbours. I heard quite a commotion while out in the garden this morning and saw lots of birds agitatedly twittering and tweeting. Upon careful investigation, I saw one of the owls perched in our neighbour's Oak tree with little birds darting and flitting excitedly in the branches around the owl. I called my husband to please take a few pictures using his zoom lens. I walked around the garden myself as well and snapped a few of the things that are currently blooming...hence, my mixed bag of offerings to share here this evening. 

To continue reading this post, please click the Read more button below...

I'll start of with a selection of pictures taken on Monday...
These roses were tumbling over the fencing at regular intervals. Such a pretty scene that begged to be photographed!

"What are you looking at me for?"

As far as we could see, the fields were green as green could be!

Grape vines trained on fencing in the foreground, pink roses covering an archway in the background.

We were not far from the densely populated suburb of Durbanville, one of Cape Town's Northern suburbs and yet it felt as though we were miles away.

The vistas were glorious in every direction.

A water feature at one of the restaurants we'd stopped at. Sadly, they were Closed For Business on Monday! We took some pictures of the attractively laid out indigenous garden anyway!

These pretty flowers were planted beside the pond.

This is Aloe time! Wherever we looked, we saw these sculptural plants with their candelabra blooms.

Succulents in full bloom!

The birds were having a wonderful time flitting from flower to flower and bees were buzzing merrily in the warm winter sunshine.

The Manor House at Meerendal, one of the winefarms we visited. They were also closed for business. Mid-winter lunchtime on a Monday is obviously not a busy time in this area.

We saw so many beautiful trees. In summer, this will of course be a green haven.

The 'browny' flowers on this shrub were humming with bees!

View from one of the picture windows at the restaurant where we did have lunch. Although pleasant enough, the meal was not one I would recommend and the service was sub-standard. Again, Monday is probably not the best day at this time of year.
OK, now I'll walk you around my garden and show you a few blooms and the birds that are very busy right now...
Coco's camelias!

This is where Coco 'picks' her flowers.

Our huge Stelitzia plant resembles a banana plant.

The leaves are enormous!

The seeding head of one of our indigenous fynbos plants
First Snowdrop blossom!

Our resident male Sunbird at the nectar feeder.

He is such a beauty, but very much 'shyer' than his mate.

The White-eyes are regular visitors.

Our female sunbird. She is doing all the nest building herself! The male chases away any birds that get too close. He seems to have a particular disliking of White-eyes!

Here's our little female Sunbird at her nest.

A lot of the nest appears to consist of hair from our dogs!

Turtle doves are also very busy in the garden at the moment.

One of our Robins.

These are tiny little birds, which we still need to identify. Several arrive together and they are very active around the seed feeders and in the water feature.

The owl in our neighbour's tree.

Weaver's nests at the dam where our dogs picked up lots of ticks from the long grasses and reeds.

Cormorant drying its wings at the dam where my husband took the three older dogs for a walk on Tuesday.

I'm hoping to visit one of my favourite nurseries tomorrow and if I do, I'll be sure to take my camera along with me so I can share the outing with you next time I post.


  1. Probably I will bore you since I am not original but all I can do is repeat myself - your pictures are simply LOVELY and GORGEOUS! Love you post

  2. I love seeing pictures of your birds, they are so different from our own. That male sunbird is glorious! And your robin is nothing like ours.

    Sorry to hear your meal wasn't up to par.

  3. All of your pictures are great, but those sunbirds are incredible!!!

  4. Such a lovely virtual tour with you! Your photos and descriptions are awesome! We call your 'white eye' a 'wax eye' here in NZ.

  5. Could there be anything more beautiful than the natural world? That sunbird!...unbelievable.
    The shot of the cormorant is quite wonderful.

  6. You had a wonderful collection of scenes, flowers and birds, Desiree. I especially liked your nectar feeder and the Weaver's nest!

  7. what a wonderful variety of birds you have Desiree, and the photos are so good. I love that little nectar feeder - with their little piece of wood as a perch out in front. that cormorant shot is perfect too, OK I am off to go back and admire all your photos one more time.

  8. Wow, what lovely pictures! I love the sunbirds! We have had a rash of crows raiding the nests around our home. It's so tragic, they are eating the eggs and the parents are flying all about to no avail. I'm hoping the crows soon depart and the birds start new nests!
    I think your part of the world is breathtaking...thanks for sharing and dropping by!


  9. Lovely pics! I have the same type of bird feeder and it also attracts a sunbird pair and the white-eyes. Brilliant shot of the Owl - how did you spot him - he is so well camouflaged.

  10. A truly exciting mixed bag of delights.
    I love the camouflaged owl!
    The nectar feeding birds never fail to enthrall.

  11. Whilst Monday might not have been a good day to choose to go out for lunch it was certainly a success photographically.

  12. Your photos always transport me to another world. I love that.
    Too bad about the ticks I have never even seen one around here but i am sure they are moving in, the weather is not as cold as it used to be and there are a lot more deer now. Thanks for the lift. B

  13. I love the bird pics. Especially the male sunbird and owl. Fascinating.

  14. Hi Desiree. Gosh, that male sunbird is absolutely stunning, and what a gorgeous shot of that cormorant. You have provided us with, as always, some stunning photos of view and plants and flowers (and wildlife!), and we thank you for that. The wine place reminded me of going to Stennenbosch about 37 years ago when were down on Cape P. What a job you had dealing with those ticks and bathing all the dogs and their bedding!!

  15. Blessing come my way again in the form of your beautiful pictures. I love bird pictures best and these were remarkable. Thank you for all your efforts.

  16. I just found your blog - so glad I did. Your pictures are amazing. I find birds so hard to photograph. Your sunbirds are absolutely gorgeous, and I love the owl. I'll b e coming back for sure.

  17. I love these. I've never seen an aloe flower before. Your resident birds are gorgeous. I love hummingbirds especially. Do you have humming bird moths over there?
    My eye is bad. Was in the hospital last night for a long time, back first thing this morning and have to go again tomorrow morning and afternoon so I will be in and out. Hoping to save it.

  18. five dogs to wash and treat! Blimey, I complain about the work one lab makes.

    Wonderful bird pictures, I am amazed you get anything else done besides shooting wild life and plant life.

  19. I loved the log fence, and the grape arbor is beautiful, but the one of Sun Bird is the best. You have a phenomenal amount of wild life around your home. I would probably never go inside. kt

  20. Five dogs sounds like a full-time job! But you still have time for taking lots of photos. Your birds and their nests are exquisite.

  21. That male sum bird is spectacular, but your robin is so very different to our English one! I love the owl best of all though!

  22. Oh Desiree, what a lovely interesting post with STUNNING photos. I love the vistas of our beautiful old lady, Cape Town. The pastoral scene with the sheep. The roses, grape vines, Coco's camillas, your striletzia. The aloes in the restaurant garden are spectacular. I cannot wait for mine to be strong and flowering like that. I miss my Obiculata (the succulent after the aloe) and the crocosmia. The Cape is SO floral. The birds, well, the birds were such a wonderful sight to see. Sue and I spotted our first Cape Robin-chat up the mountain yesterday. It was good to see one in your post too. Love the sunbirds, white-eyes, owl and comorant. Oh *sigh* I loved this post. Blessings and enjoy your weekend. Jo PS Glad you got the dogs cleaned and tickfree. A hard job. Well done.

  23. wow!! so much to beautiful!! from the the awesome aloe...and ALL the other blooms of gorgeousness!! (i can't believe i spelled that right...i didn't think so...but it didn't get underlined! i wasn't even sure if it was a word!)
    the birds are spectacular too!
    and the landscapes...and the ROCK...uh...BRICK water garden...

    the owl...a horned owl?? so very cool!! i love that too! hey, i love it all...except for the ticks! i think i need a tick collar too...does it work? the sprays don't work for me!! :)

    thanks desiree! terrific post!

  24. The sunbirds are incredible! Your robins are so different from ours, but the owl looks just like the ones I see in our meadow. Thanks for sharing the abundance of beauty you live with. The pictures with the roses are my favorites this time.

  25. Oh my word, what a beautiful post and the pictures are gorgeous. Of course I love the photo of the sunbird but my favorite would be Coco's Camillas.
    Have a wonderful day!

  26. Desiree,
    What a treat to discover your blog! Thanks for reading and responding to mine. I will be following you eagerly.
    I love the photographs. Incredible, and the scenery so different than I would expect of South Africa.
    Thank you for this lovely virtual tour of a place mostly unknown to me.

  27. Beautiful photos as usual. I especially love the pictures of the birds. I feel so awful about the dogs with the ticks. I get so creeped out about ticks. It is so lovely where you live and I can't believe all the plants and flowers you have in the middle of your winter.

  28. You live in a fantastic place! And the nature photography is stunning. I'm so glad to have met you and I enjoy my visits here immensely. Thank you also for the sweet message you sent to Elliot. He was amazed to know that people from far away places even know he exists! We wanted to tell you that his home school has the name "living free and in the wild" for his love of wildlife. I'm going to make sure he reads your posts as part of his lessons. There's so much to discover here. xoxo Jenny

  29. Absolutely beautiful. The more I come here, the more I want to visit your country. One day I'll make it there.

  30. beautiful pictures...

    wonderful post :)

  31. Beautiful photos as always! Your garden must be very animate, with so many birds building nests and visiting. There's probably a lot of lively chirping too.
    Nests from dog hair? It's a strange idea, but a good one. Aschiuta herself sheds a lot and still always has a very thick fur.
    Ticks are nasty, I hope you got rid of all of them.
    I'll have to visit someday, the countryside is stunning.

  32. Hi Desiree,
    All the plants and birds in this post seem so exotic and unfamiliar to me. I know aloe, but have never seen one in bloom. I have never seen a sunbird before or a white-eyes. We have owls here, but there are such reclusive creatures that you never see them. I love the final shot of the cormorant. What a magnificent bird he is!
    I don't envy you having to contend with ticks. It is alot of work bathing multiple dogs. I can relate to that all to well!!


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