There’s a hint of spring in the air. That’s good, because spring is nice and warm and a forerunner of summer (yes, that happens here too). It’s not so great because we still need quite a lot of winter rain to fill up our dams.

Here’s spring-like quota photo of a Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) exiting a nesting box last spring in Sheffield:

I’ll admit that I couldn’t remember the scientific name for this little guy, so I had to look it up. On the page was this:

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Yeah. Bit generic, that second one.

Interestingly, the Common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) continues to be a problematic invasive species but only in certain parts of the Southern Suburbs:

The chaffinch was introduced from Britain into several of its overseas territories in the 19th century. In South Africa a very small breeding colony in the suburbs of Constantia, Hout Bay and Camps Bay in Cape Town is the only remnant of such an introduction.

I was shocked when I saw one in Bergvliet last year. Seeing a chaffinch was shocking, but worse was the sudden realisation that I was in Bergvliet.


We decided that it was time to get the kids out and about again after a whole week (and a bit) of sickness. They’ve been hit hard and we’ve been forced to keep them at home and relatively calm and still. This hasn’t gone down well with the two of them, because inside, calm and still are not things that they enjoy. Thus, they went a bit demob happy around Kirstenbosch this afternoon. No harm was done, but they may have over-exerted themselves a little; a fact indicated by the manner in which my 8 year old boy had to be carried into bed this evening.


Kirstenbosch is great whenever, but it’s especially colourful at this time of year: something I know my parents will be jealous to be missing. So this post is for them, although you too can see some flower (and alpaca, obviously) photos in this album here.

Spring has sprung

No, I know. Technically Spring hasn’t sprung at all, but Mother Nature is far from exact in her habits and rituals, and thus, Spring-like things have already begun to happen.

In (rural) South Africa, Spring-like things basically come in three separate parts:

1. Weather
2. Flowers, and
3. Snakes

and it’s because I’ve seen signs of all three of these categories being represented this weekend that I’m calling Spring, sprung.

The weather is easy to call – days of sunshine, temperatures in the mid to high 20’s (or beyond), but without those balmy Summer nights: it still gets chilly in the evenings and you’ll probably need your braai as much for keeping warm as for cooking dinner.
The flowers are everywhere. Everywhere! Most evident are the Vygies, their almost artificial pink luminescence covering gardens, spilling onto the edge of the roads, decorating the verges.
And then, yes, the snakes. 3 sightings this weekend alone: 2 puff adders and one probable boomslang. One of the puffies and the boomslang were from the safety of a car, but the other puffy was just chilling out in the vegetation right next to the path down to the beach. Cue a quick evacuation to the car park and a decision to use the other, more open, path to the beach next time. And the time after that. All the times, in fact. Yes, they are beautiful to look at, but no, you don’t want to get too close.

All of which brings me to the photos. In my virus-addled, somewhat stressed state on Friday afternoon, I neglected to pack my camera for the trip to Agulhas. Thus, I’ve been using my Z2 to take photos this weekend (of weather, flowers and snakes). And, sitting back here in Cape Town with a nice Marlon, I think it’s done ok. Yes, it’s alright at taking those “easy memories” kind of shots, but the fact that it can then bang out something like this amazes me.

Not perfect, sure. But this is a phone. Primarily a device for communication, not for taking photographs of flowers covered in early morning dew.

Anyway, I’m impressed. You can go and see a few more photos here. And I’ve started an Flickr album of phone photos, because I think this phone is finally good enough to warrant that.