|First animal I got on my new camera trap was this Leopard. The camera was placed right outside my hut.|
Despite the climate life, being as robust as it is, was in a high state of energy and vitality. Birds were breeding and were very active; insects, especially flies, dragonflies, butterflies/moths and beetles were abundant and I managed to get some good species; reptilian life was also peaking during this period and I found many tortoises, chameleons and had some good snake sightings. All in all it was a good month generating numerous new species for our lists.
The greatest developments of the month was the beginning of using camera traps for data capture. I was lucky enough to be loaned a camera and I also managed to buy one for the centre. I also received a donation of two Sherman Traps. These are non-lethal traps for small mammals. Just trying out these Sherman Traps around my hut, I caught a few small murids.
|Wahlberg's Velvet Gecko (Homopholus wahlbergi) consuming a Tiger Moth.|
|Dicronorrhina derbyana, a large scarab beetle.|
|At the moment one of research objectives is to catalougue butterflies. This is the Netted Sylph (Metisella willemi).|
During the month I undertook many night hikes. The great thing about walking at night is that because your sense of sight is limited other stimuli become prominent. You smell different things, the sounds of nature come to the forefront and even small changes in atmospheric temperature are felt on your skin. One also doesn’t see much in terms of biodiversity, but when you do see things they are usually extraordinary.
I had an amazing nocturnal encounter with a pair of Cape Clawless Otters. That is something you wont experience in the day. Another good thing I got on my night walks was a pair of Cape Eagle Owls calling. Nice to know they are in the area.
|A large Parabuthes transvaalicus. A highly venomous and active scorpion.|
|Entandrophragma caudatum, under cultivation for conservation purposes.|
This 112 species of birds were recorded. Many new species were added to our growing list. The SCBC bird list currently stands at 148 different species.
|Greater Painted Snipe found in an opening in a flooded reed bed one night. Not something one sees too often.|
|The Crowned Eagle. One of the most powerful birds of prey in the world.|
|Python natalensis, the Southern African Rock Python.|
A good month for reptiles with the addition of a few more species to our species list. In the month 29 different species were found. This brings our reptile species list up to 45 different species.
|The Flap-necked Chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis) a very common species in the area. Easy to spot at night.|
Kinixys spekii Speke’s Hinged-back Tortoise
Stigmochelys pardalis Leopard Tortoise
Afroedura broadleyi Soutpansberg Flat Gecko
Chondrodactylus turneri Turner’s Gecko
Hemidactylus mabouia Common Tropical House Gecko
Homopholis wahlbergii Wahlberg’s Velvet Gecko
Lygodactylus capensis capensis Common Dwarf Gecko
Smaug warreni depressus Flat Dragon Lizard
Platysaurus relictus Soutpansberg Flat Lizard
Broadleysaurus major Rough-scaled Plated Lizard
Gerrhosaurus flavigularis Yellow-throated Plated Lizard
Matobosaurus validus Common Giant Plated Lizard
Afroablepharus maculicollis Spotted-Necked Snake-Eyed Skink
Trachylepis margaritifer Rainbow Skink
Trachylepis varia Variable Skink
Varanus albigularis albigularis Southern Rock Monitor
Varanus niloticus Nile Monitor
Chamaeleo dilepis dilepis Flap-Necked Chameleon
Agama armata Northern Ground Agama
Python natalensis Southern African Python
Bitis arietans arietans Puff Adder
Aparallactus capensis Black-headed Centipede-Eater
Boaedon capensis Common House Snake
Hemirhagerrhis nototaenia Eastern Bark Snake
Psammophis subtaeniatus Stripe-bellied Sand Snake
Naja mossambica Mozambique Spitting Cobra
|The Puff Adder, Bitis arietans. A snake that relies on its excellent camouflage to escape detection from predators.|
|Speke's Hinged Tortoise, Kinixys spekii, commonly encountered during the month.|
|Acomys subspinosus, the Spiny Mouse. A commonly seen rodent.|
With the introduction of trap cameras our mammal list has really begun to take shape. This month 22 mammal species were recorded.
|Thick-tailed Bush baby. A nocturnal primate.|
Greater Dwarf Shrew (?)
Eastern Rock Sengi
Gambian Pouched Rat
Cape Clawless Otter