Wildlife Sightings and News - Winter 2018
The End is Nigh...
The end of winter is now within sight, it will not be long before the Dargle and the rest of the Midlands starts to creep out of it's brown winter hibernation colours and greets us with the bright fresh green of spring! Until then, please enjoy the lovely images captured below by some of our enthusiastic members during winter, showcasing the beauty that is still all around us even when we think everyone and everything has disappeared. 

Not all of the images which were submitted to us made it into the Winter Diaries, so please click the button below to view all the images on the Dargle Facebook page.  
Facebook Sightings
Wildlife Sightings
Did you know that you can enjoy past editions of the Dargle Wildlife Sightings? It's always interesting to compare different years and seasons, to see what was flowering then or when the swallows left or returned.
Past Sightings
Sandra & Pat Merrick - Albury Farm

The wattle cranes still visit us and sometimes sleep the night in the dam which  is sadly disappearing. On one particularly hot day the one crane swam and splashed around for half an hour. The other one looked on and did not budge even when he came out and spread his wings out to dry. One day there was a commotion of noise near the dam. There were 3 blue crane and one was being chased by the other 2. It went on for ten minutes running all over the place.  I think it could only be another male intruder trying to get the females attention. The next day there were 4 blue crane on the dam wall. Not sure if the juveniles had returned or that a pair of crane were visiting. A hammerkop visits the garden periodically and one day picked up what I thought was a large piece of poop. Pat says its a stick. Not sure what he did with it as he flew off with it! There are plenty sunbirds sipping from an abundance of flowering aloes and pig ear succulents. The buffstreaked chats are still hanging around the garden and occasionally see the common stonechat.On some days I am fortunate to see a flash of red and grab my camera but this greater collared sunbird is very quick around the garden. I did however manage to get some good pictures one day in front of the study while he sucked on an aloe flower for some time. On another day a cape robin visited and sat on the verandah table next to my camera which is always at the ready. I had to quickly run in and fetch my other one.
Blue crane intruder
Several sunbirds on aloes
Female buffstreaked chat
The female reedbuck still brings her young fawn to the hill behind the house – the grass is so long nothing can be seen there. Great protection for the young one. At dusk she gets up and begins to walk to the neighbouring farm to graze the pastures. We have also had a young female duiker visiting us at about 4pm eating from the cigarette bush. This is on the other side of the house away from the dogs. She enjoys having her photo taken. Not sure if she is living on the property or if she comes in on a daily basis. Pat called me one afternoon to photograph a magnificent martial eagle sitting on the transformer pole. I crept through the shrubbery and trees. He was very aware of my presence and kept looking down disdainfully at me. I eventually got right under the pole and he was still not concerned.  He eventually flew off when the neighbouring tractor arrived to  burn fire breaks. I think I ended up with about 50 photos!! The next day he flew over the farm with 4 crows chasing him. Never saw him again after that. Our pair of common wagtails come onto the verandah regularly and squeal their merry tune to one another. One morning  one of them came  to show me the worm that he had found. The veld is drying off and we have had a few good frosts. Catch you next month.
Duiker in my garden Eating cigarette bush
Reedbuck doe and fawn
Cape robin and camera
Martial eagle
Ashley Crookes - Copperleigh Trout Cottage
There were some very cold days this past winter, and getting up early to let the farm livestock out wasn't always fun. On a few occasions though, I was greeted by some amazing patterns frozen in the water as well as some frosty things. So please enjoy these images of winter.
Frozen patterns in the puddle behind the sheep shed
Frost on the grass
All the aloes have been flowering 
Sunlight piercing through smoke from a fire nearby
The African olive pigeon or Rameron pigeon next to feed tyre
Eggs in nest found in our shed
Weaver nests in a willow tree over Mavela Dam
Christeen Grant - Sitamani
Christeen posts all her amazing photos on a monthly blog called "Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover". This is a taste to tempt you:

The total moon eclipse on the 27 July was a highlight, for once the skies were clear, littered with myriads of stars, and I watched entranced.

Christeen's Photos
Trash Nation
The Dargle Conservancy has been contacted by some concerned Dargle residents asking for our advice and help in combating the big problem of trash, mainly that which is thrown daily onto the road verge which is spoiling our beautiful area. The Dargle Trashion Show took place in June, mainly focusing on our young people and teaching them to reduce and reuse trash. BUT, clearly our adults need more educating, as they are the ones driving down the road and throwing beer bottles, energy drink cans, polystyrene food containers and cigarette butts out of their vehicle windows. 

We would like to ask all Dargle residents, children, friends and staff to make the time during the windy month of August, before all that trash gets blown into our dams, rivers and streams, to please help in cleaning up the road verges. Yes, we all are expected to pay taxes for 'service delivery', but if we have to wait for the local municipality to do it, I can promise you we shall all be waiting for a very long time! If anyone has some ideas or suggestions on how we can solve this problem, we would love to hear from you.

Please also take some photographs when you see people clearing up, trash bags collected etc and send through to us so we can spread the news and send to the local newspapers too. 
What's Coming Up?
Dargle Trade
Thursday 16 August 09h00
Barter any of your excess produce. Clothes, skills and baked goods are welcome too.
Veranda of il Postino Pizzeria

The Mind Amongst the Trees
Bruce Page, Systems Ecologist and Endangered Wildlife Trust, will be giving
a presentation on what kind of animals elephants are, and how they should be treated.
Wednesday 22 August 18h00 for 18h30
Tanglewood Boutique Hotel
Only 50 seats, so booking for supper is essential
Jenny 076 399 0238

The Samango Dargle October slackpack
4-7 October 
Three-day round hike encompassing curated paths through one of the oldest and most well-protected
nature conservancies in the Midlands. Nature-based eco-tourism is one of the principal aims of Spekboom Tours
and 10% of all proceeds are donated to the Dargle Conservancy for their ongoing conservation projects.
For more info please contact Julia:
076 819 0615
All the Midlands Walks
The mission of the Conservancy is to actively conserve the natural beauty and biodiversity of the Dargle area for the benefit of present and future generations, by stimulating interest and awareness of conservation issues within the community as a whole, through education and community involvement.

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