Puffadder : Bitis arietans. As the heat of summer settles in in the #GardenRoute, the snake population emerges from their winter shelters. The Puffadder is an ambush predator species, relying on it’s cytotoxic venom to rapidly take down its prey after a strike. Puffadders rely on cryptic disruptive camouflage to blend in and are reluctant to move when disturbed. Research has shown that in their … Continue reading Garden Route Snakes
In the past 6 months there have been over 10 whale carcasses washed up, including a rare Sperm Whale, in the Garden Route. Depending on where they washed up, their handling varied from leaving them in situ to burying them or removing the remains for disposal elsewhere. Where possible, sampling was performed for DNA profiling and parasite collection. Generally, with the carcasses there is a … Continue reading Whale Strandings – the harsh reality of nature.
The message on Saturday afternoon simple : I will be in the Garden Route on Monday and would like to photograph a Knysna Woodpecker and a Knysna Warbler. Can you help? August Birding in the Garden Route can be extremely fickle, very much dependent on which way the wind blows. A week of South westerly winds can drop the temperature and blast the birds into … Continue reading Birding for the namesake of Knysna
Date: Sunday 2nd September 2018 Location : Swartvlei Beach By Mark Dixon. Late Sunday morning the much awaited autopsy of the beached Sperm Whale carcass got underway. Joining the research team were Dr Stephanie Plon from NMU with Dr Greg Hofmeyr from Bayworld visiting briefly while en route to Cape Town. The most noticeable external observation was of the advanced onset of bloat that had … Continue reading Preliminary Sperm Whale autopsy report.
Date : Sat 1st September Location : Swartvlei Beach Sperm Whale washed ashore. By Mark Dixon It is remarkable that in the past two months no less than two whales have washed up on Swartvlei Beach east of Sedgefield. Even more remarkable is the fact that both whales washed up a few hundred meters apart, testimony to the consistency of currents along the shoreline. The … Continue reading Rare incidence of a Sperm Whale washing up on Swartvlei Beach beach in the Garden Route.
By Mark Dixon Friday 29th June 2018 Today, in the Garden Route, we witnessed the indifference of natural selection. Yet for those present, there was an empathy for one of the giants of the ocean. One year ago I swam with Humpback Whales during the Sardine run in the Eastern Cape. Today I watched one die. The scientist in me took notes. The bloodshot eyes … Continue reading Death Of a Whale
Sun filtered through the forest canopy and lit up the tannin stained river to a golden glow as the three boys were energetically boulder hopping upstream. ‘If you don’t give children a smartphone and play station nowadays, they are ostracised by their class mates’ Sabin, the boys mother, mentioned while they were out of hearing range. ‘I even bought a play station and pretended that … Continue reading Child’s play in the Garden Route