01 de julio de 2022


Just a list of firsts for 2022 as the seasons change.

First sighting in the garden of a Southern Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus) male in breeding plumage.

First Southern Masked Weaver nest noticed. Building possibly started yesterday.

First Jasmin flowers appearing.

First flowers of the Buddleja salvifolia open.

First Brown-hooded Kingfisher heard calling.

First Brown-hooded Kingfisher (Halcyon albiventris) sighting since January 2022.

First buds and green flush seen on the Celtis africana.

First new bud on my Celtis africana bonsai.

First new buds on the Acacia galpinii (Monkey Thorn) bonsai.

First new shoots on the African Pom-pom Tree.

First dragonfly seen. A blue one flying quickly through the garden; no photo possible.

First mosquito seen. In the bathroom. No rain though yet.

First rain in the garden this summer. Just a few drops; not enough to register in the gauge. But I believe there were big storms in the southern suburbs of Johannesburg, e.g. Alberton causing floods and hail.

First flowers seen on the Pom-pom Tree.

First Woodland Kingfisher (Halcyon senegaloides) heard calling. No view.

Anotado en 01 de julio de 2022 a las 10:52 AM por doug263 doug263 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario


A list of observations without evidence:

Southern Masked Weaver. First male seen for this season in breeding plumage.

Black-backed Puffback (Dryoscopus Cubla). First heard then seen, maybe even with a prey item. No photo possible.

African Sacred Ibis flying overhead. No photo.

Declivitata hamata pygmaea (Humbug Lady Beetle).
I'm sure I saw this on the outside wall hear the back kitchen window. Through stupidity I failed to get a photo. I'll keep looking. Not loaded onto iNat.

Southern Boubou (Laniarius ferruginous) heard and seen. Not loaded onto iNat.

Black-backed Puffback (Dryoscopus Cuba) heard in the garden but not seen.

Black/blue Swallowtail butterfly seen passing through the garden before I could grab the camera. Possibly the Narrow Green-banded Swallowtail (Papilio nireus lyaeus).

Red-chested Cuckoo or Piet-my-vrou (Cuculus solitarius) heard calling close by. Not seen.

Anotado en 01 de julio de 2022 a las 10:51 AM por doug263 doug263 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

05 de junio de 2022

20 de marzo de 2022



The highlight of this past week has to be the emergence of "my" Citrus Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio demodocus) from its chrysalis.
Basic data as follows:
5.02.2022: The tiny (5X2mm) brown caterpillar was found on a leaf of my lemon tree and brought in for rearing.
22.02.2022: By now the caterpillar had developed into its green form and had grown large.
2.03.2022: It pupated. Biodiversity Explorer gave the pupal period as 2-3 weeks so I was expecting emergence from 16.03.2022.
17.03.2022: It emerged at about 14:00. So that was 15 days after pupating. It then remained quite motionless until 16:15 when it flew a short distance into an area at the base of shrubs where it battled to find a perch on a stem. The day was chilly, overcast and breezy with the temperature at 21 degrees centigrade.

It was a magical experience; my first butterfly raised from the larval stage. I had previously raised two moths with quite a few failures. I currently have five moth pupa that over-wintered in 2021. No further development has occurred and now we are slipping slowly out of summer into autumn. I don't know what to expect but am just being patient.

My data and photos were e-mailed to the Lepidopterist Society with my reference of DC14. Of course everything was loaded as casual observations on iNaturalist.

At about 09:00 the next day I went outside and the first thing that I saw was a Citrus Swallowtail butterfly flying about. I could not help but wonder if it was not "my" butterfly that had just got going after a chilly night.

It's a common butterfly and I know others have raised many, many species from the larval stage but for me it was a wonderful experience.

Anotado en 20 de marzo de 2022 a las 03:51 PM por doug263 doug263 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de marzo de 2022


iNat Stats: https://www.inaturalist.org/stats/2021/you

Streaks: mapsandapps.github.io/inat-streak/

Maps of selected species:
https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/map?Taxa=XXXXXX, YYYYYY

iNat Milestones:

Grasshoppers, Locusts ans Allies of South Africa
Frogs of South Africa
Birds of South Africa
Arthropods of South Africa
Fungi of Southern Africa
South Africa: https://www.inaturalist.org/check_lists/4363609-Centipedes-of-South-Africa





A checklist of South African Mayflies can be found here:



If you’re just talking about images, you can use any image with a URL by embedding it

To get the image address of one of your old observations, go to it and click on “open image in new tab” (or the equivalent on your browser) and use that address.




Comments Page





I’m not aware of an automated way of downloading all your photos, but you can get your observation data out as a spreadsheet here:


Filtering observations without media:
try https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?reviewed=any&quality_grade=casual&sounds=false&photos=false&user_id=yayemaster



Anotado en 19 de marzo de 2022 a las 05:50 AM por doug263 doug263 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de febrero de 2022

My Olivedale Garden

Reflecting on the week Monday 21.02.2022 to Sunday 27.02.2022

I measured 60.7 mm of rain in the garden. However I can feel summer slipping away with cooler morning temperatures and later sunrises.

I posted 21 observations comprising 19 species.

I saw a new, for me, moth: a Siccia caffra (Speckled Grey Footman).

Then I happened to see a raptor overhead being harassed by 3 Pied Crows. I took a few shots even though it was at quite an altitude. I thought Yellow-billed Kite but could not make out yellow feet or bill. It was kindly IDed for me as a juvenile African Harrier-Hawk. This makes sense as I have quite often seen adults overhead.

Interesting to me was 2 sightings of wasps with prey.

In the first case I watched a small black wasp moving rapidly over the brick paving of my patio. The next time I saw it it had captured what looked like a young cricket. It dragged the cricket over to a hole. It then backed into the hole dragging the cricket in with it. It was IDed as Genus Liris in the Subfamily Crabroninae.

In the second case I noticed a wasp dragging a spider up my patio wall. It appeared as if the spiders legs had been removed. It was much larger than the wasp. Eventually the wasp carried it out of sight onto the roof of the patio. It was IDed as a Mud-nesting Spider Wasp; Tribe Ageniellini.

On the 5th of Feb I saw a Citrus Swallowtail (Papilio demodocus) caterpillar on a leaf of a lemon tree; very small and in its brown form.
I brought it in to raise.
It is now many times larger and in its green form. I'm now waiting for it to pupate.

Anotado en 28 de febrero de 2022 a las 06:29 AM por doug263 doug263 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

13 de febrero de 2022

My Olivedale Garden


The most interesting thing I saw in the garden this past week was a Bagworm Moth. Instead of making a shelter from tiny sticks, this one appeared to use two pieces of dead leaf; one above and one below its body. In order to move it would extend its body out of the enclosure and then pull the enclosure back over itself. Then this was repeated, etc. Very interesting to watch.

This morning I took a walk through Norscot Koppies Reserve. The paths had just been cut making them passable. Many years ago this was a granite quarry that fell into disuse and was donated to the Johannesburg municipality for the use of the people. Information (and the history) can be found on their website, norscotkoppies.co.za. It's a quiet spot surrounded by townhouse complexes in the heart of suburbia but worth a two hour walk.

Litter can be a bit of a problem and I forgot to take a bag with me to clean up as I walked. Most annoying, though, was the amount of bush cutter cord left on the paths by the guys who did the cutting. Every 50m, or so, a 0.5m length would be seen on the path with its bright artificial colour. Unnecessary.

Of interest was this insect, a Cotton Stainer Bug (Genus Dysdercus), identified for me on iNat.

Anotado en 13 de febrero de 2022 a las 02:10 PM por doug263 doug263 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de febrero de 2022

My Olivedale Garden

7 February 2022

What a storm we had in Johannesburg! So far I have measured 164 mm of rain for February but that fell over two days. The garden is waterlogged and there was flooding and damage done in and around Johannesburg. But for the time being the sun is out again.

It's been quite a busy week in the garden with the following loaded onto iNat.

Unknown caterpillars found on the house wall; they later dispersed.

Insect eggs on a leaf of a Mountain Karree. I'm watching these to see what develops.

A Chaleidoid wasp.

A Carbula stink bug.

An unknown moth rescued from the swimming pool.

A small butterfly that I think might be a Geranium-Bronze (Cacyreus Marshall).

A very small jumping spider high up on a wall.

A small caterpillar found on a leaf of a lemon tree. This might be a swallowtail. I've brought it in for rearing.

A slug.

An ant fly (Microdontinae).

A first for me, and especially interesting, was finding an ant mimicking nymph of a katydid. It looked just like an ant but with very long antennae and white under it's abdomen.

Anotado en 07 de febrero de 2022 a las 05:22 AM por doug263 doug263 | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

09 de enero de 2022

My Olivedale Garden

Sunday 9.01.2022
Another interesting, wet week in the garden with a few new critters (for me) loaded onto iNat.

I was interested to read in the latest bird magazine (African Birdlife January/February 2022) that House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) numbers are on the decline worldwide. There seem to be a number of possible reasons. Referencing Alfoso Balmori (2021, Birds 2: 329-337) one reason seems to be the proliferation of cell phone towers.

Looking through my photos I last took one of the House Sparrow in 2018.

Maybe I have been overlooking them. Certainly the Cape Sparrow (Passer melanurus) and the Southern Grey-headed Sparrow (Passer diffuses) are very common.

I must look out for the House Sparrow and pay more attention.

Anotado en 09 de enero de 2022 a las 03:22 PM por doug263 doug263 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de enero de 2022

My Olivedale Garden

Saturday 1.01.2022

Well 2021 is over. I'd like to wish everyone, iNaturalist and nature in general a wonderful 2022. We can always hope it will be better than 2021.

My retirement coincided with the first hard lockdown in South Africa at the end of March 2020. I have survived four waves of covid. I've stayed very close to home and so my garden and iNaturalist has been a godsend. In 2021 I only had one trip to the Walter Sisulu Botanic Garden and one to Norscot Koppies, a small local reserve.

My year on iNat: https://www.inaturalist.org/stats/2021/doug263

Of my 792 observations, 705 have been in my garden; 282 species. And I am still finding new things to see and learn about.

That's probably miniscule compared with 20 or 30 years ago but one has to work with what one has. I have learnt a huge amount in the past 18 months and wish to thank everybody who contributed to identifications of my observations.

I thought about highlights for 2021 but very new thing I see and every new thing I learn is a highlight so I'll just leave it at that.

I was sad to hear of the death of EO Wilson. I read his book Half Earth and was very interested in his work in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique.

Weatherwise I recorded 952.4 mm of rain for the calendar year 2021 versus 981.6 mm for 2020. That's not bad for the highveld but some areas of the country still battle with drought.

So forward into 2022 and the challenges it will present.

Anotado en 01 de enero de 2022 a las 03:39 AM por doug263 doug263 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario