Walking home….with the explorer!

After turning around, we walked back slowly, still looking for anything interesting.

Beach may-63 Beach may-64

Beach may-62

The sun was going down fairly quickly by now. We still had a bit of a walk back home. Boeta did not care one bit.

Beach may-65

Every time I pushed him a little he complained and wanted to walk in the opposite direction, only for the drag of a dad to remind him that it was getting late and we had to go home.

Beach may-66 Beach may-67I loved this spot with the green algae to spend some moments here to shoot a few shots, all freehand.

Beach may-68 Beach may-69

I looked for Boeta who was in his own world, finding another treasure, I am sure. I called him and he came walking toward me pointing at a Oystercatcher flying past and asking what it was.

Beach may-70 Beach may-71I again reminded him that we had to move on and he reluctantly joined me as we walked towards home. I took a few shots in that direction. You can just see the houses.

Beach may-72 Beach may-74 Beach may-75

It was a brilliant evening yet again. I could not get enough of the clouds and the setting sun, so every now and then I would get another shot.

Beach may-73 Beach may-76 Beach may-77

As we got closer we saw some fisherman again. Sometimes the ladies join their husbands/friends as they angle in the early evening as was the case with this young man.

Beach may-78

Boeta was in great spirits and still throwing rocks, running and enjoying being at the beach. You would never know we were coming to the end of a 6 km walk.

Beach may-79 Beach may-80 Beach may-81 Beach may-82 Beach may-83

It was too dark now. I was on the built-in flash to get any descent shots. Really time for us to get home.

Beach may-84

I took a last shot of the white rocks and the remaining sunlight.This is the last of this series of posts. We hope you enjoyed the full photographic walk with us.

Tomorrow we leave for a short Safari and a few days in the mountains to celebrate our son’s 3rd Birthday. Hopefully we will bring lots of photos of wildlife and landscapes to share next week. Have a great weekend, I know we will.

I looked for Boeta …. he was busy looking for crabs under the flat rocks.Beach may-85

My son – The explorer! Happy Birthday, we are so proud of you! Love you, Mom and Dad!

 

Advertisements

Important interaction

At the farm, the most important ingredient for us was our son interacting with nature and seeing farm animals. Doing reading in books and showing him things on television is one thing, but nothing will ever beat giving your child the opportunity to interact with nature.

DSC_1050This happened on all 3 days of our trip, when there was a chance and at Kududu, the owners had a lamb, possibly orphan and chickens. The chickens slept with the parrots in their cage at night.

As we walked around the place, we eventually came to the area where they were and some toys as well. Boeta walked past all these toys, directly to the lamb, which he now mimics, asking and pointing.

DSC_1055 DSC_1058 DSC_1065He then saw the chickens and parrots, jogged around to them.

DSC_1036 DSC_1080 DSC_1101He was so pleased with this find and even tried to give the chickens and the lamb some grass. The best part, seeing the little one’s eyes. They were full of wonder and excitement. Each time he saw another parrot, ran over to point and ask, then he saw the lamb again, like seeing it for the first time, jogged over to that side.

I think another important note to this little story is the fact that mom or dad was always there with him, sharing his joy, answering the questions, laughing with him and exploring with him. It is amazing how quickly he picks up when you are not invested in a process, even at 20 months, they recognize it immediately and it takes the shine off their excitement for sure.

DSC_1040 After properly examining everything and feeling confident he covered all the birds and one lamb, properly, he decided to go and investigate the toys around.

DSC_1071Then he saw the parrots again…we started all over. We have seen it over and over; nothing beats giving a young mind space to explore. If at all possible, getting them outside in real nature with the family, to enjoy and explore, cannot be overstated and you cannot put a monetary value on it.

The Essence

The essence of our son. Ok, we know it is back to back posts about him and we will get back to scenery, lions and birds, soon, but it is an important milestone, 1.5 years for us and deserves a back to back Boeta. You see 18 months ago, when the sun set, we were on a new road, incredible, exciting, scary, a little unexpected, but oh so wonderful and with the grace of our Heavenly Father, we have reached this day.

01-DSC_0767

After Boeta’s bath last night, daddy decided to try to capture his son’s essence at 18 months. Yes, missing is the odd tantrum or unhappiness due to one of his parents not playing with him or something he wants but cannot get, but those are luckily not very often. So as the sun went down over our rumbling ocean, daddy released the little chap and snapped away. Enjoy. This is our son.

02-DSC_0774 03-DSC_0783 04-DSC_0790 06-DSC_0803 07-DSC_0807 09-DSC_0828 10-DSC_0831 11-DSC_0837 12-DSC_0840 13-DSC_0842 14-DSC_0856 15-DSC_0857 16-DSC_0864 17-DSC_0867 18-DSC_0875 19-DSC_0881 20-DSC_0883 21-DSC_0884 22-DSC_0889 23-DSC_0894 24-DSC_0897 25-DSC_0900

Experience nature

We have shown a few photos of our outing yesterday, lion and giraffe, but Boeta also got to roam around at applicable areas. He had lots of fun investigating stuff as we walked around. Here are some photos, ending with mom pointing to something in front of them. Daddy is fairly proud of this series of photos.

DSC_0219 DSC_0230e DSC_0234e DSC_0238e DSC_0240e DSC_0255e DSC_0261e DSC_0270e

Being Dad.

Over the past weeks the reality of life has become a vivid and unrelenting truth. We usually try to ignore certain facts, trusting that tomorrow, when we wake up, everything will be the same with regards to our family. We have had to confront the truth that one day, you wake and you cannot call or talk to a loved one, twice already.

Being a fairly new dad, I have been thinking about this and what mine meant to me. As time marches on, one tends to reflect more on past times, I think this is just natural.

12-DSC_0118One of my earliest memories was going to church with my dad. I was always fascinated with his hands and while the church was going on, I would play with his hands. This was before I went to school. It is apt to remember this, because religion has always been a core part of his life, to this day.

My dad always made time for his children, after he came home from work, he had tea with mom, and then we went to the beach to play or swim. I loved sport and played rugby, so we spent time catching a high ball or learning how to pass properly. Many times we just played various beach games.

We never had excess growing up, but we never needed anything as well. He used his bonus (13th check) every year to pay for our holiday as a family. This was important to them as parents and we were lucky to have spent many years together having fun as a family of 5.

I think one of the biggest influences he had on me, was love for nature. We share a love for the Karoo, animals, birding and the beauty of nature in general. As I got older, we spend many hours walking around on farms, in nature parks or just sitting quietly, taking it in. He has always been an avid bonsai collector and I will always remember him snipping away, lovingly caring for his trees.

01-DSC_008902-DSC_0090 04-DSC_0093 05-DSC_0094 06-DSC_0095 07-DSC_0096 08-DSC_0097 03-DSC_0092He believed in us, unconditionally, he was always there when we needed him. He instilled in us the core values we needed to become functional productive people, but he showed us what it meant to be a parent and in my case a father and much-loved dad and granddad.

When I think about who I am as a person today, I do make my own choices and I do things a little different in terms of those choices, but the core, the base, from which I make those life decisions come from them, a reference guide if you will. We were incredibly lucky to have such a strong base as children and we are still learning today, they still provide an example of love to us.

I hope that I can have the same influence on my son, giving him those self-same core values. He has the advantage of still getting to experience some of his granddad’s loves, and we can just hope that it will rub off at this early age, even if he does not remember it.

09-DSC_0104 10-DSC_0114 11-DSC_0115To this day, my dad is still my hero, he is the man I am still striving to be, he is and was my mentor, the person I turned to, when I wanted to talk to someone. My parents were my cheerleaders when I played sport, my shoulder to cry on, the constant light, always there in the background.

I find it tough to put what my dad means to me in words, it seems there is not really words to describe what he means, and maybe this is just, because he is so much more than this to me, he is my dad. I am proud to be a father and just hope I can do him justice in being a dad to my son. It is most important to me.

13-DSC_0120

African Spoonbill (Platalea alba)

How would it feel to walk around with a spoon for a mouth? Well, I guess this bird should be able to answer that question. The African Spoonbill, pure white, a challenge for a point and shoot, especially on early afternoon, with distinctive long, flattened spoon-like bill. Red tinge around the edges with featherless (bare) face.

We saw these in the Eastern Cape, around Port Elizabeth, but they occur in most of Southern Africa, except dry regions, up the eastern African countries mostly.

03-DSCF0140They feed by sweeping those spoons side to side. I tried to get some pictures of this.

10-DSCF0153 09-DSCF0152 08-DSCF0148 06-DSCF0145 05-DSCF0143 04-DSCF0141Hope you enjoy this quick look at the spoonbills.

Previous post of birding: Eagle, Verreaux’s

Pale Chanting Goshawk (Melierax canorus)

The introduction picture is how we usually see these in the field. They are endemic to the South Western Africa region, which basically means South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

In flight the white under-wing contrast strongly with the dark primaries on the wing tips, as well as white “windows” on top of wings.

2-162 Bleeksingvalk (Mokale park) 09 (4) 3-162 Bleeksingvalk (Mokale park) 09 (8)The beautiful barred rump can only really be seen up close, and here the raptor rehab center came to the rescue. We found they had some birds with wing damage (mostly) and took a few pictures.

7-2009_1114 Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk (11) 3-2009_1114 Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk (23) 2-2009_1114 Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk (21) They also have long reddish legs and wonderful calls. Always nice sight in the wild.

Warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicas)

We found some Warthog in Addo National Park. Not the most beautiful animal you could ever see, but yet, there it is.

3-DSC_0594 1-DSC_0592A muddy concoction of compactness, with a huge head, small eyes, and a wart just below the eyes, males have another set lower down, and then the canine teeth forms prominent tusks, growing outward and then upward. The weight of the males average around 80 kg.

They like open woodlands, grassland and floodplains. They feed on grass, roots, seeds, fruit, bark and even invertebrates. Interestingly babies eat mother’s dung to inoculate their gut with bacteria.

Their love for mud is for removing parasites and cooling off. They form loose families, usually males with 2 females and piglets. I managed to capture a meeting of 2 groups and in what is said to be a friendly meeting with recognition, some sniffing and possibly a bout of head pushing.

6-DSC_0613 7-DSC_0614 5-DSC_0612After the head pushing, all was good again, and everybody went on with their day’s task of foraging for food.

Looking down at a little sunshine

The wind is blowing as a cold front passes through, whipping up the ocean, waves crashing thunderously down on the rocks and beach, taking sand back into its depths with every new wave and exposing the round pebbles, so formed by years of tumbling through high and low tides.

Sometimes it feels like giants walking on the beach, their steps rumbling as they walk and as the wind gusts, it is like they take their big hands, shaking the house at the foundations, hoping an unsuspecting prey will come running out.

I feel a tug on my pants and look down at a pair of perfectly rounded blue eyes, it has been a few days of being stranded inside the house and although that little person has very little words to explain his feelings, I can see he wants to go out, he is longing for new adventures.

By midday the winds and clouds break enough to allow a little sunshine. We took our chance to escape the electrified light for the some pure vitamin D producing sunlight, faint as it is. Clipping on my long-lens, loading him into his secure chair, we fire-up the old diesel.

The hope was to find a whale to photograph, but this hope was quickly dashed by the uneasy ocean. The whales were there, blowing a fountain of seawater every now and then, but the ocean hid its giants well, maybe tomorrow or the next.

We turned inland, maybe a bird or something else, but as we drove looking at the trees swinging in the still fairly strong wind, this also quickly became an unlikely prospect. Stopping at some random spot next to the road, I walked around the vehicle with a quarter bottle, prepared in advance for the little one, in case he got thirsty. Opening the door the blue eyes smiled back at me, contend. He was watching the big green things swaying in the wind, next to the vehicle.

1-DSC_0025The wind tugged at my pants and I looked down again, only to look into the face of perfectly formed blue-purple little flowers not higher than a few millimeters from the ground. They also enjoyed the sunlight and at once I became aware of self and how the most beautiful things are sometimes at your feet, and not somewhere in the distance.

Feeling partly ashamed for only having a long-lens on my camera, because I was not prepared to look closer to the ground, at my feet, I stood back far enough for the camera to be able to focus on the little flowers. Delicate little wonders that stood tall in the face of the storms we experienced, not showing much in the way of damage, perfectly adapted to withstand the fierce rumblings of mother nature.

2-DSC_0032We drove home and with a sense of peace, we walked back into our house. We had lunch and both of us slept peacefully after our little adventure, content to take on the last part of the day, hoping that tomorrow will bring another chance to escape our brick shelter.