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An Urban Surprise

An Urban Surprise

We returned home to urban Pretoria, and had a super surprise waiting for us on our garage door. A Blue-legged Sylvan Katydid (Zabalius ophthalmicus) had decided to “hide” right there. I imagine they are plentyful, but we rarely see them. This fellow was at least 80mm long, and one would think would be very easy to find, and a great treat for one of our African grey hornbills, but quite clearly in the right location, that camouflage will be incredibly effective. The great thing is that we are able to get these amazing natural wonders in our own back yards!...

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The Rights of Man (and the Wrongs of Man)

The Rights of Man (and the Wrongs of Man)

I am very happy that Lady Gaga won the Oscar. An immediate disclaimer – I am not in general a Gaga fan. Yet this time she created something very positive, a movie that I really enjoyed, and a display of immense latent talent. Sadly, it is not always so, and interspersed between the great moments one may find some crazy scenes and very tragic lows. She was (after all) the woman who was almost arrested outside St. Basil's Cathedral because the police believed her clothing choice marked her as a prostitute. That was the least of her transgressions, especially considering...

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The LBJ as a Social Animal

The LBJ as a Social Animal

It is always a point of some envy to observe some of the spectacular photographs being posted on Facebook by groups like the “Garden Route Birds”. They seem to have a spectacular mix of birds at each feeder (and secondly envy stems from the superior quality of their photographic skills). Even in our more humble circumstances, we get a super variety of garden birds, and often have three or more species at a single feeder. Just recently, researchers in the UK have been investigating the social nature of birds, including feeding habits. Despite a comparatively small selection of targeted species,...

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A Toast to Hedy Lamarr

A Toast to Hedy Lamarr

The friends and subscribers of Nature’s Heart are (not surprisingly) nature lovers. Whereas the main interest is our avian natural heritage we love everything to do with the South African “bush”. We do a great deal of “observing”, and we come to interesting conclusions and lessons – some probably misdirected, but very personal. Personally, I love to consider the incredible design and optimisation of created life, and I love stories that are related to this facet. Recently, I wrote a blog referring to kingfisher beak design being used as a model for train aerodynamics. Here I relate a super story...

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The Urban Kudu

The Urban Kudu

Kudus love rose petals. I know this because I have seen them. I have an old uncle who owned a game farm near Nylstroom some years ago. His wife fenced off a 400m2 rose garden using an 8 foot fence – to no avail. The kudus cleared the fence with ease. If you were patient enough to chase them for a time by day, they simply seemed to return at night. Here it appears to me that there are two kinds of people – those who try to protect roses from kudus, and those who grow more roses to try...

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