24 May 2014

Going Nuclear

The past few months I've been sharing a lot of camera trap results from Koeberg Nature Reserve on this blog. Most of you might not be aware of this, but the reserve actually encircles a nuclear power plant...

A radio-active Eland (Eland - Tragelaphus oryx) at Koeberg

Not only is Koeberg the only nuclear power plant in South Africa, but apparently it is also the only one on the continent.

I've heard rumors about not being allowed to take photographs of the building (for "safety reasons"), but I'll take my chances and post these photographs nonetheless. I'm sure it will be fine. You can't even make out any details of the structure. It's also easy enough to find much better photos of the buildings online, even from the official website. (If my next blog post comes to you from a jail cell, then at least you will know why.)

Caracal (Rooikat - Caracal caracal) heading "towards the light"

The lights in the background are the spotlights from the power station.

Most of the land along the coastline has been lost to development or invasive aliens, and thanks to the power plant this small nature reserve now plays an important part in protecting the unique vegetation found along the West coast.

Caracal are quite common in the reserve and my latest batch of trail camera images contained this tantalizing photograph.

A Caracal at work

The photograph above shows a Caracal, on the left, stalking a Cape Gerbil. You can see the Gerbil's eye reflecting on the right, the white dot. Unfortunately the camera trap didn't capture another photograph to show what happened.

As a consolation prize I can give you a better view of a Cape Gerbil. I photographed this individual, below, a few month earlier, about 150m from where the above photo was taken.

Cape Gerbil (Kaapse Springmuis - Tatera afra) coming out of its burrow

And this fellow more recently, about 200m yonder.

The Cape Gerbil are common on the open grassy sections of the reserve

19 May 2014

Long Time No Spikes

It feels like it has been a long time since I posted some photographs of Mr Spiky.

Porcupine (Ystervark - Hystrix africaeaustralis) spiking things up at Koeberg Nature Reserve

Porcupines have always been frequent visitors to my camera traps and feel like old friends.

Here at Koeberg they kick up a lot of sand as the shuffle along.

Porcupines will often fold down their quills when they are relaxed

Who said Porcupines can't look sweet.

Turning on that good old rodent-charm

Their glorious set of whiskers always fascinates me.

Check out those spiffy whiskers!

I'm sure those whiskers help them find their way around on dark nights or while settling down in their underground resting placed during the day.

It must be an unpleasant experience if you bump into another Porcupine, and I'm sure those whiskers help them avoid a lot of painful experiences! The family live together, usually in a hole in the ground, and although they prefer to forage alone they often travel together along the game trails towards their feeding destinations.

Three Porcupines walking head-to-tail, the youngster is in the middle

The above photograph isn't the greatest quality. The flash had a hard time penetrating the thick misty-rain or fog.

It is from my most recent batch of photographs (taken about a week ago) and nicely illustrates the family moving together.