Traditionally the hot dry wind in Kwa Zulu Natal is called a “Berg wind”. This is due to winds from the west dropping in altitude as they head for the coast. There are new phenomena that have crept in, in the past few years.
Every time we get a North wind, the wind is hot and dry. I have termed it the “desert wind”. The loss of vegetation to the North is astounding. I feel it should be reclassified as desert.
When we do get a south wind it is far cooler, but dryer than before. This is due to the Lumber plantations being cropped and converted to Sugar cane fields. The constant smell of burnt cane is unpleasant, the smoke blankets the land as a smog which affects the solar systems and the regular falling of carbon snowflakes blanket the land. We do not know the consequences of this action or how heavily this will affect Climate change. What I do know is that it is drying out the air and the traditional southerly rainfalls are drastically reduced.
We received 20mm of rain on the first day of spring! Thankfully it came slowly overnight with very little runoff. Alas, yes! The river did not run. However, it has settled the dust, there is water in the hills for my friends and the ground just sucked it all in and the rainwater harvesting has begun. We got 6000 liters, and the faithful old solar borehole foot pump is busy pushing it to the reservoir.
The temperatures have risen, 34 degrees today and the Insect and bird activity has responded. The weavers are very frustrated due to the lack of grass. Most of their activity is amongst the males, arguing about real estate and which branch is theirs.
The roaming camel spiders, solofugae, have started to roam again. The white stinkwoods and Croton’s are budding and blooming and the acacia robusta, Thambotie, Cussonias, Schotia’s and several other species feel it is time for high tea! At least they know better than the weather service, they are older and wiser. Isolated islands of green, yellow and red against the winter grey, that awaits further rain. There have been electrical storms the past two nights which produced a tap or two on the roof, thankfully there is more rain predicted for Thursday night!
The visitors have returned, Yellow billed kites, float around and the paradise flycatchers are flitting through the trees. The lilac breasted rollers and their northern friends have not arrived yet but will be here soon. The crowned eagles are still present, and the monkeys have become ground dwellers, no longer sunning themselves in the morning sun, at the top of trees. While taking some time out between visitors, I was greeted by my fellow fishermen the Fish eagles. Their nest site on the Mooi has now become obvious due to its size. The fish are on the bite, but I am yet to land a decent one for the pot.
Henry, the highwayman, a slender tailed mongoose gave me a good run in front of the car on the way out. He usually runs for 15 to 20 meters in front of the bakkie before ducking to the bush. This time he ran for a full 200 meters. I think he actually enjoys ambushing the bakkie.
The rutting of the Impala is now complete, and we wait for the Christmas babies! Dassie Middens abound on the cliffs again and the white streaks are being replaced by dark ones.
Regards, Andy, Richard and Jason.