🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Veldfire aftermath

Shortly after I took the photos of yesterday's veldfire which swept through our smallholding, the wind changed direction and the fire hurtled up the rest of the plot, coming close to the pallisade fencing around the house. Solly's chickens, who were just outside the wall and directly in the path of the flames, all charged through the gate and into my back-yard, looking confused at all the smoke and flames billowing around. This is their first season on the plot and they've never seen a fire before.

Besides being a threat to life and home, these wild fires are devastating to the wildlife. Lizards, Hedgehogs, Tortoises, hares (usually fast enough to escape), ground-nesting birds and other small wildlife are all at risk when these fires race along, driven by strong winds.

But these fires, when they are a natural occurrence and not started by someone carelessly tossing down a cigarette, also benefit nature. Some of our Aloes will not flower until they've been burnt by our winter fires. Another benefit of these fires is all the crispy tit-bits it leaves in its wake. Later that afternoon we had dozens of Egrets, Herons and Plovers snacking on the blackened landscape. Even the Fiscal Shrike was joining in the feast.

 Here a hapless lizard is being devoured by one of the Herons

And down it goes! (See how thick his throat is)

"Now that was nice! What's next on the menu?" The Egret doesn't seem too happy about the Heron getting the best tit-bits

The Egret has also found something!

 The Heron seems to have spied something...

Giving chase...

the chase is on! I could for the life of me not see what he was after. These birds were all quite far from me, about 90 meters, so the pics are not that great.

The Crowned Plovers and Blacksmith Plovers were also out in force, but unfortunately they were too far for me to get a decent picture.

Every April we cut the grass on our smallholding and make fire-breaks to minimise the damage and the grass being short certainly helps, but every year we still have to be vigilant and keep an eye open for these fires, which can come from any direction.



  1. Thank you for this follow-up. Maree. Somehow your description makes the event a bit more tolerable, if you know what I mean.

    1. I know what you mean Kathryn! Not all is bad, this fire was fairly small but, if not chcked, can cause a lot of trouble. thanks for stopping by!



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