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Hyrax Heaven: Hermanus, South Africa

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Another Carpobrotus. What a lovely thing, and each flower three inches or more across! They're really best photographed from a near-prone position. I was happy to get the blue mountain in the background. It wasn't long before my friends on the trip started getting on the down-lo to photograph flowers, too. 

Rock hyrax takes a break.

If this doesn't look like vacation, nothing does. We were in Hermanus, South Africa, world famous for having some of the best whale watching in the world--from shore! 
Not being much for big seas, I was extremely grateful to be ogling lolling (oglalling?) southern right whales and Bryde's whales from the security of seaside cliffs and highways. I kept having to pinch myself, because I have come to associate whalewatching with wondering when (not if) I'm going to puke.

Just fine with me, not to be on a pitching deck while training my binocs on blowholes.  And to have these adorable mammalian proto-sirenians lollygagging on the cliffs within arm's length. 

Please notice softpaddy toebeans. I wanted to scoop up a hyrax and blow a raspberry on its tummy. I'd been away from Chet Baker too long. I probably would have gotten beaten to pieces, if I'd been able to catch one. But man. These little butterbeans are dang cute. 

I do believe I'd come out the worse for it if I grabbed aholt of one. When I look at this photo it's not that hard to imagine that they're related to elephants. Just elongate that snoot, give him some flappy ears, and upsize him about 1,000 times.

This looked very much like the lemon crispum scented geraniums I used to grow.  It was so cool to see old friends and acquaintances in the wildflowers.  Something had to be familiar here!

  In addition to grazing on the daisies, the hyraxes, or dassies as they're called locally, clamber over the cliffs, sampling tastes of the smorgasbord of flowers and plants South Africa lays out before them. 

At Hermanus, they're quite acclimated to the crowds who come to ogle the whales.

They quickly scamper to the safety of their rock outcrops if anything seems fishy.

Drinking from a rainwater pool. I like how dassies take life: slowly and with evident relish.  With lots of extreme lounging. 

I loved this surprise group of preening larids!

You might need to click on the photo to embiggen it. 

In this assemblage, from left, are Hartlaub's gulls (white heads); Sandwich terns; a gray-headed gull (center); greater crested or swift terns; and a few common terns. Nice! especially since larids can be a bit scarce along the South African coast. 

I never quite got used to speckled pigeons. They are just too snazzy with their red Amelia Earhart aviatrix goggles. 

 These two visions of loveliness repaired to the communal hyrax latrine to pick about for seeds amidst the dung. Pigeons will be pigeons, no matter how lovely.

That latrine, oddly enough, was soon to become a nexus of cool...stay tuned!

I'm going back to South Africa in September 2016. Wanna come along? Click here for details.


Beautiful hyrax heaven! xom.

What a tease you are! Leaving us hanging like this....

Posted by Bette Dengel January 23, 2016 at 5:53 PM

I loved Hermanus. We were a bit off whaling season (though the tour promotional info suggested that's what we would see).
I got one of my best photos there--not being a photographer of wildlife--I got a shot of some very colorful boats lined up along the rocky shore of the little cove harbor.

Really cute mammal until he opens his mouth! Yikes!

Embiggen - love it! So apt!

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