Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fwd: Bird Photos

Lesser Masked Weaver (fairly common local resident) which means they are seen 1-10 a day in suitable habitat only in restricted areas of that habitat breeding in SA -
- photo by Shane Chudleigh at Hluhluwe
White Fronted Plover (common resident) which means they are seen 10-50 times a day in suitable habitat and breed in SA - photo by I du Plessis beach St Lucia
Red-winged Pratincole (locally common summer visitor) which means they are seen only in restricted areas of suitable habitat
10-50 times a day during September to March. Photo by LQ du Plessis at Pan Loop

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Winter has it own charms ...

Winter has it own charms, breathtakingly beautiful bright orange sunsets over the lake, warm sunny days and of course better fishing opportunities with the cooler ocean water. I really do not know how man (women too!) get up at first sunlight (or before) to go fishing from an ice cold beach. I can only manage that in summer, psychologically I cannot move below 15°. My father of 75 caught 2 Garrick so far this season and I am very appreciative to the selfless stronger men out there helping him land the fish. Shad is here, just waiting for the big ones, and be aware of the sharks out there too hunting the same fish as you.

This is all very exciting but all this fishing leaves a foul smell on the beach and between the rocks. I am referring to the litter of plastic, fishing line and the toxic cigarette butts. How difficult can be too put your litter (of any kind) in a rubbish bag to throw away in a more suitable environment for rubbish.

It breaks my heart to see crabs entangled in fishing line or birds starve to death due to plastic caps in their stomachs giving them a false sense of fullness. The baby fish are just starting out and the need to be in protected pool at this stage in their lives, now that little pool is contaminated with a cigarette.

The other concern I have is the disturbance of shells with living creatures inside them. Why would you pry a shell off the rock then put it upside down and walk off.? How must the snail get upright again? Like one unintelligent aunty told me when I asked her the question politely, "I want the shell, the thingy can crawl out and find another shell". The other thing that makes my blood boil is the small fishing nets used to destroy tidal pools. The banging, scraping and moving of rocks all destroy sensitive small systems, even plants start out small. My husband pick-up a small fishing net way out at sea while he was fishing from his kayak with 2 tiny fishes (about 1,5 cm long) caught in the netting. They would have died there, too much sun and no food. On release they both dived for the bottom, starved most probably. This made me realise that the majority of "good" people do not know anything about shells and life on rocky shores and beaches.

It is always the parents' responsibility to teach their children to respect nature and to preserve nature for the future. Children imitate parents more than they realise. It was my father who instilled this need to protect nature, he was the example. I remember him catch and release birds, spiders, mice rather than kill them. He would move pythons back into the forest after a meal so that people cannot see or hurt it when most vulnerable and slow. My point I had a good example and we had books about animals too.

My request to you is to pick-up shells washed up after a high tide, leave the living ones alone, and to put your litter in a bag not hide it in rock crevices. Look at the fish in the tidal pools and feed them if you like but do not disturb their little world. If you see someone abusing your heritage, explain to them in a friendly manner the impact of their actions. Take their insults like a man but I bet you they will think about your words next time.

Imelda Du Plessis
Manager - St Lucia Wilds
Self-Catering Holiday Accommodation
Tel/Fax: 035 590 1033
PS: Think twice before you support illegal animal and plant trade or craft.
Please use our water sparingly and do not litter.
Special rates for September and October 2010, just ask.