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Noticing Nature

by Editor Lourens Durand 
Published the 16th of June 2021


by Lourens Durand



by Lourens Durand



The strident call of the Woodland Kingfisher proclaims the arrival of spring in South Africa and the return of the bird from its winter visit to the north. On a morning walk our breath was taken away by a male of the species fluttering into a bush not 5 metres away. We paused to look and the kingfisher, after casting a scornful look at us, fanned its wings with a flourish, exposing the brilliant white lining underneath. Strutting now, it flipped intermittently, flashing its cobalt blue wing feathers and black wing-tips followed by the dazzling white under wings in a mating display. Flip blue, flop white.

Eight seconds and it was all over ...


'What's up'' by E. Amer


How many special moments of beauty, such as this, have we missed because were too busy to stop to look at the small things?

Often the benefits of encounters with nature or wildlife are perceived to be the bigger the better, as in Big 5 safaris and the Great Serengeti Migration. They are, of course, spectacular, and Africa is renowned for these experiences.


'The King in the morning light' by Xavier Ortega



'Suspicious look' by Jaco Marx



'Rhino learning to fly' by Justus Vermaak



'Encounters in Serengeti' by Alberto Ghizzi Panizza



'imagine' by Piet Flour


But we do not always need to go to these extents - we have it all at home.
We just need to go out into the garden, or a park, or even gaze at a scene through a window, and look for the small things.

As Einstein said, some time ago: "Look deep, deep into nature and you will understand everything better".

As an experiment, when next you are in the garden or a park, try this: stop and appreciate the presence of nature around you; the variety of trees, flowers, grasses, birds, insects, soils, reptiles and even the fungi on rotting branches. Then look deeper and pick out the lichen and moss on different sides of the trees, as well as the countless insects scurrying about on the leaves and the bark;  smell the vegetation,  listen for the array of sounds, touch the leaves; feel the velvety texture of some compared to the sandpaper roughness of others; the smoothness of some barks compared to the corkiness of others. Sense the breeze, or the lack of it. Is it going to rain; or is going to be a scorcher?


Looking still deeper, the whole food chain in the garden may appear; from the midge feeding off the juices of the caterpillar that is devouring the vegetation to the beetles and spiders that will have the caterpillar for lunch; the starling that will snatch the midge in mid-air; the frogs that will gulp up the spiders; the mongoose that will scratch for bugs and stalk small birds. If we are lucky, we may even glimpse the hawk that is eyeing the starlings, who will put up a racket and mob it till it leaves...


Eventually, it may occur to us that everything in nature is connected and that we are but a small part of it, and yet we can do it so much harm.


Here is a selection of photos from photographers illustrating moments of beauty in nature...


'Sunrise in Etosha NP' by Piet Flour



'Halleluja' by mathieu irthum



'Flat Crep Fungi' by Gary Pope



'My Best Friend' by Edy Pamungkas



'The Water is Too Cold... Brrrr... o_o' by Lessy Sebastian



'Down Curve' by Fauzan Maududdin



'Funny Face Caterpillar' by Fauzan Maududdin



'Nature frame' by wilianto



'Curro' by Jose Garcia



'Shut up' by Savas Sener



'Eurasian scops owl' by Milan Zygmunt



'The Common Starling, Sturnus vulgaris' by Petr Simon



'Palestine Sunbird with Kalistemon' by Shlomo Waldmann



'three little birds' by Ahmad Gafuri



'Starling Couple' by Jacqueline Hammer



'Agent 007' by Margaret Halaby



'Dragon-fly' by Lucia Gamez



'Angel' by mustafa öztürk



n/t by michel manzoni




'Little Dragonfly Mating' by Rob Li



'Alien' by Alexander Zubrickij



'Parachutist...' by Thierry Dufour



'Incontro romantico' by [email protected]




'Hey Bro Move Over!' by Liza Rock


once again, a marvellous selection made by the artistic team
Oh wow. What a great article and fantastic photos. Feel like immediately running into the garden/woods/bush to see what I can find. THANK YOU for the inspiration. LOVED IT!
Wow what a great set of photographs! Thank you for the inclusion guys, appreciate it! (:
Our pleasure, Jaco !!!