Lockdown Life: Local Wildlife

Local Wildlife – What do these 3 creatures have in common?

Cape fur seal sleeping surrounded by cyclists

Sunbird

Porcupine sniffs a camera bag next to someone sleeping

They are all local wildlife residents of Kalk Bay, Cape Town – and have made for some fascinating study subjects during the lockdown in South Africa. Steve Benjamin has been photographing the resident Cape fur seals of Kalk Bay Harbour, the beautiful endemic sunbirds that visit his garden, and the scuffling porcupine who sneaks in at night for a meal!

Cape Fur Seals and Cyclists

The resident fur seals in Kalk Bay harbour have taken to sleeping in the middle of the pier, after 5 weeks of peace from human disturbance. With Stage 4 in South Africa allowing exercise between 6-9am, this pier has become a popular place to walk, run and cycle over the last 2 weeks. The seals don’t seem to care about anyone and snore away in the middle of the path. How often does one find a seal with cyclists!?

Seal sleeps on its stomachSeal sleeps on its back

Sunbirds at the Sugar Feeder

There are incredible sunbirds flitting around the suburbs of the Cape Peninsula, feeding on plants that have adapted specifically to cater to these long billed beauties. With strict regulations confining South Africans to their homes for 5 weeks, Steve set out to capture the brightly coloured sunbirds visiting his garden to feed.

”I’ve always wanted to try photographing the birds right in my garden but just never had the time. I’ve always had a bird feeder, but didn’t regularly fill it. So when lockdown started, I put the feeder out every morning and enjoyed seeing the local bird community visiting us. I started thinking more about how to create a setting where I could capture interesting images that highlight the beauty of these birds. I also wanted to use this project as a way to be creative and escape the confines of the lockdown.”

The result is an ongoing series of striking sunbird images, which can be purchased as wallpapers for your phone or desktop as a reminder of your time in Cape Town! Have a look at Steve’s website and wallpaper selection here.

Sunbird sits atop an erica flowerSunbird on erica flower     Sunbird sits on top of erica flower     sunbird on erica flower

Porcupine after a Meal!

There has been evidence in Steve’s garden of this porcupine coming in during the night, with dog pellets being snuffled out of the bag and the veggie garden being scratched up! Steve’s been setting up a camera trap and sleeping outside to hopefully capture the porcupine in action – in the image above he sniffs at the camera bag as Steve lies still watching him.

“It was nervous and wasn’t expecting a new scent in the area, where it normally raids the dog food. It stuck around for a few moments and left, with a rattling swagger. I hoped it would come back, but no chance.”

The porcupine has been back a few times, as evidenced by the images on the camera trap in the morning! Who would have thought that the local wildlife would be so entertaining?!

Porcupine in the dark next to a bushPorcupine looks into camera

Have you noticed any local wildlife behaving differently in your neighbourhood?

Follow Steve’s Lockdown Stories on his Instagram page @animal_ocean for updates!