by Johan van der Walt

Happy Spring 
It is September and once more Spring has arrived in South Africa. With temperatures already reaching 30 degrees celsius and more, in certain areas of the Northern part of South Africa, it bodes for a hot summer.
The thing about spring is the new sounds and fresh smells in the air. Here in the northern part of the country, some migrating birds are already being seen and while many more species still have to arrive, some are already on their way further south.
In the northern and north-eastern parts of the country, male Masked Weavers are already singing their songs, changing into breeding plumage and building nests in anticipation of attracting a mate. Some Yellow-billed Kites were spotted flying south.  
Further south, the European Nightjars are back and are calling loudly throughout the nights (unlike the vocal habits described in most textbooks). Other species of Nightjars are becoming more active.

Butterflies are out and about and actively seeking out the first blossoms. Every night I notice more species of insects being attracted by the light on my veranda.  
Soon, large predators will have more mouths to feed, while antelope species, like Impala, will be dropping their young.
While some trees are starting to bud, the Common Wild Pear (Dombeya rotundifolia), or that lovely name in Afrikaans - “Drolpeer” - with its beautiful white flowers, is already blooming in full splendour here in the north. This tree is usually one of the first to blossom, announcing spring.

In the Kruger National Park, also one of the first trees to blossom, the colourful yellow flowers of the beautiful Sjambok Pod (Cassia abbreviata) are also a beautiful sight, while Sausages Trees (Kigelia africana) are also showing their large dark-red flowers. Baobabs (Adansonia digitata) in the far north are also slowly starting to grow fruit although they are very small at the moment.
Many Acacia species are budding, as the first growth of the new season is beginning to show. Variations of green are showing in other trees as well. 
We look forward to a summer of plenty as well as a good spell of rain to wash away the dust and bring relief to nature, wildlife and humans. 
Remember that water is precious, let us not waste. And just a thought – take some time and plant some indigenous trees, shrubs, or flowers in your garden this year.