Update on our frangipani seed pod seedlings.

Update on our frangipani seed pod seedlings.

In early 2015, we shared our exciting discovery of the frangipani pod in our garden. http://dempseys.co.za/fascinating-frangipani-pod-in-dempseys-garden/ We’ve been slack in reporting on the growth progress but we have these recent photos to show you that the four ‘seed survivors’ are thriving. We managed to save approximately 18 seeds, we planted them and once they were ‘shooting’, we gave a few away as gifts. This was around May last year. Later a snail gang wiped out a further few seedlings and we were left with only four plants, these we have nurtured. We look forward to the day when the plants flower as there is a strong chance that the colour of the flowers will differ from the yellow of the original tree flower:)

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SAMREC’s full moon beach walk.

SAMREC’s full moon beach walk.

What a delight to be part of the SAMREC full moon beach walk on Sunday 24th January. It was their first full moon beach walk event and they intend making it a monthly event. The participation fee per person supports the excellent rehabilitation efforts of SAMREC. It was a breezy and misty evening which caused havoc with the photography but it was still a most enjoyable beach walk.

SAMREC is a Marine Rehabilitation and Educational Centre situated at Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth, about 15kms from us at Dempsey’s. Their main aim is to rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured seabirds, particularly the critically endangered African Penguin.  Tour the centre and explore the displays in their Discovery Room, you won’t be disappointed.


Find SAMREC on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/samrecpe

the start of the full moon beach walk

The start of the full moon beach walk

beautiful stretch of beach within the cape recife reserve.

Beautiful stretch of beach within the Cape Recife Reserve.

breathing space

Breathing space

shaky shot of chokka boats under the shine of the full moon

Shaky shot of chokka boats under the shine of the full moon


brief appearance of the full moon

Brief appearance of the full moon

hanging full moon, about to disappear

Hanging full moon, about to disappear


Ziplining chameleon at Dempsey’s!

Ziplining chameleon at Dempsey’s!

No words needed for this escapade along the power line in our garden!

from a distance

From a distance

couldn't believe our eyes!

Couldn’t believe our eyes!

brave or mental?

Brave or mental?

Miles from any tree or branch!

Miles from any tree or branch!

Superb drongo entertainment!

Superb drongo entertainment!

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Recently we were treated to superb entertainment right on our private deck area at Dempsey’s Guest House. The crazed entertainment was provided by a whacky Fork-tailed drongo who was born to perform. Bursting with confidence and attitude, this drongo had us pleasantly amused for a long time; the more we chatted and cheered, the more flamboyant the performance became! Ah the wonder of nature.




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Baby olive woodpecker:)…maybe not!

Baby olive woodpecker:)…maybe not!

Yesssss, we were able to get close to the nest and capture the baby woodpecker:)


Oops, we have erred and think that these photos are of the mum and not of the babe as we’d initially thought! Ah well, back to the wait.


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Olive woodpecker nesting in our tree.

Olive woodpecker nesting in our tree.

Spring is in the air and our garden is alive with activity, especially after the good rains we’ve had. Nesting in one of the ancient syringa trees is a woodpecker family. The photos show a parent keeping vigil. Today we saw a fluffy, baby, grey head pop out of the hole. Sweetness! If we are allowed closer, photos of the baby will follow.

The Olive Woodpecker has two isolated subspecies in Africa – one is in Central Africa, and the other is endemic to South Africa, living in evergreen forests. It forages in the upper canopies of trees, probing pecking branches and licking with its barbed tongue. Both sexes excavate the nest, which is usually a oval-shaped hole in the trunk of a tree. Egg-laying season is from August-November, peaking from September-October.It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for roughly 15-16 days. The chicks are cared for by both parents, leaving the nest at about 24-26 days old. The juveniles return to the nest to roost for about 3 months, after which they become fully independent. Several adaptations combine to protect the woodpecker’s brain from the substantial pounding that the pecking behaviour causes: it has a relatively thick skull with relatively spongy bone to cushion the brain; there is very little cerebrospinal fluid in its small subarachnoid space; the bird contracts mandibular muscles just before impact, thus transmitting the impact past the brain and allowing its whole body to help absorb the shock; its relatively small brain is less prone to concussion than other animals.

Source: Wikipedia





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Magnificent book of our South African Coasts.

Magnificent book of our South African Coasts.

This magnificent book “South African Coasts – A celebration of our seas and shores” can be bought online on www.sst.org.za or at SAMREC. The proceeds of the book go to educating our children about the sea. It includes information on Hope Spots. This info taken from Raggy Charters’ website. www.raggycharters.co.za

What are Hope Spots?

Mission Blue defines Hope Spots as special conservation areas that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blue heart. Some of these Hope Spots are already formally protected, while others still need protection. About 12 % of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks, world heritage sites, monuments, etc.), while less than three percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Mission Blue is committed to changing this. Networks of Hope Spots maintain biodiversity, provide a carbon sink, generate life-giving oxygen, preserve critical habitat and allow low-impact activities like ecotourism to thrive. They are good for the ocean, which means they are good for us. By engaging governments, businesses, schools, research organizations, universities, civil society and the media, Mission Blue hopes to effect significant changes so that future generations can thrive on a healthy planet, with a healthy ocean.

Port Elizabeth’s Algoa Bay is a Hope Spot. http://www.nmbt.co.za/algoa_bay_hope_spot.html


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Three-in-one new tour from Raggy Charters, Port Elizabeth.

Three-in-one new tour from Raggy Charters, Port Elizabeth.

0090080007006010Here’s a nice new tour combo on offer from “Raggy Charters”:

Head off on an exhilarating boat cruise to St. Croix Island in Algoa Bay to see the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world. After that it’s off to SAMREC, Port Elizabeth’s marine bird and rehabilitation centre in Summerstrand. Finish the day off with a visit to The Bayworld Museum, Snake Park and Oceanarium in Humewood.

For more information on The Penguin Patrol and to book, visit: http://www.raggycharters.co.za/page/penguin_patrol

About Raggy Charters, in their own words, from their website: http://www.raggycharters.co.za

“As far as we are aware we are the oldest marine eco tour company combined with a conservation project in Africa – since 1992. We are owner run and managed and use the volunteer system to assist in our tours and projects. We specialise in taking tourists, photographers, corporate office party groups, TV crews and marine wildlife enthusiasts on ocean safaris to watch the whales, dolphins, penguins and other natural wonders of Algoa Bay. Our wildlife and whale watching boat cruises possibly cover the longest distance of any ocean safari along the South African coast, lasting for 3-4 hours and covering 50km. This provides guests with a better chance of seeing the full array of marine wildlife Algoa Bay has to offer. Port Elizabeth is a hidden gem in South Africa for whale watching, and other wildlife viewing. With seasonal visits from Southern right whales, humpback whales, and indo-pacific humpback dolphins. We have the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world right on our doorstep. As well as our other resident species including bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, bryde’s whales, Cape gannets and more. All year round we at Raggy Charters can offer guests some great wildlife viewing experiences in our secret and undisturbed bay.”

Lloyd’s wife Dr Lorien Pichegru has been studying the breeding success of African Penguins in Algoa Bay for the past six years, to determine whether competition with purse-seine fisheries has caused the decline in African penguin numbers. Lorien gained her PhD at the University of Strasbourg, France, in 2008 and is currently a research associate at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology (click here for a list of her publications). Part of the study involves closing a 20km radius around St Croix Island to fishing by purse seiners who target one of the penguins prey items, the sardine. It has been found that even this small Marine Protected Area around the colony helps dramatically. Click here for more information about the research being conducted on the African penguin.

Dr Pichegru says: “My research focuses on seabirds foraging ecology and life history traits in relation to prey availability and local competition with industrial fisheries, using animal-borne miniaturized recorders, such as GPS recorders combined with pressure sensors, cameras, etc. taped on adults breeding small chicks to determine the at-sea behaviour of several species of seabirds breeding in South Africa, endemic to the region and threatened with extinction.”

See Dempsey’s Blog on Raggy Charters’ feature in the SA Country Life magazine: http://dempseys.co.za/port-elizabeth-features-again-in-sa-country-life-mag

Claire Fulton highlighting Port Elizabeth’s country spots. June 2015

Claire Fulton highlighting Port Elizabeth’s country spots. June 2015

In case you had not noticed, yes we are fans of the SA Country Life magazine. Take a peek at the June 2015 issue where Claire Fulton writes about ‘Pastoral PE.’ And oh yes, you need to know that she is from Port Elizabeth. Keep us in the spotlight please Claire.


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One Fine Day in March 2015.

One Fine Day in March 2015.

It’s been a long and cold winter in Port Elizabeth but the days are longer and we are seeing more light now, we are dreaming of that ‘One Fine Day’ in the March 2015 issue of SA Country Life magazine by Port Elizabeth’s Claire Fulton. Remember us please when next you plan your visit to Port Elizabeth.


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