Journal Entries

Traffic Accident

I witnessed a traffic accident this afternoon while walking to the gym. At the corner of McDonald Avenue and another street (I forget which) as I prepared to cross the stop street I saw a white car coming charging towards me. I stopped and watched … it's a four-way stop so all cars from all sides need to stop, and that car's driver obviously didn't get the idea. He was coming at a big speed, it looked even faster than he's allowed to in town - 60 km/h is the general speed limit. I didn't see it at first but there was another car, a blue one, coming into the crossing from my side. That car should have stopped - I didn't see if it did - but of course ALSO coming into a four-way stop, you SHOULD make sure the other cars have stopped before you drive on. So: the white car charged into the crossing and I heard its brakes squeal and then it hit the blue car with a huge crashing sound. The noses of the cars collided at a 90-degree angle and the blue car went spinning coming to rest against the curb of McDonald Avenue on the opposite side. A woman was in it, air bags had deployed, the car was so damaged that the door wouldn't open easily but I helped her out. She was shocked of course but showed no signs of injury. The driver of the other car had got out as well and also seemed fine. The cars were both pretty messed up, though. Soon there was a crowd of people. I didn't have my phone so couldn't call the police but I gave the woman my phone number in case I was needed as a witness. I then went on to the gym.

This is the second most serious accident I've seen. The worst one was not far from there, where Grimm street crosses the highway to Tzaneen. A car there went over a red traffic light at huge speed, and crashed into another car whose driver didn't pay attention - and was killed in the collision.

So anyways just another caution, folks … be very attentive when driving!

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Latest reply: 4 Weeks Ago

Traffic Accident

I witnessed a traffic accident this afternoon while walking to the gym. At the corner of McDonald's Street and another street (I forget which) as I prepared to cross the stop street I saw a white car coming charging towards me. I stopped and watched … it's a four-way stop so all cars from all sides need to stop, and that car's driver obviously didn't get the idea. He was coming at a big speed, it looked even faster than he's allowed to in town - 60 km/h is the general speed limit. I didn't see it at first but there was another car, a blue one, coming into the crossing from my side. That car should have stopped - I didn't see if it did - but of course ALSO coming into a four-way stop, you SHOULD make sure the other cars have stopped before you drive on. So: the white car charged into the crossing and I heard its brakes squeal and then it hit the blue car with a huge crashing sound. The noses of the cars collided at a 90-degree angle and the blue car went spinning coming to rest against the curb of McDonald's street on the opposite side. A woman was in it, air bags had deployed, the car was so damaged that the door wouldn't open easily but I helped her out. She was shocked of course but showed no signs of injury. The driver of the other car had got out as well and also seemed fine. The cars were both pretty messed up, though. Soon there was a crowd of people. I didn't have my phone so couldn't call the police but I gave the woman my phone number in case I was needed as a witness. I then went on to the gym.

This is the second accident I've seen on McDonald's Street. The previous one was where the street crossed the highway to Tzaneen. A car there went over a red traffic light at huge speed, and crashed into another car whose driver didn't pay attention - and was killed in the collision.

So anyways just another caution, folks … be very attentive when driving!

Discuss this Journal entry [1]

Latest reply: 4 Weeks Ago

Afrikaans Music Video

Hi folks! Some of you have already seen and heard this, but for the rest, please watch this music video, called 'Piramide' (Afrikaans for 'Pyramid'). It is a light pop song sung by Kaylyn Botha, the daughter of my friend Adri Botha, who (Adri!) owns the local art gallery where a lot of my art is displayed and sold. Kaylyn is still in school, and very talented, maybe even going into a musical career! I've written a song for her to sing, maybe also making it into a music video. Imagine if it became a hit!


Anyways here is the video - tell me what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHGfVVYPvvU

Discuss this Journal entry [15]

Latest reply: Sep 6, 2019

December and January Sketch Practice

For me, it's holidays now! I've just returned from a trip to the Leolo Mountains with CREW (the plant folks) and now, back home, I've a few restful weeks to look ahead to. I've decided that the rest of December and most of January is going to be sketching and drawing practice time! I desperately need to level up with my art … I'm going to work really hard at it. I'll do both speed sketching and detail/polished drawings. I'm going to try to finish at least one thing every day.

Discuss this Journal entry [2]

Latest reply: Dec 14, 2018

Birding Big Day 2018

OK here is the report … I'm keeping it short and to-the-point. You folks over there might find it interesting how we're using tech … we logged every species on BirdLasser, an app to record when and where species are seen. We could also see how the other teams are doing, including exactly which species *they* saw, in fairly close to real time! Please ask if you'd like more info on any of these species. As it is, I've covered quite a number of them already in my Colours of Wildlife column. The teams that won, got over 300 species! Two of the top 3 teams are from Polokwane!

Birding Big Day 2018 Report for Team Red-Billed Rocket Tails

The Red-Billed Rocket Tails are:
Mark Friskin
Julia Friskin
James Friskin
Willem van der Merwe

We started early, just after two in the morning. I'm not going to give away too much about the exact spots we went, but we first headed out to the Polokwane Game Reserve, where we got some night birds and caught the dawn chorus, after which we drove around in the reserve a bit. There were some pleasant surprises, such as a beautiful Violetbacked Starling who came to check us out and showed itself off at the same time. In fact, this was the first of several violetbacked starlings for the day … unfortunately all just count for one! Other neat glimpses included a Black Cuckooshrike, a bunch of Spurwinged Geese perching in a tree, a Temminck's Courser in a patch of burned veld, and some lovely specials of the reserve such as Red-breasted Swallows and a Short-clawed Lark. Also special was a Shaft-tailed Whydah.

From the reserve, we took a route through town and off to some farms. At a nice site we found a perched Southern Bald Ibis which made me very happy. Since we also saw glossy, sacred and hadeda ibises, we made the full tally of ibis species occurring in South Africa! Another special wetland bird we saw there was a Whiskered Tern.

Next we headed for the Haenertzburg and Magoebaskloof region. There we found mostly the usual suspects, but one that was a lifer for me was a Holub's Golden Weaver, a male and female busy with a nest! Also nice to see again was the Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, in the exact same spot we'd seen it not long before on a recce. Another special sighting was a Woolly-necked Stork perched in a tree.

Next we headed to the lowveld, Tzaneen and beyond. Special encounters included a Pale Flycatcher and a Croaking Cisticola, making our job easy by croaking for us. I mean its call – it survived.
We then went to a site we were sure to find African Skimmers, which we did. Finally, we headed off to where we knew some Bat Hawks to be nesting, but didn't find them. It was dark and they were likely off hunting. But we did get a final two species on call – Spotted Eagle Owl and African Wood Owl.

It was a rather good day for raptors; we got the Black-chested Snake Eagle, Wahlberg's Eagle, Lanner Falcon, African Fish Eagle, Yellow-billed and Black Kite, Long-crested Eagle, Forest and Jackal Buzzard, and perhaps nicest of all, an African Goshawk perched placidly in a garden quite close to the road!

We logged 225 species in total. This is quite a bit beyond what we did last year, 190 species. The fact that it didn't rain, as it did last year, helped – at least it helped in the birding, it would have helped the veld more if it had rained (at least in the Polokwane region – beyond Haenertzburg it was quite green). I think we came 19th or so out of over 300 teams. We were very happy with our total. Afterwards we worked out that there was still a large number of reasonably common birds which we did not encounter at all, such as Coqui Francolins, Cutthroat Finches, Firefinches (we didn't find any of the three species which we might have), White-fronted Bee Eaters, Amur Falcons, Kestrels (any of 3 species), Yellowstreaked Greenbuls (ordinarily almost impossible to miss in the forests) and many others … meaning we are set to do even better next year! Congrats and thanks from me to my other team members.

If you're interested, here is the complete list of what we saw, plus the times we logged them on Birdlasser.

1. Crowned Lapwing, 2018-11-24 02:03
2. Western Cattle Egret, 2018-11-24 02:04
3. Spotted Thick-knee, 2018-11-24 02:24
4. Fiery-necked Nightjar, 2018-11-24 02:25
5. Western Barn Owl, 2018-11-24 02:31
6. Rufous-cheeked Nightjar, 2018-11-24 02:34
7. Fork-tailed Drongo, 2018-11-24 03:15
8. Pearl-spotted Owlet, 2018-11-24 03:15
9. Crested Francolin, 2018-11-24 03:32
10. Southern Boubou, 2018-11-24 03:39
11. Natal Spurfowl, 2018-11-24 03:52
12. Crimson-breasted Shrike, 2018-11-24 04:05
13. Red-chested Cuckoo, 2018-11-24 04:24
14. White-browed Scrub Robin, 2018-11-24 04:34
15. Rufous-naped Lark, 2018-11-24 04:37
16. Kalahari Scrub Robin, 2018-11-24 04:39
17. Laughing Dove, 2018-11-24 04:41
18. Grey Go-away-bird, 2018-11-24 04:47
19. White-bellied Sunbird, 2018-11-24 04:47
20. Burchell's Coucal, 2018-11-24 04:48
21. Rattling Cisticola, 2018-11-24 04:48
22. Brown-crowned Tchagra, 2018-11-24 04:50
23. Helmeted Guineafowl, 2018-11-24 04:51
24. Black-crowned Tchagra, 2018-11-24 04:51
25. Swainson's Spurfowl, 2018-11-24 04:53
26. Long-billed Crombec, 2018-11-24 04:55
27. Pied Crow, 2018-11-24 04:56
28. Chinspot Batis, 2018-11-24 04:57
29. Blue Waxbill, 2018-11-24 04:59
30. Black Cuckoo, 2018-11-24 05:04
31. Diederik Cuckoo, 2018-11-24 05:07
32. Golden-tailed Woodpecker, 2018-11-24 05:09
33. Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler, 2018-11-24 05:10
34. Groundscraper Thrush, 2018-11-24 05:12
35. African Pipit, 2018-11-24 05:20
36. Shelley's Francolin, 2018-11-24 05:21
37. Barred Wren-Warbler, 2018-11-24 05:23
38. Southern Masked Weaver, 2018-11-24 05:24
39. Dark-capped Bulbul, 2018-11-24 05:25
40. Orange-breasted Bushshrike, 2018-11-24 05:27
41. Brubru, 2018-11-24 05:27
42. Red-eyed Dove, 2018-11-24 05:27
43. Ashy Tit, 2018-11-24 05:27
44. House Sparrow, 2018-11-24 05:27
45. Cardinal Woodpecker, 2018-11-24 05:27
46. Barn Swallow, 2018-11-24 05:29
47. White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, 2018-11-24 05:30
48. Jacobin Cuckoo, 2018-11-24 05:32
49. African Hoopoe, 2018-11-24 05:32
50. Pearl-breasted Swallow, 2018-11-24 05:33
51. Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, 2018-11-24 05:34
52. Burnt-necked Eremomela, 2018-11-24 05:34
53. Arrow-marked Babbler, 2018-11-24 05:37
54. Spotted Flycatcher, 2018-11-24 05:40
55. Acacia Pied Barbet, 2018-11-24 05:41
56. Bearded Woodpecker, 2018-11-24 05:42
57. Marico Sunbird, 2018-11-24 05:44
58. Red-winged Starling, 2018-11-24 05:44
59. Black Cuckooshrike, 2018-11-24 05:46
60. Black-backed Puffback, 2018-11-24 05:48
61. Red-billed Oxpecker, 2018-11-24 05:50
62. Speckled Mousebird, 2018-11-24 05:50
63. Greater Striped Swallow, 2018-11-24 05:50
64. Violet-backed Starling, 2018-11-24 05:54
65. African Palm Swift, 2018-11-24 06:03
66. Common Myna, 2018-11-24 06:07
67. Fiscal Flycatcher, 2018-11-24 06:09
68. Crested Barbet, 2018-11-24 06:09
69. Bar-throated Apalis, 2018-11-24 06:12
70. Egyptian Goose, 2018-11-24 06:15
71. Spur-winged Goose, 2018-11-24 06:16
72. Sabota Lark, 2018-11-24 06:18
73. Brown-hooded Kingfisher, 2018-11-24 06:20
74. Hadeda Ibis, 2018-11-24 06:21
75. Magpie Shrike, 2018-11-24 06:23
76. Black-chested Prinia, 2018-11-24 06:24
77. Red-backed Shrike, 2018-11-24 06:29
78. Red-breasted Swallow, 2018-11-24 06:34
79. Golden-breasted Bunting, 2018-11-24 06:35
80. Temminck's Courser, 2018-11-24 06:36
81. Great Sparrow, 2018-11-24 06:38
82. Marico Flycatcher, 2018-11-24 06:40
83. Cape Turtle Dove, 2018-11-24 06:46
84. Black-chested Snake Eagle, 2018-11-24 06:48
85. Red-billed Quelea, 2018-11-24 06:51
86. Violet-eared Waxbill, 2018-11-24 07:00
87. Black-faced Waxbill, 2018-11-24 07:05
88. Scaly-feathered Finch, 2018-11-24 07:07
89. Northern Black Korhaan, 2018-11-24 07:16
90. Shaft-tailed Whydah, 2018-11-24 07:21
91. Brown-backed Honeybird, 2018-11-24 07:23
92. Short-clawed Lark, 2018-11-24 07:26
93. Three-banded Plover, 2018-11-24 07:50
94. Blacksmith Lapwing, 2018-11-24 07:50
95. Cape Wagtail, 2018-11-24 07:51
96. Yellow-breasted Apalis, 2018-11-24 07:51
97. Southern Red Bishop, 2018-11-24 07:51
98. Terrestrial Brownbul, 2018-11-24 07:52
99. Streaky-headed Seedeater, 2018-11-24 07:52
100. Wahlberg's Eagle, 2018-11-24 07:53
101. Cape Glossy Starling, 2018-11-24 07:57
102. Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, 2018-11-24 08:05
103. Common Ostrich, 2018-11-24 08:10
104. Neddicky, 2018-11-24 08:15
105. Tawny-flanked Prinia, 2018-11-24 08:29
106. Indian Peafowl, 2018-11-24 08:29
107. Red-faced Cisticola, 2018-11-24 08:38
108. European Bee-eater, 2018-11-24 08:39
109. Lesser Masked Weaver, 2018-11-24 08:42
110. Southern Fiscal, 2018-11-24 08:43
111. Little Swift, 2018-11-24 08:46
112. Amethyst Sunbird, 2018-11-24 08:47
113. Cape Sparrow, 2018-11-24 08:54
114. Red-headed Finch, 2018-11-24 08:55
115. Lanner Falcon, 2018-11-24 08:57
116. Rock Martin, 2018-11-24 08:58
117. Bronze Mannikin, 2018-11-24 09:16
118. Lesser Striped Swallow, 2018-11-24 09:16
119. Black-collared Barbet, 2018-11-24 09:16
120. Karoo Thrush, 2018-11-24 09:17
121. Striated Heron, 2018-11-24 09:17
122. Common Moorhen, 2018-11-24 09:23
123. Cape Weaver, 2018-11-24 09:27
124. Reed Cormorant, 2018-11-24 09:29
125. Black Crake, 2018-11-24 09:29
126. Little Egret, 2018-11-24 09:32
127. Little Rush Warbler, 2018-11-24 09:34
128. Hamerkop, 2018-11-24 09:34
129. White-rumped Swift, 2018-11-24 09:45
130. White-breasted Cormorant, 2018-11-24 09:47
131. Rock Dove, 2018-11-24 09:54
132. Black-shouldered Kite, 2018-11-24 09:58
133. African Sacred Ibis, 2018-11-24 10:01
134. Wood Sandpiper, 2018-11-24 10:03
135. White-throated Swallow, 2018-11-24 10:07
136. Marabou Stork, 2018-11-24 10:15
137. African Fish Eagle, 2018-11-24 10:17
138. Knob-billed Duck, 2018-11-24 10:18
139. White-faced Whistling Duck, 2018-11-24 10:18
140. Black-winged Stilt, 2018-11-24 10:18
141. Red-billed Teal, 2018-11-24 10:19
142. Ruff, 2018-11-24 10:20
143. Yellow-billed Duck, 2018-11-24 10:20
144. Pin-tailed Whydah, 2018-11-24 10:21
145. Common Sandpiper, 2018-11-24 10:22
146. Little Grebe, 2018-11-24 10:23
147. Cape Teal, 2018-11-24 10:28
148. Speckled Pigeon, 2018-11-24 10:29
149. African Jacana, 2018-11-24 10:30
150. White Stork, 2018-11-24 10:33
151. Grey Heron, 2018-11-24 10:34
152. Yellow-billed Kite, 2018-11-24 10:34
153. Black Kite, 2018-11-24 10:36
154. Wattled Starling, 2018-11-24 10:41
155. Green-winged Pytilia, 2018-11-24 10:46
156. White-backed Vulture, 2018-11-24 10:49
157. Abdim's Stork, 2018-11-24 10:50
158. African Paradise Flycatcher, 2018-11-24 11:14
159. Black-headed Heron, 2018-11-24 11:16
160. Lesser Swamp Warbler, 2018-11-24 11:22
161. Namaqua Dove, 2018-11-24 11:33
162. Cape Robin-Chat, 2018-11-24 11:45
163. Red-faced Mousebird, 2018-11-24 11:45
164. Sand Martin, 2018-11-24 11:58
165. African Reed Warbler, 2018-11-24 12:09
166. Spectacled Weaver, 2018-11-24 12:09
167. Black-crowned Night Heron, 2018-11-24 12:10
168. Icterine Warbler, 2018-11-24 12:16
169. Southern Bald Ibis, 2018-11-24 13:08
170. African Spoonbill, 2018-11-24 13:10
171. Glossy Ibis, 2018-11-24 13:10
172. Little Bee-eater, 2018-11-24 13:16
173. Black-throated Canary, 2018-11-24 13:23
174. Whiskered Tern, 2018-11-24 13:27
175. African Wattled Lapwing, 2018-11-24 13:29
176. Squacco Heron, 2018-11-24 13:36
177. African Swamphen, 2018-11-24 13:39
178. Greater Double-collared Sunbird, 2018-11-24 14:44
179. Sombre Greenbul, 2018-11-24 14:45
180. Cape White-eye, 2018-11-24 14:52
181. African Emerald Cuckoo, 2018-11-24 14:53
182. Drakensberg Prinia, 2018-11-24 14:53
183. African Dusky Flycatcher, 2018-11-24 14:54
184. African Stonechat, 2018-11-24 14:57
185. Cape Grassbird, 2018-11-24 14:58
186. Cape Canary, 2018-11-24 15:00
187. Yellow Bishop, 2018-11-24 15:01
188. Alpine Swift, 2018-11-24 15:07
189. African Goshawk, 2018-11-24 15:14
190. Forest Buzzard, 2018-11-24 15:20
191. Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, 2018-11-24 15:21
192. Holub's Golden Weaver, 2018-11-24 15:34
193. Red-knobbed Coot, 2018-11-24 15:34
194. African Pied Wagtail, 2018-11-24 15:38
195. Thick-billed Weaver, 2018-11-24 15:39
196. Long-crested Eagle, 2018-11-24 15:46
197. Orange Ground Thrush, 2018-11-24 15:52
198. African Black Swift, 2018-11-24 15:52
199. Square-tailed Drongo, 2018-11-24 15:55
200. Knysna Turaco, 2018-11-24 16:04
201. Tambourine Dove, 2018-11-24 16:04
202. Olive Bushshrike, 2018-11-24 16:07
203. Grey Cuckooshrike, 2018-11-24 16:08
204. African Olive Pigeon, 2018-11-24 16:17
205. Jackal Buzzard, 2018-11-24 16:24
206. Yellow-fronted Canary, 2018-11-24 16:34
207. Purple-crested Turaco, 2018-11-24 16:39
208. White-browed Robin-Chat, 2018-11-24 16:45
209. Woolly-necked Stork, 2018-11-24 16:45
210. Purple Heron, 2018-11-24 17:02
211. African Black Duck, 2018-11-24 17:12
212. Southern Black Tit, 2018-11-24 17:22
213. Pale Flycatcher, 2018-11-24 17:32
214. Black-headed Oriole, 2018-11-24 17:32
215. Yellow-crowned Bishop, 2018-11-24 17:37
216. Croaking Cisticola, 2018-11-24 17:39
217. Scarlet-chested Sunbird, 2018-11-24 17:46
218. Kurrichane Thrush, 2018-11-24 17:48
219. Village Weaver, 2018-11-24 17:50
220. African Green Pigeon, 2018-11-24 18:05
221. African Darter, 2018-11-24 18:17
222. African Skimmer, 2018-11-24 18:27
223. Common Ringed Plover, 2018-11-24 18:30
224. Spotted Eagle-Owl, 2018-11-24 19:13
225. African Wood Owl, 2018-11-24 20:06


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Latest reply: Nov 27, 2018


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