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This book is a totally fresh approach to observing birds in southern Africa. It affords you the opportunity to gather previously inaccessible and indecipherable information in the form of tracks and signs left behind by our avifauna. The book explores the unique details of the spoor, or tracks, of many species of birds. This is done in multiple ways including by observing their droppings, examining their feeding behaviour as well as their general nesting structures.
It’s remarkable how tracks and signs in nature help you to enrich your knowledge of bird species, providing knowledge as straightforward as the shape of the individual nests of our various species of weaver, or the ability to recognise and understand the role of a drum-site in the life of a bearded woodpecker, or even being able to see the subtle signs of a cardinal woodpecker on the various acacia pods which host its larval food.
Louis Liebenberg has generously provided some sketches of spoor he has made for his own publications, making these clear schematics available to assist with identification. Skulls, feathers, beaks and egg shells are also occasionally encountered, and a few examples of these will be included, as they also tell a story of a bird which has passed by. This approach to southern Africa’s birdlife will add tremendously to how we experience our wonderful avifauna.
This book intensively covers a never-before-explored aspect of Southern African nature and is an essential new addition to the library of every nature lover. It was researched and written over the last four and a half years to open a door to a little known micro-world that exists all around us. Invertebrates – which include commonly seen creatures such as butterflies, spiders, beetles, worms and scorpions – are everywhere. The signs of their day-to-day activities are all around us if we know where to look.
The life cycles and behaviours of many animals are discussed, with a special focus on interactions between mammals and invertebrates – a fascinating subject in itself.
While working on this book, Lee Gutteridge spent many hours in the field with expert entomologists and arachnologists, many of whom commented that; even though they had spent a lifetime in the field, this experience, of invertebrate tracking, had changed the way that they see the invertebrate world.
With funding received from the Oppenheimer family, 250 copies will be donated to indigenous trackers, whose knowledge Lee appreciates and respects.
The prehistoric record of southern Africa extends back some 2 million years. The oldest cultural artefacts are stone tools such as handaxes, cleavers and choppers. In more recent centuries, archaeologists have found an extensive repertoire of artefacts including not only stone tools, but tools of bone, wood and shell as well as beads, jewellery, grinding stones, clothing, fishing equipment, burials and southern Africa's enigmatic rock art. Understanding these painted scenes and menageries is not immediately obvious. Using this interpretive guide, visitors to these ancient shrines can properly interpret rock art panels and make sense of the complex world of Bushman beliefs. Bushman Rock Art is the first of its kind. Never before has rock art been so dissected and presented in such an easy-to-understand, interpretive manner, exploring the deep symbolic meaning behind the art and what these powerful images meant to Bushman artists. The images they painted, all with exquisite attention to detail, have deep ties to Bushman cosmology and their religious beliefs. With a selection of images from across southern Africa, deciphering the painted sequence of motifs is simple and innovative, making it possible for the layperson to truly appreciate this phenomenal artistic tradition. Also included is a guide to rock art sites in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
Tracking is a much-loved, yet difficult, subject that attracts at least some of the attention of almost every bush-goer who ventures into the wild places of southern Africa. The ability to accurately read difficult, partial or little-seen signs left in the soil or sand is rare and largely the domain of professionals. However, by making use of a comprehensive guide, anyone who applies him- or herself can begin to decipher these natural hieroglyphs etched on the ground. In this volume, Louis Liebenberg's highly accurate sketches of animal tracks, showing all the details one would find in a perfect example of the spoor, are combined with a wide selection of extremely varied photographs that explain the difficult truth of the matter, and represent what you are most likely to actually see in the many different substrates where the animals walk. This field guide to mammal tracks and signs also serves as an ID guide to the mammals of southern Africa as full colour photographs of each animal are included.
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