Pollinators are in the headlines right now – for all the WRONG reasons.
Insects in particular face a challenging future. Half a million insect species face extinction (this is according to new research by 500 of the world’s top scientists, presented by the United Nations).
For World Endangered Species Day, we’re putting the spotlight on pollinators. How? We took to the single-track paths on Flower Valley Farm, in search of pollinators (and other flying creatures).
Because these birds, insects and critters provide the base of many of the world’s ecosystems (and have been for the past 400 million years). And if these systems stop working, we’re in trouble. (For example, the UN report notes that 75% of food crops rely on animal pollination.)
Both these bird species are endemic to Fynbos. That makes this habitat essential for their survival.
(And the most interesting: A recent study on Flower Valley Farm found these sunbirds and sugarbirds hardly ever bicker over territories.)
Fresh flies: These flies feed on mostly dung and dead mammals. But some Fynbos plants, like Ceratocaryum argenteum, have seeds with a specific scent. And this scent deceives Fresh flies (of the Sarcophagidae family) to settle on the seeds.
The Orange breasted sunbird (Anthobaphes violacea): These Fynbos pollinators were extremely active (this one was actually taking a glorious bath). They were feeding mostly on the flowering Erica species. They’re about to head into breeding season.
Honeybee: You couldn’t miss the buzzing sound on your adopted patch. The Honeybees were mostly drawn to the Erica williamsiorum (this species is Vulnerable and flowering now). Because they forage on nectar and pollen, they’re essential pollinators.
The Cape sugarbird (Promerops cafer): We didn’t get any great photos during our Adopt a Hectare feedback (this is an old picture on flowering Pincushions). But they frequently flitted across our path. They usually feed on the nectar of Mimetes (cucullatus).
Of course we saw loads more flying creatures during our feedback, like the Cape Autumn Widow (Dira Clytus Clytus) and a Leaf Beetle (Galerucinae).
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN: WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BE PART OF THE CHANGE? HERE ARE 4 TIPS:
1. Plant indigenous bee-friendly plants in your garden, supplying nectar and pollen for butterflies, bees and birds in your area.
2. Create a small water bath in your garden, add some rocks to it ensuring the smaller insects don’t drown.
3. Support local by buying raw honey from trusted beekeepers.
4. Educate yourself and those around you on these endangered species, so that you can become more aware and maybe help in a situation going forward.