Journal archives for February 2018

February 05, 2018

Blue Moon

Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the noonday sun!
Goukamma on the 1st of February with a forecast temperature of 27 degrees was always going to be a bit of a gamble. Fortunately a fresh and cool southeaster made its appearance fairly early on in the day. In the hollows where the breeze doesn’t penetrate, the mercury must have soared high into the 30’s. Most of the Rollercoaster is along the ridges, so we weren’t too uncomfortable for long periods.

We met up with Lize and Rudi von Staden at the Wild Oats Garage and drove to the parking on the shores of Groenvlei. They are down here on holiday. Lize is in charge of the Red List and the assessment of all our plants in terms of threat status. The Outramps were thin on the ground for various reasons, including a broken arm, international visitors, removal of a basal cell carcinoma and a visit from the farrier, so Dave and I represented the Group. It wasn’t long before Rudi and Dave discovered a common passion for birds and trail-running and of course the plants, which kept them chatting for most of the day.

At the top of the steep path, there was a sign saying “No entry – Danger”. Having come to do plant monitoring, we ignored this and really, there was absolutely no danger. This is a bad case of “Crying Wolf”. I know the place like the back of my hand, having hiked at Goukamma since 1970, but at times it was quite tricky finding the track in the rapidly regenerating veld. Good rains over the last month or two, have brought the resprouters out in force and there was a very attractive grass (Stipagrostis zeyheri) all over the Reserve. There is relatively little erosion, probably because the rain has generally been quite light.

Dave has taken on the Rutaceae and the Phylicas for the Outramps and chatted to Lize about sources of information about these Families and Genera. It was during this conversation, that he mentioned that he was toying with the idea of taking on the Muraltias as well. The last Muraltia revision was done in 19 voetsek. The Rutaceae are vaguely manageable, but the Phylicas are extremely difficult. Adding the Muraltias to the “Flylickers”, made me wonder if Dave has a death wish. He must certainly be a risk-taker of note. But Lize was full of helpful ideas on sources of info, which will make life very much easier, if he does decide to go that route.

There were fewer Brunsvigia orientalis than I expected post-burn. I also anticipated lots of Gladiolus vaginatus (Rare). We only saw 2 all day. We spotted a massive tortoise, which must have had a safe spot to hide in the June fires or maybe he/she had arrived more recently. Tarchonanthus littoralis, Morella quercifolia, Searsia crenata, Olea exasperata and Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus were all resprouting vigorously. Instead of sticking closely to the Rollercoaster track, we went cross-country. One of the hollows was full of Artemisia afra, which is the most widely used medicinal plant in Africa. I was puzzled by a plant that resembled Anginon difforme, but looked a whole lot more robust. I don’t recall seeing it here before. However, my ageing memory has got me into trouble before and no doubt will get me into trouble again. My Argyrolobium from last week at Eseljacht turned out to be Lotononis elongata (Endangered). This is a new locality for this plant and only the 3rd locality where we’ve found it, so very exciting. Which reminded me - there was a small resprouting ? Lotononis on the dune above Groenvlei, which will need checking.

Looking down at Groenvlei from above, we noticed that a huge clump of Milkwoods (Sideroxylon inerme) had lost their leaves. The debate – was it the scorching heat of the fire or the drought that preceded it, which caused the problem? Any ideas? We were relieved to see that most of the trees were sending out new leaves, so the damage doesn’t seem irretrievable. The Lake trail was very overgrown when we walked it in the morning. In the afternoon it had just been cleared and the going was a whole lot easier. So thank you Goukamma.

The attractive grass that was widespread has been nagging me. We don’t generally bother much with the grasses, but I was beginning to think it might just be Pentameris barbata ssp orientalis (Critically Endangered). After some investigation it turned out not to be. Jan Vlok id’d it as Stipagrostis zeyheri, which is common. But the Pentameris flowers in February, so we will have to go back later on in the month and check the 2 sites where we have seen it before.

For various reasons, we haven’t been hiking with WAGS this year. We broke that pattern on Wednesday and joined them for a walk along Wilderness Beach from NSRI to just beyond Flat Rock. There weren’t too many plants, but the paragliders were hugely active - there must have been 20 up in the air at the same time. With a dead low Springtide allied with a blue-blooded, full moon, it was an excellent choice and very much enjoyed.
Di

Jan Vlok talking about Cyrtanthus debilis post-fire
“Isn’t it amazing how rapidly they respond to a fire? I can just imagine how those bulbs sit in the soil under the mature shrubs and count the days for years and years .......... and then one day they hear the roar of the fire, and then - Hoorah boys and girls lets go for it!

Well they are going for it indeed. Never seen so many before. They are all over the area.

An intriguing question. What pollinates these flowers? With such an intense and extensive fire, I cannot imagine a single insect surviving within the burned area. Something must fly in from the surrounding unburned area. The flower colour and shape suggests a long-tongued fly, but nobody knows.

So, if you do go, see if you can see if there is any pollinator visiting the flower and exactly how they do the job (don’t worry it will not be too obscene). If you crack this one it will be another feather in the OUTRAMP’s hat. The only danger being that you will all soon look like peacocks.
Best wishes and good luck. Sometimes a specific pollinator only turns up early in the morning, mid-morning or late afternoon. Often they are only active for an hour or two and then they are gone. Fortunately, it is highly unlikely that it would be a moth, otherwise Sally would have to sit out all night.”
Jan
Sally is our new Co-Ordinator and the Bug expert for the Outramps, so in with the best chance of finding the pollinator – ed
STOP Press – Dave Underwood was on his way to the Mining Indaba in Cape Town, when he heard about the mass display of Cyrtanthus debilis (Rare). He decided to make a “draai” en route and saw Rhiniidae Nosefly on this exquisite little Irid. Could this be the elusive pollinator that Jan discusses? We will make sure that we have photos in next week’s Reportback.

LOT’s trip on Thursday will be to Villa Castollini in Brenton. Maybe the SIM field trip should take the form of a bulb/pollinator hunt – destination to be confirmed. Jan’s story is irresistible.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
The Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape

All id’s subject to confirmation by Doc Annelise and Jan Vlok, Steven Molteno Dr Tony Rebelo, Nick Helme, Prof Charlie Stirton, Dr Robert Archer, Dr Robert McKenzie, Dr Ted Oliver, Christopher Whitehouse, Derek Tribble, Adriaan Grobbler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans and Damion. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support. The South African community is busy migrating to iNaturalist and we will soon have projects etc. up and running. When they are ready, I will provide you with the links.

Abbreviations Glossary
MCSA – Mountain Club of South Africa
MSB - Millenium Seed Bank based at Kew in the UK
WIP – Work in Progress
HAT – High Altitude Team
LOT – Lowland Team
SIM – Somewhere in the Middle Team
WAGS – Wednesday Adventure Group
VB – Vlok Boekie “Plants of the Klein Karoo” and our Plant Bible
ITRTOL – Another thread “In The Rich Tapestry Of Life”(It describes a challenging situation, usually to do with the Buchu Bus)
ITFOT – In the fullness of time
WOESS – Fair Weather Hiker
FMC and JW – too vulgar to translate, but the equivalent is “Strike me Dead” An expression of surprise and delight on finding a new “Rare”
Kambro – same as above
Fossick – A meter per minute, scratching around looking for rares
SIDB – Skrop in die Bos – Another name for a field trip, this one coined by Prix
BAFFING – Running round like a blue-arsed fly
SYT – Sweet Young Thing - Anyone under the age of 40
TOMB – Get a move on
Mayhem - Needless or willful damage or violence
SESKRYNG – “Sit en staan kry niks gedaan” ,with thanks to Brian
SOS – Skelms on Scramblers
FW – Idiot
BOB – Another name for the Buchu Bus when she’s misbehaving.
CRAFT – A symptom of Old Age
DDD - Metalasia tricolor (Damned Diabolical Daisy)
VP – Vrekplek – Retirement Village
Qàq – Self-explanatory Inuit word describing some of our local problems
Mr Fab – Our Fabaceae specialist, Brian Du Preez – originally Boy 1
Muisvoel -The Mathematician – Peter Thompson
Boy 2 – Kyle Underwood who works on Orchids and is still at school
Sharkie – Finn Rautenbach – Our latest SYT is a surfer in his spare time
Sicko – Someone who suffers from Car Sickness. With 4 in the Group, allocating seating in the Buchu Bus is tricky
VAG – Virgin Active Garage, which is our meeting place when we head north
MATMUE – Meet At The Mall Under E - Meeting place when we head West
WG – Waves Garage in Wilderness East. - Meeting place when we’re going east.
VU- Vulnerable
DDT – Data Deficient and Taxonomically ?
NT – Near Threatened
EN – Endangered
CR – Critically Endangered
PE – Presumed extinct
LC – Least Concern
TBC – To be Confirmed
TLC – Tender loving care
JMS – An expression of absolute disdain
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
Milk – the fruit of the vine
Condensed Milk – Scotland’s finest export
Full Cream Milk or Fat Milk – Any product of Humulus lupulus eg. Milk Stout
Milk of the Gods – Rooibos and Brandy
Milk Shake - Sparkling Wine
NS – Species of conservation concern new to the Outramps
PS -Priority Species allocated to the Outramps by our CREW Cape Co-ordinator , Ismail Ebrahim
iNFD – iNaturalist for Dummies as compiled by Sally
Mizzle – Mist and drizzle combined. A regular feature of George in the ”good old days”. Now seldom seen
FE – Fire Ephemeral – only appears immediately or after a couple of years after fire

Posted on February 05, 2018 09:16 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 19, 2018

The Outramps go hunting for Pollinators

You will have seen in last week’s Reportback that Jan challenged us to find the pollinators of the “Fire Ephemeral”, Cyrtanthus debilis (Rare). The Outramps find it difficult to resist a challenge, even if we all end up “looking like peacocks”, to quote Jan. First Dave Underwood took a detour en route to the Mining Indaba in Cape Town to see the display. He was lucky enough to photograph a long-nosed fly visiting the exquisite Cyrtanthus debilis (Rare). Gail, Rusell and I drove west to see the plants on Tuesday. Rusell spotted the fly, but it was only later we found that the fly was dead, clasped in the arms (or legs) of a green Crab Spider. In another location, there were ants (Anoplolepis steingroeveri – Small Pugnacious Ant) and (Camponotus niveosetosus –Hairy Sugar Ant) visiting the flower. Are they all pollinators or is it only the fly, and Jan, “Does that satisfy your challenge”?

We started off on the Kouma Trail buffeted by a near gale-force wind with clouds gathering momentum in a gloomy sky. The landscape was black, about 3 weeks after a very hot fire had swept through the area. Good recent rains had produced some green shoots of Watsonia fourcadei, Cyrtanthus elatus(George Lily), grass, Corymbium glabrum and some determined fronds of the King Fern, Todea barbara. But the delicate pink flowers of Cyrtanthus debilis, were the stars of the show – stunning against the black. They were scattered over an area of about 20x500m on the steep south-facing slopes of the Kouma Trail. At times this was almost unnervingly steep without its usual cover of Fynbos. This is only the second time that we’ve seen this Cyrtanthus. Previously, Annelise Vlok tipped us off, about 10 days after a fire further west. We were delighted to see it again, so thank you Jan for alerting us.

We moved from the Kouma Trail to the start of the Attakwaskloof Trail to check if there were any Acmadenia rupicola (Vulnerable) survivors in the rock crevices. Here, we found another population of Cyrtanthus debilis on a north-facing slope. North and south-facing slopes - interesting? So apart from fire it doesn’t seem to be very fussy about its environment. Unlike the Kouma Trail population, the main visitors here were ants. Acmadenia rupicola was hiding in the rock crevices and a number of plants have survived. A couple of old and huge Oldenburgia paradoxa have been scorched, but are starting to send out green shoots. There was one Erica intermedia ssp albiflora left from the fields that were there on our last visit. The stunning Erica nutans was nowhere to be seen. No doubt it will appear again ITFOT. It was such a fun day. Even the weather played along, with just the odd spit and spot from a grumbling and ominous sky.
Di

‘I feel my temperature risin’’ …Villa Castollini, February 8th, 2018
Rusell, Gail and I really did feel our temperatures rising on Thursday. Crazy might be a suitable word to describe the LOT trip to Villa Castollini. I don’t think we really believed that the temperature would reach 40 degrees C, but by the time we got back to the cars it certainly felt like it had. We met at the entrance to the luxury guest house before 7.30, and after reporting our arrival, we made our way down the slope to see what had come up since my last visit.

The fynbos was looking beautiful and there were colourful representatives from lots of families. The Geraniaceae were very well represented by Pelargoniums alchemilloides, dipetalum, lobatum, longifolium, capitatum, caffrum, Monsonia emarginata and a few flowers of Geranium incanum var. incanum. Anginon difforme, Notobubon ferulaceum and Annesorhiza macrocarpa represented the Apiaceae family, but even though we looked we could not find any Nanobubon hypogaeum (EN) although it’s type was found on the slope after a previous burn. The pea (Fabaceae) representatives included Aspalathus hispida subsp. albiflora, Aspalathus biflora subsp. longicarpa, Dolichos hastaeformis, Rhynchosia leucoscias, Indigofera verrucosa and Lebeckia gracilis (EN). Athanasia trifurcata, Osteospermum polygaloides var latifolium, Senecio coronatus were among the Asteraceae that provided colour, Watsonia pillansii from Iridaceae, Cyphia digitata from Lobeliaceae. Red leaves of the resprouting Leucadendron salignum, young leaves of Protea cynaroides (small-leaved Garden Route form) and the first flowers of Leucospermum cuneiforme and Erica discolor var. discolor. Purple Selago canescens and Heliophila subulata, the flowers of Haemanthus sanguineus replaced by bright red berries and Brunsvigia orientalis were looking magnificent. The silvery leaves of Gnidia chrysophylla (NT) stood out in the hot sun. These are only some of the plants we saw. As you can see, this property is a very special piece of the endangered Knysna Sand Fynbos and every effort should be taken to preserve it. We were very concerned to see that large numbers of Eucalyptus, Black Wattle and Rooikrans seedlings have come up after the fire and are really threatening to take over this unique patch of fynbos. There should be a concerted effort to remove these before they get much bigger.
I would like to thank the owners and managers of Villa Castollini for the opportunity to botanise on this piece of fynbos. Although it was rather too hot to be out…we really did appreciate the flowers!
Nicky
2018 02 09 Visit to the Millwood Goldfield
As most of the Outramps were unavailable to hike on Friday, it was only Sandra and I who headed for the Millwood Mining Village, a ghost town in the foothills of the Outeniqua mountains, the site of the short-lived gold rush in the 1880s. We were hoping to find Gladiolus sempervirens (Rare).
After parking the car near the museum, we headed towards the village. The fynbos is tall and the aliens even taller. There is Alien Biocontrol on Acacia mearnsii (Dasineura rubiformis) and Acacia longifolia (Trichilogaster acaciaelongifoliae) but there are a lot of seedlings. There are also large patches of Rubus taking over the fynbos, and although beautiful, one of the remnants of the mining village gardens, Fuchsia regia should not be there! Although the aliens are replacing the fynbos, the ericas still gave us a good display. We made our way through the empty streets enjoying the stillness and down the firebreak. We joined the Outeniqua trail where we found what we hope is a very tall specimen of the Gladioulus, but we were too early as it was still in bud. We wandered along the path speculating why there were so many dead Protea mundii trees, admiring the cream flowers of Melasma scabrum and admiring the small blue flowers of Caesia contorta. The ground was dry and very little water running in the streams that cross the path. While walking back towards car, on the deserted mining village roads the silence was suddenly broken…a car sliding on the dirt and then a hoot. It was not until we were within sight of the Museum that we realized what had happened. A young couple with a small boy had driven into a deep ditch next to the road. Their car had two wheels in the air. Luckily no-one was injured, and after we had been assured that rangers were on the way, contact details exchanged, we headed out, stopping at the gate to make sure the exact site of the accident was known. We stopped at Totties for a late lunch. Wanting confirmation that the young couple had been rescued we made a few calls and decided to head back to the entrance. Before we had gone very far we saw a SANParks ranger waiting next to the road. Ryno told us he had been with the party that rescued the young family. We were relieved to learn that they had managed to pull the undamaged car out of the ditch and that all was well! Well done SANParks!
The end of another fun day in the fynbos,
Nicky

We will try and slot in some field trips this week, if we can find a gap. On both Thurs and Friday this week, Dr Tony Rebelo will be giving an iNaturalist course at the George Campus (Saasveld) at NMU. We have good numbers - about 50 people, but we could accommodate a couple more. So if you’re interested, please contact me at di@strawberryhill.co.za The Course is now full to overflowing

On Saturday the Mountain Club is doing the Kaaimans Gorge Hike/swim. Some of us will be walking the Fern Trail and afterwards, we will get together for a braai at Strawberry Hill.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
The Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape

All id’s subject to confirmation by Doc Annelise and Jan Vlok, Steven Molteno Dr Tony Rebelo, Nick Helme, Prof Charlie Stirton, Dr Robert Archer, Dr Robert McKenzie, Dr Ted Oliver, Christopher Whitehouse, Derek Tribble, Adriaan Grobbler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans and Damion. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support. The South African community is busy migrating to iNaturalist and we will soon have projects etc. up and running. When they are ready, I will provide you with the links.

Abbreviations Glossary
MCSA – Mountain Club of South Africa
MSB - Millenium Seed Bank based at Kew in the UK
WIP – Work in Progress
HAT – High Altitude Team
LOT – Lowland Team
SIM – Somewhere in the Middle Team
WAGS – Wednesday Adventure Group
VB – Vlok Boekie “Plants of the Klein Karoo” and our Plant Bible
ITRTOL – Another thread “In The Rich Tapestry Of Life”(It describes a challenging situation, usually to do with the Buchu Bus)
ITFOT – In the fullness of time
WOESS – Fair Weather Hiker
FMC and JW – too vulgar to translate, but the equivalent is “Strike me Dead” An expression of surprise and delight on finding a new “Rare”
Kambro – same as above
Fossick – A meter per minute, scratching around looking for rares
SIDB – Skrop in die Bos – Another name for a field trip, this one coined by Prix
BAFFING – Running round like a blue-arsed fly
SYT – Sweet Young Thing - Anyone under the age of 40
TOMB – Get a move on
Mayhem - Needless or willful damage or violence
SESKRYNG – “Sit en staan kry niks gedaan” ,with thanks to Brian
SOS – Skelms on Scramblers
FW – Idiot
BOB – Another name for the Buchu Bus when she’s misbehaving.
CRAFT – A symptom of Old Age
DDD - Metalasia tricolor (Damned Diabolical Daisy)
VP – Vrekplek – Retirement Village
Qàq – Self-explanatory Inuit word describing some of our local problems
Mr Fab – Our Fabaceae specialist, Brian Du Preez – originally Boy 1
Muisvoel -The Mathematician – Peter Thompson
Boy 2 – Kyle Underwood who works on Orchids and is still at school
Sharkie – Finn Rautenbach – Our latest SYT is a surfer in his spare time
Sicko – Someone who suffers from Car Sickness. With 4 in the Group, allocating seating in the Buchu Bus is tricky
VAG – Virgin Active Garage, which is our meeting place when we head north
MATMUE – Meet At The Mall Under E - Meeting place when we head West
WG – Waves Garage in Wilderness East. - Meeting place when we’re going east.
VU- Vulnerable
DDT – Data Deficient and Taxonomically ?
NT – Near Threatened
EN – Endangered
CR – Critically Endangered
PE – Presumed extinct
LC – Least Concern
TBC – To be Confirmed
TLC – Tender loving care
JMS – An expression of absolute disdain
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
Milk – the fruit of the vine
Condensed Milk – Scotland’s finest export
Full Cream Milk or Fat Milk – Any product of Humulus lupulus eg. Milk Stout
Milk of the Gods – Rooibos and Brandy
Milk Shake - Sparkling Wine
NS – Species of conservation concern new to the Outramps
PS -Priority Species allocated to the Outramps by our CREW Cape Co-ordinator , Ismail Ebrahim
iNFD – iNaturalist for Dummies as compiled by Sally
Mizzle – Mist and drizzle combined. A regular feature of George in the ”good old days”. Now seldom seen
FE – Fire Ephemeral – only appears immediately or after a couple of years after fire

Posted on February 19, 2018 11:55 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Back to School

Back to School
Dr Tony Rebelo of SANBI came from Cape Town to give an iNaturalist course during the week. This is part of SANBI’s Citizen Science Project. They are in the process of relocating their Citizen Science Virtual Museum to iNaturalist. This is an interactive website for photos of flowers, birds, mammals, fungi, reptiles and sea creatures. By posting their observations, citizens from all walks of life contribute to providing data for research and providing a record for future generations. It is a wonderful forum to display your photos and it’s all a great deal of fun.

It kicked off on Thursday morning with 80 Grade 9’s at Glenwood High School. They took to it like ducks to water. Working mostly on iPads and cellphones, their grasp of modern technology is amazing and they were soon “Going Like a Boeing”. In the afternoon we moved to Nelson Mandela University at Saasveld for a couple of hours with staff and students of NMU in their state of the art computer lab. On Friday we had to divide the course into morning and afternoon to accommodate the huge interest shown, mainly by conservancy members and the Outramps. A contingent of 5 from De Hoop led by Adrian Fortuin (De Hoop Reserve Manager), were very welcome visitors. Five delegates from Mossel Bay Municipality involved in environmental affairs were there, with two rangers from the Swartberg Reserve. In the afternoon, it was mainly the more experienced iNatters, who were given glimpses of what the website can do. An example of how to do a species list was greeted with awe and produced lots of “Oohs and Ah’s” An exciting journey of discovery lies ahead, as it becomes obvious that we are currently only scratching the surface of the immense possibilities offered by the iNaturalist website.

So a very big thank you to Tony and to Dr Anton Schmidt of Nelson Mandela University. We are hugely grateful for the use of the Computer Lab at no cost and for the arrangements, which went so smoothly. Everything is done with a minimum of fuss, making it a pleasure to work with both Tony and Anton. Baie dankie Menere.

Saturday dawned with mist and light rain still falling, after some 8mm had fallen during the night - not ideal conditions for either the Kaaimans Gorge or the Fern Trail. This was a meet organised by Cheryl Devine of the Mountain Club of South Africa (South Cape Section). Fortunately the weather brightened during the course of the day. The rivers were running strongly and the Kaaimans Gorge participants did the Gorge in 2 hours helped by the strong flow of the river. Those of us on the Fern Trail took slightly longer. We couldn’t boulder hop across the four river crossings, as the water was too high. We simply had to wade through knee-high water, boots and all. This was followed by a very festive Bring and Braai, back at Strawberry Hill.

For most of the week we experienced the cooler, mizzly conditions that were a feature of George when we arrived here in 1970. It earned the town the nickname “Cold and Wet” taken from our number-plate CAW. Now that the town has exploded into a city, those weather conditions are a distant memory. Just to remind us of that, in between the mizzle, there were 2 days of blistering heat, making hiking very unpleasant. If you have the unenviable task of organising field trips and hikes in February, you will know that it is a very challenging month.

As Marge (leader of WAGS) found to her cost on Wednesday. She is offering Doringrivier as an option at the Walking Fest over the Easter weekend and wanted to do a recce of what plants are in flower at the moment. They cooked, as the temperature on the northern side of the Outeniquas rose swiftly to the high 30’s. It was a very uncomfortable day. Included in the Reportback is her description of the route to whet your appetite. There are also some photos in the Album.

Doringrivier circular hike - by Marge
link to the photos of Doringrivier https://photos.app.goo.gl/vjfDxzrMUMWnBOHo1
This is a strenuous 17km hike (5½ hours walking) on the Northern side of the Outeniqua Mountains, just outside George. The hike is suitable for fit people. My pace is steady, not fast. As there are several stops for fossicking, swimming and eating, and allowing for the time to drive from George to the start of the hike, I suggest that you allow a full day for this magnificent hike. The area is home to the most amazing mountain fynbos. It was burnt about 2 years ago, so you won’t see the large Protea aurea, Protea neriifolia and Leucadendron species it is known for, but the fynbos is beginning to make a comeback, and there is a lot to see. See my March species list at the end of the description.

The trail starts in the Waboomskraal valley, where hops and fruit are grown. We will park the cars next to the road leading to the farm. (S -33.86873, E 22.32681) After walking up a steep jeep track on private land, you will enter the reserve. (824m). We will stop for a breather and a plant fossick here.

The jeep track leads us to the beginning of the circuit, from where we climb steadily in an anticlockwise direction. The track peters out at Pat’s rock, named after the original leader of WAGS, and we now use a path to reach the trig beacon on the highest point of the hike (1093m). There is a stunning 360° view of mountains from here, including the Swartberg Mountains to the North, and Cradock Peak to the East. This is our tea stop and another opportunity for a fossick.

Then we start our long descent into the valley floor. The path is narrow and steep in places but affords great views across the valley. We cross the Groot Doring Rivier (presently a stream) and reach the main jeep track. From here it is a long hot slog uphill to the start of the circuit, stopping off on the way to cool off in one of the best mountain pools in the area. This will be our lunch stop. Once we reach the start of the circuit, we will retrace our steps down the jeep track to the cars.

Some of the plants that we should see at this time of year are:
Aspalathus ciliaris, Berzelia intermedia, Bobartia aphylla, Bobartia robusta, Cephalaria attenuata, Dilatris ixioides, Erica densifolia, Erica rosacea, Erica seriphifolia, Lanaria lanata, Leucadendron salignum, Leucadendron uliginosum, Linum africanum, Lobelia linearis, Metalasia pulcherrima, Mimetes cucullatus, Pelargonium fruticosum, Phaenocoma prolifera, Protea lorifolia, Protea nitida, Stoebe spiralis, Syncarpha paniculata, Tritoniopsis antholyza, Watsonia, pillansii

Another busy week lies ahead. On Tuesday we are attending the Gouritz Biosphere meeting in Oudtshoorn. The theme of the event is, “ Our River, Our Region, Our Future - Building resilience in the GCBR”. On Thursday the Outramps are doing a field trip in the Still Bay area, organised by LOT. Then, Jan Vlok has asked us to check on populations of Disa gladioliflora. Ethan Newman and Steve Johnson from Kwa Zulu Natal University have asked where they can find large populations of Disa gladioliflora subsp gladioliflora (the pale variant with large flowers and long spurs). They suspect that this form is also mimetic like D. gladioliflora subsp capricornis, and they would like to figure out its pollination system. So on Friday, SIM will be going to Tierkop to check on a known population of this beauty. The last time we saw it, there was only one plant. Hopefully this time, we will find more.

It has been a momentous week in South Africa with the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as the country’s President. There is promise of renewal in our beloved country and a sense of optimism is in the air. We are right behind him and wish him all the best. Good luck Squirrel – you are going to need it. Hope Springs!!
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
The Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape

All id’s subject to confirmation by Doc Annelise and Jan Vlok, Steven Molteno Dr Tony Rebelo, Nick Helme, Prof Charlie Stirton, Dr Robert Archer, Dr Robert McKenzie, Dr Ted Oliver, Christopher Whitehouse, Derek Tribble, Adriaan Grobbler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans and Damion. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support. The South African community is busy migrating to iNaturalist and we will soon have projects etc. up and running. When they are ready, I will provide you with the links.

Abbreviations Glossary
MCSA – Mountain Club of South Africa
MSB - Millenium Seed Bank based at Kew in the UK
WIP – Work in Progress
HAT – High Altitude Team
LOT – Lowland Team
SIM – Somewhere in the Middle Team
WAGS – Wednesday Adventure Group
VB – Vlok Boekie “Plants of the Klein Karoo” and our Plant Bible
ITRTOL – Another thread “In The Rich Tapestry Of Life”(It describes a challenging situation, usually to do with the Buchu Bus)
ITFOT – In the fullness of time
WOESS – Fair Weather Hiker
FMC and JW – too vulgar to translate, but the equivalent is “Strike me Dead” An expression of surprise and delight on finding a new “Rare”
Kambro – same as above
Fossick – A meter per minute, scratching around looking for rares
SIDB – Skrop in die Bos – Another name for a field trip, this one coined by Prix
BAFFING – Running round like a blue-arsed fly
SYT – Sweet Young Thing - Anyone under the age of 40
TOMB – Get a move on
Mayhem - Needless or willful damage or violence
SESKRYNG – “Sit en staan kry niks gedaan” ,with thanks to Brian
SOS – Skelms on Scramblers
FW – Idiot
BOB – Another name for the Buchu Bus when she’s misbehaving.
CRAFT – A symptom of Old Age
DDD - Metalasia tricolor (Damned Diabolical Daisy)
VP – Vrekplek – Retirement Village
Qàq – Self-explanatory Inuit word describing some of our local problems
Mr Fab – Our Fabaceae specialist, Brian Du Preez – originally Boy 1
Muisvoel -The Mathematician – Peter Thompson
Boy 2 – Kyle Underwood who works on Orchids and is still at school
Sharkie – Finn Rautenbach – Our latest SYT is a surfer in his spare time
Sicko – Someone who suffers from Car Sickness. With 4 in the Group, allocating seating in the Buchu Bus is tricky
VAG – Virgin Active Garage, which is our meeting place when we head north
MATMUE – Meet At The Mall Under E - Meeting place when we head West
WG – Waves Garage in Wilderness East. - Meeting place when we’re going east.
VU- Vulnerable
DDT – Data Deficient and Taxonomically ?
NT – Near Threatened
EN – Endangered
CR – Critically Endangered
PE – Presumed extinct
LC – Least Concern
TBC – To be Confirmed
TLC – Tender loving care
JMS – An expression of absolute disdain
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
Milk – the fruit of the vine
Condensed Milk – Scotland’s finest export
Full Cream Milk or Fat Milk – Any product of Humulus lupulus eg. Milk Stout
Milk of the Gods – Rooibos and Brandy
Milk Shake - Sparkling Wine
NS – Species of conservation concern new to the Outramps
PS -Priority Species allocated to the Outramps by our CREW Cape Co-ordinator , Ismail Ebrahim
iNFD – iNaturalist for Dummies as compiled by Sally
Mizzle – Mist and drizzle combined. A regular feature of George in the ”good old days”. Now seldom seen
FE – Fire Ephemeral – only appears immediately or after a couple of years after fire

Posted on February 19, 2018 11:56 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 26, 2018

No Peacock blue

The Gouritz Biosphere meeting on Tuesday in Oudtshoorn was fascinating. It was also incredible to see what a few passionate people can achieve. All the talks were interesting, but Wendy’s detailed story of the Projects that have been undertaken and planned by GCBR was nothing short of miraculous. Lots of jobs are being created and whole communities have been lifted out of despair. And all these things have been done by a mere handful of people with a vision. It is awe-inspiring! Annelise also talked about the changes to Anysberg, where large tracts of land have been added to this magnificent Reserve. It is teeming with new species and Rares. There is no question that Jan and Annelise Vlok have been the drivers of this wonderful Anysberg initiative.

Jan was at the meeting and we chatted about our visit to Cyrtanthus debilis which is a Fire Ephermeral. You will remember from a previous Reportback, that Jan challenged us to find the pollinators. “If you are successful”, he said, “You can dress yourselves in Peacock Blue”. We found, a long-nosed fly, 2 different species of Ants and a predatory green Crab Spider. Surely this was enough to qualify? Well Jan didn’t think so. “I am not convinced, but by all means present your evidence to Steve Johnson of Natal University”. Oh dear, so for now, no Peacock Blue for the Outramps!

With a number of WAGS members on the Canoe Trail at Whiskey Creek, it was a fairly small party that arrived to walk from Myoli Beach to Oysterbeds on the Goukamma Beach on Wednesday. The mist was thick on the ground and stayed that way for the whole hike. Bill and I took off early on a fairly high tide. For a short stretch, we had to abandon the beach and plough through the thick sand, as the waves pounded the banks, which are eroding away. We stopped at Platbank and the rest of the party walked to Oysterbeds before turning round. Between Myoli and Platbank, we were looking for the Pleistocene aeolianites , which were featured in a recent article published by the SA Journal of Science. I am hoping that the photograph featured in the Album is one of them. No doubt, someone will be able to confirm or deny the id.

On Friday, five of us went up to Tierkop to see if Disa gladioliflora was in flower above the Hut and beyond Erica georgica Hill. This was because of a query from Steve Johnson to Jan Vlok. They are looking to research the pollinators and need fairly large concentrations of this beautiful Disa to do the work. There was no sign of the plants. We were on the early side, although we have seen them from early January to mid-April. Despite this setback, Tierkop never disappoints. Erica densifolia was in profuse flower, painting whole banks pink. There were also lots of other Ericas in bloom, as you will see from the Album. The magnificent Syncarpha eximia (Strawberry Everlasting) was stunning. Psoralea trullata (Rare) was dainty, scattered along the trail on the higher reaches.

The Forest stretch just after leaving the cottages is home to a number of Ozzie Invader Ferns (Spaeropteris cooperi) and there is one happily ensconced next to the water tank at Tierkop Hut. They always remind me of John Wyndham’s famous science-fiction novel, “The Day of the Tryffids”. We have repeatedly reported their presence to Cape Nature, Early Alien Plant Detection and a host of other people. They are for sale in nurseries all over the country and most suburban homes in George harbor a couple. They are not even listed on the Problem Plant lists. Don’t say, “You didn’t tell us” or “We didn’t know”! In the forseeable future this fern will have colonized the banks of all the rivers and streams in the Southern Cape and the beautiful Alosphila capensis (Cape Tree Fern) will have ceased to exist.

The LOT trip on Thursday was organized by Priscilla Burgoyne. Here is her story.
Klipfontein 22/2/2018
The day dawned clear and sunny and we set off to explore ±275 ha of a property north of Still Bay that had burned in the beginning of 2017.

After arriving, we were met by one of the co-owners and then proceeded off to explore. When the farmers say 4x4 only, you listen and Suzy promptly got stuck in the deep sand. No sweat, we proceeded on foot to find a host of interesting plants on sandy spits between a series of limestone hills (Canca Limestone Fynbos). The rainfall had been sparse but there were many interesting things flowering.

We picked up quite a few species of Centella of which Centella calcaria (NT), was a new one for us. Carpobrotus muirii (NT), Leucadendron galpinii (VU), Lebeckia gracilis (Endangered) and Delosperma inaequale (DDD) were a few of the red-listed plants that we came across. Bulbs had flowered and were in seed. Herbarium specimens were collected and these will be named in due course.

Our reputation for a meter a minute was earned when as we were driving out. Dave spotted the rare Agathosma eriantha (VU) with only a few plants in one patch, and we popped out to do a quick site sheet. Can’t go 50 meters without stopping for something! Also on our way out we spotted a few Leucospermum praecox (VU) in old lands. With an open invitation, all in all a spot to return to, especially when the bulbs are in flower.
Prix
We would love to see Protea venusta (Endangered) in flower. So if weather permits, SIM will head for Waboomsberg in the Swartberg on Friday. On Thursday, LOT is planning to collect a Selago burchellii specimen for the Herbarium at Villa Castollini. But with the long-term forecast looking iffy, there could be a change of plan on the day.
Between the Gouritz Biosphere Reserve and President Ramaphosa, (one is almost tempted to give him Rare and Endangered status) there is much being achieved in our beloved country on a daily basis. Hope Springs!
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
The Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape

All id’s subject to confirmation by Doc Annelise and Jan Vlok, Steven Molteno Dr Tony Rebelo, Nick Helme, Prof Charlie Stirton, Dr Robert Archer, Dr Robert McKenzie, Dr Ted Oliver, Christopher Whitehouse, Derek Tribble, Adriaan Grobbler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans and Damion. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support. The South African community is busy migrating to iNaturalist and we will soon have projects etc. up and running. When they are ready, I will provide you with the links.

Abbreviations Glossary
MCSA – Mountain Club of South Africa
MSB - Millenium Seed Bank based at Kew in the UK
WIP – Work in Progress
HAT – High Altitude Team
LOT – Lowland Team
SIM – Somewhere in the Middle Team
WAGS – Wednesday Adventure Group
VB – Vlok Boekie “Plants of the Klein Karoo” and our Plant Bible
ITRTOL – Another thread “In The Rich Tapestry Of Life”(It describes a challenging situation, usually to do with the Buchu Bus)
ITFOT – In the fullness of time
WOESS – Fair Weather Hiker
FMC and JW – too vulgar to translate, but the equivalent is “Strike me Dead” An expression of surprise and delight on finding a new “Rare”
Kambro – same as above
Fossick – A meter per minute, scratching around looking for rares
SIDB – Skrop in die Bos – Another name for a field trip, this one coined by Prix
BAFFING – Running round like a blue-arsed fly
SYT – Sweet Young Thing - Anyone under the age of 40
TOMB – Get a move on
Mayhem - Needless or willful damage or violence
SESKRYNG – “Sit en staan kry niks gedaan” ,with thanks to Brian
SOS – Skelms on Scramblers
FW – Idiot
BOB – Another name for the Buchu Bus when she’s misbehaving.
CRAFT – A symptom of Old Age
DDD - Metalasia tricolor (Damned Diabolical Daisy)
VP – Vrekplek – Retirement Village
Qàq – Self-explanatory Inuit word describing some of our local problems
Mr Fab – Our Fabaceae specialist, Brian Du Preez – originally Boy 1
Muisvoel -The Mathematician – Peter Thompson
Boy 2 – Kyle Underwood who works on Orchids and is still at school
Sharkie – Finn Rautenbach – Our latest SYT is a surfer in his spare time
Sicko – Someone who suffers from Car Sickness. With 4 in the Group, allocating seating in the Buchu Bus is tricky
VAG – Virgin Active Garage, which is our meeting place when we head north
MATMUE – Meet At The Mall Under E - Meeting place when we head West
WG – Waves Garage in Wilderness East. - Meeting place when we’re going east.
VU- Vulnerable
DDT – Data Deficient and Taxonomically ?
NT – Near Threatened
EN – Endangered
CR – Critically Endangered
PE – Presumed extinct
LC – Least Concern
TBC – To be Confirmed
TLC – Tender loving care
JMS – An expression of absolute disdain
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
Milk – the fruit of the vine
Condensed Milk – Scotland’s finest export
Full Cream Milk or Fat Milk – Any product of Humulus lupulus eg. Milk Stout
Milk of the Gods – Rooibos and Brandy
Milk Shake - Sparkling Wine
NS – Species of conservation concern new to the Outramps
PS -Priority Species allocated to the Outramps by our CREW Cape Co-ordinator , Ismail Ebrahim
iNFD – iNaturalist for Dummies as compiled by Sally
Mizzle – Mist and drizzle combined. A regular feature of George in the ”good old days”. Now seldom seen
FE – Fire Ephemeral – only appears immediately or after a couple of years after fire
Squirrel – aka President Ramaphosa

Posted on February 26, 2018 04:10 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 1 comments | Leave a comment