Journal archives for April 2018

April 02, 2018

Full Moon Rising

We’ve had leaden skies since Wednesday and finally on Sunday the sun decided to shine. We were also privileged to catch a glimpse of the Easter full Moon. The clouds have hung heavy with rain, drizzle and mist, which is par for the course for an Easter weekend. Luckily for the Walking Fest, there were clear skies with some sun on Sunday. Because of the weather conditions, we didn’t make it to see Mimetes chrysanthus on Friday. The conditions for “no path” walking in thick mist were not suitable. With luck, we will make it this Friday instead. The long-term forecast is talking about cloudy, drizzly weather for the rest of the week, so once again, George is earning its nickname of Cold And Wet - CAW.

Bill and I did a walk along the Fern Trail on Friday, the Kat River Circuit on Saturday and one of the Groeneweide Circuits on Sunday. We managed some close-ups of Ironwood flowers on the Fern Trail and at Groeneweide. There is now no doubt that the yellow Forest canopy is a result of a mast fruiting event of Olea capensis ssp macrocarpa (Ironwood). According to Mike Cameron, “ Mast fruiting is a massive flowering event at set intervals of a few years, with very poor shows in between”. On Sunday, we decided to confirm the Ironwood flowering event in Groeneweide. I have never seen anything like it. Spent blooms were softly drifting down to the ground like gently falling rain from a canopy that was heavy with flowers. At times we were walking on a white carpet of tiny white blooms.

The Kat River Circuit is full of aliens. Lined up in the dock, the suspects were Blackwood, Black Wattle, Pampas Grass, Bluegums, Solanum pseudocapsicum, Solanum mauritianum and the ubiquitous Aussie invader Tree Fern. This fern is doing rather better in our country than the Australian Cricket Team. Despite the aliens, the Kat River is a very pleasant 2 hour walk. We need to do some exploring in order to lengthen it a bit. I think that this would be relatively easy to do.
Di

Evie has had a pretty busy week. Here are her 2 reports
“HAT Evie joined the Wednesday WAGS hike - Pass to Pass. This hike is in the Outeniquas and starts from the Sputnik. I am always misled by this trail – in that both the start and end are on roughly the same height around 760m – thus I always imagine it is going to be easy. It’s the in-between bits that count, as 2 streams (for a there and back = 4 streams) need to be crossed! Quick slippery downhill and good aerobic workout on the ups. Great fun. Misty day to start. A good path and super Fynbos- Erica unicolor subsp georgica (Rare) saying summer is over; Erica densifolia still bright in sticky pink and green; Erica uberiflora also fading. White was the colour of the day- Erica triceps in bud; Agathosma planifolia plentiful all over the mountain; Phylica curvifolia, Struthiola myrsinites, Protea aurea – to name some of the whites.

To add to the “yellow” forest canopy discussion. Di made me aware of this – and on the previous Sunday my companions and I had a more careful look and discussion at one of the peep holes in the Groeneweide forest. They must be flowers?? - plenty of white buds along the trail. However, forest canopy trees – are not easy to get specimens from!! Thanks Mike for your input – agree they are probably Olea capensis ssp macrocarpa.
----------------
HAT Evie was somehow or other – not sure how! - roped into doing a Fynbos Hike for the Garden Route Walking Festival. Now in its 3rd year – this has proved to be a very successful way in which we can show case our superb hikes. The organizer of the event Galeo is both hugely positive, and passionate, when it comes to the walking opportunities of our Garden route. He has put the South Cape Garden Route on the Easter map for visitors and locals alike. A vast array of both different and entertaining walks is on offer over the 4 days of the Easter weekend.

The Tierkop Fynbos has just been looking at its absolute best for the past 6 weeks- so this seemed a good choice. After a week in which the bookings escalated from 5 to 15 – on the day 7 arrived. Maybe the heavy cloud put some hikers off. At least it did not rain – we had a wonderful long morning out – looking at the various colours, novelties and striking differences of the Fynbos. I had a few avid photographers in the group and by the end of the day they were able to recognize some of the subtle differences of “Heather”!! A big delight was finding the one and only “King Protea” in flower – while there was disappointment on the Mimetes pauciflorus(VU) - no flowers at the moment! Some good sightings of stunning Erica densifolia - it is however starting to fade quite rapidly.

We climbed the Tierkop Peak – and on our return to the hut – found our space had been invaded. The Knysna Oakhill School “Odyssey” Grade 10 boys had arrived. Today they walked from Herold- via heartbreak hill to Tierkop and on to Saasveld. What a buoyant group – all loving the outdoors, the mud and the sweat. It is a fantastic adventure the school organizes on an annual basis. I understand- it is “A journey of roughly 400 kilometres, travelling on horseback, canoeing, cycling and hiking through some of the most rugged and picturesque terrain in the South Cape”. A huge plus to the teachers who are prepared to organize an adventure of this size.”
Evie

A postscript on last week’s LOT Fransmanshoek trip comes from Priscilla
“From Fransmanshoek we proceeded to check on the population of Erica viscosissima (VU) from near Gouritz Mouth. Along the way we were treated to a very elegant Secretary Bird looking for a meal.

While driving there, we were looking for two spots of limestone vegetation next to the road that contain large plants of Agathosma geniculata (Near Threatened). We found them flourishing and these are two new localities for LOT for this species. There was an Aspalathus growing at both spots to be identified by Mr Fab later. All around the limestone locality furthest east, a fire had raged. We asked a lady walking along the road on her way to Gouritz Mouth (she must have thought us crazy), when the fire had occurred. We found out that it had burned one month earlier, lit by kids that had got out of control (the fire and the kids). The limestone community however had been untouched due to a low biomass not being able to sustain the fire. Thus we can report that the locality where we found Erica viscosissima has been burned and we will monitor its return.

On our drive back, our hawk-eyes (Rusell) spotted a clump of flowering Haemanthus sanguineus and of course we had to stop for a photo-shoot.
All in all, a very interesting side-trip.”
Priscilla

LOT’s Thursday outing is a repeat of last week which was washed out - a visit to private property at Dana Bay. SIM will be targeting Mimetes chrysanthus (which is flowering). With the long-term weather forecast looking very “mizzly”, we are going to struggle to reach it. So we will have to wait and see and go for the day that looks the most promising.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
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 Grobler, 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”.
FE – Fire Ephemeral – only appears immediately or after a couple of years after fire
Squirrel – aka President Ramaphosa
WOG – Wrath of God – eg. incurred when you put a young Pine tree on iNat as Leucadendron album
Skedonk - A banger - old, battered motor car more than 30 years old

Posted on April 02, 2018 13:24 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 09, 2018

The Mismatched Quartet

It was a mismatched quartet that arrived early on Thursday morning at the shed on Alwyn Henning’s farm in the Langkloof. But it happened to suit my plan for the day perfectly. Kyle and Dave Underwood are in training for the Knysna marathon and the Table Mountain Challenge, which is a grueling trail run. Their fitness is way above the average. In contrast, Bill and I are battling old age to keep climbing the mountains that we love so much. So Dave and Kyle went off to the west up a very bushed spur to see if they could find more populations of Mimetes chrysanthus (Vulnerable). They had a hugely successful day and covered a very big area. They found 2 more populations of chrysanthus - about 30 plants in each. Kyle is passionate about Orchids and it was he who spotted three Disa arida plants (Endangered) keeping the Golden Pagoda company. We have previously only found two plants on the Perdepoort chrysanthus site, but never on the southern side overlooking the Langkloof, so this discovery is hugely exciting. During the course of the day, they also came across two different Haworthias – the id’s still to be confirmed.

Bill and I moved at a more pedestrian pace on our way up to monitor the site found a couple of years ago. We saw about 30 plants. A lot of them look very dry and parched, presumably because of the poor rain they’ve had this past Summer. On the bright side, there was some evidence of new growth. Maybe the rain that has fallen in the last couple of weeks was their saving grace. We can only hope that the Winter rains are good. Another long dry period could put paid to their existence, as there is already significant dieback to be seen.

Near the bottom, there was lots of Aspalathus pedunculata (Rare) growing in the disturbed ground (previously renosterveld). En route to the top, we saw some Psoralea diturnerae (Endangered), but not growing in the profusion that we found further east. A worrying feature is the ubiquitous Hakea sericea. The burnt plants have dropped their seeds and there are some seedlings emerging. Bill and I dispatched those that were reasonably close to us. We did notice that both the Hakea and the indigenous Proteaceae seeds are regenerating very slowly. This can probably also be attributed to the poor rainfall experienced over the last couple of years. Other aliens present were Black Wattle (lower down) and Pines scattered all over, including the crest of the mountain. All four of us were filthy by the end of the day from battling through the blackened Proteaceae skeletons. It was a tiring, but highly successful field trip. Thank you Alwyn for giving us permission to access the ridge. We are hoping to return in the Spring. There is also some talk of returning to the ridge further to the west, so that we can complete a comprehensive map of the Mimetes chrysanthus population on the whole western heard of Perdepoort.

Moquini Coastal Estate
On Thursday a LOT team headed off to the 220ha Moquini Coastal Estate (Haematopus moquini) being the scientific name for the Black Oystercatcher, although the Estate's logo depicts this all-black bird with a white wing - a touch of artistic licence too far, proclaimed Wendy). We were hosted by longtime resident Caryn who guided us around the estate's labyrinth of paths. 69 plots have been laid out but thus far only 20-odd houses have been built, leaving a good chunk of ground for the wildlife.

Prix's plan was to revisit an important (and therefore unmentionable) plant found on an earlier scouting expedition. The plants were easily relocated and seemed in good shape. Lots of interesting leaves were seen poking through the ground (Iridaceae, Orchidaceae and various Drimia species) and a repeat visit in spring should be rather rewarding.

We wandered along the top of the steep cliffs of the river gorge on the property's western boundary and Prix noted the amazing number of Crassula species flourishing in this rocky and sandy environment - at least eight were ticked off. Various treasures were collected (porcupine quills, guineafowl feathers) and most of these ended up travelling in Prix's bolla (see album).

After our rather hot and humid perambulations we enjoyed cool drinks on Caryn's balcony. The sea views are unparalleled and we were fascinated by some dolphin antics (possibly of a sexy nature) just beyond the breakers.
Sally, Wendy, Gail, Rusell, Prix

One hears a lot spoken about the 4th industrial revolution, but what is it? They say, “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before” With that in mind, the Outramps are giving their CREW diaries a new look from next week. The content will be much the same, but the appearance will be modernized. The dispatch date will also be changed, so that contributions from weekend activities can be included. It will probably be sent out sometime on Tuesday.

Included with this edition is a paper by Wilhelm de Beer and Brett Hurley of FABI on the “Polyphagous Shothole Borer Beetle” or Euwallacea fornicatus. The common name sounds like something from the Wild West, whilst the intriguing scientific name suggests that it might have been at home on the walls of Pompeii before it was engulfed by Vesuvius. Researchers are asking for the help of the public in gathering data re the spread of this most undesirable visitor from Southeast Asia. Thanks to Chris Gow for sending it to me. In the meantime, there’s an article in the George Herald and Ena McIntyre has also sent out a notification from the Botanical Society of South Africa alerting members to its presence..

Field trips for this week - LOT will be visiting a private property at Brenton on Lake on Thursday 12th April. On Friday 13th (Lucky for Some), SIM will be going to Goudveld to see Dioscorea burchellii (Vulnerable). It was found in this location in late April last year by Johan Baard of Sanparks. A while back, we had a directive to hunt for it from Lize von Staden of the Red List at SANBI. Since then we have spent a lot of time looking for it with no success. Johan had the id from Compton Herbarium and once we’ve seen it, we should be able to find other plants. The photos at the end of the Reportback were taken by Johan on his phone. Dankie Johan for keeping us in the loop.
Hamba Kahle.
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
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 Grobler, 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”.
FE – Fire Ephemeral – only appears immediately or after a couple of years after fire
Squirrel – aka President Ramaphosa
WOG – Wrath of God – eg. incurred when you put a young Pine tree on iNat as Leucadendron album
Skedonk - A banger - old, battered motor car more than 30 years old

Dioscorea burchellii – our target plant for Friday 13th April

Posted on April 09, 2018 04:17 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 16, 2018

The Eagle has Landed

In more ways than one
• Tony Rebelo and Scott Loarie have achieved a miracle, as all our data migrates from iSpot on to iNaturalist.The first lot of observations came though on Thursday evening.It will take approximately a month for them all to be in place. The work and dedication that made this possible is difficult to quantify and we are hugely grateful.In addition, the help, support and encouragement we get from Tony keeps our noses to the grindstone and enjoying it.We are delighted with iNat and I’ve no doubt that it’s going to be a great boost to all the “citizen scientist” conservation initiatives.

• The sight of Dioscorea burchellii (Vulnerable) after years of hunting!Johan Baard’s pinpoint location, his maps and photos, his drawings done on the Sanparks meeting agenda on Wednesday, all contributed to our finding it at last.Dominique was wonderful and drove us almost to the spot.The excitement was huge when we found a track leading up into thick Fynbos growing in a seep surrounded by Cliffortia odorata, with our target plant entwined in the vegetation.And the cherry on the top – Bill spotted one plant that was flowering.

We had a fabulous day. First, we had a quick look at a controlled burn site near the old Church and then spent the rest of it driving and walking up to the Uitkyk Point with Gerrit, Thabang and Terence. When Terence was at Saasveld at NMU, Mike was his lecturer and they were delighted to meet again. Terence is the Assistant Section Ranger. Gerrit has been at Goudveld for 11 years and was a mine of information (if you’ll excuse the pun). You’ll remember that Goudveld was an old mining town and some of the buildings are still there to be seen. We very much enjoyed Thabang and are hoping that she will be able to join us on many field trips in the future. An added bonus was a clump of three Gladiolus sempervirens (Rare) that Nicky saw on the drive down from Uitkyk. It was a wonderful day, so thank you all. Goudveld is doing a controlled burn in the near future. We wish them all the best with this necessary, but very stressful undertaking.
Di

Dune Molerat with WAGS
HAT Evie – joined the WAGS hike on Wednesday. A delightful morning’s walk through the “Dune Scrub” and over the dunes between Rondevlei and Swartvlei. A special morning – after rain the day before. The plants sparkled with rain drops and sunshine. Today easy walking conditions - No paddling! – we have found previously, that parts of the path get submerged during very high tides and high river water. Sadly, the Brunsvigia orientalis are all over – just a few seed heads here and there. My favourite blue on the daisy - Felicia echinata -very evident. Pink Erica discolor – much in evidence, as well as numerous white Metalasia muricata, and white Phylica bushes – studded with pink stars. To end the day – a gorgeous Protea tree – flowers/ with involucral bracts in brownish- rust coloured pink. Outramps Marge – says “Would this be Protea susannae” ( NT)?? I hope so. (stunning photo, but planted and shouldn’t be there – ed)
Evie

Walking Fest – Doringrivier
On Good Friday, I took part in the Garden Route walking festival as a walk leader for the first time. The weather forecast was bad for Friday and for a while it looked like the walk would have to be cancelled. I had twelve people booked but two cancelled on Friday morning, literally cold feet?

The remaining ten set out with me from the farm below the Doingrivier Nature Reserve. Most of the group were tourists, mixed with some locals, one of whom had driven 100 kms to be there. The weather in the Southern Cape can always be relied on to be changeable, so we set off in soft mist, and trudged up the aerobic hill to the gates. My conclusion: this was a fit bunch of people and I had better hustle!

I then gave a short talk about CREW and explained what we do and why we do it, the recent history of the Reserve, fynbos and how fire affects it, and identified a few of the plants around us. As we started the long climb to the beacon, the mist thickened and we had to close up as nobody had done the trail before, and I didn't want to lose anybody.

Luckily as we reached the beacon the mist lifted to the North and we had a wonderful view of the Swartberg Mountains in the distance. Lots of impressive photos were taken at Andre's rock. We then started to zigzag down the mountain path. The weather had cleared so the hikers were able to enjoy the views up the valley. We stopped off at the pools for lunch, nobody swam but we did put our feet in! We returned to the cars at 3.00pm after a wonderful day on one of my favourite trails.
Marge

Our focus for the next couple of weeks is probably going to be mapping all the locations of Mimetes chrysanthus on the western head of Perdepoort and exploring the eastern head in case it is hiding somewhere there. We have looked before and never found it to the east. Maybe this time we'll be lucky. On Friday, we will concentrate on the Eastern Head of Perdepoort after contacting Gus du Toit for permission.
Hamba Kahle.
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
The Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape

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”.
FE – Fire Ephemeral – only appears immediately or after a couple of years after fire
Squirrel – aka President Ramaphosa
WOG – Wrath of God – eg. incurred when you put a young Pine tree on iNat as Leucadendron album
Skedonk - A banger - old, battered motor car more than 30 years old

Posted on April 16, 2018 05:37 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 23, 2018

On a Clear Day

You can see forever. The young man who drove up the jeep track to fix the transmitters must have thought he was seeing things. There were women of various ages strewn all along the jeep track. When he got to the top, there was a guy and another woman with a Landcruiser. Before long, another guy and two women appeared from the steep and rocky western side. “What was going on?”

We combined LOT, SIM and HAT on Friday for an exploration of the Eastern Head of Paardepoort. It burnt about three years ago and the regeneration has been slow, because of very poor rains. There was no sign of our target plant. We were hoping that Mimetes chysanthus (Vulnerable) had drifted across from the western head and colonised the eastern head, but we didn’t even spot any skeletons. Greg , Cheryl and Evie (HAT) had a steep scramble up on the western side. Greg particularly enjoyed the rock-scrambling near the summit. Ann and Mike went up in the Landcruiser and explored the top. Sally, Nicky and Di walked up the jeep track at different speeds and Gail walked down, having flagged a lift up in the Landcruiser. That is about as comprehensive an exploration as you can get.

The find of the day was a single Disa arida (Endangered) first spotted by Sally and then later seen by Gail. Brunsvigia josephinae (Vulnerable) was over and the first leaves were starting to appear. As expected on these northern foothills and post-fire, Psoralea diturnerae (Endangered) was prominent. There wasn’t a lot else flowering, but the views from this amazing ridge were spectacular both to east and west, across to the Outeniquas, Swartberg and the Kammanassie, with the glorious empty plains of the Little Karoo in between. In the distant east, we picked up Formosa Peak in the Tsitsikamma. Looking north to the Swartberg, we could see Blesberg in the east, Spitskop in the middle and Towerkop to the west. We had an amazing day. So many thanks to Gus du Toit for permission and his escort to the access gate from the Langkloof. We are hoping to return in the Spring.

Evie reports on Hat’s ascent from the west
HAT(Greg &Cheryl Devine, and Evie) spent the latest Outramps outing scrambling up a rocky south facing ridge to gain the Peak(1200m) of this section of the Paardepoort. We certainly had a wonderful day among the rocks - which come in all shapes and sizes. Luckily, very sturdy rock- and the artistically sculptured shapes provided the best hand holds ever. At the start – very bushy and loose underground- however we soon gained height to get to the real rock. After reaching the saddle we worked our way along the mountain edge to eventually arrive at the actual peak- as is the norm these days topped with a manmade mast! All along the upper reaches – we peered into the South facing aspects – sadly no evidence of any populations of Mimetes chrysanthus .

The vegetation is recovering from a previous burn- flowering Crassulaceae sp; Restios in all sorts of shapes and sizes; pretty scatterings of Lobelia linearis; new green on numerous Pelargonium myrrhifolium; perfumed clumps of Agathosma ovata in amongst the rocks and new shoots on Protea nitida – some on old large sturdy trunks. Along the top saddle – numerous new bushes -the future Leucadendrons and Proteas; some Erica clumps – both E. demissa and rosacea, as well as an unknown.
HATEvie

Cradock peak
This was a long day out – HAT Evie had instigated a WAGS trip to the top of Cradock Peak. The hike is fantastic- brilliant path and views all along, today including views over the cloud covering George. Somehow, I always find the final last 1½ hours of downhill on the return the most grueling of the day. I had hoped to monitor the elusive Erica outeniquae (VU) found on Cradock Peak in June 1017. Today no sighting at all!! Hopefully, it is because it is not in flower and is currently obscured in a jungle of young Berzelia intermedia plants. The rocky area around the rocks just below the peak is covered in numerous different Ericas - pink E.steinbergiana; E.lanata; E.cordata ; E. densifolia; E.viridiflora. and a few red Ericas will need verification by Outramps Jenny.

The top saddle area has recovered well from the fire (about 4 years ago). Numerous young bushes of Leucadendron conicum (NT) and Mimetes pauciflorus(VU) are becoming more obvious as they show their tall selves. A deep blue Psoralea - possibly trullata (Rare), currently only 15cm high was very evident along the ridge trail towards the peak.
HATEvie

Breakfast Rock
While Cradock Peak was the WAGS destination for Wednesday, Bill and I were only aiming for Breakfast Rock. There was thick mist at the start of the day, which lifted later and we made our destination quite easily. It was on the way down that things went a bit haywire for us. I asked Bill to take the camera and bushwhack to Mimetes splendidus (Endangered). He missed them completely, but saw some tall Mimetes-like plants further down the slope. They turned out to be Mimetes pauciflorus (Vulnerable). He didn’t catch a glimpse of the Splendid Pagoda, so that population needs revisiting. By this time, he was in head-high Fynbos and couldn’t see his direction. There was much phoning and shouting and eventually he made his way back to the path. This was after about an hour of very hard going. He arrived exhausted, scratched and bleeding. What we do for the plants!

Rares seen were Ld conicum (Near Threatened) in profusion, Psoralea trullata (Rare), Erica unicolor ssp georgensis (Rare), Lobelia ardisiandroides (Rare) and Mimetes pauciflorus (Vulnerable)
Di

Ismail Ebrahim (our Cape Co-ordinator) will be visiting us this week. He will drive up on Tuesday evening and we’ll have our Planning meeting at 9am on Wednesday, followed by lunch at Strawberry Hill. He will be staying for a field trip on Thursday. I suggested that we have a look at the original population of Mimetes chrysanthus on the western head of Perdepoort, which the Outramps found in 1995. His reply, “YES YES YES! Mimetes chrysanthus is on my bucket list.” So that is what we’ll do.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
The Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape
Di Turner

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”.
FE – Fire Ephemeral – only appears immediately or after a couple of years after fire
Squirrel – aka President Ramaphosa
WOG – Wrath of God – eg. incurred when you put a young Pine tree on iNat as Leucadendron album
Skedonk - A banger - old, battered motor car more than 30 years old
Hoedown - redneck gathering, usually involves shouting catchy phrases like "yee-haw" and "the south will rise again"

Posted on April 23, 2018 04:36 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 30, 2018

Daar's n Wind wat Waai - by Soldaatskraal

Ismail, Gigi and Joti came up from Cape Town on Tuesday evening. The planning meeting was held on Wednesday at Strawberry Hill and Ismail produced his usual list of “impossibles” for us to find. This year, most of them are on the high mountain peaks of the Southern Cape and include areas from De Hoop to the Kouga. We have a challenging task ahead and will certainly need to enlist the help of the HAT of the MCSA. Quite a lot of the species were originally found by Elsie Esterhuysen, the famous mountaineer/botanical explorer. She has been described as "the most outstanding collector ever of South African flora", amassing 36,000 herbarium specimens. The meeting was followed by a sumptuous lunch provided by the Outramps.

On Thursday our numbers for the field trip were down, because of the imminent long weekend and the change of day from Friday to Thursday. I had asked the Keysers for permission to go up to the original location, where we found Mimetes chrysanthus in 1996 on the western head of Paardepoort. I had not heard back from them, so changed plan to scramble up to the Golden Pagoda Ridge from Soldaatskraal in the Langkloof. The owner, Alwyn Henning is always very welcoming and supportive. His farm is rapidly becoming a model for the area and every time we go there, we notice improvements. As we started up the slopes, the already strong wind was gathering momentum and by the time we got to the top it was difficult to stand upright. I would certainly not have managed without the crutches. Mimetes chrysanthus (Vulnerable) was looking even more beautiful than when we were last there. Ismail was delighted, as he was able to add both Leucadendron comosum and the Golden Pagoda to his Life List. He’s been wanting to see them for ages.

There was more excitement, when he spotted a small prostrate Amphithalea in flower. I said, “I cannot recall ever seeing this one before”. However, at almost 80, my memory is distinctly unreliable and so it proved to be. From Mr Fab, “This should be A. micrantha looking all fresh after the fire. I recall our seeing it on Rooiberg”. Interestingly, Cape Plants has it growing from Swartberg to Van Stadens Mts at high altitude, so this could be a range extension. It was growing at 996m, which is much lower than stated by Cape Plants.

The CREW team left for CT at the crack of dawn on Friday after a very successful trip. We will be seeing them again soon at the workshop to be held close to Hermanus in early June. We are looking forward.

Last Sunday, Bill and I took advantage of the closed sailing season and walked the Katriver Circuit. I was hoping that we might find Dioscorea burchellii (Vulnerable), but we saw no sign of it. We did see Anredera cordifolia, the Madeira Vine. There isn’t much of it, so it could still be controlled. Although this is a very pleasant walk, it is spoilt by the presence of many aliens like Black Wattle, Blackwood, Cyathea cooperi (Aussie Invader fern), Bluegums and a host of others. I am also concerned by the presence of a water weed and would be grateful for an id. If it is alien, there is a major problem on the Garden Route Dam. I have posted it on iNaturalist, but no id’s have been forthcoming yet. There are also two pictures in the Album.

Here is Brian’s update on his Masters and some Field trips. This is the link to his PHOTOS
Going going slow...
Fieldwork this year has seemingly been as scarce as rain in our part of the world this year. Now in my second and final year of masters, fieldwork has for the most part taken a back seat and made way for writing and labwork. My work is coming along nicely and I have just about finished my species descriptions. I have managed to do two field trips in the past two months. The first was an introduction to CREW which I arranged for a group of potential undergrad recruits. We were lucky enough to visit Protea odorata (CR) at Joostenbergkloof with Jacques van der Merwe who is from City of Cape Town and an old familiar face on iSpot. We also managed to see a few other specials even in the extreme drought conditions. They included: Elegia extensa (EN), Aspalathus aculeata (EN), Aspalathus reflexa (VU), Xiphotheca lanceolata (EN), Leucadendron lanigerum subsp. lanigerum (EN), Leucadendron verticillatum (CR), and Protea scorzonerifolia (VU). We hope to get this group on a few more field trips later in the year. We are also aiming at doing some site sheets on iNat.

The next trip was a quick round trip to search for Oxalis sites for two fourth year conservation ecology students. The weekend trip (13-15 April) went all round from Stellenbosch to Vanrhynsdorp to Nieuwoudtville to Calvinia to Sutherland and back home. Driving past Nieuwoudville at this time of year cannot be allowed without stopping to admire the mass display of Brunvigia bosmaniae, and what a display it was! Most areas were still very dry, but the Roggeveld escarpment had good rain over the past month and we were treated to an Oxalis flowering display similar to Namaqualand in early spring. Oxalis burkei was flowering pale lilac all over in incredible displays. We also managed to find three new localities for our potentail new Oxalis that we collected there in 2017, and we have even almost managed to convince Kenneth that it’s new. We also stopped at my one Polhillia involucrata (EN) site where I found a potentially new Argyrolobium last year with Charlie. After finding A. argenteum elsewhere on this trip on the Roggeveld, I am more certain that this is indeed a new species. Just a few metres away, while photographing a strange Aspalathus without flowers, I noticed a spot of yellow growing along the ground. It was another Aspalathus, which appears to show affinity to A. nudiflora, but is potentially also new! Unfortunately there was not enough flowering material for a good type specimen, but I will try go back later in the year to get more flowers. A very memorable trip for such a short weekend in the field.

Now, having dipped onto the wrong side of 25, I look forward to hopefully getting into the field a little more and getting this M.Sc done. We have had some decent rain recently in Stellenbosch and surrounds, so hopefully we will have a better flower season coming up! I hope to see most of you at the CREW workshop in June.
Groete,
The Boy / Mr Fab / Dr Pea

We have recently spent a lot of time in the northern foothills of the Outeniquas. As a complete change of scene, we hope to visit Spioenkop in the Ruiterbos plantation area. While Dioscorea burchellii is fresh in our minds, this location might be worth exploring on Friday.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
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 Grobler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans and Damion. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support.

Posted on April 30, 2018 04:09 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment