Journal archives for July 2018

July 02, 2018

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The quotation above, about sums up our CREW week. On Tuesday Nicky and Nanna Joubert of Pledge took on plant rescue (Nicky’s report) on an erf in the Cola Conservancy at Sedgefield, which is about to be developed. The owners are keen to save as many plants as they can, but this exercise reflects the mounting development pressure on our Southern Cape Coast. Our favourite coastal hike Kranshoek, has been decimated by the 2017 fires and much work needs to be done to re-open it. Sandra represented CREW at a Mossel Bay municipality meeting, called to discuss means of saving the little Diosma Reserve for the Critically Endangered little Diosma aristata which grows there (Sandra’s report) and on Friday we had to make a crack of dawn decision to bail out of a field trip to Gourikwa and substitute it with Lange Bergin the Langkloof.

Cola Conservancy
On Tuesday 26th June, Nanna Joubert and I met a landowner in the Cola Conservancy to discuss the conservation /relocation of plants on a site that will be undergoing development in the near future.

I was very happy to find Erica glumiflora (VU) again, as on our previous visit we could not find it. We also found two Hyobanche robusta (EN) plants in bud under a bush. The leaves of many Satyrium princeps (VU) plants were making an appearance and Erica glandulosa subsp. fourcadei (VU) provided colour.

The Cola Conservancy continues to work hard to keep as much of the Southern Cape Dune Fynbos as natural a habitat as possible, so that these and other fynbos species may thrive. We really appreciate all the work that they do.
Nicky

Kranshoek
Megan Taplin, Head of Knysna SANPARKS, asked the Outramps and WAGS to walk Kranshoek and report on its readiness for public access and the state of regeneration of the vegetation. This is what we had to say.
“Kranshoek is undoubtedly one of the premier day hikes in the world. It combines 3 vegetation types, Afro-temperate forests, Fynbos and Noetzie Thicket, making it a microcosm of the Southern Cape habitat types. The views of the rugged and beautiful coastline are unparalleled. It is absolutely crucial that it is opened again as soon as possible. It is an incredible drawcard for international tourists and locals alike. At best, it is a strenuous and difficult hike and should be open to the fitter and more experienced hikers. Having said that, I do it on crutches, Bill is almost 84 and I am about to hit 80. Between us, we have 6 joint replacements and I have no Achilles tendon on my left foot. So really, if you’re youngish and fit, you should be able to do it relatively easily.

Trail Report
That was before the fire. Currently, it is very tricky indeed. There are quite steep drops, which were previously not obvious because of the vegetation cover. A lot of the track is covered by creepers, which makes it difficult to see the underlying hazards. The rocky slopes are fairly tricky with loose rocks that used to be anchored by soil. Without the tree cover, this soil has been washed away. Sticks and crutches had an alarming habit of disappearing down cracks with some interesting results. The creepers tend to hook around sticks and feet and increase the possibility of tripping. There are a lot of loose rocks on the big scree slope and there is a route lower down that could avoid most of it. Old signs exposed by the fire need to be painted over and the new signs should be given prominence. We have been hiking Kranshoek most years since 1970 - even before the trail was opened in 1973. Despite our familiarity with the trail, with the vegetation gone and conflicting signs, Bill and I lost the route a couple of times. One of those was on the big scree slope and it was distinctly hairy, with me bleating my way up. Language unbefitting our venerable age was fortunately drowned out by the enormous surf pounding against the jagged rocks on the shore.

WAGS comments on the Trail reflect our own. It took us just over 7 hours of hard slog and WAGS did it in just over 5 hours. It was very difficult going and there is still much to do, before it is opened to the general public. We very much appreciate Megan’s call for help and would be very happy to assist in any way in the weeks ahead. With staff under pressure, volunteers like CREW are there to be utilized.”

Vegetation Report
The property slopes gently from about 150 m to 70 m on a southern aspect and then steeply to precipitous over a short distance to the coast. The geology is generally sandstone. On the flat to gentle upper slopes the soils are a Plinthic catena whereas the steeper lower slopes are Mispah and Glenrosa.

The ecosystem threat status is vulnerable and is described in SA Vegmap as South Outeniqua Sandstone Fynbos FFs19. Vlok’s Vegmap further classifies it into Roodeplaat Grassy Fynbos on the generally flat areas along the northern boundary, Noetzie Proteoid Fynbos on the gentle southern slopes and Noetzie Thicket Fynbos on the steeper southern slopes. The main ravine hosts afro-temperate forest.

The vegetation last burnt in June 2017 (Knysna fire). The post fire regeneration is good on the upper slopes and at the coast. Anisodontea scabrosa, Mariscus congestus ssp jamaicense and Bobartia aphylla pioneers are very common throughout the area. On the lower slopes Osteospermum moniliferum, Leucospermum cuneiforme and Leucadendron salignum are resprouting well. Colpoon compressum, Searsia species, Pelargonium species, Tarconanthus littoralis and Euclea racemosa are also common resprouters here. Virgilia divaricata (Keurboom)is also reseeding very well, indicating previous forest edges. Teedia lucida is in flower and forms a patchy cover on some of the lower slopes. Vegetation on the steep krantzes has not recovered yet, but some trees in the ravines are putting out new leaves.

In the forest areas, the creepers have taken hold. Diopgon lignosus (Cape Sweetpea) has colonised huge areas and a host of other creepers and lianes are going for the gap. They include Dioscorea mundii (Near Threatened) and probably D. sylvatica (Vulnerable). Resprouting is taking place on Sideroxylon inerme (Milkwood) and Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus – Candlewood (amongst others). The Ocotea bullata (Stinkwood) juveniles near the shore at the bottom of the main ravine are sending out new shoots. The fern Hypolepis sparsisora is also enjoying the presence of more light and at times it is forming a monoculture. Along the rocky shores, Tetragonia fruticosa is covering a lot of ground, where it is also joined by Dipogon lignosus. In the Spring there is going to be a huge display of Ornithogalum dubium (Tchinkerinchee).

There is very little regeneration on the steep, generally south-facing cliffs. Heavy rains could contribute to significant rockfalls. In the Fynbos area, we also found some reseeders doing well. They include Metalasia muricata (Coastal Blombos) Protea neriifolia and seedlings of Acmadenia alternifolia (Vulnerable).

The presence of alien vegetation is startlingly less prevalent than on the private properties of the Robberg Corridor to the east. We saw Bluegums, Pines, Solanum nigrum, mauritianum and giganteum. Phytolacca octandra and some of the Acacia species were present, but not in overwhelming numbers, which is laudable. Sanparks is to be congratulated.

Unfortunately the afro-temperate forest component of the vegetation is going to take a very long time to achieve its former glory. Close to the seashore some of it has survived the fire. The lack of regeneration on the steep south-facing cliffs remains a concern. The Fynbos and Strandveld sections are well on their way to recovery.
Tanniedi

Diosma Reserve – ‘Woess’ and Wait or Clobber in and Cut?
A quick meeting with Warren Manuel and Dirk Zietsman of the Mossel Bay Muncipality (MBM) and Amanda Human of the Bartholomeu Dias Museum took place at the Diosma Reserve Thursday morning to review invasive plant control. Port Jackson (Acacia saligna) is sprouting profusely and the Rooikrans (Acacia cyclops) seedlings are swiftly outgrowing the handpull stage. Disturbance, so far, has been kept to a minimum to allow Diosma aristata (Critically Endangered), which only grows here, to germinate. A year after the 7th June 2017 fire and no seedlings have been noted. Although the site is easily accessible, it is not safe to walk there alone, which limits casual monitoring substantially. A structured search, similar to the census counts would actually be ideal.
Four areas were identified which could possibly be demarcated where the alien invasive plants can be tackled. CapeNature would have to give the green light before this goes ahead. A contractor will then be assigned to do the work as the MBM does not have their own teams to do the work – everything is outsourced. At this stage we are a bit between a rock and a hard place with this. No Diosma as yet, strong emergence of the unwanted vegetation and my concern about the envisaged disturbance by clearing teams. Kikuyu forms a security-firebreak behind the homes which form the northern border of the Reserve. The possibility to eradicate and even replace the Kikuyu (Carpobrotus spp.) was raised.
Funding to continue fencing will be available soon and a contractor will be assigned to fence the eastern border across from Heiderand homes. There are still piles of rubbish along the edges of the east west track, now becoming overgrown. These remained after some clearing was done, August 2017. Again it was a case of an outsourced team taking on the work and not MBM staff. CREW members (coming from George, Wilderness, Sedgefield) were present to supervise. Rain interrupted the work on both days and had to be stopped due to rules and regulations in this regard. Altogether somewhat frustrating and unsatisfactory in terms of outcome, though the snakes and scorpions residing in the rubble would beg to differ!
Sandra

Gourikwa becomes Lange Berg
It was at about 6am that the first What’s App notification rang out on my phone, Puzzled by the timing, I checked it. Coming from Sally, “Tyres burning close to Engen Garage west of Mossel Bay. Exits from the town blocked and possible unrest from Klein Brak and east of Knysna to Plett.” I followed Sally’s suggestion and phoned the Fire Department. “If you can avoid using N2 to east or west of George, please do so”, was their advice. So what now? A flurry of What’s App messages and we decided to head for the Langkloof, where there are no major towns for many miles. We first took the Daskop Road, but could find no resident farmers for permission to access an attractive Kopje on the northern side of the Langkloof Road. So we beat a retreat and drove further east, eventually taking a gravel road south to Ganzekraal. Finally, we landed up at the farm that is owned by Duane Doubell. He gave us a very warm welcome and sent us on our way on a jeep track that ran south to a nek higher up to the west of Langeberg on the old Outeniqua Trail. We parked the Buchu Bus, as the track seemed unsuited to her advanced age and anyway you see much more on Shank’s Pony.

Right at the beginning of the walk, we were startled to see a Banksia and the beautiful Hakea laurina, which had the cameras clicking madly. This Hakea was a first for most of us. Even more startling was coming across Protea grandiceps (Near Threatened). This was the only “Rare” we saw all day and it has obviously been planted. Finally, we realized that this farm had been used to grow flowers, mainly for the horticultural trade. Protea neriifolia gave a magnificent display. Agathosma mundtii and Erica rosacea complimented each other all along the way. Many young Cyclopia intermedia plants have been cultivated, although now they seem to be swallowed up by the vigorous growth of Cliffiortia stricta. Coming into early bud was a Leucospermum of the cordifolia type. At first, I thought it might be Leucospermum glabrum (Endangered), but I “wrong locality” and it’s probably a hybrid of some sort.

Every imaginable Eucalyptus species seems to be growing there. Currently they are harvesting fencing poles from the Eucalyptus thickets. There was Hakea sericea and both Pinus pinaster and radiata present in the Fynbos. There is a huge task ahead of Duane, if he is going to manage to rid the farm of aliens. We are hugely grateful for his allowing us to access the property and will send him a report.
Tanniedi

On Friday we will once again attempt to get to Gourikwa. Hopefully, the protests will have subsided by then
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
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, Dr Christopher Whitehouse, Adriaan Grobler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans and Mattmatt on iNat. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support.

Outramps Projects and Places on iNaturalist – You can browse through the observations or refer to the checklist which is in alphabetical order eg. Animals, birds etc.
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/diosma-reserve
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-14072
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-19201
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/kingfisher-trails
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/brown-hooded-kingfisher-trail
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/ruigtevlei-plantations
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/uitzigt-216-portion-39
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/heaven-in-the-langkloof
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/flanagans-rock-rsa
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-paardepoort-west
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-paardepoort-east
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-kammanassie-reserve
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-14072
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-spitskop-to-meiringspoort-swartberg
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-rooiberg-reserve
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/strawberry-hill-7-passes-road-wilderness-south-africa
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/nature-s-valley-south-cape-south-africa#page=2
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/white-heather
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/western-head-knysna

Posted on July 02, 2018 06:09 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 09, 2018

'n Stukkie Bloudraad

Here is the ALBUM. For captions or info click on i on the top right-hand side. A good way to go - the Slideshow is found at the top of the page on the rt hand side by clicking on the 3 dots. Featured this week – Herolds Bay Cliff Path with WAGS, Barnard’s Farm Revisited with LOT, HAT in the Kammanassie and SIM at Gourikwa on the Southern Cape Coast.
If I were ever to write a book, it would be dominated by two themes – “Life with Oom Willie van die Berge” and the BOB, aka “The Bloody Old Buchu Bus”. They have been responsible for most of the high adventure in my life - Oom Willie for the 60 years that I’ve known him or been married to him and the Buchu Bus in more recent years. Friday was no different.

‘n Stukkie Bloudraad
You will remember that our planned visit to Gourikwa on Friday 29th June was shanghaied by burning tyres and protests in the vicinity of the Mossel Bay offramp. So this week we tried again. The journey to the western side of the Gouritz River went without incident and we were warmly welcomed by Helena at reception in the Gourikwa Private Nature Reserve. We discussed our plans, worked out a route in an area that we haven’t explored for many years and promised to be back at 2pm to take Helena to see the Critically Endangered Lobostemon belliformis on the northern side of the property.

Gourikwa is an amazing piece of coastal Fynbos. It is teeming with rares. We parked just below the Lookout Point on the scenic drive and set off to explore. And the rares came thick and fast – an incredible haul for a morning’s work!
Protea susannae – Near Threatened
Protea obtusifolia – Near Threatened
Carpobrotus muirii – Near Threatened
Cliffortia schlechteri – Near Threatened
Aulax umbellata – Near Threatened
Leucospermum praecox – Vulnerable
Erica radicans - Endangered
Psoralea muirii – Not yet listed, probably Endangered
Psoralea sp. nova – Not yet listed, probably Endangered
Metalasia luteola - Vulnerable
Gnidia chrysophylla – Near Threatened
Satyrium carneum – Near Threatened
Aspalathus arenaria - Vulnerable
Agathosma muirii – Vulnerable

We got back to the Bus just before 1pm, so decided on a quick sortie up to the Lookout Point and a limestone ridge close by. By this time it had warmed up and we decided to leave the back flap of the BOB open, so that the very light breeze could circulate. Up to the Lookout, Brian was delighted to find Lotononis umbellata and Massonia pustulata evoked many “Oohs and Ahs”. I was lagging slightly behind the others when they reached the Bus. Mike asked, “Can I close the back”? Nobody noticed the keys lying next to the packs underneath some purple mittens, which we’d dumped earlier. And that’s when it happened. The BOB has been short of entertainment recently and decided to take control. With an ominous and loud click, all the doors promptly locked themselves. Dead silenceand then“What now?” We had no reachable tools and Brian’s Leatherman was locked inside. We’d had no phone signal for most of the day.

First we tried breaking a small front window, but it was the window that survived the onslaught. Instead, it was the limestone rock that crumbled. I took the rubber from the bottom of the crutch and we tried ramming that through the window. “Nothing doing! Obviously the Buchu Bus is not an easy car to steal. Finally we tried the phone again, thankfully reached Helena, who promised that help would soon be there. Some little while later, Hugo arrived. He was armed with a screwdriver, a towel to prevent damaging the paint and a “stukkie bloudraad”. Slowly and patiently he wiggled it in and down and finally, up came the latch and the door opened to the huge relief of both the Outramps and Hugo. We owe him a big debt.

By this stage, time was marching on and we decided to call it a day, with the assurance that we’d return in a couple of weeks to redeem our promise to Helena. Through the gate, we thought just to check if the Lobostemon was flowering. In flower, it can be seen from the road, if you know where to look. And flowering it was. This proved too much of a temptation, so we bundu-bashed our way through the ever more impenetrable bush to reach it. Some of the plants are in bud, but some were already past their best. Last year they were in full flower in late July. So we will be back in very early August to see both the Critically Endangered Lobostemon belliformis and the Endangered Erica baueri ssp. gouriquae. Many thanks to Helena and Hugo for a wonderful happy ending.
Tanniedi

Gouriqua Nature Reserve (Farm Buffelshoek 15/455) is 2444 ha. – Vegetation Report
Most of the reserve has a rolling topography and generally slopes southwards. The soils have limited pedological development (mainly Glenrosa and/or Mispah with grey regic soils in the Strandveld). Lime is present throughout the reserve with limestone outcrops in places.

According to Vegmap the area from the coast to about the 40 m contour is Blombos Strandveld (FS 8). Generally the rest of the reserve is Canca Limestone Fynbos (FFl 3) except for a large section above 140 m viz. Albertinia Sand Fynbos (FFd 9).

The vegetation is a mosaic of thickets and fynbos communities.

Typical dominants of the fynbos/thicket mosaic area are: Sideroxylon inerme, Mystroxylon aethiopicum, Cassine tetragona, Olea europaea subsp africana, Cassine peragua, Protea repens, Protea lanceolata, Protea susanna, Leucospermum praecox, Leucodendron salignum, Searsia glauca, , Euclea racemosa, Searsia laevigata and Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus. Smaller shrubs, dwarf shrubs and ground cover include various species of the following genera: Helichrysum , Phylica , Erica , Cliffortia , Aspalathus, Senecio and Carpobrotus .

Of major concern is the Acacia cyclops (rooikrans). Although biocontrol is playing an important role in controlling seed production the trees are still a major threat to indigenous species competing with and outshading e.g. the endemic and Critically Endangered Lobostemon belliformis.
Mike

WAGS and the Herolds Bay Cliff path
It was a glorious day and there was a huge surf running, as Bill and I made a very early start from the Beach up to the most attractive Herolds Bay Cliff Path up to the Cross. En route we checked on a small population of the Endangered Euchaetes albertinina with Culllumia carlinoides (Near Threatened) close by. The road is a bit tedious, but the path beyond is lovely and the steep descent to the little bay adds some excitement. It was a day for white flowers, with Asparagus densiflorus and Metalasia muricata dominating the landscape. As we began to retrace our steps WAGS arrived. By the time we got back to the car, we only had a short wait before they joined us at the very popular watering –hole at Duttons Cove. Another beautiful day out in the Fynbos, with friends on the glorious Southern Cape Coast.
Tanniedi

Kammanassie Traverse 22 to 24 June 2018
While the rest of humanity was watching the opening matches of the World Cup, we were playing a match of our own.
Round One of the MCSA vs Kammanassie (the Kam) Challenge took place in September 2016 and ended badly. There was blood, sweat and crocodile tears from the sky. We came away scratched, drenched and freezing. The silverware stayed in the Kam’s display cabinet. But at least we had managed to suss out the Kam’s game plan, and were hungry for a rematch.

Round Two was charted for the last weekend in June. A small strong team assembled for the rematch and this time the odds were stacked for Team MCSA. The sun beamed from cloudless skies and a recent burn took care of the vegetation. We left with the silver and the bragging rights.
Most of you should know by now where the Kammanassie actually is, so I won’t go into that again. But for those of you with dodgy memories - probably all of you - here is the low-down on the actual challenge. Jeep tracks start at each end of the range, but do not meet in the middle. There is an eight-kilometre as-the-crow-flies gap between the two ends. The challenge is to link these ends by any route. Two members did an east-west traverse in 2005, using caves for shelter, crossing the imposingly-deep Rooirivier gorge and taking four days. We decided on a west to east traverse, staying high, sleeping in tents and taking three days.

The Rooirivier has two major tributaries, one flowing due east, the other due west, and a minor one from the south. They all join up and flow north, forming the impressive gorge which splits the mountain into an east and west massif. None of this is blindingly obvious from either a map or Google Earth, which led me to believe that the ‘tributary’ valley would make a good traverse line. When we got to the col and saw how deep and bushed the valley was, we decided to stay high and skirt around to the south.

The hard-core crazies who turned up, besides me obviously, were Cheryl (aka The Boss), Johan Huisamen, Gillian Forbes and Werner Frei. We met up on the road near Buffelsdrif at 08h00 on Friday and took Werner’s car to the finish point. We then drove up to the start and started walking up the track just after ten. We passed the usual camping place below Kammanassieberg and continued on past the first of the four big gullies that seem to block the route. Here we made a startling discovery – a definite path starts at the end of the jeep track, continues on in the right direction for quite a while and then fades out.

We camped on top of one of the noses between the gullies, where there were ample flat spots and water a short way off. The night was warmer than expected and a breeze kept the dew away in the morning. We were under way again before 08h30. We crossed the other three ravines quite easily and headed up to the saddle. The going was steeper than it had appeared to be, and was populated by blackened plant-skeletons. It was when we got to this saddle that we decided to stay medium-high. High-high follows the ridgeline and is bound to be longer and much-much harder.

The traverse was fairly easy going for a while, until we crossed the small southern tributaries of the Rooirivier. A long hard gully led out of the river and we regained the high ground with difficulty, turning north at the end of the big valley. We eventually gained the top of the last ridge and gazed down on Perdevlakte and the jeep track. Picture a flat 2 km x 2 km bowling-green on top of a mountain and you have an idea of Perdevlakte.

The jeep track to the shelter was an interminable slog, with the sun going down and no end in sight. We got to the shelter after dark, but with a strong moon we were able to pick out tent spots and find a trickle of water. The night turned very cold with ice all over the tents in the morning. The sun only hit the shelter at 10h20 that morning, by which time we were long gone as it was too cold to hang around. We watched the sun rise on the shelter from a ridge high above. It took about five hours to get from the shelter to the car.

We walked for a total of 20 hours. Day two was 12,6 km with 1162 metres of ascent and 868 metres of descent (aggregated) The days were only 10 hours long, although first-light to last-light was a bit longer. Day two really opened my eyes to the actual layout of the Kam and now I can say that I know my way round the mountain. As usually happens though, as soon as you tick off one item on the to-do list, another three take its place. I have a bunch of ideas already. Watch this space for Round Three.
Greg Devine – HAT and MCSA Southcape
(Between the need for speed and a recent fire, the plants were off center stage for the time being - ed)

STOP PRESS
www.inaturalist.org is the interactive website for all your pics of flowers, birds, mammals, fungi, reptiles and sea creatures. By posting your observations, you contribute to providing data for research and a record for future generations. You also have a wonderful forum for your photos. And it’s all a great deal of fun. Why not try it?

Dr Tony Rebelo will the giving an iNaturalist course on Monday 30th July at the Saasveld Campus @ NMU as part of Science Week. The beginner’s course will be from 12 to 1pm and will be followed by a more advanced course from 1pm to 4pm. Everyone is welcome to attend both courses. There will be no charge. Details below.

From Tony
SANBI has relocated its Citizen Science Virtual Museum from iSpot to iNaturalist. .

The aims of the course are.
1. Introduce the philosophy of the site. How it is designed and works. This centres around:
The layout:
• Observations
• Species
• Places
• Projects
• People
How it works:
• What makes an observation.
• Species and the dictionary and links
• Extracting and showcasing your data

2. How to use iNature:

Practical coursework:

• How to upload an observation
• How to edit observations, including bulk edits
• How to custom access data and updates, and use your dashboard
• How to manage your account

3. Have some more fun (time permitting):
• Creating Places and species lists
• Creating Projects and managing data
• Anything you find interesting and would like to explore in more detail.

Please bring to the course!
o Between 10 and 20 pictures suitable for uploading to iNaturalist: of 5 to 15 different organisms. Plants, animals or fungi – not people, pets or places.
o Please sign up before you come to the course: www.inaturalist.org - make sure that you are properly registered. Bring along your user-name and your password – and preferably an email address that you can access at SANBI (not one tied to your home line).
Yourself, with lots of questions.

If you are interested in attending, please email me at di@strawberryhill.co.za

On Friday, we would like to complete our exploration of Spioenkop in the Ruigtevlei plantations. It would be great to find more Dioscorea burchellii and another Burchell plant Selago burchellii. And just at the back of our minds is Cyclopia laxiflora (Critically Endangered and Presumed extinct). The Red List has this to say, “Several searches for this species have failed to locate any remaining wild populations, but as the species' preferred habitat is not known, a small chance remains that it may still be rediscovered.” With the Pines being felled post-fire, we’re in with an outside chance. We are going for the gap.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
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, Dr Christopher Whitehouse, Adriaan Grobler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans and Mattmatt on iNat. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support.

Posted on July 09, 2018 04:33 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 16, 2018

Just Another Friday

But was it? It was Friday 13th which in Bingo parlance is, “Lucky for Some!” It proved to be a very lucky day for the Burchell plants – we found Selago burchellii (Vulnerable) scattered all along our route and we were delighted to see about 15 more Dioscorea burchellii (Burchell’s Yam – Vulnerable). It obviously loves this place as much as we do. Currently cleared of the pines post-fire, it provides easy walking along forestry tracks, spectacular views, lovely plants and good company. What more could you ask for………………………………..?

Southern Outeniqua Traverse
This involves 16km of difficult mountain-walking with a height gain of 660m on the southern slopes below George and Cradock Peaks. The traverse starts at the Saasveld Cottages via Tierkop, the Leaky Dam, Tonnelbos and ends at the Botanical Gardens – a toughie by any standards. This is a long-time favourite of mine, but Bill and I debated whether we were up to it. Old age, misused joints and short daylight hours were some of the deterrents. But always unable to resist a challenge, the issue was probably never in any doubt and we were on our way at a few minutes after 6am on Wednesday, with head torches to light the way.

A glorious sunrise crept over the horizon. A truism - for those who are prepared to get up early, there are special rewards! The new moon was a silver crescent against the black sky, gradually disappearing as the sky was flooded with pale pink and gold light. The odd orange cloud floated by to give it contrast. It was truly magnificent.

We bypassed Tierkop and negotiated a very tricky stretch just above the Leaky Dam. Very slippery peat, a narrow pathway and jutting fynbos combined to slow us down with the odd mild mishap like a slip and a slide and a rocky-landing fall. The Dam was lower than I’ve ever seen it, when we eventually stopped for breakfast after about 4 hours. The views across the coastal plain are really stunning, but we were tired by the time we reached the western side of Fern Forest or Tonnelbos. It was here that WAGS passed us en route to the Botanical Gardens. It took us 9 ½ hard hours. We were exhausted. But for me (as always), the plants made up for all the physical discomfort.

Leucospermum glabrum (Endangered) was in full flower and looking good. Its companion, Mimetes pauciflorus (Vulnerable) was beautiful in orange and yellow. The vivid flowers of Erica unicolor ssp. georgensis (Rare) occurred in patches along the way. Leucadendron conicum (Near Threatened) was common along the whole length of the day’s hike and probably should be downgraded to Least Concern. It is no coincidence that it is the most frequent species to appear on the site sheets that we do to keep the Red List updated. The Cape Tree Fern (Alsophila capensis) was looking majestic in its Tonnelbos home and it was only on the last stretch that we saw one of the Aussie Invader ferns (Cyathea capensis), which are taking over the Witfontein forests.

It was a wonderful day out in the stunning Fynbos of the southern slopes of the Outeniquas, looking across the coastal plain to Mossel Bay. Bill and I are so lucky that we can still enjoy this, despite our extreme age and decreptitude. We are also very fortunate to have each other. Walking this alone would be out of the question and our slow pace would be a huge irritant for others. So “Thank you Oom Willie van die Berge!”
Tanniedi

Just another Friday
Our aim on Friday was to explore the north-eastern section of Spioenkop in the Ruigtevlei Plantations. With permission from Heine Muller, we set off early under an overcast sky that cleared during the course of the day. First we showed our companions the Dioscorea burchellii (Vulnerable) that Nicky and I had found on an earlier visit. As we threaded the highways and byways, we found more of them, as well as the Vulnerable Selago burchellii. We also discovered that the property is huge and there was no way we were going to reach the north-east corner. As we turned to head back west towards the Buchu Bus, we were on a steep damp slope, which had a sandstone layer under the fossil dune sands. Pulling ahead of Nicky and Dave, I saw another Burchell’s yam and stopped to do a site sheet. I was just beginning to wonder what had happened to my mates, when Dave came trotting around the corner with a “stukkie”. He thrust it at me and said, “What do you think?” I stared at it in disbelief. I was thinking “Have I gone mad or something?” You will remember that we visited Gourikwa the week before.

But this is Nicky and Dave’s story. Chatting as they walked, they stopped simultaneously and stared at a plant some way up the slope. Like me, they looked at it in total disbelief. But it is not a plant once seen, that you will ever forget and we don’t think there is any possibility of error. Lobostemon belliformis (Critically Endangered) is alive and well at Spioenkop. This magnificent plant, which we call “The Beautiful One”, is only known from one location between Albertinia and Still Bay and here it was, some 100km or more east of the original location. There were 3 plants and they were resprouting post-fire. “Heilige Makriel!” What a find for Friday 13th, which proved to be “Lucky for Some”.

As we made our way back to the Bus, the debate raged. What were the conditions that replicated the original site? Damp south-facing slope, tertiary sands on a sandstone outcrop were some possibilities. Was this an indication that extensive populations between the two had disappeared? We had lots of questions with very few answers. We will be asking Jan Vlok for his ideas. He made the original discovery of the Gourikwa population of about 50 plants.

This is a momentous find and reminds me of the day that we discovered the second only known locality of Mimetes chrysanthus at Perdepoort in the northern foothills of the Outeniquas. It is a wonderful moment in the history of the Outramps CREW Group. Congratulations to Dave and Nicky! And after all that, we had to repair to the Sedgefield Arms for a celebratory drink. WOW! What a day and what a find! And the aftermath of this discovery - the search will be well and truly on, in the quest to find more plants in the area.
Tanniedi

LOT’s Visit to Some Properties on the Western Head – Thursday 12th July 2018
At 8 am on Thursday, Christa le Roux picked up Rusell and me at her home, Ocean View. LOT had taken up her offer to show us some properties on Knysna’s Western Head.
The view of the coastline from our first stop was beautiful. We were mesmerized for some time by a huge flock of Phalacrocorax capensis (Cape Cormorant) flying from the east and landing on the sea in front of us. We wondered if there was a school of fish that had tempted them. Then it was a noisy flock of Red-winged starlings (Onychognathus morio) that caught our attention; but we were there to look at the plants! We hiked up and down the dunes that still had many black skeletons left from the wildfire in June last year, but a lot of them were resprouting. Tarchonanthus littoralis displayed long sprays of white fluff. As with other areas in Brenton, the ground is covered with various species of bright green Ficinia with colourful patches of Indigofera verrucosa, Rhynchosia leucoscias and Rhynchosia caribaea, Pelargonium capitatum, Oxalis ciliaris var. ciliaris, Hypoxis villosa, Chasmanthe aethiopica, Chaenostoma polyanthum, Nemesia versicolor var. versicolor, Arctotheca calendula, Albuca flaccida, Dischisma ciliatum ssp. ciliatum, Felicia amoena ssp. latifolia, Wahlenbergia thunbergii var. thunbergii, Aspalathus alopecurus, and others. At the edge of an area of burnt thicket a few plants of the bright blue Anchusa capensis were in flower. Large areas of the burnt mosaic of fynbos and thicket are covered with Tetragonia fruticosa, Dipogon lignosus and other species preventing soil erosion and retaining moisture so that the vegetation can recover. A single flowering Romulea rosea indicated that spring is on its way.
Unfortunately, as with other burnt areas, it is not only the indigenous plants that are recovering from the effects of the fire, masses of aliens have taken the opportunity of the free space to come up. Although a lot of money and time has already been spent clearing them from the properties we visited, there is still a lot of work to be done.
The weather changed - a very chilly, strong wind appeared from the south, so we decided to leave further exploring for another day.
A female bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus ssp. Sylvaticus) crossed over the road just before we got back to our starting point (right in front of the sign warning motorists to look out for buck crossing the road!) – a lovely way to end the day!
Thank you, Christa, for taking the time to introduce us to some new parts of the Brenton Peninsula. We hope to revisit the properties sometime in the future.
Nicky

STOP PRESS
www.inaturalist.org is the interactive website for all your pics of flowers, birds, mammals, fungi, reptiles and sea creatures. By posting your observations, you contribute to providing data for research and a record for future generations. You also have a wonderful forum for your photos. And it’s all a great deal of fun. Why not try it?

Dr Tony Rebelo will the giving an iNaturalist course on Monday 30th July at the Saasveld Campus @ NMU as part of Science Week. The beginner’s course will be from 12 to 1pm and will be followed by a more advanced course from 1pm to 4pm. Everyone is welcome to attend both courses. There will be no charge. Details below.

From Tony
SANBI has relocated its Citizen Science Virtual Museum from iSpot to iNaturalist. .

The aims of the course are.
1. Introduce the philosophy of the site. How it is designed and works. This centres around:
The layout:
• Observations
• Species
• Places
• Projects
• People
How it works:
• What makes an observation.
• Species and the dictionary and links
• Extracting and showcasing your data

2. How to use iNature:

Practical coursework:

• How to upload an observation
• How to edit observations, including bulk edits
• How to custom access data and updates, and use your dashboard
• How to manage your account

3. Have some more fun (time permitting):
• Creating Places and species lists
• Creating Projects and managing data
• Anything you find interesting and would like to explore in more detail.

Please bring to the course!
o Between 10 and 20 pictures suitable for uploading to iNaturalist: of 5 to 15 different organisms. Plants, animals or fungi – not people, pets or places.
o Please sign up before you come to the course: www.inaturalist.org - make sure that you are properly registered. Bring along your user-name and your password – and preferably an email address that you can access at SANBI (not one tied to your home line).
Yourself, with lots of questions.

If you are interested in attending, please email me at di@strawberryhill.co.za

On Tuesday we will be meeting AnneLise Vlok and Carlo van Tonder of Cape Nature at Diosma Reserve west of Mossel Bay. Decisions have got to be made about whether to clear the aliens and take the chance of damaging the precious post-fire seedlings of Diosma aristata (Critically Endangered). Once again, we are between a “rock and a hard place” with very few options. Whatever we do or don’t do will cause damage.

LOT’s trip on Thursday will be to hunt for an Endangered Glottiphyllum in the Great Brak/Hersham area. On Friday, SIM will be exploring Bobbejaanskop above Beervlei in the Outeniquas from the south. The Fynbos should be magnificent and it is an area that is new to us, which is always exciting. So a busy week for the Outramps with 2 coastal field trips and one montane expedition.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
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, Dr Christopher Whitehouse, Adriaan Grobler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans and Mattmatt on iNat. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support.

Outramps Projects and Places on iNaturalist – You can browse through the observations or refer to the checklist which is in alphabetical order eg. Animals, birds etc.
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/gouriqua-private-nature-reserve
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-herolds-bay
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/cola-conservancy
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/lange-berg-112
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-kranshoek-
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/uitzigt-216-ptn-65
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/masons-rust-32-ptn-4-gezwinds-kraal-41-ptn-0
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-camferskloof
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/dune-molerat-trails
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/diosma-reserve
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-14072
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-19201
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/kingfisher-trails
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/brown-hooded-kingfisher-trail
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/ruigtevlei-plantations
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/uitzigt-216-portion-39
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/heaven-in-the-langkloof
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/flanagans-rock-rsa
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-paardepoort-west
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-paardepoort-east
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-kammanassie-reserve
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-14072
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-spitskop-to-meiringspoort-swartberg
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-rooiberg-reserve
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/strawberry-hill-7-passes-road-wilderness-south-africa
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/nature-s-valley-south-cape-south-africa#page=2
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/white-heather
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/western-head-knysna

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"
VHF - Vat Hom Fluffie - our nickname for furry or woolly plants

Posted on July 16, 2018 09:35 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 23, 2018

Green, green it's green they say

Here is the ALBUM. For captions or info click on i on the top right-hand side. A good way to go - the Slideshow is found at the top of the page on the rt hand side by clicking on the 3 dots. Featured this week – Diosma seedling hunt, Dune Molerat with WAGS, Glottiphyllum hunt and Bobbejaansberg. The Puppet show at Ruitersbos provides a wonderful postscript.

We still have a couple of places left on the iNaturalist course. Please e-mail me to book di@strawberryhill.co.za
Details below

Green, Green, it’s Green they say
On the far side of the Hill.
Green, green, I'm goin' away
To where the Leuc is greener still
(With apologies to the New Christy minstrels)
Sandra will be covering the Diosma Reserve, Sally describes the Lot trip to Hersham, where (excitingly) they found a newie for the Outramps and the Ruitersbos Puppet show..

iNaturalist Course
www.inaturalist.org is the interactive website for all your pics of flowers, birds, mammals, fungi, reptiles and sea creatures. By posting your observations, you contribute to providing data for research and a record for future generations. You also have a wonderful forum for your photos. And it’s all a great deal of fun. Why not try it?

Dr Tony Rebelo will the giving an iNaturalist course on Monday 30th July 2018 at the Saasveld Campus @ NMU as part of Science Week. The beginner’s course will be from 12 to 1pm and will be followed by a more advanced course from 1pm to 4pm. Everyone is welcome to attend both courses. There will be no charge. Details below.
If you are interested in attending, please email di at di@strawberryhill.co.za

The Buchu is Back…. Whew!
Spot the buchu!
AnneLise Schutte Vlok and Carlo van Tonder came joint first when they simultaneously found seedlings of Diosma aristata (critically endangered) in the north western and south western quadrants of the reserve respectively. Natalie Baker soon followed suit, making Team CapeNature the clear winner for the day. Team Fransmanshoek aced second place with student ranger Veronique of Fransmanshoek Conservancy showing a knack for seeing the Diosma sprigs amongst a myriad of lookalike ones. Seedlings were about seven centimetres tall. The leaves of the juvenile plants resemble those of adult plants. Long, thin, hard, ending in sharp points. The majority of seedlings were unbranched, only the odd ones already sported a couple of side branches.

About 30 plants were found. Most were seen in the south western quadrant. In fact that is generally where there is less human activity. Carlo brought printouts of pre-fire census localities which we used as a guide, though seedlings were not found at all the known spots. It is evident that disturbance in the reserve should still be kept to the minimum. There is a proposal for the Fransmanshoek Conservancy rangers to assist once or twice a month to eradicate alien invasive plants.

All the Hermannias were in flower. H saccifera and the scented H decumbens looking splendid. H triofoliata and H joubertiana were recorded in the reserve for the first time. Gnidia chrysophylla (Near Threatened) is just coming into flower.

Big thank you's to Team CREW - Di, Gail, Rusell and Ann; the winners Team CapeNature - AnneLise, Natalie, Carlo and Masamkele Judge and Team FMH – ranger Kei Heyns plus his two student rangers, Veronique and Erich who came in all the way from Fransmanshoek Conservancy. We loved having the four enthusiastic youngsters helping us search, clearly meant to be conservationists. Masamkele says that after several other jobs, nowadays his alarm does not even have to wake him up for going to work. He just loves it at CapeNature!
Sandra

A Dramatic Sunrise
The weather for the last week has been awful, dominated by strong and gusty northwesters, which are busy totally sucking all the moisture out of the surrounding Fynbos and Forests. Unseasonably hot, with temperatures hitting 30 degrees, the field trips have been less than comfortable. And of course, strong wind=power failure at Strawberry Hill. We had 3 last week. Despite that, we’ve been busy.

Once again, a before dawn start at Dune Molerat with WAGS had its own rewards. The early morning skyscapes and a thunderstormy sky were dramatic, as the sun rose orange in the east above the horizon, turning cumulus clouds bright pink to the west. The camera clicked incessantly until l finally Bill’s muttered protest put an end to that. Dune Molerat Trail is one of my favourites. No matter what time of the year you go there, there is always something to enthrall. My pick of the day was the dramatic Hibiscus diversifolius ssp diversifolius, which grows on the Swartvlei banks and is a real beauty. Erica sessiliflora came a close second. It is in fresh flower and its cool cream and green flowers were all over the place. Erica formosa was in bud bringing with it the promise of Spring.

The last time I was at Dune Molerat a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the Boardwalk and the Jetty needed repairs. We were delighted to see that a fixing-team has been very busy and they are well on the way to completing the job. The track itself was also beautifully cleared and made for very pleasant walking. A big thank you to Sanparks.
Tanniedi

Hersham Hunt with LOT
On a very muggy July morning, the LOT trio met up in Hersham. Scanning iNaturalist, Gail had spotted an out-of-range Glottiphyllum (potentially cruciatum) near the small park at the end of Margaret Road and wanted to investigate further. After we'd fossicked for forty minutes with no joy, Rusell approached a fellow watering his garden. The conversation went like this:

"Hallo!"
"Hallo"
"Sorry to bother you, but we were wondering if you've seen this plant flowering near here?" (shows fellow the photograph).
"Yes! It's in my garden. In fact, that is my photo, I put it on iNaturalist. I'm Chris Botes."

Much hilarity all round. Chris, an ex-forester, found the plant in his garden when he bought the property and assumes it was brought in by the previous owner. He showed us several of the Glottiphyllum specimens around his place, all looking very turgid and happy although much nibbled by the local spurfowl. We collected some seed capsules and after a short gossip about various mutual acquaintances, left Chris to his watering.

Next on the list was to check on a population of Haworthia parksiana (CR). Although most were retracted and almost invisible under their covering of lichen, there were signs of a healthy last flowering season and a good number of the wee plants were counted.

As we finished up, Gail (who was initially loath to clamber up the embankment) was attracted to an insignificant plant we'd not noticed earlier - she pronounced that this was a plant which has been on her bucket list for some years, Agathosma microcarpa (VU). Rusell found many more individuals (many seeming to buddy up with Muraltia ericaefolia) although these were looking rather drought-stressed and were not in flower. Gail's find was later confirmed by Dave and is a first for the Outramps and iNaturalist. One forgets that sometimes all one has to do to find a rare plant is to get out of the car ...

And so ended a short but pleasant morning with a bonus site sheet to keep us honest.

Sally, Gail and Rusell

Green, Green, it’s Green they say
Last week, Dave mentioned that he wanted to explore around Bobbejaansberg above Beervlei in the Outeniquas. He copied a whole lot of maps, and promised a ride in the Amarok, which is a much more comfortable ride than our trusty Drifter. Mike phoned Carel van der Merwe of Sanpaks and got permission for us to drive through the gate just below the Outeniqua hiking trail turnoff to Windmeulnek. When we arrived at Beervlei, Stephanus was very helpful. After a fairly interesting drive along a cliffside track, we parked and parted ways with the instruction, “Be back at the car at 2.30.

Dave is part of our HAT and moves a whole lot faster than the rest of us. His goal was to reach the top of Bobbejaansberg via a hilltop tower. To his surprise there was a path all the way, albeit that it was very steep at times and could have been tricky when wet. His two finds were an unknown Indigofera and a puzzling Amphithalea. The target plants for the day were Phylica keetiii and Mimetes splendidus, but of them there was no sign.

Walking at a more pedestrian pace, we fossicked along various tracks until we reached the tower. Just on the northern side, we saw something totally startling. There were fields of the silvery grey Leucadendron uliginosum ssp uliginosum on the north-western side of the hill. But growing next to the road amongst them was a bright green Leucadendron with bright red cones. The first thought was Ld uliginosum ssp. glabratum, but it shouldn’t co-occur with ssp uliginosum and glabratum has yellow cones. Then we debated Ld. rourkei and loeriense without much conviction. These Leucadendron species generally grow further east. It wasn’t conicum, which likes the damp peaty southern slopes. I was well and truly stumped.

We noticed something else strange. Some of the Leucadendron uliginosum ssp uliginosum on the lower side of the road had a distinctly greenish tinge and we were starting to wonder if we weren’t in some sort of transition zone. I have specimens of all three plants and light of day confirms that we were not seeing things and they really were “green and greener still”. It is now over to Meneer aka Dr Tony Rebelo. I have posted it on iNat and hopefully he will see it soon. For the rest, the views and Fynbos were spectacular, but “rares” were thin on the ground.
Tanniedi

PS.From Tony, "Photograph is of a freak within a typical population, although there are also slightly less hairy individuals than the norm in the area. Thanks for the notes: without them what on earth might we have decided????".
For the full discussion on iNat - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/14534363

Drupples – A must see show JJJ
Fires, drought, regardless …. we need water. Ruitersbos below Robinson pass is a favourite hiking and botanising area for us. There are plantations galore and these sustain the tiny village of Ruitersbos.

Marina & Paul Eilers develop and present brilliant, themed, puppet shows at schools. It is a pukka theatre experience, not to be missed – add to that the children’s reactions and it makes for superlative fun. My looking-forward-feeling to these shows just about surpasses that of my looking forward to field trips! The Druppels show flows with humour, rhyme, participation and singing, letting the value of WATER sink in. Worksheets and a booklet (available in Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa) are given to the schools which they have to do a bit of on Fridays!

What a privilege to visit the lovely school in its nurturing community. A reminder that communities need income to sustain themselves and their children’s education. Druppels is happening at Mossel Bay schools under the banner of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve, in which I am fortunate to live.
Sandra

Forthcoming Field Trips
LOT and SIM will combine on Thursday for a visit to the Featherbed Nature Reserve on the Western Knysna Heads. On Friday, SIM will do a morning's sortie to have a look at the regeneration at Goukamma above Groenvlei.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
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, Dr Christopher Whitehouse, Adriaan Grobler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans and Mattmatt on iNat. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support.


Outramps Projects and Places on iNaturalist – You can browse through the observations or refer to the checklist which is in alphabetical order eg. Animals, birds etc.
Cola Conservancy - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/cola-conservancy
Dune Molerat Trail - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/dune-molerat-trails
Featherbed Nature Reserve - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/featherbed-nature-reserve
Gouriqua - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/gouriqua-private-nature-reserve
Heaven in the Langkloof - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/heaven-in-the-langkloof
Herolds Bay - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-herolds-bay
Kammanassie - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-kammanassie-reserve
Langeberg Grootvadersbosch - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/grootvadersbosch-nature-reserve
Kranshoek - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-kranshoek-
Masons Rust - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/masons-rust-32-ptn-4-gezwinds-kraal-41-ptn-0
Mossel Bay Diosma Reserve - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/diosma-reserve
Mossel Bay - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-14072
Mossel Bay - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-19201
Natures Valley - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/nature-s-valley-south-cape-south-africa#page=2
Outeniquas Camferskloof - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-camferskloof
Outeniquas East - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-eastern-outeniquas-from-bergplaas-to-gouna
Outeniquas Flanagans Rock - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/flanagans-rock-rsa
Outeniquas Lange Berg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/lange-berg-112
Outeniquas Paardepoort East - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-paardepoort-east
Outeniquas Paardepoort West - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-paardepoort-west
Outeniquas Southern Traverse - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-outeniqua-southern-traverse
Rooiberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-rooiberg-reserve
Spioenkop - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/ruigtevlei-plantations
Strawberry Hill - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/strawberry-hill-7-passes-road-wilderness-south-africa
Swartberg Spitskop - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-spitskop-to-meiringspoort-swartberg
Uitzicht Portion 39 - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/uitzigt-216-portion-39
Uitzicht - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/uitzigt-216-ptn-65
Western Head - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/western-head-knysna
White Heather - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/white-heather
Wilderness Brown Hooded Kingfisher Trail – https://www.inaturalist.org/places/brown-hooded-kingfisher-trail
Wilderness Kingfisher Trail - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/kingfisher-trails


Posted on July 23, 2018 08:36 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 30, 2018

Sirocco, Serpents and a Featherbed

The bergwind howled relentlessly for most of last week. The temperatures rose unseasonably up to the mid-thirties and the fire danger soared up to bright red. Once again, everything in the forest is hanging and the paths are crackling underfoot, as the hot winds sucked up every bit of moisture. The conditions are very reminiscent of June 2017, when the Knysna wildfires caused so much pain and damage. And still the rain stayed away, despite forecasts of heavy downpours.

The snakes were out in force. I’m pretty sure that they thought, “Spring is here and Summer is just around the corner”. On Strawberry Hill the tenant’s gardener nearly stood on one of the largest Puffies that we’ve ever seen. Unfortunately he had killed it before we could intervene.

Thursday dawned clear as we met at the bus-stop above Brenton-on-Lake. After meeting some of the Brenton residents and Nanna Joubert of Pledge, we drove into the Featherbed Nature Reserve in the Buchu Bus to meet Martin, who was acting as our guide in the reserve. We piled into the back of Sampson’s bakkie and drove up to the top along a precipitous road. Fortunately I couldn’t see the drop. We spent a very pleasant morning fossicking in the post-burn vegetation, which is regenerating really well. The startling green of a ubiquitous Sedge was almost blinding, but is providing brilliant cover for the newly emerging seedlings. Once again Dipogon lignosus (Cape Sweetpea) was covering huge tracts of land and was in early flower. By the time this annual dies back, the seedlings would have been protected from the harsh rays of the sun and kept moist allowing them to thrive. We had a most enjoyable and fruitful morning checking off plants on Nicky’s “Western Head” plant list post-fire. We were able to contribute a whole lot of new names to the list.

But the enjoyment came to a grinding halt, when we climbed back into the Buchu Bus. She would not start! After a couple of abortive attempts, pushing seemed to be the only option. So we pushed the BOB up a slight uphill and then I bailed out. Sampson took over. After a short push downhill, she condescended to start. But that wasn’t the end. We now had a very steep uphill to the Brenton Road and Madam insisted on having little rests all the way. It was nerve-racking stuff and by the time we had lurched and roared our way on to the Brenton Road, I had aged 10 years. Having stamped her authority on the day, she then proceeded to behave impeccably again. BOB!

Our Goukamma trip was cancelled as the result of the rain on Friday. Unfortunately, the amounts forecast never materialized and our hopes for good rains and a beautiful Spring are evaporating into the either.
Tanniedi

Grootvadersosch – 16 to 19 July 2018
As we were getting rather tired of the daily screech of angle-grinders and other sounds of building that seemed to have been on-going since the fire last year, Fred and I decided to head off for Grootvadersbosch for a few nights.

Approaching our destination, we saw a huge plume of smoke. We hoped that it was not anywhere near where we were headed…but sure enough, a control burn was taking place on a property adjacent to the reserve. That night our eyes smarted and noses ran, but by the next morning the air had cleared and we set off to hike part of the Grysbok Trail.

The fynbos was beautiful, Erica blenna, Erica regerminans, Liparia splendens ssp. Comantha, Spatalla parilis and Adenandra fragrans were only some of the numerous plants that I photographed. That night the wind started to blow and was still blowing when we got up, but we set off to do the other portion of the Grysbok hike. Not surprisingly, we had the trail to ourselves. With trees and shrubs nearly bent double, photographing was not easy and took even longer than usual.

On reaching one of the high points we were disturbed to see that the control (?) burn of two days ago had started up again in the howling gale. Fred decided to postpone his planned cycle until the next morning, so we walked some way into the Wilderness area towards Loerklip, but having trouble staying upright, decided to retrace our steps to our cottage. The day was not without highlights. The vegetation and views were beautiful. I photographed a Euchaetis sp. and Galium sp. that I had not seen before and was thrilled when Nick Helme identified the Euchaetis as Euchaetis avisylvana (VU), a new red-listed plant for the Outramps and that my observation of Galium mucroniferum was an extension of its range. Thank you, Nick!

As the wind was still gusting when we got up on our day of departure, Fred’s bike was loaded on our bakkie without having tried out any of the reserve’s cycle routes - a good excuse for a return visit. We got back to the sound of angle grinders and cement mixers in Brenton-on-Sea rather earlier than planned but we really enjoyed the break.
Nicky

On Friday we are planning to visit Gourikwa again. We need to show Helena Lobostemon belliformis (Critically Endangered) and discuss ways of getting rid of the Rooikrantz which is busy enveloping it. We would also like to check on Erica baueri ssp gouriquae (Critically Endangered. Currently, there is rain forecast for Friday, so we may need to shift the field trip back to Thursday. We will decide later on in the week. This afternoon, we will be attending the iNat course given by Dr Tony Rebelo at NMU as part of Science Week. It promises to be both informative and enjoyable.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
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, Dr Christopher Whitehouse, Adriaan Grobler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans and Mattmatt on iNat. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support.

Outramps Projects and Places on iNaturalist – You can browse through the observations or refer to the checklist which is in alphabetical order eg. Animals, birds etc.
Cola Conservancy - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/cola-conservancy
Dune Molerat Trail - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/dune-molerat-trails
Featherbed Nature Reserve - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/featherbed-nature-reserve
Gouriqua - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/gouriqua-private-nature-reserve
Heaven in the Langkloof - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/heaven-in-the-langkloof
Herolds Bay - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-herolds-bay
Kammanassie - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-kammanassie-reserve
Langeberg Grootvadersbosch - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/grootvadersbosch-nature-reserve
Kranshoek - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-kranshoek-
Masons Rust - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/masons-rust-32-ptn-4-gezwinds-kraal-41-ptn-0
Mossel Bay Diosma Reserve - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/diosma-reserve
Mossel Bay - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-14072
Mossel Bay - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-19201
Natures Valley - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/nature-s-valley-south-cape-south-africa#page=2
Outeniquas Bobbejaanberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-bobbejanberg-in-the-outeniquas
Outeniquas Camferskloof - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-camferskloof
Outeniquas East - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-eastern-outeniquas-from-bergplaas-to-gouna
Outeniquas Flanagans Rock - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/flanagans-rock-rsa
Outeniquas Lange Berg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/lange-berg-112
Outeniquas Paardepoort East - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-paardepoort-east
Outeniquas Paardepoort West - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-paardepoort-west
Outeniquas Southern Traverse - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-outeniqua-southern-traverse
Rooiberg - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-rooiberg-reserve
Spioenkop - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/ruigtevlei-plantations
Strawberry Hill - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/strawberry-hill-7-passes-road-wilderness-south-africa
Swartberg Spitskop - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-spitskop-to-meiringspoort-swartberg
Uitzicht Portion 39 - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/uitzigt-216-portion-39
Uitzicht - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/uitzigt-216-ptn-65
Western Head - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/western-head-knysna
White Heather - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/white-heather
Wilderness Brown Hooded Kingfisher Trail – https://www.inaturalist.org/places/brown-hooded-kingfisher-trail
Wilderness Kingfisher Trail - https://www.inaturalist.org/places/kingfisher-trails

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
iNatFD – 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"
VHF - Vat Hom Fluffie - our nickname for furry or woolly plants

Posted on July 30, 2018 05:56 by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi | 0 comments | Leave a comment