Donder en Bliksem

The Southern Cape Coast is not renowned for thunderstorms, but we’ve had some monsters during the last week, accompanied by searing daylight temperatures. Pyrotechnic displays lit up the night sky and lightning started a fire on the Robinson Pass closing the road. These unusual storms caused a flurry of power failures. No power = no water on Strawberry Hill, which is an irritating side effect. Rain was very patchy. In one bout, Heather Park had 14mm and we had 3. If anything, that’s even more irritating than having no water. We are all hoping that the little Karoo shared in this unforecasted (?) bounty and that it has had some relief from the ongoing drought. The area is turning into a desert.

Prof Charles Stirton and Prof Muthama Muasya arrived on Wednesday evening. We had a pleasant dinner with the Outramps and early on Thursday morning we drove to Kleinplaat, to hunt for Legumes and Sedges. The Bergplaas office was in darkness and a frustrated Nellie sat in front of a blank computer screen with no electricity. The day was warm when we started, but by about 2pm, the temperature must have been a sizzling 35 degrees. There was very little shade on the Duiwelskop Pass and towards the top, enthusiasm was flagging. Charlie was very pleased to see Aspalathus bowieana (Endangered) and managed to collect 8 other Legumes. Muthama seemed to be happy enough with his range of Sedges, but by the end of the day we were all distinctly “hot and bothered”. That evening Charlie spoke to the Trust members of the Botanical Garden and walked around the garden looking mainly at Frogs. Next morning the Professors were off to their next port of call somewhere to the east. We enjoyed having them so much. They are both excellent teachers and highly entertaining. We do hope that we’ll see them again next year.

I was off early on Friday to walk along the cliffs at Herolds Bay to count flowering Drosanthemum edwardsiae (Data Deficient) with Prix, Sandra, Gail and Jenny. We counted 153 plants between the cross and just beyond the entrance to the cliff path. They seem to enjoy exposed granite outcrops and are certainly thriving there. We also checked on the population of Euchaetis albertiniana (Endangered) that grows next to the Typha capensis. We took some specimens to try and see if the leaves had an apical callus. Evidently that is one of the other distinguishing characteristics that divide Euchaetis albertiniana/burchellii. It was a short morning, which was good for me, as I try to keep things under some sort of control. Crisis management is my style, but can become a little tiring after a while.

Buffalo Bay to Brenton (28th) Endlovana (29th)
On Saturday, Fred and I decided to walk from Buffelsbaai back to our house in Brenton-on-Sea over the dune field recently cleared of impenetrable Albany Thicket by the June 2017 wild fires.

We parked our car at the parking lot opposite the start of the Buffalo Bay Trail near the Goukamma Estuary and started along the path. The Albany thicket at the start of the trail was not burnt. I was very pleased to find Dioscorea mundii (NT) plants, as the single plant I saw along this trail a few years ago was removed, only a hole remaining on a subsequent visit to the site. As we came over the primary dune, the scenery abruptly changed to a burnt barren landscape. We cut across the east-west trending fossil dunes, up and down and up and down. Very few signs of reptile life or other animals were seen. The usual bushbuck spoor and snake trails were not evident but there were a number of burnt tortoise shells. The insects congregated on the few plants that have reappeared after the fire. An Addo Flightless Dung Beetle (Circellium bacchus) (VU) scuttled away from my camera as did a Red-spotted Lily Weevil (Brachycerus ornatus).

However, a few plants of the bright yellow Eulophia speciosa, masses of Albuca and Androcymbium eucomoides, blue Heliophila and white Nemesia bicornis gave the blackened surface some colour. There were a few scattered Freesia leichtlinii subsp. alba (NT), but their flowering season is coming to an end. The highlights of this walk were the Satyrium princeps (Vulnerable) The beautiful rose-pink to carmen-red flowers stood out against the burnt sand and there were lots of them, some over 0.5m tall and they were scattered across the south-facing dune slopes. On close inspection, most of the flowers had been attacked by insects, but they were a sight for sore eyes (we were walking into a strong headwind!). After about 7 hours and a total ascent of about 500 m we were ready for a cup of tea before we drove back to fetch our car.

On Sunday (29th) we drove to Endlovana (Uitzigt 216 Portion 39) to look at the control-burn site. There is so much more re-growth here than in the area burnt by the wildfires three weeks later. We found healthy populations of Gnidia chrysophylla (NT), a few nearly over Freesia leichtlinii subsp. alba (NT) and a few Satyrium princeps (VU) growing among lots of Gladiolus rogersii, Bobartia aphylla and resprouting fynbos and Albany thicket species. I wonder what we will find as the fynbos continues to recover?
Nicky

Sputnik to Camferskloof Nek
.. HAT Evie joined in with the usual Wednesday hike (WAGS) It was a short hike from the Sputnik up to the saddle known as the Camferskloof nek. A hot morning to begin with- and so pleasant to eventually reach some shade under the aliens! – the little pine tree forest near the top of the neck. Today even HAT Evie decided she was too hot to make Peak ‘Ten67” – and got as far as some flowering (both pink and white) Agathosma ovata and rather faded Oldenburgia paradoxa. On our return, a delightful cooler breeze and some mists ‘rolling in from the sea”.
The fynbos on the south slope -looking good. Colourful – numerous nodding heads of pink Erica seriphiifolia; glowing yellow on Leucadendron uliginosum ssp uliginosum and plenty of white Buchu, mostly Agathosma mundtii, as well as A. planifolia near the stream crossings. However, on the top saddle and on the north facing high ground – the vegetation still looking severely parched. …..
Evie

Meanwhile some of our young are out there doing great things. You will have read Brian’s report on the 2nd stage of his Spring field trips. This young man has a very bright botanical future and has made some spectacular finds. Peter Thompson is a newer recruit and has been doing a lot of climbing with Mo who is also a CREW member. We have just heard the wonderful news that Peter achieved the highest mark in the science faculty for his 3 year stint as an undergraduate. He is currently doing Honours in Mathematics at Stellenbosch. Peter was the school Dux in his last year at York High in George. In his spare time he is working on an app. He says, “ The long term goal is to have an app one day where people can take photos of a Protea in the field and it will identify it - obviously not very useful for any (amateur) botanists, but still exciting and definitely useful for someone that knows nothing about Proteas. I am thinking of adding in the spatial data and maybe one or two questions so that anyone can nail down exactly what type of Protea they are looking at”.

Closer to home, it’s going to be another busy week, as the year gallops to its close and leaves us with lots of unfinished business. On Thursday 9th some of us will be exploring the Herolds Bay cliff path to the Gwaing River mouth to count Drosanthemum edwardsiae and to establish the boundaries of this population. It is unlikely that we will complete the survey in this flowering season, but there is always another year. That is, if Trump and Dear Leader haven’t completely destroyed the earth and everything that lives on it. On the same day, LOT will be visiting the Pledge Nature Reserve to do post-burn monitoring for the morning. On Friday 10th Dave Underwood will be back from Namibia and he is keen to explore the newly opened path to Kamiesberg from Farleigh. I will contact Carel van der Merwe later today to discuss the modus operandi and to get the name of the farmer on the northern side of the Outeniquas. It will be entirely new territory for the Outramps.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
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 or the Computer Helpline – 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

Posted by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi, November 04, 2017 13:17

Comments

:). Very entertaining.

Posted by andrewm over 4 years ago (Flag)

Glad you enjoyed it
Di

Posted by outramps-tanniedi over 4 years ago (Flag)

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