2018 Here we Come

Bill started 2018 with a night spent in ICU with an atrial flutter, while competing at the New Year Regatta at George Lakes Yacht Club. He was soon stabilised and put on Beta Blockers to slow the heart rate. On Wednesday, Pepsi Pools was the WAGS destination. My suggestion that “Maybe the Fern Trail would be a better option, until the heart settles down,” was dismissed with contempt. In addition, he decided that a new rock-painting discovery by Working for Water could be explored en route. We found the approximate area, which was covered in dense head-high Fynbos and this is where I stuck in my heels and refused to budge off the track. Luckily for our relationship, we found that our newly-opened track led into the steep path down to Pepsi Pools, where the WAGS group soon joined us. It was a hot day and it was on the way back that Beta-Blocker Bill started to take strain. We had numerous stops and he was exhausted by the time we reached the car. It is unlikely that he will persist with the Beta Blockers, which effectively reduce fitness by about 30%. At 83 years old, this is something one can ill afford. The physician is going to have to come up with another solution.

I was preoccupied with Bill, but Ann noticed and photographed some of the trees that have recently undergone bark-stripping to and from Pepsi Pools. Collectors for the traditional medicine trade are the likely offenders. The authorities are going to have to sit up and take notice, if this practice isn’t to spiral completely out of control. One of the trees was almost ring-barked. There is also an increasing number of the Aussie Invader Fern (Sphaeropteris cooperi) establishing in the forests above the dam

Start-Up Meeting 2018
On Friday, we had our start-up meeting for 2018 at Strawberry Hill. There was an excellent and enthusiastic turnout, which bodes well for an excellent year ahead. Some interesting points that came out of the meeting
• In 2017 we travelled 8020kms on field trips and that is not the real total. It’s probably more like 12 000kms, as not all are documented.
• We now have 3 groups - Lowlands Team (LOT) Somewhere in the middle Team (SIM) and High Altitude Team (HAT) plus Millenium Seedbank and Herbarium Collections. If we are to work at maximum capacity we need to explore some funding options for the future.
• Southern Cape Herbarium has requested that we increase our collection of Herbarium specimens, so that the Herbarium can be representative of all the plants in the Southern Cape.
• Bio-control monitoring on field trips to be activated.
• We were pleased to welcome back Ann Symons with her knowledge of Restios and Trees.
• The Facebook option to be explored with Ismail and CREW
• Cataloguing the plants of the Southern Cape on iNaturalist is one of our primary goals
• Tony Rebelo will be asked to give an iNaturalist course in February
• During 2018, I will be handing over my admin functions. I still intend to play an active role in the work of the Group, but it is time for younger people with new ideas to take over the running. I am confident that this will give the Outramps CREW Group the impetus to reach new levels. Pam Eloff has volunteered to make a data base of all the stuff that I know, like paths, contacts etc, so that this info doesn’t die with me. I am feeling very positive about a well-managed succession policy, which will also give me more time to concentrate on the Overnighters which are my passion.

Before the meeting, we had a lovely walk around the Fern Trail, with swims for some. A sumptuous meal followed the meeting. Some bright spark was heard to say, “If we run out of money, the Outramps can always go into catering”. No chance!!

Activities During the Outramps 2017 Break
On Friday 22nd December, Sally came to Brenton-on-Sea to see what seeds could be found in the post-burn fynbos. We wandered around slowly trying to give names to seeding plants and then finding enough of the seeds to make a collection worthwhile. Sally collected a few packets of seed, but we were too early, amongst others, for Lebeckia gracilis (Endangered) and Aspalathus hispida subsp. albiflora. I was thrilled to find 6 plants of Nanobubon hypogaeum (EN) about to flower, over six months after the area was burnt in the wildfires.
On Saturday 23rd Gail, Rusell, Prix and I went to the northern side of the Montagu Pass to see if we could find Disa schlechteriana (VU). We were warmly welcomed by Rod Pringle who suggested we park our car in front of his house, but the road to the house looked a bit more than Rusell’s car could manage so we decided against it. We only found a single D. schlechteriana plant but the population of Eulophia platypetala (VU) growing in the cracks of the rocks was looking very healthy. We also did site sheets for Psoralea diturnerae (EN) and Serruria fasciflora (NT). Disa hians was looking beautiful in an array of colours along the path.
We stopped at the Barnard’s fruit stall on the way home and by the time we left there, with boxes of apricots, peaches, plums piled high on our laps, anyone might have thought we were setting up our own shop, but it was just stocking up for the Festive season.
On Friday 29th December Rusell, Sandra and I returned to the northern side of Montagu pass to follow a path we saw the previous Saturday. It led us to another section of the railway line, along which we walked for a few km. We found another healthy population of Serruria fasciflora (NT) and were excited to find a small population of Otholobium racemosum (Rare) growing in one of the railway cuts. There were only a few flowers open, but the plants looked ready to take on 2018.
Once again, we stocked up with fruit before heading home.
HAT Evie’s outing to Vensterberg
Directly after Christmas as my final mountain outing for the year I went up Vensterberg. A party of 3 – Tony, Alleyn (our son visiting from London) and myself. This mountain is situated to the East of the Outeniqua pass (N12). The mountain’s name refers to a window like opening in the boulders of the peak -looking through the window –“a direct view or ?/slide to Mossel Bay”. We accessed the Peak from the north side- parking at the Sputnik.
To our surprise today a well-used path all the way up the ridge line and on to the peak. Normally this hike requires a fair amount of getting scratched, and having to circumvent the thick growth of Fynbos along a very ill-defined trail. Higher up as we closed in on the peak – we found the answers. We met a group of trail runners. Apparently during Dec besides George peak, this was one of the ‘Hot” trail runs in the area. I have never met people on Vensterberg previously – and it is wonderful to see fit young people enjoying the outdoors, as well as having fun with the extra technical scope of this- a more difficult running trail.

A hot day- plenty of sun – some of the best Fynbos around – wonderful views and some interesting rocky scrambles along the way. Very thick plant coverage throughout. Apart from the odd red Tritoniopsis caffra not much evidence of flowering bulbs.

Flowering Ericas- bright emerald green on E. viridiflora ; pinks on E. seriphifolia, E.steinbergiana andE.cubica, and a group of possibly E.georgica (? LC ) - which could prove to be a new location for Outramps. Red E. unicolor possibly georgensis (rare) - scattered along the trail and on the peak (also to be confirmed): a small group of white E.lehmannii on the higher ridge below the peak, and not to be outdone, pale yellow on one of the Erica intermedia sp.(LC)

Mimetes pauciflorus(VU) much in evidence near the higher ridge and on the south facing aspects; Leucadendron conicum (NT) in 2/3 clumps along the ridgeline; while Agathosma ovata hugs several of the boulders, and is very dominant on the final ridge. Numerous blue flowers on Psoralea sp. are noticeable on the entire length of the trail – an unusual looking white flowered Psoralea with white felted hairs growing at high altitude, as well as a trailing Psoralea will need positive ID’s. Pretty Podalyria buxifolia in flower all over. One lonely Lobelia dichroma (DDT) in amongst the rocks / lower reaches.

A wonderful day out- a slight hitch for HAT Evie near the end of the hike- so for now - a break!! at low altitude for a while. (The hitch was a broken wrist – ed)

The LOT trip for Thurs 18th will be to the Herbertsdale Road. On Friday 19th SIM are planning our usual January walk along the railway line above Montagu pass to visit Erica stylaris and Geissorhiza outeniquensis. Currently there is some rain forecast for both days, so we may have to do some day-shifting. We look forward to an exciting, action-packed 2018.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
The Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape

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

Abbreviations Glossary
MCSA – Mountain Club of South Africa
MSB - Millenium Seed Bank based at Kew in the UK
WIP – Work in Progress
HAT – High Altitude Team
LOT – Lowland Team
SIM – Somewhere in the Middle Team
WAGS – Wednesday Adventure Group
VB – Vlok Boekie “Plants of the Klein Karoo” and our Plant Bible
ITRTOL – Another thread “In The Rich Tapestry Of Life”(It describes a challenging situation, usually to do with the Buchu Bus)
ITFOT – In the fullness of time
WOESS – Fair Weather Hiker
FMC and JW – too vulgar to translate, but the equivalent is “Strike me Dead” An expression of surprise and delight on finding a new “Rare”
Kambro – same as above
Fossick – A meter per minute, scratching around looking for rares
SIDB – Skrop in die Bos – Another name for a field trip, this one coined by Prix
BAFFING – Running round like a blue-arsed fly
SYT – Sweet Young Thing - Anyone under the age of 40
TOMB – Get a move on
Mayhem - Needless or willful damage or violence
SESKRYNG – “Sit en staan kry niks gedaan” ,with thanks to Brian
SOS – Skelms on Scramblers
FW – Idiot
BOB – Another name for the Buchu Bus when she misbehaves.
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

Posted by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi, January 15, 2018 13:35


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