And then there were four

The Outramps have been working for the CREW programme since 2004, which is 14 years and counting. We always do one field trip a week and generally, we manage least two and sometimes three. In all that time, I can only remember throwing in the towel for bad weather on about 3 occasions. On Friday that tally reached four. The forecast on Thursday evening was iffy, but possible for Friday. By early Friday morning it had deteriorated, but we are NOT Woesses (See glossary) and having met at VAG, we set off for De Hoek in the Swartberg. We were armed with a letter of permission from KG and a cake to make the Gate-Aunties smile. About halfway to Oudtshoorn, we hit torrential rain and stopped to have a look at the various weather forecasts. Most of them confirmed what we were seeing. We considered making for Meiringspoort and the Great Karoo, but predictions said heavy rain there as well. So…………………..

We turned the Bus round and headed for Bobby and Ria’s Famous Pizza Place for hot coffee and Pizzas. There was some discussion about climbing up a ridge behind the restaurant, but by the time we had finished the grub, the rain had obscured the ridge completely. So it was “Home James and don’t spare the Horses”! But it’s “an ill Wind” and we are desperately hoping that Cape Town, Oudtshoorn, the Swartberg, the coastal plain and the Little and Great Karoo get good rains this weekend. To have a good Spring we need abundant Winter rains. They have been missing for years.

So by Saturday, I was really frustrated and suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Bill was away with the Mountain Club exploring Keeromsberg near Montagu and I was holding the fort at home. Sandwiched between some bad weather and rain, Saturday morning dawned crisp and clear. Groeneweide Forest is just north of Strawberry Hill and I set off on my own, to walk the trails that abound in the area. There isn’t much colour around about 2 weeks away from Midwinter, but there was plenty to enthral. I was keeping half an eye out for Dioscorea burchellii, but it proved elusive. The combination of rampant Pteridium aquilinum (Bracken) and Gleichenia polypodioides (Kystervaring) would have swallowed it up if it occurred there anyway. I had a wonderful morning in the Forest and Forest fringe Fynbos, with a short lunch stop on the cliffs above the Silver River.

Robinson Pass with LOT
LOT (Rusell, Gail, Anne, Sandra, Sally) made a return trip to the top of the Robinson Pass in order to collect more specimens of a couple of post-fire Oxalis, still hoping to locate the elusive O. ioeides. Some plants were quickly spotted but at least one had no sign of flowers. As usual it takes a peek through a hand-lens to reveal the fascinating finer points of the plants - see the album.

The area burned in January 2018 and still looks rather bleak. To brighten up the scene were many low-growing Psoralea, a few spindly yellow peas, blue Lobelia, exceptionally tall Tritoniopsis caffra, and some cheerful purple Mairia crenata daisies.

We continued a little way west along the Kouma Trail but a certain Aunty felt we would be better off, and certainly warmer, if we turned 180° and headed for the north-facing eastern route. She was instantly vindicated when we came across a small but bounteous Acmadenia tetragona, thereby earning our keep for the day. (Several more plants were found along the way). Erica glomiflora was attracting a large variety of insects; several other Erica species had us guessing.

The sound of our voices attracted a young ram, who suddenly appeared on the rocks above us and seemed in need of directions. As we were unable to provide any, he bounded off down the road and hopefully back to Mooihoek where he belongs. There was also much evidence of cattle along the route which seemed at odds with the notice on the fence proclaiming the area to be a delicate World Heritage site.

Old age is forcing us to sell Strawberry Hill so instead of joining WAGS on Wednesday, I cleaned house preparing for a photo shoot on Thursday with Tim Kirby of Sothebys. In an email to Marge I lamented my plight. This was her reply.
Ruitersbos with WAGS
You wouldn't have enjoyed it!!

We didn't find the path, the whole trail is gone.

They are felling pines on the slopes and have ripped up a lot of the roads with their machinery, also with the burns and the fynbos regeneration the paths were impossible to find. We tried bundu bashing down to the river, not crutch friendly. Then tried the road to the weir, dodging the
tractors etc, the weir is almost gone, with huge chunks of concrete lying down stream. We then tried to back track up the stream, no joy.

So, nothing daunted, we tried the forest loop, found the markers but not the path. The trail has been totally abandoned and left to revert to nature. We eventually ended up walking a big loop on the jeep track on the other side of the river.

Positives - the fynbos was beautiful, the views magnificent, we could see right up to the peaks with no plantation in the way, Nobody complained about the numerous attempts to penetrate the kystervaring, felled bits of tree, fynbos and mud. A proper WAGS adventure!

Negatives - the loss of another beautiful trail.

On Friday 8 Outramps are travelling down to Stanford for the annual CREW workshop. It will be wonderful to see old friends again, get an iNat refresher from Tony and hear all about the doings of the other CREW Groups. One of the highlights will be meeting Christopher Whitehouse, the Cliffortia man. We will also be visiting Phillipskop, which is his Reserve. Chris is hugely helpful to us on iNat with id’s and he put together the most marvelous key. So looking forward. Next week’s Reportback will probably be combined with the week after, as we will only get home at lunchtime on Monday.
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, 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.

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
Here are our SYT's (Sweet Young Things). They are all past and present members of the Outramps CREW Group and we are very proud of what they've achieved.

Vats - CREW Eastern Cape
Brian - Master at Stellies
Allistair and Patrick - Cape Nature
Lee-Anne - Masters at Tukkies
Finn - Curator of the Garden Route Botanical Gardens
Peter - Masters at Stellies
Verdi - West Coast Biosphere
Sandile - Botany Dept NMU PE
Rudi - EIA consultant
Thabang - Research Dept Sanparks Knysna

Posted by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi, June 03, 2018 09:17


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