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.

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.

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 -
Dune Molerat Trail -
Featherbed Nature Reserve -
Gouriqua -
Heaven in the Langkloof -
Herolds Bay -
Kammanassie -
Langeberg Grootvadersbosch -
Kranshoek -
Masons Rust -
Mossel Bay Diosma Reserve -
Mossel Bay -
Mossel Bay -
Natures Valley -
Outeniquas Bobbejaanberg -
Outeniquas Camferskloof -
Outeniquas East -
Outeniquas Flanagans Rock -
Outeniquas Lange Berg -
Outeniquas Paardepoort East -
Outeniquas Paardepoort West -
Outeniquas Southern Traverse -
Rooiberg -
Spioenkop -
Strawberry Hill -
Swartberg Spitskop -
Uitzicht Portion 39 -
Uitzicht -
Western Head -
White Heather -
Wilderness Brown Hooded Kingfisher Trail –
Wilderness Kingfisher Trail -

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

הועלה ב-יולי 30, 2018 05:56 לפנה"צ על ידי outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi


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