Phoenix Rising

When we noticed a fairly manageable path leading down from the blackened slopes to the coast, the temptation to investigate a patch of unburnt veld down on the shoreline became overwhelming. The reality was disappointing and bore testimony to the local fishermen’s drinking habits. There were empty and broken bottles littering the place. In a moment of madness, I suggested to Quentin that we go up another route back to the top. He and the youngsters bounded up like Klipspringers. Lucille was bit more circumspect and Ismail was transformed into “a Knight in Shining Armour”, as he escorted me up a loose, nearly vertical slope, with no vegetation to stabilise me. He must have had some bad moments, as I teetered along. With vrot legs and crutches, it was no place to be. As we finally made it to the top with much huffing and puffing, Fuzile said, “I hope that when I’m nearly 80 I’ll be able to do what you do.” There was only one possible answer to that. “ I’d hope that you’d have more sense.”!!

Ismail, Lucille (volunteer) and the 3 interns, Luke, Fuzile and Randall drove up to George on Tuesday to help the Outramps with post-burn monitoring in the area. We had a gesellige supper on Tuesday evening and were off to the Eden municipality-owned section of the Robberg Corridor first thing on Wednesday morning. Quentin, who manages Fynbos Estate and Andrew who is the Chairman of this Conservation Initiative were there to meet us. Stunning views did something to alleviate the lack of stunning Fynbos and we did see some Rares. We noted Oxalis pendulifolia (Near Threatened), Freesia leichtlinii ssp alba (Near Threatened) and Acmadenia alternifolia (Vulnerable), the latter in some Fynbos that had escaped the fire. But the regeneration is slow and there are millions of alien Acacia seedlings rearing their ugly heads. Lots of hard work lies ahead.

Next morning we were off to Goukamma. A couple of wind-driven squalls rather dampened the early morning enthusiasm, but the blues soon disappeared in the excitement of finding 3 exquisite Satyrium princeps (Vulnerable). I had expected to see them fairly littering the place, but surprisingly, these were the only plants we saw all day. Freesia leichtlinii ssp alba (Near Threatened) was scattered sparsely over the reserve. But the most exciting find was undoubtedly the unusual parasite Hyobanche robusta (Pussyclaws - Endangered), which was a crowd-stopper and had all the cameras clicking. It was interesting that the regeneration was most evident on the north-facing slopes. Most of the south-facing slopes are still completely bare. In a couple of weeks, we will take the whole team armed with cameras to capture pictures of all the plants that are putting up their heads. Fortunately the rain has been relatively light and frequent. Despite this, there was some nasty erosion starting on the steeper slopes. The path along the edge of Groenvlei is becoming very overgrown and will be impassable before long if it isn’t cleared. I will discuss this with the new Reserve Manager, Thubani Ndlovu.

Sleeping Beauty
… Finally HAT Evie could take her group of 7 hikers, from the S. Cape MCSA to the Riversdale Langeberg. My group were the “soft option “group – as we opted to stay at a cottage and rustic campsite “Kings Glen” near the Korentepoort Dam. This meant we did 2day hikes – the special one was of course the ascent of the Peak on the Sleeping Beauty Trail. The gorgeous Fynbos was pristine and rewarding at every turn of the path. This area has escaped recent S. Cape fires and despite extreme dry, hot conditions on the high slopes during the winter, it is looking refreshed after some good September rains. Numerous Erica sp. dot the landscape, as well as Proteaceae sp, the Berzelias bright and white, - 2 specials are the Leucospermum mundii - Rare, and Cliffortia reniformis - VU.

A second group of 6 hikers “the tough option” lead by HAT Derek had permission to hike the full 2day overnight trail from “Ou Tol” on the Gracia Pass. They were treated to the best Fynbos ever, including a Riversdale special - Erica blenna var. grandiflora (DDT). Sadly this trail has been closed for several years. With such a perfect infra structure in terms of huts and footpaths – we really hope that Cape Nature and Riversdale will be able to reopen this trail – Soon, Soon! HAT Derek did however have a mild mishap- he was given the incorrect key for the 2nd hut. Thus, his group were able to enjoy a lovely breezy night under the stars, after an 8 hour hiking day. Well – they had joined the “tough option” group. ....
Evie

On Friday, we will be exploring the Sedgefield Dunes in search of Orchids and whatever else we can find. It will be something of a relief to be out of burnt veld, although this whole Sedgefield area is shockingly infested with aliens.

And finally, most of you will be aware that we have been having big problems with iSpot since the new programmers took over. It eventually became intolerable and after a comprehensive survey of South African users, the decision will probably be taken by SANBI to go with iNaturalist for the time being. This interactive website falls under the umbrella of the California Academy of Science. For some of us oldies, it is going to be a difficult transition, but worth it in the end. Dr Tony Rebelo has promised that he will come up to George and give us a course, as soon as the finer details are sorted. They say, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Well, someone is going to have to teach at least one old bitch to use the new technology and Sally is currently feeding us info under the title of iNFD – iNaturalist for Dummies. Challenging times lie ahead.
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
TMCH -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

Publicado por outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi, 23 de octubre de 2017

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