'n Stukkie Bloudraad

Here is the ALBUM. For captions or info click on i on the top right-hand side. A good way to go - the Slideshow is found at the top of the page on the rt hand side by clicking on the 3 dots. Featured this week – Herolds Bay Cliff Path with WAGS, Barnard’s Farm Revisited with LOT, HAT in the Kammanassie and SIM at Gourikwa on the Southern Cape Coast.
If I were ever to write a book, it would be dominated by two themes – “Life with Oom Willie van die Berge” and the BOB, aka “The Bloody Old Buchu Bus”. They have been responsible for most of the high adventure in my life - Oom Willie for the 60 years that I’ve known him or been married to him and the Buchu Bus in more recent years. Friday was no different.

‘n Stukkie Bloudraad
You will remember that our planned visit to Gourikwa on Friday 29th June was shanghaied by burning tyres and protests in the vicinity of the Mossel Bay offramp. So this week we tried again. The journey to the western side of the Gouritz River went without incident and we were warmly welcomed by Helena at reception in the Gourikwa Private Nature Reserve. We discussed our plans, worked out a route in an area that we haven’t explored for many years and promised to be back at 2pm to take Helena to see the Critically Endangered Lobostemon belliformis on the northern side of the property.

Gourikwa is an amazing piece of coastal Fynbos. It is teeming with rares. We parked just below the Lookout Point on the scenic drive and set off to explore. And the rares came thick and fast – an incredible haul for a morning’s work!
Protea susannae – Near Threatened
Protea obtusifolia – Near Threatened
Carpobrotus muirii – Near Threatened
Cliffortia schlechteri – Near Threatened
Aulax umbellata – Near Threatened
Leucospermum praecox – Vulnerable
Erica radicans - Endangered
Psoralea muirii – Not yet listed, probably Endangered
Psoralea sp. nova – Not yet listed, probably Endangered
Metalasia luteola - Vulnerable
Gnidia chrysophylla – Near Threatened
Satyrium carneum – Near Threatened
Aspalathus arenaria - Vulnerable
Agathosma muirii – Vulnerable

We got back to the Bus just before 1pm, so decided on a quick sortie up to the Lookout Point and a limestone ridge close by. By this time it had warmed up and we decided to leave the back flap of the BOB open, so that the very light breeze could circulate. Up to the Lookout, Brian was delighted to find Lotononis umbellata and Massonia pustulata evoked many “Oohs and Ahs”. I was lagging slightly behind the others when they reached the Bus. Mike asked, “Can I close the back”? Nobody noticed the keys lying next to the packs underneath some purple mittens, which we’d dumped earlier. And that’s when it happened. The BOB has been short of entertainment recently and decided to take control. With an ominous and loud click, all the doors promptly locked themselves. Dead silenceand then“What now?” We had no reachable tools and Brian’s Leatherman was locked inside. We’d had no phone signal for most of the day.

First we tried breaking a small front window, but it was the window that survived the onslaught. Instead, it was the limestone rock that crumbled. I took the rubber from the bottom of the crutch and we tried ramming that through the window. “Nothing doing! Obviously the Buchu Bus is not an easy car to steal. Finally we tried the phone again, thankfully reached Helena, who promised that help would soon be there. Some little while later, Hugo arrived. He was armed with a screwdriver, a towel to prevent damaging the paint and a “stukkie bloudraad”. Slowly and patiently he wiggled it in and down and finally, up came the latch and the door opened to the huge relief of both the Outramps and Hugo. We owe him a big debt.

By this stage, time was marching on and we decided to call it a day, with the assurance that we’d return in a couple of weeks to redeem our promise to Helena. Through the gate, we thought just to check if the Lobostemon was flowering. In flower, it can be seen from the road, if you know where to look. And flowering it was. This proved too much of a temptation, so we bundu-bashed our way through the ever more impenetrable bush to reach it. Some of the plants are in bud, but some were already past their best. Last year they were in full flower in late July. So we will be back in very early August to see both the Critically Endangered Lobostemon belliformis and the Endangered Erica baueri ssp. gouriquae. Many thanks to Helena and Hugo for a wonderful happy ending.
Tanniedi

Gouriqua Nature Reserve (Farm Buffelshoek 15/455) is 2444 ha. – Vegetation Report
Most of the reserve has a rolling topography and generally slopes southwards. The soils have limited pedological development (mainly Glenrosa and/or Mispah with grey regic soils in the Strandveld). Lime is present throughout the reserve with limestone outcrops in places.

According to Vegmap the area from the coast to about the 40 m contour is Blombos Strandveld (FS 8). Generally the rest of the reserve is Canca Limestone Fynbos (FFl 3) except for a large section above 140 m viz. Albertinia Sand Fynbos (FFd 9).

The vegetation is a mosaic of thickets and fynbos communities.

Typical dominants of the fynbos/thicket mosaic area are: Sideroxylon inerme, Mystroxylon aethiopicum, Cassine tetragona, Olea europaea subsp africana, Cassine peragua, Protea repens, Protea lanceolata, Protea susanna, Leucospermum praecox, Leucodendron salignum, Searsia glauca, , Euclea racemosa, Searsia laevigata and Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus. Smaller shrubs, dwarf shrubs and ground cover include various species of the following genera: Helichrysum , Phylica , Erica , Cliffortia , Aspalathus, Senecio and Carpobrotus .

Of major concern is the Acacia cyclops (rooikrans). Although biocontrol is playing an important role in controlling seed production the trees are still a major threat to indigenous species competing with and outshading e.g. the endemic and Critically Endangered Lobostemon belliformis.
Mike

WAGS and the Herolds Bay Cliff path
It was a glorious day and there was a huge surf running, as Bill and I made a very early start from the Beach up to the most attractive Herolds Bay Cliff Path up to the Cross. En route we checked on a small population of the Endangered Euchaetes albertinina with Culllumia carlinoides (Near Threatened) close by. The road is a bit tedious, but the path beyond is lovely and the steep descent to the little bay adds some excitement. It was a day for white flowers, with Asparagus densiflorus and Metalasia muricata dominating the landscape. As we began to retrace our steps WAGS arrived. By the time we got back to the car, we only had a short wait before they joined us at the very popular watering –hole at Duttons Cove. Another beautiful day out in the Fynbos, with friends on the glorious Southern Cape Coast.
Tanniedi

Kammanassie Traverse 22 to 24 June 2018
While the rest of humanity was watching the opening matches of the World Cup, we were playing a match of our own.
Round One of the MCSA vs Kammanassie (the Kam) Challenge took place in September 2016 and ended badly. There was blood, sweat and crocodile tears from the sky. We came away scratched, drenched and freezing. The silverware stayed in the Kam’s display cabinet. But at least we had managed to suss out the Kam’s game plan, and were hungry for a rematch.

Round Two was charted for the last weekend in June. A small strong team assembled for the rematch and this time the odds were stacked for Team MCSA. The sun beamed from cloudless skies and a recent burn took care of the vegetation. We left with the silver and the bragging rights.
Most of you should know by now where the Kammanassie actually is, so I won’t go into that again. But for those of you with dodgy memories - probably all of you - here is the low-down on the actual challenge. Jeep tracks start at each end of the range, but do not meet in the middle. There is an eight-kilometre as-the-crow-flies gap between the two ends. The challenge is to link these ends by any route. Two members did an east-west traverse in 2005, using caves for shelter, crossing the imposingly-deep Rooirivier gorge and taking four days. We decided on a west to east traverse, staying high, sleeping in tents and taking three days.

The Rooirivier has two major tributaries, one flowing due east, the other due west, and a minor one from the south. They all join up and flow north, forming the impressive gorge which splits the mountain into an east and west massif. None of this is blindingly obvious from either a map or Google Earth, which led me to believe that the ‘tributary’ valley would make a good traverse line. When we got to the col and saw how deep and bushed the valley was, we decided to stay high and skirt around to the south.

The hard-core crazies who turned up, besides me obviously, were Cheryl (aka The Boss), Johan Huisamen, Gillian Forbes and Werner Frei. We met up on the road near Buffelsdrif at 08h00 on Friday and took Werner’s car to the finish point. We then drove up to the start and started walking up the track just after ten. We passed the usual camping place below Kammanassieberg and continued on past the first of the four big gullies that seem to block the route. Here we made a startling discovery – a definite path starts at the end of the jeep track, continues on in the right direction for quite a while and then fades out.

We camped on top of one of the noses between the gullies, where there were ample flat spots and water a short way off. The night was warmer than expected and a breeze kept the dew away in the morning. We were under way again before 08h30. We crossed the other three ravines quite easily and headed up to the saddle. The going was steeper than it had appeared to be, and was populated by blackened plant-skeletons. It was when we got to this saddle that we decided to stay medium-high. High-high follows the ridgeline and is bound to be longer and much-much harder.

The traverse was fairly easy going for a while, until we crossed the small southern tributaries of the Rooirivier. A long hard gully led out of the river and we regained the high ground with difficulty, turning north at the end of the big valley. We eventually gained the top of the last ridge and gazed down on Perdevlakte and the jeep track. Picture a flat 2 km x 2 km bowling-green on top of a mountain and you have an idea of Perdevlakte.

The jeep track to the shelter was an interminable slog, with the sun going down and no end in sight. We got to the shelter after dark, but with a strong moon we were able to pick out tent spots and find a trickle of water. The night turned very cold with ice all over the tents in the morning. The sun only hit the shelter at 10h20 that morning, by which time we were long gone as it was too cold to hang around. We watched the sun rise on the shelter from a ridge high above. It took about five hours to get from the shelter to the car.

We walked for a total of 20 hours. Day two was 12,6 km with 1162 metres of ascent and 868 metres of descent (aggregated) The days were only 10 hours long, although first-light to last-light was a bit longer. Day two really opened my eyes to the actual layout of the Kam and now I can say that I know my way round the mountain. As usually happens though, as soon as you tick off one item on the to-do list, another three take its place. I have a bunch of ideas already. Watch this space for Round Three.
Greg Devine – HAT and MCSA Southcape
(Between the need for speed and a recent fire, the plants were off center stage for the time being - ed)

STOP PRESS
www.inaturalist.org is the interactive website for all your pics of flowers, birds, mammals, fungi, reptiles and sea creatures. By posting your observations, you contribute to providing data for research and a record for future generations. You also have a wonderful forum for your photos. And it’s all a great deal of fun. Why not try it?

Dr Tony Rebelo will the giving an iNaturalist course on Monday 30th July at the Saasveld Campus @ NMU as part of Science Week. The beginner’s course will be from 12 to 1pm and will be followed by a more advanced course from 1pm to 4pm. Everyone is welcome to attend both courses. There will be no charge. Details below.

From Tony
SANBI has relocated its Citizen Science Virtual Museum from iSpot to iNaturalist. .

The aims of the course are.

  1. Introduce the philosophy of the site. How it is designed and works. This centres around:
    The layout:
    • Observations
    • Species
    • Places
    • Projects
    • People
    How it works:
    • What makes an observation.
    • Species and the dictionary and links
    • Extracting and showcasing your data

  2. How to use iNature:

Practical coursework:

• How to upload an observation
• How to edit observations, including bulk edits
• How to custom access data and updates, and use your dashboard
• How to manage your account

  1. Have some more fun (time permitting):
    • Creating Places and species lists
    • Creating Projects and managing data
    • Anything you find interesting and would like to explore in more detail.

Please bring to the course!
o Between 10 and 20 pictures suitable for uploading to iNaturalist: of 5 to 15 different organisms. Plants, animals or fungi – not people, pets or places.
o Please sign up before you come to the course: www.inaturalist.org - make sure that you are properly registered. Bring along your user-name and your password – and preferably an email address that you can access at SANBI (not one tied to your home line).
Yourself, with lots of questions.

If you are interested in attending, please email me at di@strawberryhill.co.za

On Friday, we would like to complete our exploration of Spioenkop in the Ruigtevlei plantations. It would be great to find more Dioscorea burchellii and another Burchell plant Selago burchellii. And just at the back of our minds is Cyclopia laxiflora (Critically Endangered and Presumed extinct). The Red List has this to say, “Several searches for this species have failed to locate any remaining wild populations, but as the species' preferred habitat is not known, a small chance remains that it may still be rediscovered.” With the Pines being felled post-fire, we’re in with an outside chance. We are going for the gap.
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.

Publicado por outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi, 09 de julio de 2018

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