Just Another Friday

But was it? It was Friday 13th which in Bingo parlance is, “Lucky for Some!” It proved to be a very lucky day for the Burchell plants – we found Selago burchellii (Vulnerable) scattered all along our route and we were delighted to see about 15 more Dioscorea burchellii (Burchell’s Yam – Vulnerable). It obviously loves this place as much as we do. Currently cleared of the pines post-fire, it provides easy walking along forestry tracks, spectacular views, lovely plants and good company. What more could you ask for………………………………..?

Southern Outeniqua Traverse
This involves 16km of difficult mountain-walking with a height gain of 660m on the southern slopes below George and Cradock Peaks. The traverse starts at the Saasveld Cottages via Tierkop, the Leaky Dam, Tonnelbos and ends at the Botanical Gardens – a toughie by any standards. This is a long-time favourite of mine, but Bill and I debated whether we were up to it. Old age, misused joints and short daylight hours were some of the deterrents. But always unable to resist a challenge, the issue was probably never in any doubt and we were on our way at a few minutes after 6am on Wednesday, with head torches to light the way.

A glorious sunrise crept over the horizon. A truism - for those who are prepared to get up early, there are special rewards! The new moon was a silver crescent against the black sky, gradually disappearing as the sky was flooded with pale pink and gold light. The odd orange cloud floated by to give it contrast. It was truly magnificent.

We bypassed Tierkop and negotiated a very tricky stretch just above the Leaky Dam. Very slippery peat, a narrow pathway and jutting fynbos combined to slow us down with the odd mild mishap like a slip and a slide and a rocky-landing fall. The Dam was lower than I’ve ever seen it, when we eventually stopped for breakfast after about 4 hours. The views across the coastal plain are really stunning, but we were tired by the time we reached the western side of Fern Forest or Tonnelbos. It was here that WAGS passed us en route to the Botanical Gardens. It took us 9 ½ hard hours. We were exhausted. But for me (as always), the plants made up for all the physical discomfort.

Leucospermum glabrum (Endangered) was in full flower and looking good. Its companion, Mimetes pauciflorus (Vulnerable) was beautiful in orange and yellow. The vivid flowers of Erica unicolor ssp. georgensis (Rare) occurred in patches along the way. Leucadendron conicum (Near Threatened) was common along the whole length of the day’s hike and probably should be downgraded to Least Concern. It is no coincidence that it is the most frequent species to appear on the site sheets that we do to keep the Red List updated. The Cape Tree Fern (Alsophila capensis) was looking majestic in its Tonnelbos home and it was only on the last stretch that we saw one of the Aussie Invader ferns (Cyathea capensis), which are taking over the Witfontein forests.

It was a wonderful day out in the stunning Fynbos of the southern slopes of the Outeniquas, looking across the coastal plain to Mossel Bay. Bill and I are so lucky that we can still enjoy this, despite our extreme age and decreptitude. We are also very fortunate to have each other. Walking this alone would be out of the question and our slow pace would be a huge irritant for others. So “Thank you Oom Willie van die Berge!”
Tanniedi

Just another Friday
Our aim on Friday was to explore the north-eastern section of Spioenkop in the Ruigtevlei Plantations. With permission from Heine Muller, we set off early under an overcast sky that cleared during the course of the day. First we showed our companions the Dioscorea burchellii (Vulnerable) that Nicky and I had found on an earlier visit. As we threaded the highways and byways, we found more of them, as well as the Vulnerable Selago burchellii. We also discovered that the property is huge and there was no way we were going to reach the north-east corner. As we turned to head back west towards the Buchu Bus, we were on a steep damp slope, which had a sandstone layer under the fossil dune sands. Pulling ahead of Nicky and Dave, I saw another Burchell’s yam and stopped to do a site sheet. I was just beginning to wonder what had happened to my mates, when Dave came trotting around the corner with a “stukkie”. He thrust it at me and said, “What do you think?” I stared at it in disbelief. I was thinking “Have I gone mad or something?” You will remember that we visited Gourikwa the week before.

But this is Nicky and Dave’s story. Chatting as they walked, they stopped simultaneously and stared at a plant some way up the slope. Like me, they looked at it in total disbelief. But it is not a plant once seen, that you will ever forget and we don’t think there is any possibility of error. Lobostemon belliformis (Critically Endangered) is alive and well at Spioenkop. This magnificent plant, which we call “The Beautiful One”, is only known from one location between Albertinia and Still Bay and here it was, some 100km or more east of the original location. There were 3 plants and they were resprouting post-fire. “Heilige Makriel!” What a find for Friday 13th, which proved to be “Lucky for Some”.

As we made our way back to the Bus, the debate raged. What were the conditions that replicated the original site? Damp south-facing slope, tertiary sands on a sandstone outcrop were some possibilities. Was this an indication that extensive populations between the two had disappeared? We had lots of questions with very few answers. We will be asking Jan Vlok for his ideas. He made the original discovery of the Gourikwa population of about 50 plants.

This is a momentous find and reminds me of the day that we discovered the second only known locality of Mimetes chrysanthus at Perdepoort in the northern foothills of the Outeniquas. It is a wonderful moment in the history of the Outramps CREW Group. Congratulations to Dave and Nicky! And after all that, we had to repair to the Sedgefield Arms for a celebratory drink. WOW! What a day and what a find! And the aftermath of this discovery - the search will be well and truly on, in the quest to find more plants in the area.
Tanniedi

LOT’s Visit to Some Properties on the Western Head – Thursday 12th July 2018
At 8 am on Thursday, Christa le Roux picked up Rusell and me at her home, Ocean View. LOT had taken up her offer to show us some properties on Knysna’s Western Head.
The view of the coastline from our first stop was beautiful. We were mesmerized for some time by a huge flock of Phalacrocorax capensis (Cape Cormorant) flying from the east and landing on the sea in front of us. We wondered if there was a school of fish that had tempted them. Then it was a noisy flock of Red-winged starlings (Onychognathus morio) that caught our attention; but we were there to look at the plants! We hiked up and down the dunes that still had many black skeletons left from the wildfire in June last year, but a lot of them were resprouting. Tarchonanthus littoralis displayed long sprays of white fluff. As with other areas in Brenton, the ground is covered with various species of bright green Ficinia with colourful patches of Indigofera verrucosa, Rhynchosia leucoscias and Rhynchosia caribaea, Pelargonium capitatum, Oxalis ciliaris var. ciliaris, Hypoxis villosa, Chasmanthe aethiopica, Chaenostoma polyanthum, Nemesia versicolor var. versicolor, Arctotheca calendula, Albuca flaccida, Dischisma ciliatum ssp. ciliatum, Felicia amoena ssp. latifolia, Wahlenbergia thunbergii var. thunbergii, Aspalathus alopecurus, and others. At the edge of an area of burnt thicket a few plants of the bright blue Anchusa capensis were in flower. Large areas of the burnt mosaic of fynbos and thicket are covered with Tetragonia fruticosa, Dipogon lignosus and other species preventing soil erosion and retaining moisture so that the vegetation can recover. A single flowering Romulea rosea indicated that spring is on its way.
Unfortunately, as with other burnt areas, it is not only the indigenous plants that are recovering from the effects of the fire, masses of aliens have taken the opportunity of the free space to come up. Although a lot of money and time has already been spent clearing them from the properties we visited, there is still a lot of work to be done.
The weather changed - a very chilly, strong wind appeared from the south, so we decided to leave further exploring for another day.
A female bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus ssp. Sylvaticus) crossed over the road just before we got back to our starting point (right in front of the sign warning motorists to look out for buck crossing the road!) – a lovely way to end the day!
Thank you, Christa, for taking the time to introduce us to some new parts of the Brenton Peninsula. We hope to revisit the properties sometime in the future.
Nicky

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 Tuesday we will be meeting AnneLise Vlok and Carlo van Tonder of Cape Nature at Diosma Reserve west of Mossel Bay. Decisions have got to be made about whether to clear the aliens and take the chance of damaging the precious post-fire seedlings of Diosma aristata (Critically Endangered). Once again, we are between a “rock and a hard place” with very few options. Whatever we do or don’t do will cause damage.

LOT’s trip on Thursday will be to hunt for an Endangered Glottiphyllum in the Great Brak/Hersham area. On Friday, SIM will be exploring Bobbejaanskop above Beervlei in the Outeniquas from the south. The Fynbos should be magnificent and it is an area that is new to us, which is always exciting. So a busy week for the Outramps with 2 coastal field trips and one montane expedition.
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.
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/gouriqua-private-nature-reserve
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-herolds-bay
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/cola-conservancy
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/lange-berg-112
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-kranshoek-
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/uitzigt-216-ptn-65
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/masons-rust-32-ptn-4-gezwinds-kraal-41-ptn-0
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-camferskloof
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/dune-molerat-trails
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/diosma-reserve
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-14072
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-19201
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/kingfisher-trails
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/brown-hooded-kingfisher-trail
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/ruigtevlei-plantations
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/uitzigt-216-portion-39
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/heaven-in-the-langkloof
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/flanagans-rock-rsa
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-paardepoort-west
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-paardepoort-east
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-kammanassie-reserve
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/erf-14072
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-spitskop-to-meiringspoort-swartberg
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/outramps-crew-rooiberg-reserve
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/strawberry-hill-7-passes-road-wilderness-south-africa
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/nature-s-valley-south-cape-south-africa#page=2
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/white-heather
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/western-head-knysna

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

Publicado por outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi, 16 de julio de 2018

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