The Keeper of the Gate - aka Amelia

The Keeper of the Gate
aka Amelia
Outramps CREW Diaries
23rd July 2019

From "Our Burning Planet"
"A coal subsidy is like giving a fellowship to a graduate student who wants to pursue a thesis on ‘Strategies for Stimulating Donut Consumption Among Diabetics’.”

Bill McKibben

ALBUM Tuesday 23rd July 2019
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 today – Robinson Pass, Dune Molerat with Rupert, Goukamma with WAGS, Pass to Pass to Losberg via Montagu Pass and North Station.

For names and captions of the photos used on this version of the Reportback - see the Album.

For earlier versions of the Outramps CREW Diaries

Dune Molerat
This little reserve was looking gorgeous early on Friday morning. After light rain the night before, the sand was damp and all the plants were boasting raindrops on the tips of flowers and leaves. After so much drought, it was a sight to behold. We were pleased to find Gnidia chrysophylla (Near Threatened) in a new location on the Reserve and to see Lebeckia gracilis (Endangered) thriving on the Swartvlei lookout track.

Rupert Koopman, his wife Flo and their enchanting young daughter Amelia were visiting Strawberry Hill for an extended weekend. Rupert is the CapeNature botanist and a very old friend. Also joining us for the day was Brian du Preez (The Boy or Mr Fab), who was in the Southern Cape collecting Indigofera material for his Ph.D revison of the Genus. In order to accommodate all comers, the Outramps did a quick loop from the start of the trail, returning via the concrete road. We met the Koopmans at the offices and then did a loop to the Swartvlei lookout. Amelia enjoyed the walk thoroughly and kept up easily. On the way back we passed a couple of Protea susannae. The leaf of this Protea stinks of sulphur. When we gave a piece to Amelia to smell, she said very firmly, "No. Not nice!". Protea susannae (Near Threatened) doesn't naturally occur in this Reserve. The plants were introduced somewhere around the 1970's.

At the Rondevlei offices, we met Jonathan Britton, who was off to a community meeting to discuss the recent spraying of Glyphosate at the Ruigtevlei plantations. We would be interested to hear the outcome of that.

After a very pleasant walk we all joined LOT for lunch at a restaurant at Myoli Beach, suggested by Sandra. It was an inspired choice, as there was a small playground on the neighbouring dune. Amelia loved it and it wasn't long before she had appointed herself as "The Keeper of the Gate" between the restaurant and the dune. Her charm and organisational abilities are going to take her a very long way. Altogether, it was a lovely day out with good friends in our beloved Fynbos.


Dune Molerat from Flo's perspective
A two-hour meander through the Dune Molerat Trail in the Wilderness National Park last Friday was really a lovely opportunity to show my little three-year old the many floristic wonders of the Eden district - a place I hadn't visited since before three fires ravaged large parts of the area. On the walk, we saw a number of Protea susannae and lots of Ericas.

Walking along the 5 km route of the trail, I was filled with awe as I chatted to experienced hikers and plant experts, Di, Jenny, Brian and Jo, who stopped every so often to point out an endangered plant or simply to help the toddler catch up. I was especially charmed by the story of a Harry Potter-themed dress-up party, while taking gulps of water, as we took in the magnificent view at one of the trail's lookout points.

I am personally quite fond of old, dilapidated buildings, probably because I like to muse about the story behind it. This trail did not fail in that respect either. As we rounded the corner and I saw an old home hidden between four large trees, I wondered what used to happen on the other side of those (now broken) bay windows.

A long while after the trail had ended, I was emptying out the sand from the inside of my shoes. I wondered out loud why I kept falling into all those little holes on our little adventure. "Must be where the name of the trail comes from," my husband smiled knowingly.

Florence de Vries

Robinson Pass
LOT at Robinson Pass - 4 July 2019
Along the way we met Pam who handed over Indigofera specimens from Slakplaas to Brian. He is recording this genus for his doctoral studies and wanted to collect Oxalis ioeides (DDD) for Kenneth Oberlander at the start of the Kouma Trial at the top of Robinson Pass. Brian and Rusell found the tiny plants quickly and Brian collected a live specimen for the Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden. He also noted two Indigofera species. The post-fire vegetation cover is still sparse and little was in flower, though Dilatris ixioides, Lobelia neglecta, Penaea acutifolia and Podalyria burchellii looked just lovely. Lower down, entire slopes were covered in the olive and grey-green of a low-growing, spreading plant. According to Brian it is Aspalathus digitifolia (VU) - a ‘lifer’ for him.

A couple of years ago I noticed Acmadenia gracilis (VU) at a road verge pull-over soon after the summit. It is an awkward place to stop on the pass given road bends, baboons and traffic and I have never dared suggest a recce here before! This time we were lucky – no baboons or traffic - and were rewarded by over 30 plants in a small area, both on the road verge and the other side of the fence. Here a cascade of broken up tar spilt down the slope. Together with the usual array of road verge threats, the valley to the east towards Doringrivier is overrun by Hakea, Wattle and Pines, a reminder that it is not a very secure spot for redlisted plants. Erica glomiflora and E. quadrangularis, senescent Protea neriifolia and P. eximia, Leucadendron uliginosum subsp. uliginosum and Pelargonium grossularioides were some of the other roadside companions.

Brian was using his iNat App to record plants and I sheepishly confessed that I have been unable to upload the geo-localities to my observations during my iNat App attempts. Needless to say, three seconds later I knew how to collaborate with my technology a wee bit better! Thanks Brian

North Station
It is about 12 years, since the Outramps did their first CREW survey of the farm near the top of the Montagu Pass on the northern side that abounds CapeNature land. The farm is called North Station and was the "Old Hotel" in bygone years.. The Black Wattle-covered property has been transformed. Most of the wattle has been removed at huge cost to Dave McIntosh, who owns North Station. People like him deserve a medal for taking on the gargantuan task of restoring the Fynbos. The old house too is in the process of being returned to its former glory and the thick stone walls were again in evidence, after unsightly paint and tiles had been stripped. It has been a labour of love.

We received a warm welcome from Dave and the dogs who came with us some of the way, as we followed the watercourse and then started up an enticing ridge with a couple of irresistible kopjes. I pointed to what looked like the top and said, "That's where we want to go". Looking at the crutches, Dave said, "That's a long way. You'll never make it". But the crutches are deceptive and of course we did.

The rock slabs on the kopjes looked like the perfect habitat for Lobelia dichroma (Data Deficient) and indeed, there they were, cohabiting with the perennial favourite, Oldenburgia paradoxa, which was forming big green cushions in the rock crevices. Ann was busy finding and id'ing various Restios, which were thriving in the competition-free environment. Leucospermum cuneiforme was busy resprouting and as with Pass to Pass, the Proteaceae regeneration was huge. We think they'll turn out to be Leucadendron uliginosum subsp. uliginosum, Protea aurea and Protea neriifolia. Post-burn, walking across the veld was relatively easy, although the wind at the summit nearly blew us over, as it cranked up to chilly, gale-force intensity.

Black and filthy, after close encounters with the many blackened Proteaceae skeletons along the way, we reached the farmhouse to be regaled with cups of hot coffee and some of Dave's tales of the travails and joys encountered along the way to realising a dream. Thank you Dave. We are hoping to come back in the Spring.


Out and About in the Southern Cape
Bill and I went to Goukamma only a few weeks ago, but when it was the proposed WAGS hike for Wednesday, I was delighted to return. This time we descended the steep south-facing slope and then found a new route through the valley, which eventually joined up with the Rollercoaster. Bill has nicknamed our route the "Whippersnapper" and it is a very attractive hike. We were amazed at what a difference two weeks can make to the vegetation.

Gladiolus rogersiii is now in flower and Salvia africana-lutea will be at its best in a couple of weeks. Pelargonium betulinum boasted flashes of bright pink and Selago burchellii (Vulnerable) was all over the place. There was significantly more in flower on this second occasion. What a privilege it is to be back at Goukamma, which is one of my favourite places on earth. Thank you CapeNature.

Pass to Pass - from an eastern perspective
Just by way of a change, Bill, Ann and I decided to hike a section of Pass to Pass from the top of the Montagu Pass to Losberg and back. The main WAGS Group are training for the Tsitsikamma Trail later in the year and did the whole hike from Outeniqua Pass to Montagu and back.

We had a pre-dawn start with a magnificent sunrise as our reward. The trail is very steep up and down and was testing for the Crutcherati, but very much enjoyed. Pink was the dominant colour of the day, with the odd flash of yellow from Ursinia paleacea, Bobartia aphylla and Osteospermum polygaloides. The pinks were small Erica seriphiifolia, Pelargonium cordifolium, Indigofera filifolia, Podalyria burchellii and buxifolia and the minute, undescribed Indigofera sp. 19. On the Losberg track there are lots of Hypocalyptus oxalidifolius springing up. They will be magnificent in a couple of weeks. The Proteaceae regeneration is massive, with Leucadendron conicum (Near Threatened) leading the charge.

The views were breathtaking and we had a wonderful day. We are so privileged to live where we do and to have the good health to enjoy it.


Field Trips
SIM - On Friday we are hoping to visit Eseljacht in the Langkloof again to continue our survey through all the seasons. Hopefully they've had some of the recent weekend rain, so that the plants get a "hupstoot" towards recovery after the long years of drought.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie

Di Turner
Outramps CREW Group
SIM tripsSouthern Cape
South Africa

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, Malthinus and Mattmatt on iNat. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support.

Outramps Places on iNaturalist – You can browse through the observations or refer to the checklist which is in alphabetical order eg. Animals, birds etc.
Area covered by Southern Cape Herbarium -
Cola Conservancy -
Dune Molerat Trail -
Featherbed Nature Reserve -
Gamkaberg -
Gerickes Punt -
Gouriqua -
Gouritzmond -
Heaven in the Langkloof -
Herolds Bay -
Kammanassie -
Klein Swartberg -
Knysna - Westford Bridge
Kouga Mountains Kliphuis -
Kranshoek -
Langeberg Grootvadersbosch -
Masons Rust -
Mons Ruber and surrounds -
Mossel Bay Aalwyndal -
Mossel Bay Diosma Reserve -
Mossel Bay - :

Mossel Bay -
Mossel Bay -
Mossel Bay St Blaize Trail -
Natures Valley -
Outeniquas Bobbejaanberg -
Outeniquas Camferskloof -
Outeniquas, Collinshoek and the Big Tree -
Outeniquas - Cradock and George Peak Trail -
Outeniquas Doringrivier East -
Outeniquas East -
Outeniquas Eseljagt -
Outeniquas Eseljagtpoort -
Outeniquas Flanagans Rock -
Outeniquas Jonkersberg Bowl -
Outeniquas Langeberg
Outeniquas Montagu Pass North -
Outeniquas North Station -
Outeniquas Paardekop -
Outeniquas Paardepoort East -
Outeniquas Paardepoort West -
Outeniquas Pizza Ridge -
Outeniquas Southern Traverse -
Robberg Corridor - :
Robberg Corridor -
Robberg Corridor -
Rooiberg -
Spioenkop -
Strawberry Hill -
Swartberg Bloupunt -
Swartberg Spitskop -
Swartberg, Swartberg Pass to Bothashoek high and low -
Swartberg Waboomsberg -
Uitzicht Portion 39 -
Uitzicht -
Western Head -
Western Head –
Western Head -
Western Head -
White Heather -
Wilderness Brown Hooded Kingfisher Trail –
Wilderness Kingfisher Trail -
Witteberg Kromme Rivier -

Outramps CREW Stellenbosch HAT node
Jonkershoek created by Vynbos -
Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve -
Papegaaiberg -

Outramps Projects on iNaturalist
Ericas of the Southern Cape -
Fungi of the Southern Cape -
Geranicaceae of the Southern Cape -
Lianes and Creepers in the Southern Cape and Little Karoo -
Veg Types of South Africa (Tony Rebelo)-

Flowers of the High Drakensberg -

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 and is now the Curator of the Garden Route Botanical Garden
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
SA - Stay Attractive is Google's translation of "Mooi Bly"
OTL - Out To Lunch is used to describe the Buchu Bus when she's taking a break after she's behaved badly
DFKIAA - A very funny video in Afrikaans is doing the rounds. It refers to the recent power outages.
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Publicado por outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi, 23 de julio de 2019


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