The Green Orchid – Bonatea speciosa

Occurring all along the southern and eastern coast of South Africa, this unusual orchid is well represented in Hermanus.  It flowers between June and December and is pollinated by the Hawkmoth.

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Rotary Way in October

This morning I decided to see what interesting flowers I could find to photograph along Rotary Way above Hermanus.  The recently burnt section on the way up was spectacular. Whereas the Wachendorfia are all but over, there was a wonderful display of Bobartias and thousands of Corymbiums in full bloom.  Pillansii templemannii are coming into bloom everywhere and, what to me was especially interesting, were the many Tritoniopsis parviflora and Muraea anomala.  I also kept an eye out for orchids, but only saw Satyrium carneum and S. coriifolium as well as the ubiquitous Disa bracteata.

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More images from the Jeep Track

It seems a shame not to include some of the other images recorded yesterday on the Jeep Track.  I should also mention that we once again were privileged to see a pair of Sentinel Rock Thrushes.

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On the Jeep Track in Fernkloof

There were five of us who hiked up Droekloof and on to the Jeep Track this morning.  The wind was strong and on the Dragon’s Back section, we were having to hold on tightly for fear of being blown off the mountain, but once we reached the top, it had abated somewhat.  The fynbos was, as ever, looking magnificent , especially in the areas recently burnt, and it wasn’t long before we started to see Orchids.

We managed to identify  17 species: they were;  Disa bracteata;  D. cylindrica;  D. obtusa;  D.bolisiana;  D.ophrydea;  D.cornuta;  D. Hallackii;  Satyrium lupulinum;  S. carneum;  S. stenopetalum;  S. bicallosum;  Disperis paludosa;  Pterogodium catholicum;  P. acutifolium; Ceratandra atrata;  Holothrix cernua and Acrolophia bolusii.  We were well pleased, especially since two of them were new to me!

We returned via Adder’s Ladder and the flowers continued to impress the whole way.  We walked a total of 11 km and climbed around 450m.

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Some De Kelders flowers

A short time spent en route to Gansbaai for lunch, revealed abundant Satyrium carneum alongside the road, including a rare white variant.  There were also occasional S. coriifolium.  When we stopped to photograph a Moraea, we were pleased to find numerous Farraria crispa, with their lurid flowers.  Not surprisingly, their common name is Starfish Lily and the are aptly named.

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Houw Hoek Pass

This morning Renee and I went to look for Orchids in the recently burnt portion of Houw Hoek pass.  There were masses of the spectacular Satyrium coriifolium as well as left over S. odorum and the ubiquitous Disa bracteata, but we did not see any others.  The area is covered in occasional massed Watsonias and fields of Wachendorfia paniculata.  We also found an area covered with hundreds of Moraeas, so we were not disappointed.  The area needs to be investigated by a proper team and will, I am sure, yield many more species.

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Botanising in the Burn

A day spent searching in the burnt fynbos below Galpin Hut and across towards, and along the Jeep Track in Fernkloof, proved to be a rewarding experience yesterday, when 7 keen orchid hunters set out in fine weather.  Initially our prime focus was on finding, capturing and identifying the pollinator for the Disa pillansii, but, after an hour of waiting for this insect to appear, we gave up!  We had the net and all but, sadly, did not need it.

Our walk was very successful, however, as we managed to find and identify no less than 12 Orchids.  These were Disa bolusiana;  D. pillansii;  D. fasciata;  D bracteata;  D cylindrica;  D. cornuta;  D. hallackii;  D. pygmaea;  Evotella carnosum;  Satyrium stenopetallum; Ceratandra atrata; and Pterogodium acutifolium.  It is amazing to see how a species will suddenly appear one week, when there was no sign of it a week previously, and how short the window is for seeing them flower.  The Pterogodium acutifolium was a case in point.  Suddenly a particular seep was covered in the plants, and just as suddenly there were almost no Disa fasciata where, on our last visit, there had been dozens.

Of course, we saw much more than just Orchids, and a number of good birds as well. Included in the latter were Sentinel Rock Thrushes and a Grey Winged Francolin, along with the usual Grassbirds and Orange Breasted Sunbirds

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