Baboons

A birding walk on Lemoenkop, in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, this morning turned up a few good birds, as well as a meeting with a small troop of baboons.  The latter were in our path and were not inclined to move on when approached.  John walked to within a metre or two of the Alpha male, but he would not budge, until John made to throw something at him.  Only then did he trundle away.  Austrian visitors with us were quite disconcerted by the whole thing and were very glad when the path eventually cleared!

Acrolophia ustulata revisited

Having been intrigued by the different colours displayed in a group of six Acrolophia ustulata, found in Fernkloof, we revisited there this morning to try to get better photographs.  At first we found 4 separate plants with dark maroon flowers, but could not locate the group of 6.  We spent half an hour searching, before eventually finding them right where I thought they should be!  It just shows how difficult it is to see these tiny plants.

Anyway, the upshot of it all was that we found no less than 10 plants in a small area of around 10 sq. metres, which was really exciting, and testimony to the fact that there are probably many more around.  Furthermore, we were able to conclusively show three distinct colours; maroon, yellow and brick-red, so were well pleased with our effort.

Respecting Symmetry

Who would have thought that a Monkey Beetle, whilst seeking nourishment in a wild Orchid, would arrange it’s hind legs so as to conform to the symmetry of the flower it is busy attacking.  Well, this one did and it looks, to the uninitiated, as if it is merely a part of the flower!

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Hunting Orchids Again

A walk in Fernkloof this morning produced a couple of good things.

The first was meeting up with two young lads from Cape Town, Odin and Juno (godly names, indeed!) who were also out looking for plants.  Odin’s main interest was Droseras and he showed a surprisingly good knowledge of these fascinating carnivorous plants.  He also had a keen interest in Orchids and together we hunted for and photographed some good specimens.  How nice to know that there are still some young people who see more to life than playing with their devices or watching TV!

The orchids seen included a good number of Acrolophia ustulata, both the dark maroon common ones as well as a plant with yellow flowers and another with brick-red petals.  Is this a new colour!  We also saw Holothrix brevipetala, the inevitable Disa bracteata, Disa cylindrica and Disa ophrydea

Kleinmond coastal Walk

The warm breezy weather this morning made for easy walking along the Kleinmond coastal path. It is falling into disrepair in places, so we were glad to see signs of upgrading.  The sea looked inviting near the mouth of the Palmiet river, but we picnicked without venturing in!

A tumble by one of our special friends had us worried, but hopefully all is well!  We unfortunately missed the peak flowering period for the Pelargonium cucullatum, but there were still quite a number of flowers along the way.

Birding in the West Coast National Park

The Hermanus Bird Club organised a three day outing to the WCNP and we were lucky enough to be on it.  We were accommodated at the comfortable Duinepos camp and birded not only in the park, but also at Veldrif and at the saltworks at Kuifkopvisvanger farm.  The latter proved to be a treasure in terms of waders, although we did not see our target bird, the Red-necked Phalarope.  We managed to identify 120 birds in all, so were well pleased with our effort.

Despite forecasts of rain, we managed to stay dry as the showers fell on Monday night.  The veld was much in need of some water and the plants and animals must have been delighted!  A cold westerly wind meant that we froze in some of the bird hides, but birders are a hardy lot and they shivered in silence!