Dot’s Dash 2015

When we met before our walk yesterday, there was general concensus that with rain in the air, it would be foolish to drive all the way to the Kogelberg, only to get wet.  Then John and Carol arrived and said, “No, of course we must go!” so we went and were very pleased that we did.

The cool overcast weather made for excellent walking conditions and we spent the morning enjoying what only Dot’s Dash can provide – wonderful flowers accompanied, this time, by the presence of the spectacular Erica pillansii.  It was wonderful to see that this plant, which only occurs here and which was wiped out by the fires of a few years ago, is back and well on the road to full recovery.  Of course there were many other beautiful plants and flowers as is evidenced by the attached photographs, and we aslo saw some good birds.

On our return journey some of us stopped at the Kleinmond coastal boardwalk and were pleased to see that the rare Haemanthus canaliculatus was still  blooming.  It makes a remarkable splash of colour in the burnt landscape!

The Kleinmond Coastal Path

Nine walkers set out from Sandown Bay at Kleinmond and walked to the end of the coastal path at the Palmiet River beach this morning.  The weather was typically autumnal , clear and warm with a light breeze.  Unfortunately there had been some fires along the path, especially at the western end and portions of the boardwalk were burnt.

This was, however, not all bad news as we discovered when we suddenly came upon a patch of Haemanthus canaliculatus measuring not more than around 600 square metres, but comprising hundreds of blooms.  There were no other Haemanthus plants along the length of our walk, which measured 8 km there and back, so we were really lucky to see this spectacular bit of nature, no doubt flourishing after the fire.

Great start to April

Yesterday morning heralded the start of a new birding region and month, this time in and around Hermanus and the Fernkloof Nature Reserve.  For me it started with a bang when I saw an African Goshawk in my garden.

I then joined our walking group for a hike up into Fernkloof to search for the rare Erica banksii.  At the Visitors’ Centre I got an Olive Woodpecker, a Lesser Honeyguide and later, in the higher regions close to Galpin’s Hut, four Ground Woodpeckers.  Nobody could ask for a better start to a birding month and in total I saw 29 species.

As for the erica, we eventually found it after having climbed 550 metres and walked a total of 10.5 km.  The weather was cool and overcast – perfect for walking and we had a turnout of 16 walkers, although only six went on the last section to locate the erica.  The mountainside was awash with colour, especially from the many Tritoniopsis lata and Erica tenella blooms.

Our route
Our route

In addition to the sights on the mountain, we were lucky to see numerous pods of dolphins hunting in the bay.  Presumably they were after schools of fish, but we did not see any gannets with them, which was puzzling.  We did, however, see a few Bryde’s whales as well.