Erica pillansii

Occurring in the Kogelberg at around 270 metres, predominantly on the slopes of Dot’s Dash, leading up to Spooknek, this spectacular erica has been virtually absent for the past five years, since being wiped out by fire in 2011.  It has now fully recovered and can be seen at its best in mid April when the scarlet flowers make for a wonderful spectacle.


My Blog has become my Photo Album

I have just chanced upon some statistics re ‘roncorylus’ and was surprised to see that in the five years that I have been blogging, I have posted 3750 images in 309 posts.  I had no idea that there were that many, and I still have not reached half of my allotted space, so expect me to continue blogging on this site for at least another five years.  A blog is a wonderful way to preserve data and have so many records at one’s fingertips!  Since I spend a lot of time with local flowers, what better way to celebrate than by publishing one of our beautiful wild flowers!

ampoulacia 2
Erica ampoulacia

Dot’s Dash with the Hurriers, April 2016

This morning, 13 Hurriers ventured up Dot’s Dash in what looked like threatening weather.  A brisk north-westerly breeze appeared to be bringing rain, but fortunately it cleared and we managed to stay dry!

As usual the flowers were magnificent with many proteas and abundant ericas, especially E. pillansii and E. sessiliflora.  The former are just reaching the end of their glory, but nevertheless put on a fine show.  A good stand of Protea coronata was seen in the burnt section above the western edge of Kleinmond.

School Sport

On Friday we braved the storm (and what a storm it was!!) and went to Cape Town so as to be able to watch Keagan and Jordan as they participated in their school sporting activities.

Keagan made his debut for the U12A rugby side and put in a credible performance at fly-half until he was partially concussed in a hard tackle and had to sit out for the remainder of the game.  His team went on to win comfortably against Fish Hoek.

Then it was off to Stellenbosch, where Jordan was playing for the U15A hockey side against the Paul Roos U16B team.  Unfortunately they were beaten, but it was nice to sit and see the action and note how both boys have matured into their games.

Stilbaai Area Birding Trip

We have just returned from a two day outing with the Hermanus Bird Club to Stilbaai and surrounds.  It was a wonderful experience, with the high point being the visit, yesterday morning, to Voelvlei.  On the way we were rewarded with a rare sighting of two melanistic Jacobin Cuckoos.  Then at Voelvlei, itself, we were literally blown away by the huge numbers of Greater and Lesser Flamingos, African Spoonbills, African Shellducks, Black Winged Stilts, Yellow Billed Ducks, Grey Herons, Red Knobbed Coots and many others! There were thousands of them and we even counted around 100 Grey Herons!  Then, to top it all, we saw four Black Storks, a Fish Eagle and a Martial Eagle!

Our excitement did not go unnoticed and we were visited by around a dozen very friendly horses that wanted to look through our scopes and eat our sandwiches!

The total number of species recorded was around 120, so we really did very well.

Dot’s Dash 2016

This morning Mags, Renee and I walked Dot’s Dash to see how the Erica pillansii were coming on after the fire of four years ago, and we weren’t disappointed!  They were magnificent.  In fact all the fynbos along the route was in very good condition  – it was like walking through a garden for 7 kms!

Not only that, but I had a good sighting of a couple of Cape Rock Jumpers and a really wonderful encounter with a Victorin’s Warbler, which flitted around in the undergrowth close by!  This is not a common experience and I wish I had been able to get a better photo.

Walking in the Knysna Forest

Our trip to Rheenendal commenced on Thursday morning when we left Hermanus.  After settling in at Forest Edge cottages, we assembled at Redwoods, the beautiful home of the Van Rheenen family where Dave hosted us and we had a fantastic dinner, put together by various members of our 14 strong party.

Next day saw us clambering down the steep slope to Drupkelders in the morning.  Trees, rocks, roots and ropes assisted us with the treacherous path, but the river and pools at the base made it all worthwhile.  In the afternoon we did the short, but beautiful, walk at Jubilee Creek.  The forest really is magnificent, with stately Yellowwood trees towering up above the canopy, some up to 1000 years old.

On Saturday morning we walked the ‘Circles in a Forest’ route, another spectacular path through the forest, once again surounded by the magnificent old trees and ferns.  We did not come across any evidence of elephants (although two were apparently seen the week before) and birds were hard to see, although we heard many turacos.

We ended off with a wonderful buffet lunch at Mother Holly’s before returning to Forest Edge for a rest before our evening get-together.

We walked about 20 kilometres in all and it was a very memorable experience and one that we will certainly try to do again.

Palmiet River walk

Only 7 Hurriers attended this morning’s walk along the Palmiet River.  We had good, albeit slightly breezy weather, but the walking conditions were superb, with the fynbos looking very good throughout the area.  I managed to spot 23 birds, including Cape Rock Thrushes and Ground Woodpeckers, so was well pleased.  The distance covered was 10.3 km and it took us three and a half hours, but we did stop for a picnic on the small beach near the half way mark.