A Walk at Silvermine

This morning Renee and I went to Silvermine to look for Orchids, all because of a wonderful blog by Jess Lund (Sky Bound Soliloquies) in which she described what an amazing day she had had there last weekend and how she had found 9 species.  We were not so lucky – or perhaps so observant – as we only saw 4 different species, however, two were new to us; Satyrium bracteatum and Disa maculata.

The Reserve was looking wonderful with fields of densely flowering Pseudoselago and Pelargoniums.  Another breathtaking spectacle was the Liparia splendens (Mountain Rose).  We have never seen this plant growing in such profusion!

A visit to the Elephant’s Eye Cave was interesting, but as the cave was packed with noisy tourists, we did not stay long, preferring to wander around in the fynbos looking for new plants.  Our walk lasted three hours and we covered around 6.3 km.  It was a long drive from Hermanus, but well worth it as we have never previously been to Silvermine.  We will go again!

Great News!

A single Disa atrorubens, which is easily confused by the amateur as D. ophrydea, was recently noted.  We photographed it and Bill Liltved was able to confirm it as D. atrorubens. This is an exciting find and a new addition to the Fernkloof list.

On another upbeat note, Mimetes capitulatus has been positively identified.  This is a rare find indeed, so it is good to know that it is alive and well in the Reserve.

Lower Vogelgat

I went for a walk in Vogelgat Reserve this morning, mainly to try to find a Disa purpurascens (no luck) and a monkey beetle of the genus Knysna.  The latter was as a result of a request by Prof Mike Picker of UCT, that I try to capture a few specimens in order to facilitate further research on the genus.  Again, I was out of luck, but I did have a bit of fun photographing a variety of insects and plants whilst there.

A Walk on the Contour Path

Walking westwards along the contour path this morning was, as ever, a good botanical outing.  The weather was warm and there were many interesting blooms along the way. Identifying most of them is beyond my limited ability, but I enjoy sharing them all the same.

Post Fire Monitoring in Fernkloof

Another day of monitoring the fynbos in the wake of our last fire, proved as interesting as ever.  Nine of us set out from the Visitors’ Centre and we were joined by two more.  It was a long walk, however, and we lost participants as we went along, and by the time we were back after 12.5 km and 8 hours, we were reduced to 4 members.  Our route is shown on the map below.  It also clearly defines the burnt areas.


Orchids were, once again, a big draw and we saw no less than 19 species, beating our previous record by 2.  There were no new ones, but what we saw was very good, with some excellent sightings of Disperis paludosa and Pterogodium acutifolium.

Our climb to 700 metres took us through not only the recent burn, but also an earlier one, and it was interesting to see the progress of re-growth, and the preference, by orchids, for newly burnt terrain.


Some enigmatic insects

On our walk today I photographed a few insects enjoying the fynbos, although not from an aesthetic point of view.  Probably they were just hungry!


We walked in Fernkloof Nature Reserve today and I was fascinated by the mosses that occur.  Obviously we have had a good weather this last year, with regular rainfall, so that probably helps to keep them going.  Whatever the cause, they were beautiful and the range of textures and colours was wonderful.

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.