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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