Rain at last

After having had 41 mm of rain in the preceding 3 months, we had a great storm early this morning, and I measured 36 mm!  This was really wonderful as the area desperately needs rain.  A drive along the lagoon edge towards Stanford showed waterfalls where there have been none since last winter.

A Walk in Fernkloof

This morning 8 Hurriers arrived at the Visitors’ Centre for our weekly walk.  We covered 5.2 kilometres in perfect walking weather and it was pleasant to walk on wet ground for a change, after the recent light rain.

A pair of Victorin’s Warblers made for a lucky sighting and we later saw a wonderful spider, which I am unable to identify, possibly a yellow-coloured Bark Spider. Its abdomen was around 25 mm across.

Our Phosphorescent Sea

Last night we went down to the beach and were quite gobsmacked by the beautiful phosphorescence which we saw in the breaking waves and spray along the Hermanus coastline.  To stand in the dark and see this wonderful sight was a truly awesome experience and one we will never forget.  What the sea lacks in beauty during the daytime, it makes up for at night!!

For some days now, the water has been very brown and this is probably due to high micro-plankton mortality, which, in turn, gives rise to phosphorescence when disturbed.  It can be seen in the choppy waters and in the waves, as well as on the beach, if one kicks up the wet sand.

Disas at Pig’s Snout

A short walk up to the beautiful waterfalls at Pig’s Snout this afternoon was well rewarded. We saw around fifty Disa uniflora flowers spread up the cliff face.  Water cascaded gently around them and there were ferns and moss providing a lovely backdrop to the spectacular red flowers!  It was just a pity that they were all so very far away, but the spectacle was, nevertheless, fantastic and spending time there in the cool shade on a very hot afternoon was wonderful.  The forest was in good shape with many large yellowwood trees, whose roots sought anchorage and sustenance among the boulders that litter the valley floor.

Vogelgat Waterfall

Twelve Hurriers set out for the waterfall at Vogelgat Reserve this morning.  Regrettably, a slight fall or two meant that only eight reached the end, but it was a wonderful walk and we mastered all the obstacles along the way.  Hats off to the more elderly members of the group for persevering and finishing the course.

Our (or should I say, my) objective was to see the Disa uniflora, and we were not disappointed, as there was a beautiful specimen at the side of the path and also some high up on the waterfall.  I had my new camera with me and was keen to get a good photograph, but something went wrong and I didn’t get a good image!  Am I annoyed?  You bet!!  Still, the walk was a great experience and a good challenge!

Disa uniflora

We were lucky to see an immature Verreaux’s Eagle perched on a high rock on the way back, but no other significant birds made their presence known.

This was our first walk of the new season and we look forward to many more, and also to a few more exciting challenges such as this.


Poop as a Growing Medium

On our walk yesterday, Fran came across some mushrooms growing in baboon poop.  She took a wonderful, colourful photo and sent it to the walking group.  This prompted Liz to forward her image of the same phenomenon, but this time with elephant poop as the growing medium.

These images add veracity to the expression of being treated like a mushroom by being kept in the dark and fed s…!  (although, in this case it must be said, both images were taken in daylight!)

Aasvoelkop Walk

This morning we set off at the crack of dawn in order to allow ourselves an opportunity to climb Aasvoelkop before the heat of the day.  It was a wise choice as we had perfect walking weather right up until we started down from the summit, when it warmed up considerably, although still not hot, fortunately.  We covered around 15 kilometres and climbed to a height of 790 metres from our start at 200 metres above sea level.

We had hoped to find some of the rarer orchid varieties that occur at altitude, but we had no luck.  Apart from a few Disa bivalvata and D. cornuta that were reaching the end of their flowering period, we only managed to see a few D. tenuifolia.  We did, however, have a wonderful walk and our brunch stop at Beacon Hut gave us an opportunity to take in the views and appreciate our surroundings.

A Berg Adder, a couple of Chameleons and a pair of Hottentot Buttonquails provided interesting diversions.  The hero of the day was the Gladiolus carneus, which was abundant and very beautiful, as were the Thereianthus bracteolata, still in bloom over vast areas and looking magnificent!