Kleinmond coastal Walk

The warm breezy weather this morning made for easy walking along the Kleinmond coastal path. It is falling into disrepair in places, so we were glad to see signs of upgrading.  The sea looked inviting near the mouth of the Palmiet river, but we picnicked without venturing in!

A tumble by one of our special friends had us worried, but hopefully all is well!  We unfortunately missed the peak flowering period for the Pelargonium cucullatum, but there were still quite a number of flowers along the way.

Birding in the West Coast National Park

The Hermanus Bird Club organised a three day outing to the WCNP and we were lucky enough to be on it.  We were accommodated at the comfortable Duinepos camp and birded not only in the park, but also at Veldrif and at the saltworks at Kuifkopvisvanger farm.  The latter proved to be a treasure in terms of waders, although we did not see our target bird, the Red-necked Phalarope.  We managed to identify 120 birds in all, so were well pleased with our effort.

Despite forecasts of rain, we managed to stay dry as the showers fell on Monday night.  The veld was much in need of some water and the plants and animals must have been delighted!  A cold westerly wind meant that we froze in some of the bird hides, but birders are a hardy lot and they shivered in silence!

Pringle Bay Burn

The burnt area near Pringle Bay is awash with the most wonderful array of colourful flowers.  We went to see if we could find the rare Disa sabulosa, but were unsuccessful. We did, however, see a fantastic display of Watsonias, Wachendorfias, Pterygodiums, Gladiolis, Pelargoniums and much more.  It was a worthwhile trip!

Fernkloof after the Rain

A short walk in Fernkloof this morning was a pleasure after the good rains of the past two days.  Everything was clean and wet and the waterfall was flowing well; just a pity about the ugly boardwalk that leads up to it.  It was sad, however, to see the deterioration and overgrowth on the contour path heading west above Hermanus Heights.  The municipality really should do something about clearing and maintaining the paths in the Reserve, instead of wasting time and money on plans to destroy part of our heritage!

At one time we were rained upon, but for the rest, it was a beautiful day and a beautiful walk – pity there were only 4 us us doing it!

Cutie Pie

A chance happening on a juvenile Brimstone Canary right close to our cottage, whilst Orchid hunting at Barrydale, provided an opportunity to get close to this interesting little bird (what a fantastic hairdo!).  It’s parents were nowhere to be seen and it did not appear to be bothered by our presence.  We were worried as it was sitting in a cold wind and had a somewhat forlorn look about it, so I was relieved to note that an adult pair frequented the same area the next morning, suggesting a nearby nest and a re-united family!

Juvenile Brimstone Canary

Orchid Hunting at Barrydale – Day Two

Our day started with a visit to the Barrydale Information Centre, where we hoped to get directions to a nature reserve in the area.  There wasn’t one there, but the very helpful lady in the office contacted the local conservation officer who gave us permission to visit a portion of the mountain which had been burned in the pass.  This was great news, but there was more to come.

She put us in touch with Hildegard Crous, who propagates wild orchids in her own laboratory in Barrydale, so we set off to visit her.  This turned out to be a great move as she is doing fantastic work and had a number of interesting specimens at hand. She was very happy to show us around and we were very impressed with her knowledge and hospitality.  Years of patient work are starting to pay off and we saw the results of her dedication in the form of beautiful specimens of Disa barbata and Bartholina etheliae. She also showed us a couple of really spectacular Pelargoniums that she had grown.

We then proceeded to the Tradouw Pass again and this time into the burnt section of the mountain, where we immediately started to find Orchids.  We managed to identify Pterygodium acutifolium, Ceratandra atrata, Disa bivalvata and Disa reticulata, Evotella carnosum, Satyrium stenopetalum and Satyrium acuminatum. It was wonderful to be back amongst our favourite flowers!

There were, of course, many other wonderful species to see and we were well pleased with our day, and the entire Barrydale experience.  We had met some wonderful people and had achieved around 12 different orchid species, albeit that a few were well past their prime.  We also identified 58 bird species in the area.