Lichen and Sand Fleas

A walk along the Onrus/Vermont Coastal path this morning in search of a Southern Tchagra was unsuccessful, in that we did not find the bird.  It was, nevertheless, a very enjoyable outing and I was fascinated by the beautiful lichen growing on the weathered quartzites.

Another sight that caught my eye was a pool full of dead Sand Fleas.  There must have been many thousands of them and I was left wondering why.

Epic Birding

I set out this morning hoping to do some bird-watching along the Swartrivier road. First stop was at the iron bridge, where I was lucky to see a pair of Cardinal Woodpeckers.  Then on to the gravel and a Black Crake revealed itself. All was going well, but then I spotted a marshal in the road and realised that I was about to drive onto a part of the Cape Epic course.

The cyclists were about to come through, so that was the end of my birding. No matter, a few minutes later the yellow jersey group came through and I was privileged to see the best mountain bikers in the world racing past me!  Unfortunately I did not have the right camera with me, but managed to get some shots, anyway.

After half an hour of watching the race, decided to return home, but stopped in at the Onrus lagoon, where I was extremely lucky and saw a Squacco Heron; a great addition to my Challenge list!  My morning’s birding netted me 58 species – not a lot, but some interesting and rarely seen birds amongst them.

Cormorants Galore!

A call from a friend alerted me yesterday to the presence of huge numbers of Cape Cormorants on the rocks at Platbank, Hermanus.  I rushed down and was blown away by the literally thousands of birds that had gathered on the rocky shoreline!  It was a really amazing sight and one that will always be remembered, especially since this is not a normal roosting spot for them.  Presumably they had been feeding and were resting up before their next foray into the ocean. I searched for other species amongst them, but to no avail – they were all Cape Cormorants!

 

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.

Fynbos Textures

We all love the fynbos with its infinite variety of shapes and colours, but we usually see flowers and scenes for what they are.  The camera allows us to explore these natural wonders out of context and often provides exciting alternatives to normal viewing.  I am fascinated by the textures that are afforded in the natural world and present a few here, in the hope that readers may wish to try to identify what they are actually looking at.

Hermas villosa

The Hermas villosa or tontelblaar, is currently putting on a wonderful show in Fernkloof Reserve, especially in the areas that were burnt a year ago.  The plants have shiny, rigid leaves at ground level and hemispherical flower heads on long smooth stems.  Seen at a distance they look fairly mundane, but by using a Macro lens, one can get really close up and see the myriad of small flowers that make up the globose flower clusters.  They are certainly very photogenic!