19 November 2008

Amazon Forest, food and moles

Sue set a rather cracking pace up what the humans call the ‘mule track’ (though I think they meant mole, and I have never seen a mole walking on a track and besides, moles are pretty blind). Not even I could keep up with her. Perhaps she was scared of seeing a giant mole and didn’t know that Dougal and I would soon sort it out! Our humans and Alice and Paul were also there. We all managed to make it up the mole track and collapsed in the coolth of Amazon Forest. I managed to find a treasure trove of tidbits under the seated area of the boardwalk, although my humans did not share my joy and muttered about littering. We had quite a feast with Alice's Chelsea buns, Paul's dates, Sue's biscuits, Alpha Males's wine gums and the Foodlady's rusks.

It clouded over somewhat and we finished this nice walk (although there were not enough other people and dogs for my taste) with a lovely cool breeze keeping the dreaded heat exhaustion at bay.
The Foodlady put these two flowers on the blog. One is the Cape bluebell or Wahlenbergia capensis, and the other is the kaneeltjie or Pelargonium triste, that has a distinctive smell of cloves suggesting that it is pollinated by long-tongued moths in the night. (But not moles or mules).
Ps. We don’t really enjoy the boardwalk as it is difficult to control our back legs and they keep slipping in the gaps. But we were mindful of the conservation of this delicate area and stayed on them. (Besides, the Foodlady said that we would fall into a CAVE and disappear forever if we didnt stay on the path. Perhaps that is where the giant moles live?)

11 November 2008

No snakes up Slangkop and no cobras in Cobra Camp, only snake stem pincushions

Another new walk for us at Kommetjie.
Sue, Lucy, Richard, Thea, our humans, Dougal (and, of course, me) set off along this path towards the Slangkop Lighthouse that had a dog for ever 50 m or so! What joy.

Then we veered up onto the mountain and zigzagged our way up to a motley collection of buildings that used to be a radar station in a far off human war. The humans got a bit anxious because the buildings are perched on the very edge of the cliff. They snapped on our leads and dragged us off - then let us off again on a path that was just perfect for us heath-loving Scots.

Even the pincushion bushes were really low down (they are special creeping ones called snake stem pincushions Leucospermum hypophyllocarpodendron) and it was easy to chase mice and, joy of joys, TORTOISES! I even got to have a quick chew of one before it was confiscated and I was most unfairly ticked off.
There were lots of them in all shapes and sizes.

Check this bagworm! Like tortoises it carries its house round on its back. Its actually a caterpillar of the moth family Psychidae.

We stopped for tea and rusks near a rocky outcrop with a shady cave for us.
Here is a rare photo of the Foodlady.

The Foodlady was quite excited to see this little plant with a fun name of bloucabong (Lapeirousia corymbosa).
Coming down again was hot and thirsty work, and we took advantage of any shade we could find.

Back at the beach, the humans had a good look at the Hoerikwaggo Trail tented camp near the lighthouse (the Foodlady has more about that on her blog http://veldfloraed.blogspot.com/2008/11/hoerikwaggo-trail-tented-classic.html but we Scots were too hot to even take much of an interest in the boardwalk dogs. A quick cool-off in the cold Atlantic was most welcome too - although we don't really enjoy water that creeps up on us and then mysteriously disappears.
For more information about the walk, Cobra Camp and the Slangkop Lighthouse, go to http://www.hikecapetown.co.za/bestwalks/EWCobraCamp.htm

03 November 2008

Elepant's eyes and spiders

Yesterday Sue, Lucy-the-vet, Richard, Alpha Male, the Foodlady, Dougal and I went in search of an Elephants eye which was crazy because we only found this HUGE cave which was filled with people and a rather hyperactive staffie.

We had tea in the throng, and then said goodbye to half of the party who had to go home to lunch. The Foodlady and Alpha Male then walked us up to the Constantiaberg mast - which at 928 m is almost as high as Maclears Beacon (at 1087 m it is the highest point on Table Mountain.) The tip of the mast up here is actually the highest point on the Cape Peninsula - 60 m higher than Maclears Beacon.

It was lovely and cool. We saw some amazing furry proteas called the brown bearded protea, Protea speciosa.

The Foodlady was taking a photo of raindrops on a funnel-shaped spider web in the path when a spider came running out but unfortunately it was so tiny it was difficult to photograph (or eat) but you can just see it in the photo in front of its tunnel. According to Norman Larsen (an arachnologist at the South African Natural History Museum) it is Euprosthenopsis pulchella - a very common dark brown spider with dorsoventral "GT" stripes.

Coming back to the Silvermine dam via the top of Blackburn Ravine we bumped into lots of dogs which was just the best (although with Dougal one is never too sure when a situation could just get out of control). This one here (top) had just arrived from TEXAS, in the USA.

For more information on the spider, go to http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/arachnids/spiders/pisauridae/euprosthenops.htm.