24 February 2009

Scotties on Top!

Us on TOP! Table Mountain behind us. This is the trig beacon at 928 m. (Me still on the lead!) Our humans and Alice (my best!) left early and went via Elephant's Eye cave to the top of Constantiaberg, which was quite windy and chilly.
(The Foodlady left her camera behind so all these lovely photos are Alice's.)

These plants sound like the Alpha Male's name - they are Stoebe rosea and are endemic to the Cape Peninsula. In fact they are so rare that they are known only from two localities: Constantiaberg and in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. They only grow on rocky ridges below 600 m and flower from January to February. For more on Stoebe, click here.

This is the Table Mountain beauty butterfly Aeropetes tulbaghia, the pollinator of the red disa Disa uniflora, visiting Tritoniopsis triticea (commonly called mountain pipes or the summer snake flower). The red plant above is also a disa, the cluster disa Disa ferruginea, and it has no nectar to offer the butterfly so it mimics the Tritoniopsis and the insect-brained Table Mountain beauty (or Table Mountain pride) butterfly is tricked into visiting it and pollinating it without reward. It is the only pollinator of the cluster disa.
There were quite a few of these blue disas out - Disa graminifolia. They are pollinated by carpenter bees who are also tricked by the blue disa's sweet smell into thinking that it has some nectar to offer but in actual fact the disa has none. (It's as bare as Old Mother Hubbard's horrible cupboard!).

Tea and rusks -and us huddled out of the wind with the Constantiaberg mast looming above us. It looked like it was about to topple over as the clouds ripped past it.
Then for a while the Alpha Male let me off the lead as we walked down the other side to the viewpoint over Blackburn Ravine and Hout Bay. It was fantastic to be free!
When we got back to the car it was quite chilly in the wind so we didn't swim in the dam, and just went home - luckily after passing a few dogs (mostly rather wild golden retrievers like Charlie) - a good end to a really nice walk.

16 February 2009

Tea on the rocks

After last week's epic, yesterday's walk was rather tame, but I was quite relieved - I don't really like the heat, and jumping up rocks on a lead is not my idea of fun. (I am sorry I strayed and hope the Alpha Male will soon give me another chance. I have been really good on our regular morning walks with the Foodlady.)
Anyway, it was lovely to have Alice (my BEST) and Sue, Lucy and Richard were back, which was fantastic too. We had a short walk up the Silvermine Stream and saw lots of dogs.

This is Erica mammosa. An interesting purplish-pink variation on the usual red one we see. Its common name is the ninepin heath.

According to Dawn Larsen of the SA Museum, this little fly looks like it could be Hermyia diabolus (Family Tachinidae) which appears to specialize in parasitizing the twig wilter insect. Here it is helping itself to pollen or nectar on Pseudoselago serrata, the tooth-leaved selago.

Apart from lots of dogs along the stream, the Foodlady saw lots of rooiels trees, Cunonia capensis. They have large compound leaves that unfurl from butter-spoon-shaped buds which you can see in the photo. (More info, click on the name.)

Tea on the rocks because dogs are not allowed to picnic next to the dam, and the dog swimming corner was too hectic because Dougal wanted to take out a few Bernese mountain dogs and English setters and their owners were worried.

13 February 2009

Coco's book of the month

The Woodlands Book Club to which the Foodlady belongs has an interesting new book all about a boy who communicates with DOGS. That is something else! I have always wondered what makes humans tick. I would like to meet this boy. It is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, and it is set in Wisconsin up near the COOL Great Lakes. Oh to be COOL.

Edgar, the boy, reminds himself of Kipling’s Mowgli because he can communicate with dogs. His humans breed dogs and the book says that “they had photographs of every dog they’d ever raised but none of themselves.”

Sounds good.

PS I cant really read, but I can pick up a few of the Foodlady's thoughts when she reads

09 February 2009

A DAM hot walk

On the hottest day of the year, our humans and Alice (my favourite human in all the world) dragged us up the mountain from Constantia Nek at 7 'o clock in the morning. I mean drag too because they went up the difficult side of the mountain that was quite steep and scrambly for us Scotties. This is us having our first tea break at the cliff below Bel Ombre Peak.

Camel Rock. You can just see us at the Alpha Male's feet. (Note: still on the lead!)

We joined the jeep track at last, which is always good for a dog or two or three...

A well earned water break at the Overseer's Cottage which is now one of the Hoerikwaggo Trail overnight stops.

The path was so enticing that the humans decided to take a "little" detour round all the dams up on Table Mountain.

Gladiolus monticola, the Autumn Painted Lady. This is the only gladiolus that is endemic to the Cape Peninsula. (The Food Lady has a new camera but promised the Alpha Male not to waste too much time composing photos on this walk.)

A dip in Woodhead Dam. What a pleasure. Followed by our second tea and rusks.

Agapanthus africanus. The true blue winter rainfall agapanthus. (Click on name to find out more.)

Me being carried back down the last stretch. It was so hot I just couldn't go another step!
Next week I am staying at home!

04 February 2009

A dam fine walk

A breezy scramble all the way up Cecilia Ridge - needing help from the humans once or twice - but no other dogs or indeed anyone did we see till we got to the concrete road at the top.
Alice (I LOVE Alice!!) and the Foodlady took LOTS of photos till The Alpha Male threatened to leave them and go on alone.
Note: still on the lead!

Looking down from the top. How did we manage to climb up there!

There was a large dam at the top, and I was very keen for a dip, but the dam level was really low and we had to pick our way through Americans (alas no dogs) and slippery rocks to get to the water.
We had tea above the dam on the path below Klaassenskop, looking over Spilhaus Ridge. We were all quite hot and us dogs were tired so we decided to give the yellowwoods a miss. We walked back down the concrete road which is now part of the main Hoerikwaggo Trail. Saw one rather rude springer spaniel.

What the Table Mountain watsonia should look like - sort of salmon pink.

Near the dam were lots of these ericas - called yellow rice ericas or Erica lutea - and this pretty pine tree look-alike with blue flowers is Psoralea pinnata.

Almost home...

One of our favourite spots to cool off and drink at the end of a long walk - the river near Cecilia parking. Asparagus scandens - the Foodlady thinks its berries looks like Christmas baubles in the forest - with Alice in the background.