02 November 2009

Walking to the Waterfall

Today we walked up Rooikat (all these cats that we never see!) Ravine to Cecilia Waterfall which is a good walk because you are guaranteed a few dogs on the way. Not quite as doggy as the Newlands Dogwoods, but good enough. Dougal had a bit of a stand-off with two black snauzers so he was happy. Looking back towards the path we were going to walk along we were a bit alarmed because it looked like it might have slipped down the mountain, but luckily it hadn't.
Sue was there today, and Richard and Lucy (so Dougal didn't have to be the alpha male today as our Alpha is still off walks because of his tendonitis) and Caireen was back after a hellovalong break! Josie, another Maltese came along too but she thinks she is a human and treats us with disdain. See what I mean.
We had tea under the waterfall, and I tried to make friends with Josie, but she wasn't interested.
The Food Lady saw lots of interesting plants, including this splendid Liparia splendens, the mountain dahlia (which is not a dahlia at all but a pea). We came out into the newly cleared area which is starting to look less like a volcano blast site. There were lots of good, good smells... and some orchids and bulbs coming up on the cleared slopes, like this not-quite-open Moraea bituminosa. The flowers only open after midday and die by the end of the day.

And this Acraea horta butterfly on some Quaking Grass. The males are a beautiful dark orange. This butterfly is full of cyanide and it is thought that it gets the cyanide directly from its host-plant, the Wild Peach, Kiggelaria africana. You can smell the cyanide if you crush a leaf. (The anti-herbivore defence system of this tree seems to have backfired on it because by providing the acraeas with a means of defence against predators, it contributes to the success of its chief enemy.)

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