26 April 2010

Wildlife on Swartkops Mountain, but no baboons

Walkies today was up Swartkops Mountain. Alice, Pauline and Thea came - and the Alpha Male and Food Lady too of course. They were happy to see the serruria bushes looking healthy - some even starting to flower - and lots of photos were taken. We were more interested in the animals, but sadly, saw no baboons this time. There were lots of birds making a hellova racket in the proteas and and more and more goggas are coming out - like this Cape Zebra Cockroach that could qualify for being one of the "small five" of Table Mountain. It was quite a steep scramble up - and I had to be saved once or twice as I am not all that afraid of heights. Tea was almost at the top and most welcome as it was getting quite hot. Here is Alice, Thea, the Alpha Male with me, Dougal and Pauline. This is me looking for baboons with Simon's Town below - from our tea spot. After tea we scrambled up to the top and WOW there were lots of dassies (trying to look like rocks but they couldn't fool us because they have the most fantastic dassie smell) and a black eagle being mobbed by crows and ravens. It was difficult to know which way to run! The spoilsport humans put our leads on because they were worried we might fall off the edge. Soon it was time to go down again and we were very disappointed in not being allowed to chase dassies, and it got rather hot. On the way down, the FL did her thing with the camera and flowers (infuriating the AM with her slowness) and found this Autumn Star (Empodium plicatum) complete with little gogga on it, and some Common Mimetes (Mimetes cucullatus) just growing out of the rocks. When we were almost down again, I found a tortoise (the Food Lady shouted at me because she thought I was looking for something else in the bergie-bushes near the road!). This is me and my tortoise, but not mine for long as they chased me away before I could gnaw on its good smelling carapace. Then we found a run-over, very squished Large Spotted Genet (Genetta tigrina) on the mountain track on the way home. FL says its not a real cat but it would have been good for a chase. You can just see me and Dougal, feeling a bit more perky now, off to hunt for more tortoises ...

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