30 November 2010

Mugger-dassies on Oppelskop?

The humans are back from their Gauteng jaunt, and Alpha's back is much better but not quite. So with Dougal to protect us from muggers, we set out for the hotbed of mugging activity - Devil's Peak. It was quite windy, with a Southeaster tablecloth settling on the Table, and falling down Platteklip Gorge.
We were joined by Paul and Pauline, Richard, Lucy and Josie and Sue. This is me asking for instructions about which way to go - with Richard protecting Josie from the fierce wind.
Dougal ran ahead to look for muggers. (What do they look like I wonder - dassies on steroids?) Do you think this rock face is a mugger?
But all we saw was lots of flowers like this tiny scrophulariacious spiky plant - Manulea cheiranthus,
and this Cat's Tail (Microdon dubius) which, of course, being a cat's tail, is also scrophulariacious.
We walked along the lower contour path, admiring the view back to Lions Head and over the city, and ahead we could see Twelve 'o Clock Hole - Dougal out there being the mugger spotter. Maybe there are muggers in the hole?
This is Oppelskop which was rather windy so the spoilsport Food Lady didn't let us go and explore the old Lookout Hut ruin because she thought it was a bit steep. You can see Robben Island in the distance - just beyond Oppelskop - and the coastline of the West Coast.
In fact, just as we thought we could smell dassies - maybe even mugger-dassies - on went the leads! This is Dougal trying to get over the edge to chase dassies.
This is Paul with his long lens walking through the Hymenolepis crithmoides bushes.
Tea time at Saddle Rock - all trussed up against the wind.
On our way down the zigzag path, we saw this rare Red Protea (Protea grandiceps) which is almost extinct on Table Mountain. Tony Rebelo says these ones are planted.
I found a friend. I asked him if he'd seen any muggers and he said no, but he was looking forward to sinking his teeth into their heels. (That's what Australian Sheep Dogs do.)
The Food Lady had fun taking photos of flowers - like this Blue Sceptre (Aristea capitata) ...
and this little orchid Disa harveyana subsp. harveyana (thanks to Bill Liltved for the id.) that mimics a pelargonium to trick long-tongued flies like horseflies (that deserve to be tricked!) into pollinating them. They have no nectar so they rely on trickery and luckily horseflies are really stupid and easily fooled.
And after a quick bark at the gate to let the neighbourhood know I was home, I fell asleep in my favourite armchair.

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