03 April 2011

April Fools

This morning Me, Dougal, the Alph and Food Lady, Alice and Pauline set out early to look for the April Fools in Spes Bona. Looking over False Bay - Kalk Bay immediately below. Is this an April Fool? A bright RED ant? It might be as we can't find anything in any book about it. We climbed up to Mimetes Valley where there are lovely rodent smells for us, and views for the humans and mimetes plants for Alice. You can just see Cape Point sticking out in the sun to the left of the Simon's Town mountains.

This is one of those strange fynbos endemics - the Grey Stilbe (Stilbe vestita) that only occurs in fynbos in the extreme southwestern Cape. The whole family is called Stilbaceae and it mostly occurs in the fynbos but apparently includes a few forest species too.
Can't wait to taste some of the eau-de-vie in Nellie's Pool.
A mean looking Spotted Blister Beetle (Ceroctis capensis) eating away at an Autumn Pipes (Gladiolus brevifolius).
Us waiting for the stragglers.
Me guarding the rusks at tea.
Tea overlooking False Bay. The Alpha Male, Pauline and Alice - with the Food Lady on the other side of the camera and Dougal and me running to see if she has a piece of rusk for us. (Dawnie already at her feet waiting ...)
Then we were passed by an interesting group of people.
Hey, they are calling me! I ZAPPED off to see but discovered that they also have a chocolate coloured lab called Coco - also after Coco Chanel! But she wasn't nearly such a cute little black number as me.
After tea we set off again up the mountain to Kalk Bay Peak - or known in our house as "Sam's Nemesis" because this is where the Food Lady once nearly walked our predecessor - Sam the lab - to an early death by dehydration! Luckily he survived to walk lots more and died peacefully a few years later. This is me looking down into Spes Bona Forest in the kloof far below.
Although she looks nearly dead too - Dawnie is actually a tough old duck!
And once over the top and into the forest - we saw lots and lots of April Fools (Haemanthus coccineus). I was not sure what to expect, but they were rather odd little flowers that looked like someone had plonked a few plastic flowers in the leaf litter - they are just stalks with flowers on top. The leaves come out later. Apparently the flowers bloom in autumn hoping to attract butterflies and sunbirds to pollinate them, and then the seeds mature quite quickly so that by the time it starts raining in winter, they are ready to germinate.
Me taking a botanical interest in these foolish flowers.
Dougal taking an interest in the rodents. (Lots of shouting from the Food Lady as she is scared he will disappear down into a cave.)
Then we came out of the forest and into the sun. There was a lot of bangs and explosions going on that rather unnerved us all but the Food Lady said it was all part of the SA Navy Birthday festivities in Simon's Town.
Looking back up the way we had just come. All the trees on the edge is Spes Bona Forest.
There were lots of this twining parasitic False Dodder (Cassytha ciliolata) which is, astonishingly, part of the Lauraceae family that includes stinkwoods and avocado trees. We saw that someone had been pulling it out of the fynbos and piling it in great piles on the path but it is not a weed but an indigenous plant that has just as much a right to live here as the prettier flowers!
A very bright and showy pink form of the Ninepin Heath (Erica mammosa).
There were lots of Common Starheath (Staavia radiata) which belong to the Bruniaceae - one of those families that almost only occur in the Cape fynbos.
We always seem to see this Flea Bush - actually "Vlieebos" or Cape Fellwort (Saltera sarcocolla) - when we are feeling a bit flea-bitten. This flower belongs to the Penaea family that is one of the four families (Penaea, Grubbia, Roridula and Geissoloma) that only occur in the fynbos and nowhere else. A fluffy little Bulbine flavosa.

We made our way back down the shady, craggy path that we had come up - and we all agreed it was nicer than the Mule Track. There were lots of fragrant flowers too - making it altogether too sweet-smelling for us although Dawn still smells rather good after her roll in unmentionable stuff in the Greenbelt yesterday. (Bath for her when we get home! Bad stinky dog!) Dougal didn't want to cross the busy road when we got back to Boyes Drive and instead made the Alpha cross and the Food Lady yell when he tried to slip out of his lead in the middle of the race track that Boyes Drive has turned into.

Route description here. (Although we came back a slightly different way.)

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