28 May 2012

Wild water

Walking today were Paul, Sue and Joana from Portugal, who is back to do her PhD on penguins. (Click here for a summary of all the different penguin species.) Richard also came with Josie, and Emily from Arizona, who is here to study cormorants. Alice and Maddie were not here as Maddie has a cough. It was the Alph's first walk since getting back from the land of eucalypt leaf-eating possums, koalas and wombats, who would all feel right at home in the gums that we trudged through in the early morning sun on our way up the mountain. (In the foreground is Slangbos, which is now no longer Stoebe but Seriphium plumosum - a member of the daisy family.) We walked up Robbie's walk which is looking lovely especially as more and more of the gums and pines are being harvested and the indigenous fynbos is returning. This is one of the Muraltia shrubs, probably Muraltia heisteria, coming up everywhere. Tea on a knoll overlooking Cape Town. There are still lots of pines that escaped out of the plantations and now grow in inaccessible spots on the cliffs - but SANParks are doing a great job cleaning up and the Food Lady hopes that they continue to do so.
Lots of lovely water in all the streams and waterfalls. I went extreme adventuring up one of the waterfalls, until the spoil-sport Food Lady called me down. Paul photographing the waterfall and trying to avoid tripping over that large fat Rottweiler with a heart-shape on its behind - similar to some of our human nieces and nephew's jeans with funny messages like 'BONG' written on their behinds.There were dainty white Rice Ericas (Erica lutea), and luminous Green Proteas (Protea coronata),
lovely paths overlooking Kirstenbosch with good smells,
and Green Protea Beetles (Trichostetha fascicularis) and honeybees feasting on pollen and nectar in the flowers of the Waboom (Protea ntidia), stripey Autumn Pipes (Gladiolus brevifolius),
and some fiery-bright Rooipypies (Gladiolus priorii),
as well as a few nasties - like this alien invasive weed, Woolly Nightshade, Solanum mauritianum. Its green berries are very toxic to humans and no doubt dogs too, although it is the favourite food of the African Olive Pigeon or Rameron Pigeon.
Some cheerful little winter oxalis flowers - possibly Oxalis commutata, were enjoying the damp conditions,
and there was lots of frothy foam in the rivers and streams.
Some of us chose to cross the stream over the bridge, but I chose to swim across. Actually it was rather deeper than I expected but it was very exhilarating! I think I am a bit of an adrenalin junkie. What exciting thing shall we do next week?

25 May 2012

Dermoscopy down under

The Alph got back from Brisbane today and showed us some of his photos. This is him checking into Singapore Air to Brisbane for a dermoscopy conference. The Food Lady and us stayed behind.
Australia is the land of possums which interests us Scottiies. (This is not the Alph's photo but one we found on the Internet.) Good to chase? You BET.
A photo for the Food Lady of a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo - Kiki from the Food Lady's favourite children's Adventure books by Enid Blyton.
The Alph stayed with Dee, the Food Lady's cousin, and her husband Mike, who live in Brisbane, on the Brisbane River.
The Conference Centre in warm (sun-damaging) and leafy (too much carbon dioxide in the air from all that fossil-fuel burning in Oz) Brisbane. (Oh yes, and its official, sunscreen doesn't give you rickets.) When the conference was over, our Alph met up with his sister Nicola who came all the way from New Zealand, and they went exploring ...
Not to be outdone by Pudsey, this is Brisbane's performing dog, delighting the crowds.
A city CAT! Yikes!
I'd be careful in one of those Nicky!
The city from the Brisbane River
and a visit to the off licence, and they were away ...
Following in the steps of the late lamented Crocodile Man of Oz up north - and more beer!
Some Australian proteas (banksias) and the Glass House Mountains - although how they got a glass house from that great volcanic plug is anyone's guess.
An iconic Ozzie sign. (I wonder if kangaroos are as good as baboons to chase? Dougal thinks not as good as possums.)
Then south for a dip in the Gold Coast sea.And here are some photos of friends and family ... the next door dogs looking a bit skinny - obviously not allowed to eat possums. Health and safety and all that you know.Mike and Dee Bradshaw on their way to work ... Anthony Tomlinson (a friend of Nicola's who has also wound up in the antipodes) and Nicola. Note the Rosselli on the wall!
The Alph and his sister.
Welcome home to a very wet and cold Cape Town Alph. (I will have to give up my place on the bed, but I don't really mind - its nice to have you home.)

20 May 2012

Snakethistles on Slangkop

This morning, minus the Alph who is still in The Land of Oz, Sue, Thea (minus Boris), Lee-Anne from Canada and a new Kate who works in the bird section of Bristol Zoo and is out here on an Earth Watch visit, set out in the Land Rover in a gentle drizzle. By the time we got to this church at Rubbi Road in Kommetjie, the sun was trying to shine. Alice was there with Maddie, and Richard and Lucy and Josie. So off we all set up Slangkop mountain.
There were lots of pretty Sandkalossies (Lachenalia rubida) flowering in the white sand, as well as some interesting restios and sedges, and this funny little scrofularious Manulea cheiranthus.
Looking back over Kommetjie village and Long Beach - with Chapman's Peak on the right.
We hit the road and walked up past Ocean View and some cheerful and friendly humans greeted us, but the dogs all barked menacingly, but I was cool about that as I knew nodog would take on Maddy.
We also met a jogging Jack Russell who didn't even glance at us he was so involved in his jog.
Back on the main Hoerikwaggo Path, we saw lots of flowers for the Food Lady and Alice, like this Bristly Snakethistle Cullumia setosa. What is is about this place and snakes? Slangkop, snake thistles, snake stem pincushions, cobra camp! (See this previous post too).
It started to drizzle and I was rather envious of Josie in her fur-lined rain jacket.
The rain set in and we trudged soggily past Cobra Camp ruins, down a new path we had never been on before.
A pretty sage that the Food Lady had never seen before - Rooi Salie (Salvia lanceolata).
The cars were still there and the rain stopped.
Down the avenue of gums we trudged,
all rather wet and bedraggled and looking forward to a nice warm blanket.
On the way home we saw lots of baboons near Tokai Forest which was very exciting.