22 September 2015

Scrophs and scruphs

Today was the first Sunday since SANParks (almost a bad word with the Food Lady these days) allowed walkers back on the mountain after the March fires. We were all eager to get through that hole in the wall: Alice and Maddie, Thea and Tessa, Paul and Pauline, the Alph and the Food Lady, and me, Harvey and the Lad. Such excitement!
After hellos were said and boundaries dealt with,
we set off up the hill with False Bay and Muizenberg behind us.
There were lots of flowers coming up in the burnt veld - so much so that it really didn't look very burned at all. These are some scrophs - members of the snap dragon family Scrophulariaceae (the scruphy terriers of the flower world) - White Slugwort or Wit Slakblom (Hebenstreta repens),
and Duinevingertjies (Manulea tomentosa).
They marched us up to the top of the hill ... and when we were only half way up we were neither up nor down.
The humans were a bit nervous about Maddie not liking Harvey so the Alph kept him on a lead when they were together - but in the end it was fine as they ignored each other. (Harvey can be quite in-your-face.) These daisies are Coast Thistles or Dissel (Berkheya barbata)
and this little bulb is a Wild Garlic (Tulbaghia alliacea).
All these flowers were messing with the Food Ladies head - and Alice was also having a good botanize with Maddie looking very patient and good as good can be.
The Oval-leaf Satinflower (Geissorhiza ovata)
and growing at the top on the road past the masts were lots of another little scroph, Zaluzianskya divaricata.
I just loved all the water up here - every little stream is flowing - and all around are little yellow flowers - Pauridia capensis,
and some handsome orchids like these Oumakappies (Pterygodium catholicum).
They are looking after the toads and frogs up here,
so we all dutifully stuck to the path (even me - most of the time). This is Tessa, all grown up since we last saw her.
Then we were hit in the face by these amazing white flowers of the Pale Aristea (Aristea spiralis).
Thea had to collapse in a heap in them.
Laddie looking rather posh in amongst the Goue-Trewwa (Satyrium bicorne) orchids all lined up along the road.
Looking over False Bay.
Pauline mislaid her dark glasses and wondered if she hadn't dropped them when we got out our raingear in a sudden small shower, so we decided to cut back to the top of Pecks Valley. Just look at me bounding down the rocks like a mountain goat. I love the cooler weather!
Some curly ferns - the Toothbrush Fern (Schizaea pectinata) - unfurling in the spring weather and dampness.
We got back to where we had started from, and the youngsters went crazy - Tessa and Lad and the Boston Terrorist. I just got out of their way and hid behind the Alph.
The Food Lady getting artistic - the fluffy, scruphy seedhead of a daisy - maybe Othonna digitata.
Pauline looked for her glasses but sadly, they were not there. (But luckily she found them at home later on.)
Tessa about to jump down into the stream - lovely lovely cool water for hot Scots.
Almost down and the Food Lady found this plant that she has never seen before - Wachendorfia multiflora.
Me and my best friend Maddie at the end of a great walk. It is frabjous to be back in the Kalk Bay hills - our very best place. And you can see a Waboom (Protea nitida) sprouting from its branches (from epicormic roots) after the fire. Amazing!

14 September 2015

Baboons up Baskloof

On Sunday we drove out to Kommetjie to fetch Pauline and then on to Scarborough. We parked overlooking the windy sea and struck out up the steep mountainside.
There were lots and lots of pretty spring flowers coming up on the firebreak - including Oumakappie orchids (Pterygodium catholicum).
As we came to the houses, the path takes a sharp left and we climbed higher and higher,
past lots of interesting birds and flowers - these are Frothy Heaths or Swartbekkies (Erica spumosa).
The Food Lady was in heaven! And me and Laddie had so much fun ...
You come to the Crocodile Rock and turn right,
then cross the rocky bits, trying not to look too hard at the scary snary rock monsters leering down as us.
Then you get a wonderful little glimpse of the sea down the kloof - which we think must be Baskloof.
All along the way there are welcome streams to dip and sip from.
Cape Bunting and other birds were calling and flitting about.
We stopped for tea in the shadow of Vloeiberg, and were enjoying delicious dog biltong and our own private drinking puddle, when we were suddenly aware of something coming down the cliffs in front of us. The Food Lady and the Alph dived for the leads and, snip snap, they were on just as we saw ...
OMG it was so exciting!
We nearly platzed!
Soon more and more appeared and nonchalantly walked past us, sometimes coming up quite close to investigate. It was a pity we were on leads as we were itching to chase those blighters back up the cliffs and over the hills into the sea.
The Food Lady discovered afterwards that they are the Misty Cliffs Troop. 
They soon moved off, followed by the baboon monitors, and so we resumed our walk along the road
until it petered out on a hill overlooking the Hoerikwaggo Trail route from Red Hill to Kommetjie.
It was starting to warm up rather, and the cooling wind dropped suddenly, so we turned round and set off back the way we had come.
A beautiful miniature protea - the Peninsula Silkypuff (Diastella divaricata) which only occurs on the Cape Peninsula, and is classified as RARE even though it is quite common in the Peninsula mountain fynbos.
It got sunnier and hotter - and the Laurel-leaf Sushine Conebushes (Leucadendron laureolum) were shining brightly.
Soon - great excitement and leads back on - we caught up with the baboon troop who were having elevenses and kipping and relaxing in the sunshine, completely ignoring us as we barked and pulled on the leads trying to chase them. Such spoil sport humans!
I was so focused on the baboons that I didn't really notice this strange tortoise who was able to pull right inside its shell so that it couldn't be seen.
The salt and pepper heath (Erica imbricata) was just everywhere,
as was the sweet-scented (for humans!) Struthiola ciliata.
Lad and I were all hyped up and eager to find more baboons - there were smells everywhere! Just look at our tails pointing skywards. The humans admired the Tree Pagodas (Mimetes fimbriifolius) -
some of them just starting to flower. They also only occur wild on the Cape Peninsula and nowhere else in the world and are classified as Rare.
Lots of bulbs are popping up now that summer is settling in. This is Moraea neglecta.
By this stage I was hot and needed to be helped down the mountain. Its not funny getting old and being a black dog on a hot summer's day. I was grateful for all the shade I could find.
Another bulb - Babiana ambigua most probably.
I took my time going down the last few metres of the path - still hoping to catch sight of a hairy, smelly primate ...
The Food Lady caught sight of hundreds of tiny little white flowers that put her in a spin ... possibly Wahlenbergia longifolia?
A colour variation of Struthiola ciliata.
The insect-catching Drosera cistiflora.
And lastly, some more dolls house flowers - Doll Roses or Pokkiesblomme (Hermannia hyssopifolia).
Pauline and the Alph and the Lad were waiting for us at the car and the notice warning us of ...
you know what.
Then we went to drop Pauline at her country house, and we made the neighbour's dog's acquaintance.
While the Alph and Pauline made some Gee and Tees, the Food Lady took us down to the vlei to cool off in the deliciously cold water. Après walk heaven for dogs.
I frightened a Yellow-billed Duck that scudded off,
and Laddie frightened some poor innocent rodent or gogga.
Then we had to wait in the car so as not to upset Max who lives with Pauline and doesn't abide Scotties.
Après walk heaven for humans!
Thanks from the Alph and FL Pauline!
For more info on baboons and their management on the Cape Peninsula click here.