Saturday, 9 April 2016

Back to Umbumbazi after a long absence

Umbumbazi is a small Nature Reserve run by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and is situated about 7 kilometres due south of the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve reception. As there have been disputes over land use issues with the local community we have stayed away, but yesterday we were asked to assist Dave and Yvette with the retrieval of several camera traps which Yvette has been using for a PhD research project. All the cameras had been deployed in forest patches to detect small mamals - this trip would give us the opportunity see what was flowering in the grasslands and forest patches while the cameras were being collected.

It seems that maintenance has been rather neglected as the access roads were almost hidden under shoulder-high grass. Unfortunately, we soon found out that the tick population was flourishing.

In the first forest patch we found Allophyllus dregeanus in flower and the fruits of a Dioscorea cotinifolia at the forest edge and deeper in the shade, some Isoglossa cooperii.
Allophyllus dregeanus
Dioscorea cotinifolia fruits

Isoglossa cooperii
On a grassy slope we came across Helichrysum decorum and a tangle of Macrotyloma axillare with its pink-tinged greeny-yellow flowers. In a nearby bush clump Kiggelaria africana had a few very late flowers as well as hosting caterpillars of the garden Acraea (Acraea horta) in various sizes, nicely timed to escape predation by intra-African migrant cuckoos.

Helichrysum decorum
Macrotyloma axilare
Kiggelaria africana (with Acraea horta caterpillar partially obscured)
The Trema orientalis displayed its ripening fruits to entice birds.

Trema orientalis
In a lower-lying grassland/wetland we found Syncolostemon densiflorus, Pycnostachys reticulata, Watsonia pillansii, Pachycarpus concolor and Schizoglossum atropurpureum subsp. virens in flower.
Syncolostemon densiflorus
Pycnostachys reticulata
Watsonia pillansii
Pachycarpus concolor
Participants: Anne S, Dave E-S, Graham G, Kate G, Uschi T, Yvette E-S

No comments:

Post a Comment