Fauna and Flora Friday: 22 January 2021

Lampranthus aureus, Golden Vygie

Lampranthus aureus is a neatly rounded, erect, small shrub that grows up to about 400 x 500 mm.

The leaves are paired, free or slightly fused at the base, dark green, and grow to 50 mm. The most attractive aspect of the plant is its unbelievably bright orange flowers. The shiny orange flowers in clusters on short stalks are 60 mm in diameter and appear from August. Yellow forms also occur. After flowering, a woody fruit capsule that has five locules follow.

Lampranthus aureus is best suited for winter rainfall areas and hot summers. The plants do not thrive where they are subject to prolonged periods of frost. They can withstand extreme dry conditions and do not need much care.

They are pollinated by insects when flowers are fully open.

The swollen leaves ensure the survival of it during long, hot, and dry spells. Brightly colored flowers invite pollinators and ensure seed production. Another adaptation for survival is an abundance of seeds produced. The more seeds there are, the better the chances of germination and survival.

According to the current Red List, Lampranthus aureus is Vulnerable. 

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 15 January 2021

Common Greenshank

The common greenshank can appear very like a marsh sandpiper when wading, but the bill on the greenshank has an upturned appearance and the body is heavier and less slender in appearance. Greenshanks have long green legs and a long bill with a grey base.

When not breeding, the plumage is grey to brown above and a pale white below. During breeding season, the upper body becomes heavily streaked and marked, a bold black chevron type marking becomes visible on the chest.

The common greenshank feeds on insects, crustaceans and small fish. They are surface feeders and feed along the shoreline. They will feed both nocturnally and diurnally.

The common greenshank is found in fresh and saltwater areas, in marshes, mudflats, lakeshores and lagoons. The common greenshank is found throughout South Africa, except in the very arid areas. They are a summer visitor to South Africa.

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 8 January 2021

Hedera, Ivy

Hedera, commonly called ivy (plural ivies), is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central, and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa, and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.

On the ground, they remain creeping, not exceeding 5–20 cm in height. It can climb up to at least 30 m above the ground on suitable surfaces like trees, natural rock outcrops, or man-made structures. 

Ivies have two leaf types, with palmately lobed juvenile leaves on creeping and climbing stems, unlobed cordate adult leaves on fertile flowering stems exposed to full sun. 

The juvenile and adult shoots also differ. Juvenile leaves are slender, flexible, and scrambling or climbing with small aerial roots to affix the shoot to the substrate (rock or tree bark). Adult leaves are thicker, self-supporting, and has no roots. 

The flowers are greenish-yellow with five small petals; they are produced in umbels in autumn to early winter and are very rich in nectar. The fruit is a greenish-black, dark purple, or (rarely) yellow berry 5–10 mm diameter with one to five seeds, ripening in late winter to mid-spring. The seeds are dispersed by birds that eat the berries.

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Write

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 18 December 2020

Kelp GullLarus dominicanus

The kelp gull superficially resembles two gulls from further north in the Atlantic Ocean, the lesser black-backed gull, and the great black-backed gull, and is intermediate in size between these two species.

The adult kelp gull has black upperparts and wings. The head, underparts, tail, and the small “mirrors” at the wing tips are white. The bill is yellow with a red spot, and the legs are greenish-yellow (brighter and yellower when breeding, duller and greener when not breeding). Juveniles have dull legs, a black bill, a dark band in the tail, and an overall grey-brown plumage densely edged whitish, but they rapidly get a pale base to the bill and largely white head and underparts. They take three or four years to reach maturity

In South Africa, the kelp gull breeds in spring and early summer at Wolfgat Nature Reserve (Swartklip) and Rondevlei. They usually breed on off-shore islands and, nests are sometimes found on unfrequented cliffs. The nest is a scrape in the soil and lined with grass, feathers, or twigs. Two to three eggs varying in color from light green to turquoise or ochre with dark markings are laid.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 11 December 2020

Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis

Also known as Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 

Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 

I am sad to say that it is on the SANBI Red List of South African plants.

The name of this species indicates that the plant must be something special. The Latin word speciosissimus means spectacular or the showiest of all. 

It grows in dry fynbos on rocky sandstone slopes and in valleys in the Vanrhynsdorp, Clanwilliam, Piketberg, and Tulbagh districts. 

It is a vigorous shrub, 0.45-2.5 m high, strongly resiniferous, and smooth. Branches leafy in the upper part, bare below. Leaves (40-60)-200 mm long, needle-like with up to 7 to each side of the central nerve. Individual flower heads are borne on stout stems 80-400 mm long. Outer bracts of flower heads are fused into a deep cup that is inflated in the lower half and narrowing into a beak towards the open end, 8-15 mm high. Flower heads are large, up to 90 mm in diameter, with 16-35 ray florets, the rays 17-45 mm long, and yellow color. Central disc florets are numerous (100-400). Seeds are 6-7 mm long and without hairs.

Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 

Flowering is mainly from August to November but may start in July and continue into January. 

I took the following photo’s just outside of Citrusdal on 1 August 2020. This was the first time I have captured this beautiful flower. I went back to my archives to see if I captured it in 2013 when I did the Tour de Sanparks. Not one photo…. I feel very blessed that I got a chance to capture it forever.

Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 
Euryops speciosissimus, Pronkharpuis, Clanwilliam Daisy, Clanwilliamharpuis, Harpuisbos, Langbeenharpuis, or Resin Bush 

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 4 December 2020

Hartlaub’s gull Chroicocephalus hartlaubii

It is a small gull which is a non-migratory breeding resident endemic to the Atlantic Ocean coastline of South Africa and Namibia. It is also known as King gull. It is predominantly coastal or estuarine and is rarely seen at sea far from land.

Hartlaub’s gull is 36–38 cm in length. It is a mainly white gull with a grey back and upper wings, black wingtips with conspicuous white mirrors, and a dark bill and legs. It has a very faint lavender grey head when breeding but otherwise has a white head. Sexes are similar. 

It breeds in large colonies, and the main traditional breeding colony for the Cape Town area is on Robben Island. The adults fly to the mainland to find food for their chicks, a round trip of about 24 km. The Hartlaub’s gull takes two years to reach maturity. Juvenile birds have a brown band across the wings. They differ from same-age grey-headed gulls in that they lack a black terminal tail band, less dark areas in the wings, darker legs, and a white head.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 27 November 2020

Burchell’s Zebra, Equus quagga burchellii

Burchell’s Zebra,is a southern subspecies of the plains zebra. It is named after the British explorer and naturalist William John Burchell. Common names include the Bontequagga, Damaraland zebra, and Zululand zebra . Burchell’s zebra is the only subspecies of zebra which may be legally farmed for human consumption.

Like most plains zebras, Burchells live in small family groups. These can be either harem or bachelor groups, with harem groups consisting of one stallion and one to six mares and their most recent foals, and bachelor groups containing two to eight unattached stallions. The males in bachelor herds are often the younger or older stallions of the population, as they are most likely not experienced enough or strong enough to defend breeding rights to a group of females from challengers. These small groups often congregate together in larger herds around water and food sources, but still, maintain their identity as family units while in the population gatherings.

Formerly, the Burchell’s zebra range was centered north of the Vaal/Orange river system, extending northwest via southern Botswana to Etosha and the Kaokoveld, and southeast to Swaziland and KwaZulu-Natal. Now extinct in the middle portion, it survives at the northwestern and southeastern ends of the distribution.

Burchell’s zebra migrates the longest distance of any terrestrial animal in Africa, traveling 160 miles one way.

Burchell’s Zebra
Burchell’s Zebra
Burchell’s Zebra
Burchell’s Zebra
Burchell’s Zebra

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 20 November 2020

Oxalis purpurea, Grand Duchess Sorrel

Got the following information in my Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa by John Manning.

‘Stemless perennial with the leaves divided into 3 broadly heart-shaped leaflets, finely fringed on the margins and purple beneath, and lare purple, pink, yellow or white flowers with a yellow tube, 25-40mm in diameter. Widespread and common on damp flats and slopes from Namaqualand to the Eastern Cape. Flower time from May to September.

I took the following photos in the West Coast National Park.

Oxalis purpurea, Grand Duchess Sorrel
Oxalis purpurea, Grand Duchess Sorrel
Oxalis purpurea, Grand Duchess Sorrel
Oxalis purpurea, Grand Duchess Sorrel
Oxalis purpurea, Grand Duchess Sorrel

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 13 November 2020

Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii

I got the following information in my Stuarts’ Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa. By Chris & Mathilde Stuart. The photos was taken in the Goegap Nature Reserve just outside of Springbok.

Brants’s Whistling Rats are stockily built, with tails shorter than the head-and-body length. Body colour is very variable and ranges from pale reddish-yellow with white underparts to a brownish or greyish yellow with grey underparts. The tail may be similar in colour to the upperparts or dark above and pale below.

Brants’s Whistling Rats can be observed in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Goegap Nature Reserve, South Africa. They occur mainly in areas receiving less than 300mm of rain per annum.

Brants’s Whistling Rats commonly live in colonies, but they do not share burrows; may live in Solitary. Large Brant’s colonies stand out on the landscape because they are generally stripped of most vegetation. When alarmed they stand on their hind legs, in close proximity to the burrow.

Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii

They occasionally feed at the food site, but more commonly they bite off pieces of vegetation and carry them back to eat at the burrow entrance. When feeding, they stand on the hind legs, using the front feet to hold and manipulate the food.

Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii

They are vegetarian, eating the leaves of succulents and other green plant food, as well as seeds and flowers.

Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii
Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii

Brants’s Whistling Rats gives birth to 1-4 young, mainly during late summer and gestation last up to 38 days. Their lifespan in the wild is around 2 years.

Brants’s Whistling Rat, Parotomys brantsii

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

Fauna and Flora Friday: 6 November 2020

Dimorphotheca pluvialis, White Rain Daisy, Reënblommetjie

Dimorphotheca pluvialis is a glandular-haired annual herb and grows up to 30cm. It has lance-shaped, lobed to toothed leaves, and radiate flowerheads, 40-50mm in diameter. The rays are white and purple at the base and darker on the reverse side. The disc is dark purple.

Dimorphotheca pluvialis, White Rain Daisy, Reënblommetjie

Dimorphotheca pluvialis is an annual endemic to sandy and clay flats and slopes from Southern Namibia, Namaqualand and the Southern Cape.

During spring huge fields are covered with this bright white daisy, forming a dazzling mass. In their natural habitat the flowers are pollinated by small horseflies that get covered with pollen as they fly from one daisy to the next in search of tiny amounts of nectar.

Fields of White Rain Daisies at Postberg Nature Reserve
Fields of White Rain Daisies at Postberg Nature Reserve
Fields of White Rain Daisies at Postberg Nature Reserve
Fields of White Rain Daisies at Postberg Nature Reserve
Fields of White Rain Daisies at Postberg Nature Reserve

These annuals are adapted to germinate, grow, flower and set seed during the rainy winter and to survive the long dry summer as seed. The seeds are interesting in that two different forms are produced. 

Flower season is between August and October. They are normally the first flowers to showcase their beauty after rain.

Dimorphotheca pluvialis, White Rain Daisy, Reënblommetjie
Dimorphotheca pluvialis, White Rain Daisy, Reënblommetjie
Dimorphotheca pluvialis, White Rain Daisy, Reënblommetjie
Flower season at Postberg Nature Reserve

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen