“Discovered”

“Stats” haven’t really been too much of a motivation for me, that is until this past week when my site unexpectedly started ‘pinging’.    Topics relating to the Cape Storm got great press pushing up the visitor numbers to an all time high.   Then came a further boost with a shout out from Ben Huberman on Discover: Editor’s picks.

I feel quite overwhelmed by the response and would like to post a hearty welcome to all the new followers.

Baby baboon hi

To Ben and the WordPress team,  i send a big thank you and a gift of virtual flowers – protea repens.  The birds love them for their rich sugary nectar and are also known as the sugarbush protea.

Sugar bush protea

 

Rain: 1.6% rise in Cape Town’s dam levels

Baboons huddling together to keep warm.

The welcome rain continues to bring relief to the parched veld and urban gardens.  Within days new shoots are greening up and animals appear to be coping, if not revelling in the fresh rainwater.  Though we have a long way to go before the strict water restrictions can be eased.

Interesting to note the animals’ fur ‘fluffled up’ to create thermoregulation which helps to insulate and retain body heat.

Baboons huddling together to keep warm.

 

Eerie

The riggish scent of the sea hangs strongly in the air; there’s a chill wind and I feel uncomfortable as a strange and creepy feeling envelopes the beach strewn with storm detritus and mounds of kelp. In the distance lies “The Log” a casualty from some long ago episode when it washed ashore to lie abandoned and forlorn.   This is a hostile place for ships when the Cape is battered by the huge breaking Atlantic swells.  Just off this beach lie four shipwrecks and some say that the ghost ship “The Flying Dutchman” still plies these waters…..

WPC: Focus

The storm brings a feast for Cape baboons

Two days have passed since the storm and the sandy beach where I photographed the galloping zebra has altered in the aftermath. Today it is strewn with huge piles of kelp,  dislodged by the powerful waves and borne in on the spring high tide.

The kelp brought with it a bonanza for the baboons, a feast of  mussels still attached to the fronds.  The baboons living along the coast supplement their diet with this highly nutritious resource which is rich in omega oils.  They tucked in with gusto, and I noticed that some of the older females had packed their cheek pouches until they bulged into hanging pouches.  There was a lot of ‘chatter’ as they sucked and chewed and a delightful sound of ‘hiccups’ as one greedy adult male gulped down the morsels far too quickly.

Cape Storm

This week, the worst storm in thirty years hit Cape Town and the Western Province wreaking havoc on the peninsula and inland.  How crazy to go from drought conditions to flooding; with snow on the inland mountains and fires down the coast in the Knysna area.  Galeforce winds gusting up to 100km/hour, uprooted trees, damaged roofs and houses.  The shack dwellers in the informal settlements were hardest hit and nine deaths have been reported.

During a lull between advancing squall lines and the torrential rain we managed to get out to check the surrounding area and to the Good Hope Nature reserve to see how the animals were faring.   The wind gusts were ferocious and most animals were hunkered down or had found shelter out of the wind.   A most unusual scene was a Cape Mountain zebra galloping along a beach to get to the lee of the land.

Opportunistic baboons were out foraging mostly taking advantage of the moist soil to dig for corms/bulbs while the Plateau Road troop appeared to be finding grubs in an area where there were old wood piles.

The wild sea conditions were truly a sight to behold, the breaking waves on the Atlantic side came thundering through with such powerful thrust that huge banks of sea foam built up way above the tide line.  We’ve been warned that not much rain fell in the catchment areas and the dam levels remain critically low.

For other gallery pics, check out the EWN site  – http://ewn.co.za/2017/06/07/gallery-the-cape-of-storms