It's been another glorious day here on The Island... and still pretty quiet, which is a bonus. Oh, and, I have it on good authority that no less than 3 octopuses (note to wanna-be grammar police: "octopi" isn't actually etymologically correct!) were spotted in the river by a rather timid and at times shrieking swimmer - yes, that's what all the commotion was about early this morning!
I spotted 3 crabs at the river mouth as we set out for our low tide beach walk. It's a bit hard to tell from the pics, but based on the direction of their tracks and the progress they had made by the time we got back 45 minutes later it looks like they were coming into the closed river from the ocean. Cool!
These were pretty small - the largest was probably only about 15 cm's across (just the body, not the claws) - nothing at all compared to the "monster crab" that lurks under the water elsewhere around The Island!
I was still in bed early this morning when I heard a shout from outside - it was Willem who was working next door yesterday (we chatted yesterday and he and his friend told me about the 4 large grunters they had caught near the Southern Cross day park). Well, even though my Afrikaans is near to non-existent and Willem's English is a bit hard to follows at times, it seems that Willem figures I'm interested in what's in the river - even if it's early and I'm not up yet. But I didn't mind because it's true - so out I came - and this is what I saw:
So, yes ,we have a rather large resident crab who lives in the river near us. I remember a photo our neighbour took of what I am sure was the same crab last year. Both times (then and now), the crab was returned to his home in the river - Willem's idea, not mine (I still hadn't had my coffee, so my mind really wasn't working yet). Meanwhile, Willem caught a couple of fish for dinner.
It's really hard not to take these spectacular sunsets for granted - night after night, the "show" just keeps on coming...
A nice afternoon with a little bit of cloud cover (not too hot!) - perfect for a short stroll to the Great Brak River Pump Station (downstream from the Wolwedans Dam). It's less then 2 km there and back from the parking lot opposite Beatnix Leatherworks. Though it was a bit wet after last night's rainfall.
To get there, take Charles Street (the road the Spar - soon-to-be PicknPay) is on and turn left on the gravel road (Willow Street) just after the bottle store (opposite the New Apolostic Church). You'll pass about 5 houses lining the Great Brak River before coming to the end of the road which marks a good spot to park.
Walk a bit further up the road and you'll come to a few steps which you climb before reaching the trail head. To do the "official" trail, take the route to your right (marked by a foot sign). For a description of that great little hike see this previous blog post. Otherwise, go as we did this time and continue walking straight through the cow pasture, across the weir and onward until you see the pump station. A great place for a picnic!
Click on the image below for the full "work-out" details as well as several photos
Found this little fellow (gal?) on the back deck this morning. S/he appeared to be in distress and was still there at 4:20 p.m. today. Not sure what kind of bird it is (I am sure the beak/bill offer some sort of clue).
Hopefully mom came along earlier this evening, as the chick was nowhere in sight when I went out again around 9:30 p.m. tonight with a little shelter and some food....
After two days of questionable golf at George Golf Club and Mossel Bay Golf Club, it was time to get out on the bike again. It was another beautiful morning (misty clouds hanging in the valleys, a brilliant sunrise and fantastic blue skies).
Fortunately, my cycling ability is a little bit better than my golf (I don't unintentionally veer off to the right!). This morning we did the reverse of the usual route. Though it's a tough call because I am a fan of the downhill section, I think this is my favourite direction, as I prefer attacking the uphill gravel road behind the Spar (Charles Street). I added on the ride up "Heartbreak Hill" (Morrison Road up to Hersham) at the end for a bit of extra "fun".
Click on the image below for the full work-out details on Sports-Tracker.com
If you haven't heard of it already, there's a great site for nature-lovers (or just people who are curious) called iSpot.
They describe themselves as a "Facebook for Nature" - it's basically a place where you can post photos of any living organism, plot it on a google map, and if you happen to know what it is, identify it. If you don't know what it is, you can ask the community for their input - apparently over 90% of new contributions are identified within the first 24 hours! They've just passed the 100,000 observations mark a few days ago.
So, if that weird slimy thing in the tide pool has got you stumped, or perhaps you've spotted a plant in a neighbour's garden or on a footpath that you'd like to identify, or maybe you're unsure just what bird that is that's sitting on the feeder, or if you don't know your grunter from your harder (or your elbow), it's the perfect place to find out. It's also a great way to get the kids involved in discovering and engaging in the natural world around them (what kid wouldn't like to combine creepy-crawlies with playing detective?).
Or maybe, get together with some friends and do your own "bioblitz" and catalogue an entire area (big or small).
And if you're a nature fundi, you can help others identify their mystery observations or simply contribute to plotting the biodiversity that exists within our very own backyard here in the Garden Route.
Click on the image above to check out their neat website!
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