The endless rain stopped on the morning of the Midlands Bioblitz and it was a perfect day to wander about photographing flowers. Almost 50 nature enthusiasts turned up at the KZN Crane Foundation headquarters at Bill Barnes Nature Reserve in Nottingham Road to take part and do their bit for biodiversity conservation. More plants have gone extinct in South Africa than any other country and one in four species are currently threatened.
The Midlands Conservancies Forum had organised the day and invited learners from Shea O’Connor school nearby to join in the activities.
After a presentation by Suvarna Parbhoo of SANBI on CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) and iSpot, everyone headed out into the reserve to find all the living things they could. Amongst the Themeda triandra and other grasses, there were some tiny, tiny flowers like these Lobelia
Sarah got up close and personal, photographing small grassland plants.
In the rocky outcrop on top of the hill, there were Veronia, Arums and Kniphophia
and lots of Alepidea natalensis in the places the cows can’t get to.
Charlene and Mark searched the wetlands for frogs but didn’t manage to catch one to phtograph. They saw common river frog and heard clicking stream frogs and painted reed frogs too.
Not everything was easy to identify – some plants puzzled the spotters. This Hermannia was a nice find.
Aristea and Wahlenbergias literally glowed in the low light.
Amanda looked out for animal scats and Nora searched for orchids, but it was a little early – they flower in January and February. We found plenty of Brunsvegia which will be in flower in mid-summer too.
Cups of tea were on tap on the verandah of the KZN Crane Foundation, with views across the dam. “What a lovely day. I enjoyed it very much. It was great to be with so many people who know so much about plants and wildlife. ” said Molly Perret
Lindiwe found porcupine quills and four Oribi were spotted bounding away from the action.
After all the rain, the Dierama luteaoabidum and Pelargonium luridium weren’t looking their best, however these little mauve ones were in abundance.
Helichrysum aEriosema, Hypoxis, Pentanisia and Commelina were all flowering happily. Ipomoea and Scabiosa were plentiful on the road verges.
This group of girls was very excited to discover them and other creeppy crawlies amongst the flowers.
“What an awesome day of networking, getting to know interesting people, not to mention capturing the beauty of nature. I’m looking forward to another Bioblitz!” Andile Vilakazi. Environmental educators – Nkanyiso, Lindiwe, Andile, Antonia and Sanele took some great photos and will be visiting the Bews Herbarium soon to learn more about plant identification.
Then we all looked over our pictures, tried to identify the species and enjoyed a picnic beside the dam.
Vusi, Thembela, Quiniso and Sanele had fun checking out iSpot and loading photographs.
All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting day. In early 2013, we will be starting a Midlands CREW group to survey patches of natural vegetation in the area for threatened plant species. Should you be interested in joining this group, please contact Nikki at firstname.lastname@example.org