Hacking Team at Zandvlei Nature Reserve – 09 December 2023.

This is a voluntary working relationship with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club since 1974.

Today was very windy from the SE (12m/s), with a clear sky, except for a very high cloud above the Table Mountain top. The air temperature was hot. So we were back to the river edge today for the last push to get this area done. Bert found a number of Port Jackson seedlings and copsing root sumps along side the railway line at Steenberg station. There was a palm tree sticking out above the Rhus shrubs behind the fence and also 3 large Port Jackson sapligs above the fence line at the end of the station platform. Then he came to help along side the river where I continued with the Pampas Grass shrub. Bert also found more Cestrum trees and Yellow Hibiscus diversifolius creepers which he took care of. On our way back we found a few odd resprouts and saplings.

An observation from this preceding winter rains – we saw a number of small tomato plants with flowers along the banks of the Keysers River. This is a very likely indicator of sewage spills of which we know the pump station at Main Road Tokai was discharging directly into the Keysers River for about 6 weeks. It is known that tomato seeds survive the human digestion system and are carried down the sewer system and if they land up on muddy ground which dries out and has sunshine they are very likely to grow well with the nutrients left behind in the mud. If you inspect any manhole cover with soil around it, and it has overflowed, there will be tomato plants nearby.

The insects were about today most sheltering from the strong wind in the lee of shrubs and vegetation. There were a variety of dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, flies and bees. See the photo of a young green stick insect. There were flowers blooming in areas where vegetation has recovered and expanded. Even the Buffalo Grass is flowering. In the low level seasonal wetland areas which were flooded with more than knee deep water for about 3 months after the exceptional rain this past winter, the reeds have encroached by about 3 – 5 metres from the existing reed line, and are more than knee height already.

The bird species count was low today mainly due to the high wind. 15 species were seen while we were working.

Thank you very much to all who participated this year to help clear this section of the Nature Reserve. It is a job well done. The regrowth of a number of suppressed indigenous plant species is there for all to see. Feel welcome to go and have a look at the difference we have made.
You are also very welcome to come and join us by participating and learning about habitat conservation for all living species at Zandvlei.

See this link for the past reports of what we have done.

photographs by Gavin Lawson.

Gavin Lawson.



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