MONTHLY NEWS AND REPORTS
A walk in Steenbok with Esther Townsend
Credo Environmental Services have agreed that, without consultation with affected residents, no further major clearing will be undertaken on the high-tide pathway to Kingfisher Creek and that the involvement of Credo will be extended to a further visit and review in second quarter of 2020. Visit our website for the latest Credo Eradication of invasive/alien plant species report.
In the interim Esther Townsend, a member of our Management Committee, visits the site regularly to provide guidance on identification of remaining aliens. Walking with Esther in Steenbok is always a delight. She not only identifies the plants that need removing but also points out the new plants that have begun to establish themselves in this very precious area. Esther is also responsible for helping out with the Steenbok flora and invasive flora section of our website.
The links below will start your virtual tour:
A few examples of plants that were identified by Esther during her last visit:
Steenbok Nature Reserve welcomes new volunteers
Louis and Barbara, now retired, want to be more involved in preserving the treasure that is Leisure Island. Their enthusiasm and energy make a welcome addition to the Steenbok team, and they are already making a difference helping out with various tasks and maintenance. As a mechanical engineer, Louis brings very useful skills to Steenbok.
For more information visit https://www.steenboknaturereserve.org.za/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
JUNE RAINFALL CHART
Rainfall June 2019
Rainfall was a disappointing 37 mm compared with a ten-year average of of 72mm for June. The cumulative graph, comparing this year with last, looks curiously like the score-chart graph in an evenly matched world cup cricket match!
Thanks to Peter Dieterich and Peter Godsell for the monthly rainfall reports. These charts are proving very popular with our Facebook followers.
A night visit from Knysna Basin Project
One of the advantages of Steenbok Nature Reserve being always open is that students are able to collect night time data for their projects. The entrance to the Reserve is home to quite a few Knysna Dwarf Chameleons and Knysna Basin Project took this opportunity to do a bit of night studies. The students collected additional data (recording head, tail and body size) for Cara Trivella’s (supervisor Dr Shelley Edwards) Honours project. One of the project’s criteria is to study the habitat use and population structure of Bradypodion damaranum. The samples are usually taken from forest areas but the Steenbok exercise was to get extra info from more urban areas.
A day out In Steenbok
World Bee Day
INFORMAL SPORT IN STEENBOK
Saturday Soccer in Steenbok
CX united Soccer school enjoying a morning of sunshine and exercise with their Coach Arthur and guest Coach Khuse Dasi, Provincial Head Coach of Youth Development Structures.
Fun and Games in Steenbok Nature Reserve.
Oakhill boys of various ages playing rugby with Dads in preparation of the Woodridge Derby.
A bright picnic spot in Steenbok Nature Reserve
Ivy Garden services hard at work around the Sideroxylon inerme (white milkwood) tree near the boat club entrance of Steenbok. The white milkwood has been trimmed and vegetation around the tree cleared. Now there is a beautiful, sunny picnic spot with wonderful views of the lagoon and the Tow Path. The Steenbok sign has also been repositioned to enhance the views. Roger Voysey who initiated and supervised the clean-up is in possession of the required licence issued by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for the pruning or removal of Sideroxylon inerme trees.
Scattering seeds in Steenbok
Winter is well on its way and evidence of this is the helichrysum foetidum
(yellow everlasting) looking dried and withered. The fruits have pappus bristles which are easily dispersed by the wind.
The photos show Roger enjoying the task of collecting the dried seed heads along the Tow Path, to disperse elsewhere in the Reserve, and then giving Mother Nature a helping hand in the area west of the tennis courts by simply shaking the dried pods that are already there!
You too can help to spread this pretty daisy by gently shaking the dried helichrysums to release and disperse the seeds.
The irrigation maintenance team in Steenbok
New Dog Poop signs
The signs have simple instructions about what to do and why it is necessary.
TREE OF THE MONTH : THE CANDLEWOOD
Candlewood (Eng.); kershout (Afr.)
Tree Number: 409
Watch out for this beauty at the moment, actually you cannot miss it due to its numerous bright orange seed pods which are carried all along its branches making this tree one of the most colourful in Steenbok.
This evergreen, low-branching shrub or small tree guides you along some of the paths on the way to Kingfisher Creek. They are thriving now that the alien vegetation has been cleared in that area.
It has a densely branched rounded canopy which may reach down to the ground. It can be compared to a chameleon due to its many different characteristics.
- Firstly, depending on its habitat, it can grow from 2 to 20m!!!! In Steenbok, they seem to be around 3 to 5m.
- Secondly, the leaves:
– The colour can vary from yellow-green to blue-green or dark and glossy.
– The shape of the leaves can also be puzzling. From short, broad and oval-shaped to long and slender ; the leaf stalks can be short or medium in length. Most of the time, the tips are rounded, sometimes with a notch, or may be blunt or pointed, with flat or rolled margins.
BUT, no matter the colour or the shape, a great way to identify this shrub is by folding one of the mature leaf which will snap in half.
The small fragrant flowers are a dainty eggshell white are grow profusely in dense flowerheads. They are followed by the colourful seed pods that we can all see at the moment. The picture above clearly shows the funky looking capsule which has split open and is about to release its seeds.
This shrub / small tree has been used by the Xhosa, San and early colonists for many different things. The resin in the roots and branches can be used as glue or a mean to make torches and the wood itself makes good flooring or panelling and due to its resin content, it is also good fire wood.
Aloes, beautiful aloes….
These three majestic Aloes will be entertaining our visitors for the next month or two.
Bright colours and impressive heights make these giants our show stoppers during autumn and early winter.
While A. ferox and A. arborescens display bright orange and yellow flowers, our magnificent, 3m tall A. thraskii will be standing its ground along Links Drive and in the Indigenous gardens.
A. ferox (picture left) is probably the best known in South africa because of its long history of medicinal use.
Watch out for its ferocious, spiny leaves though.
Easy to recognise with its large candelabra-like flower-heads.
A. arborescent’s leaves extracts (picture right) is widely used for healing wounds and calming burns.
This Aloe tends to grow into a dense, rounded shrub. Colours can vary from deep orange (almost red) to yellow.
A. thraskii (picture right) is tall & fast growing. It has long, pale, grey-green, deeply grooved and recurved leaves. It is believed to be a threatened species due to coastal developments. The flowers grow in short, compact, cylindrical racemes, on multi-branched inflorescences
The very famous Mudprawn (Upogebia Africana)
- The Mudprawn habitat – or burrows – are shaped in a U and the prawns need the correct mud consistency to build them i.e. a good ratio of mud and sand to avoid the collapse of the burrow.
- Their complex breeding habits require access to the open sea which is the case for our estuary. This is because, during their breeding period (between July & October and between December & March), the female hatch the eggs and the larvae migrate out to sea to undergo three development stages before returning back to the estuary.
Mudprawns are benthic organisms (meaning living at the lowest level of a body of water), they decompose dead organic matter and release good nutrients which in turn feed other plants. By filtering the sea water on the lagoon floor, removing sediments and organic matter they also act as a water cleaning agent.
Any illegal baiting should be reported to SANParks on 044 382 2095
Bird Watching in Steenbok
There are quite a few places in Steenbok Nature Reserve to enjoy this pass-time.
They are described as large and slim, with black, white and grey markings.
A early morning walk along the Tow Path rewards one with flocks of cormorants flying low over shallow waters.