02 September 2016

Champion of the Common

Fiona Watson, the Friends of Meadowridge Common's Botanical Officer, was recently interviewed by Karen Watkins in the Constantiaberg Bulletin about her passion for recording the dwindling wildflowers on Cape Town's shrinking open spaces.
Her detailed records for Meadowridge Common, which include several Red Data Species, have been compiled into a DVD which is available for purchase at R100 each. Contact her at 021 712 0696. All profits go towards the Friends of Meadowridge Common. The DVD will be on sale at the Friends annual Spring Wildflower Walk on Saturday 17 September.
To read the interview with Fiona Watson, click here.

17 August 2016

Spring Wildflower Walk

The Friends of Meadowridge Common annual Spring Wildflower Walk will be taking place on Saturday 17 September 2016. The walk is free, and open to anyone. Meet at the gravel road off Faraday Way near the soccer fields at 11h30. A list of flowers that may be in bloom can be seen here.
Moraea tripetala blooming on the Common.

21 July 2016

Winter on the Common

Although all looks rather wintry and drab, some rain has fallen and things are starting to happen.
The Community Nest Spiders are hard at work building their nests - I counted four new ones in the vicinity of the Rehabilitation Area - this one in a Cluster Spiderhead (Serruria glomerata) bush.
Dog poop continues to be a problem with dog owners not taking any responsibility for their dogs faeces that are festering all over the common. In this photo I counted seven separate piles in amongst the Green Satyr Orchids (Satyrium odorum) that are starting to come up now.
A budding Green Satyr Orchid.

Commonly known as Yellow Soldiers, this little Lachenalia reflexa is classified as Vulnerable on the Red List of South African Plants as it is "restricted to seasonally wet lowland soils and known from less than 10 locations. There is a continuing decline as a result of urban expansion, crop cultivation, livestock trampling and alien plant invasion."
What you can expect to see flowering on the Common in July
Babiana villosula
Lachenalia reflexa
Leucadendron salignum
Metalasia densa
Muraltia spinosa
Osteospermum moniliferum
Othonna filicaulis
Oxalis obtusa
Oxalis pes-caprae
Oxalis purpurea
Oxalis versicolor
Pauridia capensis
(formerly Spiloxene)
Serrurua glomerata
Struthiola ciliata
Zantedeschia aethiopica

Tortoise Berry (Muraltia spinosa or Nylandtia spinosa - the experts don't seem to be too sure on which to choose!)

And keep a lookout for the Black Sparrowhawk chicks in the tree near the Soccer Club building. Photo above by Margaret Macivor.

04 May 2016

New DVD on the Flora of Meadowridge Common

Fiona Watson has compiled and created a dvd of the Flora of Meadowridge Common, which includes its history and many beautiful photographs of the indigenous flowers - and some of the animals - that occur on this small remnant of Cape Flats Sand Fynbos in the middle of suburbia. The dvd is for sale at R100 and all profits will go towards the Friends of Meadowridge Common. Contact Mrs Fiona Watson at 021 712 0696 if you would like to purchase a copy.

01 March 2016

March - the start of autumn

March lilies (Amaryllis belladonna) - the first sign that autumn in on its way. Read more about them in Trevor Adam's article in PlantZAfrica. Trevor writes, "There is still some mystery as to what pollinates the March lily. Rudolf Marloth, a famous amateur botanist, believed that the belladonna lily was being pollinated by a hawk moth. It was also noticed that large carpenter bees visited the flowers during the day. On the Cape Peninsula, at least, it seems that bees are the main pollinators of the March lily." Your observations and photos would be most welcome - please post them on our facebook page or on iSpot.

16 February 2016

Friends of Meadowridge Common AGM

Black Sparrowhawk. Photo: Ann Koeslag.
The Friends of Meadowridge Common will be holding their AGM on Monday 29 February 2016 which will include a talk by Ann Koeslag on BLACK SPARROWHAWKS OF THE CAPE PENINSULA with particular reference to the pair of Black Sparrowhawks that successfully raised three chicks on Meadowridge Common in September last year. The speaker is Ann Koeslag, a founding member of the Black Sparrowhawk Project.
The venue is the Meadowridge Library, Howard Drive, Meadowridge and the time is 7h30.
Entrance is free and all are welcome. Secure parking and refreshments will be available. For more information, please contact Fiona Watson at 021 712 0696 or email the Friends at Meadowridgefriend@gmail.com.

18 January 2016

Black Sparrowhawk chicks contributing to science

Adult female Black Sparrowhawk photographed by Sibyl Morris on Meadowridge Common on October 2015.
Visitors to Meadowridge Common last spring may have noticed that a pair of Black Sparrowhawks successfully reared a family of three chicks in one of the tall pines on the Common. In September the chicks (one female and two males) were ringed - a process that involved a professional rock-climber who retrieved the chicks one by one, placed them in a yellow bag and lowered them to the ground where they were ringed, measured, weighed and returned to their nests again. A more detailed description of the process and what information can be gained from ringing these birds can be found on the website of the Black Sparrowhawk Project. There were also some posts on our Facebook Page.

Margaret Macivor with one of the three Meadowridge Common Black Sparrowhawk chicks - all of which were successfully ringed.  

The adult female, mother of the three Meadowridge Common chicks, watching the ringing process. Note her rings. Photo: Margaret Macivor.
Mark Cowan, climber and expert chick ringer.
The guidelines for trapping birds are very strict. Not only does the trapper have to have had training in handling and ringing of the birds, but they also have to be registered with the ADU who gives them permission to do so.  In addition, they have to have permission from the Province in the form of a “hunting licence” to be allowed to trap. (From the website The Black Sparrowhawk Project.)