I encountered one of the first Large Brown Afrikaner lilies (Gladiolus liliaceus) of spring this morning. It stood on the same wayside where I saw another (of the cream-coloured variety), last October. Once home, I invited my mother to return to the flower to admire it. Upon her suggestion, we strolled further up the dirt road and what should we see but another of the same flower, precariously blooming on the verge!
(If you listen carefully at the 15 seconds mark, you can hear one of the Clapper Lark species, Mirafra apiata marjoriae, flap its wings and whistle in the distance.)
We then crossed the road, and there in the field, were more lilies scattered amongst the bushes! These I did not photograph; they were at some distance, and I did not have the right lens (it never occurred to me to use the iPhone). My mother told me how, when she was a child, on the first school day of spring, they had to bring a wildflower to class. She would come to that very field to pick a lily, three kilometres from her home!
One last surprise has come from yesterday’s excursion: a new poetic sketch! Whilst assembling the entry posted earlier, I wrote the title for the “The Klein Rivier at Klipdrift”1 video. Amused by its alliteration, I could not resist composing a little verse about the river where I often stop to admire the speedy swallows in summer and the slow waters in winter!
Klein Rivier (pronounced “cleyn Ruh-feeR” with a trilled “R”) is Afrikaans for “little river”, and Klipdrift (pronounced “clipdRift” with a trilled “R”) combines klip (“stone”) and drift (“ford”), the Afrikaans equivalent of “Stanford”.
Imagine my utter astonishment when late yesterday evening, I should see ten of the rare Grey Rhebok on a hillside! At first, I spied only two—a male and a female—near the lower part of the slope, but when the female darted uphill, lo—a herd!
Amazed, I started taking pictures without checking any camera settings lest I miss the opportunity to document the moment; the images you see here are the meagre results.
The male I presume the sire. Rhebok herds are comprised of one adult male and a group of about fifteen females and progeny. This is my second sighting of this shy species—and the greatest number yet, having seen only one male before.