by Silvia Kirkman
During the September school holidays I had a gap to conduct butterfly surveys at two sites near Sutherland (Rooiheuwel and Portugalsrivier) for the BioGaps project. The family came along and we had a good time exploring the area.
We stayed on a farm near Sutherland in a very rustic cottage - this was our base.
From there we drove out on two separate days to survey the two sites, which were easily found. We saw some interesting flowers and bugs at both sites, photos of which will be submitted to iSpot.
|Warrior Silver-spotted Copper (the only butterfly I managed to photograph)|
Day 2 was at Rooiheuwel, close to where the April BioGaps bioblitz took place. This site was very flat and densely covered with small, tough and spikey bushes. It was quite difficult to walk through it, having to hop over and around bushes continuously. It was extremely hot (upper 30s) and I had to cut the afternoon survey short due to hyperthermia. Fortunately there was a big shady tree by the farm house where the kids could play under for most of the time while my husband watched over them. After 4 gruelling hours in the heat I found seven species of butterflies, of which five were Lycaenids. The Common Meadow White was once again regularly seen. All butterflies seen are Least Concern.
At the end of each day it was lovely to head back to our base and have a relaxing braai under the magnificent Sutherland skies, full of thousands of stars that it was almost impossible to pick out the constellations. We managed to fit in a visit to the fascinating SALT telescope, for which Sutherland is renowned.
|Nightsky above our cottage.|
Sutherland bade us a typical frosty good-bye on the morning that we left.