ranger diaries

This page is specially for our rangers, who are constantly coming across interesting things on their guest drives through the Reserve. Here you can keep an eye out for the latest news and intriguing discoveries from Bartholomeus Klip.

Home Stretch

Friday, 19 May 2017

Our farm guys have been hard at work planting the fields over the last few weeks and are busy with the last few hectares of wheat. They have planted the medics,barley and canola already,so look out for the yellow fields when you next drive out to us around August time.The Cape is experiencing a drought at the moment so we do hope that we will get some much needed rain in the next few weeks to germinate all the seeds. Will keep you updated on the progress

Lambs in the Mist (by Mariette Gregor)

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

When the first rains arrive around April, newborn lambs can be found freely ranging the farmlands. They steal the show with our guests when they visit on the drives or are enjoying a leisurely walk around the farmyard. Home to about 2000 ewes and a couple of rams, of which Andrew is our most famous - bought last year at an auction and from an old Merino stock line from Graaf Reinet with him being named after the breeder. Bartholomeus Klip produces about 2000 wool merino lambs every year of which most are twins.

Buffalo Measuring

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The reserve team aswell as the farm guys were all hands on deck to assist with the darting and measuring of our buffalo herd. They check the general condition of the animal and are able to measure the horns and take a closer look as the animal is sedated. Spartacus featured in the images is a 5 year old bull and was born on Elandsberg.

Officially Open

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Our Geometric Tortoise Headstart programme has been getting bigger each year and we have finally had to move to a larger facility. Jackie,our tortoise assistant and the Reserve team have set up a new living quarters in specially designed boxes as well as a small plant nursery to supply the tortoise with food. The laboratory has also been set up to do the scanning and research of the tortoises. Professor R. Hoffman our partner from UWC officially opened the Hatchery and we look forward to sharing all their news and findings over the next few months.

Pink Lady

Friday, 7 April 2017

Haemanthus sanguineus. Walking through the reserve on foot, out of the corner of my eye there was this striking pink flower low to the ground, what is that? Walking over to inspect what this beautiful plant was I realised that it was a Haemanthus… but which one?. Haemanthus sanguineus or as it is commonly known as Paint Brush Lilly. It is a South African bulbous geophyte in the genus Haemanthus that occurs in the fynbos vegetation of the Western Cape. This endemic fynbos geophyte is dormant during the summer and cannot be seen. In the autumn a striking crimson inflorescence emerges from the ground. This consists of a crimson stem that bears a mass of tiny red, crimson and yellow individual flowers. The plant then produces two circular leathery leaves in the autumn and winter. These lie flat on the ground and are typically edged with scarlet hairs. They are a deep green on the upper surface and underneath are covered in pink and red spots. Truly a wonderful site.

Hanging Around

Friday, 7 April 2017

Argiope Australis(Orb Web Spider). The average orb web is practically invisible, and it is easy to blunder into one and end up covered with a sticky web. The very easily visible pattern of banded silk made by this spider is pure white, and some species make an "X" form, or a zigzag type of web (often with a hollow centre). The spider then aligns one pair of its legs with each of the four lines in the hollow "X", making a complete "X" of white lines with a very eye-catching spider coloured bright yellow on a field of black or variegated red white and yellow stripes forming its centre. The male spider is much smaller than the female, and unassumingly marked. When it is time to mate, he spins a companion web alongside the females. After mating, the female lays her eggs, placing her egg sac into the web. The sac contains between 400 and 1400 eggs. These eggs hatch in autumn, but the spider lings overwinter in the sac and emerge during the spring. Like almost all other spiders, Argiope Spiders are harmless to humans. As is the case with most garden spiders, they eat insects, and they are capable of consuming prey up to twice their size. We are rather filled with wonder for these gentle beauties which are not harmful to humans.

KNOCK, KNOCK, WHO’S THERE?

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Sometimes while walking around the garden you here a knocking in the trees and it takes a while to really see that it’s a bird responsible for the commotion .The Olive Woodpecker is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 3 eggs and they are coloured white. The woodpecker builds its nest within a tree cavity, just a few meters above the ground. The hole in the tree is normally reused in the next nesting season. Olive Woodpeckers are very common in most of the Southern African Forests.Woodpecker’s eat insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants, these invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten. When you visit us again, while having sundowners on the back veranda of the guesthouse, look up into the tree on the stoep, you might be lucky by spotting this beautiful bird in the picture.

Keeping our Future in Nature

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Eco-School Program: Our local school visited us for the morning to spend some time in our reserve and learn a bit about what we do. The topics for the day were conservation made easy to understand, Animals & Animal sounds for the Grade R class. It was such great fun to see the excitement on their faces… Will we see lions one asked very excited, putting you in the mind-set that lions are very easy to remember until you asked which animal is that while looking at Quagga thinking they would say it’s a Zebra. It is a Quagga one of the students (Grade R ) said, It blew me away just to think that they knew what it was, and just the other day you’ve learned about the quaggas, absolutely fascinating. We believe teaching from a young age helps kids to understand better when they grow up to be adults, maybe one of them will be the next conservationist. At the end of the day if we understand it, we will love it, & want to conserve it. Let us Learn

Camera Trap Update- Leopard Sighting

Friday, 3 March 2017

Fantastic images have been sent through by the Reserve team from the 5 cameras set up around Elandsberg Nature Reserve. A fantastic sighting of the elusive leopard aswell as an aardwolf and caracal in a tree. We have sent through the picture to the Cape Leopard Trust for identification and will keep you posted on the identification of the individual.

Opportunity and Patience

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Driving on the afternoon drive we came across this elegant bird,the Black-Headed Heron. Standing between long grass… motionless opportunist I said… The black-headed heron is common throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. It is mainly resident, but some West African birds move further north in the rainy season.This species usually breeds in the wet season in colonies in trees, reed beds or cliffs. It builds a bulky stick nest, and lays 2–4 eggs. The black-headed heron is a large bird, standing 85 cm tall, and it has a 150 cm wingspan. It also hunts well away from water, taking large insects, small mammals, and birds. It will wait motionless for its prey, or slowly stalk its victim. Smaller birds are part of its diet,,, so I’ve learned witnessing a heron stalking chicken chicks and eventually catch one, quite a surprise in my own back yard,sad to say I was the owner of the chickens… Nature always surprise. So the next time you visit us, join our afternoon game drive and see if you can spot the patient,motionless, opportunist Black Headed Heron.

Looking forward to the next generation

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Calling all hands on deck.... The lambing season is drawing near as the staff of Elandsberg Farms gather the sheep for scanning. With sweat on their brow they herd roughly four hundred and thirty sheep together and guide them one by one to be scanned for lambs.This scan will show if they are carrying 1 or 2 lambs and Abraham our sheep manager is able to predict his birth rate. A productive day was had with good humour and pride as the numbers rolled in.225 Single lambs / 177 Double lambs (Twins) / 30 inconclusive to be rescanned at a later time One of the highest turn-overs in the farm’s history- Well done to the sheep team!

A fresh breath of air

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Spekboom  Portulacaria afra, also known as elephant bush, dwarf jade plant and pork bush, is a small-leaved  indigenous succulent plant found in Southern Africa. It is a soft-wooded, semi-evergreen upright shrub or small tree, usually 2.5–4.5 metres. The spekboom is widespread in the Southern Africa. In this moist climate, it is relatively rare, and tends to favour dryer rocky outcrops and slopes. It is also found in much denser numbers in the dryer Southern Cape.

 

Can you eat this plant? Yes, it is commonly eaten in Southern Africa, usually as one component of a salad or a soup but the most amazing quality this plant has is its ability for carbon sequestration. It is capable of either C3 or CAM carbon fixation, depending on factors such as the season and the age of the leaves. In layman’s terms it absorbs large quantities of carbon dioxide, almost four tons per hectare. It is also water wise and drought resistant and can survive on just 250 -350mm of water a year. Make sure you add this to your garden it can definitely improve the quality of air you breath.

 

Meet the Cats

Friday, 20 January 2017

Caracals are medium-sized wild cats native to Africa; it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and threatened by habitat loss due to  human habitation and farming of natural habitat. Its  habitat includes semi-deserts, open savannas, and scrublands. Typically nocturnal, we say typically because out in Nature you’re not allowed to use two words , ALWAYS & NEVER, because nature can surprise you most of the time as we were surprised by the Cat in picture! Caracals are highly secretive and difficult to observe. They are nocturnal but can be active during the day in protected areas. Caracals are carnivores and feed mostly on hares, rodents, rabbits, hyraxes, antelopes and birds. 

African Wildcat- Rare and endangered,however, there is currently thought to be at least five different subspecies: the European wildcat, the African wildcat , the Southern African wildcat  the Asian wildcat and the Chinese alpine steppecat. These cats are hardly ever seen and to get a picture with  the cat and its prey is very rare too.  We are very fortunate to have got  pictures of these cats walking around during the day on our Reserve and hope to share many more.

 

Meet the Team

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Its a new year and a new team and we are very happy to welcome Jonty and Rebecca to the guiding department. They both have their own skill set with Jonty a keen mountain biker and birder and Rebecca a trails guide who loves everything creep crawly and of course cuddly!

They will be sharing their stories with you weekly and we hope that you will be able to learn more about our fascinating Reserve and the Flora and Fauna found here.We do hope that you will get to meet them when you next visit us in the future.

Welcome to the family

Monday, 10 October 2016

Meet Andrew our new Merino Stud Ram bought at a recent auction and originally from Craddock and named after his breeder Andrew Jordaan.Andrew spent a month in Bloemfoentein at a facility who store and collect samples from animals and are a specialist semen centre where breeders can have samples frozen of their animals in case something happens to them and  if another breeders would like to purchase a specific Rams DNA for their stock.Andrew was brought back to the farm to help start the stud programme with our merinos ewes.He had a new haircut after is arrival with over 10kg of wool sheared .After a few weeks of rest from his travels,Andrew will start his new job and Abraham,our sheep Manager and the sheep team are very excited to have him here on Elandsberg- watch this space..!

A helping hand for the bees

Thursday, 8 September 2016

With all the flowers around the bees are having a tough time pollinating them all. Luckily they have a helping hand in the form of Monkey beetles and various fly species. The down side is that the monkey beetles eat the pollen. In the end nature has a way of working things out. 

Some of the pollen gets stuck to the body of these little creatures which is transported to several different flowers as they move around them, thus pollinating them. Be sure to watch them go about their business next time you are in die field as they provide great amusement while fulfilling a vital role in nature.

Spring is on the way

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

It is that time of the year where every day is warming up little by little. That means Spring is on the way. If you ask anyone living in the southern hemisphere they will tell you the 1st of September is the start of Spring. The reserve is starting to come alive with colour as the flowers start to gather in numbers awaiting this day. If the number of flowers that are already out is anything to go by, this might turn out to be a very good flower season. Be sure not to miss it! 

From 0 to 100 in 2 months

Friday, 5 August 2016

The past 2 months saw a remarkable amount of rain fall on the reserve. The dam has gone from almost completely empty to just about 100%. The pictures show a steady increase in the dam level thanks to 250mm of rain funnelled in from the mountain side.

With the dam so full it is the perfect time to take a canoe and enjoy a relaxing row while taking in the scenery. Plenty of aquatic birdlife has also come back to spend a sunny day on the dam.

Time for the sheep to get a new hairstyle

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

July is the month almost every sheep on the farm gets a haircut. This has to be a well-orchestrated event when there are close to 2600 sheep to sheer. Early morning signals the start of the sheering marathon which carries on until late afternoon. Once they received their trendy 2016 hairstyle they are returned to the flock to show off to their friends.

The wool on the other hand is first inspected. After any dirty bits of wool are removed it is sorted according to quality and length. Each of these piles is then compacted into bags to be sent to Pretoria where tests are done on it to determine the grade. The different grades are sold on auction and turned into the latest winter fashion for you to enjoy.

Geometric Tortoise Update 2016

Thursday, 30 June 2016

There was great excitement on the farm yesterday as some of the Geometric tortoise females were scanned to see if they are carrying any eggs.  This is done with an ultra sound machine either by the back or the front legs. Once they have been scanned and recorded they are put back into the veld where they can safely lay their eggs. They will be monitored on a regular basis to see if we can expect any new additions to the Bartholomeus Klip family.

Lovely winter rain

Monday, 20 June 2016

The past week has seen a bit of rain falling on the reserve filling a lot of the dams and streams. The first picture shows a view almost 180 degrees from Ronde dam. The rain also brings cold weather in the mornings with mist collecting on some of the bushes.When the sun comes out to warm everything it creates beautiful reflections on the drops. 

Drought shrinks BK dam to a fraction of its normal size

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Recent aerial photos by Lee Krawczyk-Brown show how the current absence of rainfall is affecting the dam at Bartholomeus Klip.

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