Field trip to Portland Ridge, Southern Clarendon with an Emphasis on Coastal Plants(PDF version)
Our next NHSJ field trip is planned to Portland Ridge, a dry peninsula in Southern Clarendon. First we head for "Sugar Wharf" on the Salt River Road for a brief look at the island's industrial heritage. Decades ago, sugar was shipped out to Kingston. The barges used are largely submersed and corroding (see image here). Mr. Hermann Tobisch, NHSJ Treasurer, will inform the group about the site.
We will continue our ride via Lionel Town and Portland Cottage to Portland Ridge and concentrate on coastal plants along the road on the northern fringe of the mountain range. The road faces Portland Bight, is unpaved (see image below, we are looking eastward) and use of SUVs is recommended (see image here). The hike is not demanding, but there is not much shade.
A total of 46 plant species, many of them flowering, have been seen during a scouting trip on April 15, 2017 (see an illustrated list of selected species here). Mr. Patrick Lewis, M.Phil., Curator at the Herbarium (Dept. Life Sciences, UWI, Mona), will be our field guide. Among others, the reproductive strategy of the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), can be conveniently studied. During the scouting trip, water birds were spotted, and we will watch out for them again. A bird expert will probably be at hand and assist with identification.
Two options are suggested for the time after lunch. First: Jackson Bay for a swim at your own risk. It is a remote public beach without changing/bath rooms. The image next page taken during our scouting trip, gives an impression. A creeping plant, the beach morning glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae), dominates the sandy areas. Second - as an opportunity for photographers - a visit of the grounds of St. Peter's Church in Alley. According to the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (http://www.jnht.com/site_st_peters_church_alley.php), the church was built around 1715. Nearby lies a cemetery with an impressive Guango Tree (Albizia saman) and a pasture overgrown with Rice and Peas (Antigonon leptopus), a creeping plant introduced from Mexico.
Gear:Carry rain/sun protection, insect repellent, plenty of drinking water and wear comfortable walking shoes.
Meeting: 6.45 a.m. at the Scientific Research Council (off Old Hope Road), collection of fees, issuing of tickets for lunch, carpooling, start at 7.00 a.m., meeting at 8.00 a.m. at the Total Gas Station (bathroom available) on the northern end of the Salt River Road in Freetown. Take the "Freetown" exit of the South Coast Highway (silos of Hi-Pro Feeds visible, see map). Participants from the North Coast may join in at that stage. At about 12.30 pm, we are expected at Essie's Avant-Garde Cuisine, a simple restaurant on the main road in Portland Cottage, for lunch (cold drink, fish, chicken, rice and peas, rough salad, desert).
Costs: 1200 JA$ for members, 1500 JA$ for non-members (includes lunch)
Booking: To organize lunch, we need to know the number of participants. Please book with: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not receive a confirmation via email within 24 hrs, please phone 977 1076.
Deadline for Booking: Wednesday May 3, 2017 at 6.00 p.m
Hike on the Fern Forest Trail and Visit of an Eco Lodge in St. Ann (PDF version)
Our next NHSJ field trip is planned to the Fern Forest Trail. It is an abandoned road off the Northern section of the Fern Gully in St. Ann. The area is used as a nursery by the Ministry of Agriculture for replanting the Fern Gully. The trail follows a gentle slope and is not demanding (see image here taken in early February 2017).
About 500 different species of ferns grow in Jamaica. The emphasis of this field trip will be on ferns, but there are also flowering plants to see. Mr. Patrick Lewis (Herbarium, Dept. Life Sci., UWI, Mona), Ms. Judeen Meikle (Ministry of Agriculture) and Dr. Trevor Yee (formerly Natural Products Institute, UWI, Mona) will assist with identification. Ferns, a moss and flowering plants seen on a brief scouting trip in early February 2017 are compiled in a separate PDF here. After the hike, we will have lunch (cold drink, soup, chicken and rice, dessert) at Durga's Den about a 15 min ride from the trailhead. A guided tour of Durga's Den follows.
Click images to enlarge.