Seru di Palomba

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On Thursday November 28, 2013 we went for the third time this month to the Ser'i Bientu. This is an area of the Christoffelpark that is no longer accessible to the public. It is in the former plantation of Zevenbergen (Seven mountains) and as the name says this is an area with many hills and valleys. A beautiful sight if you are on top of one of the many mountains.
The first time we went to the top of the Ser'i Bientu and from there we had seen some trees in the valley that could be of a rare species. That was the main reason that we came back for a second visit. We found some large red Gum trees, not rare but very impressive. When we studied our track afterwards we found out that we had entered the wrong valley. We had been in the valley on the Eastern side of the Ser'i Palomba.  So we came back for a third visit. This time we went higher up the slope of the Ser'i Bientu and entered the valley on the Western side of the Ser'i Palomba.

Seru di Palomba 20131128 006 smallThe Ser'i Bientu (mountain of the wind) is a bit over 220 meters high but we didn't need to climb this distance because there is a dirt road that leads us close to the top. And, probably because not many people enter this area, we see the rare Curaçao deer, the Biná, each time on the road, fleeing into the bushes when we come near. 

The slope of the Ser'i Bientu is full of the Sabal palm. This palm grows almost exclusively inside the Christoffelpark.
From the top we went down into the valley. The first part was rather easy but then we came in a more dense vegetation with large fields of Bromelias, lots of Bromeliads and Tillandsia in the trees and lots of Orchids. Some orchids were blooming. A very impressive nature and a delight to walk through although walking is not the correct word. We had to stoop deep to crawl under low branches. After a rest we decided to go top the top of the Ser'i Palomba (mountain of the dove) instead of to the bottom of the valley. 
On the top we found a Kadaster measuring point with the identification VH 1317 indicating the highest point. We had a beautiful view from the top. 
From there we went to a second top of this mountain where we took a long pause. It is there that we found a nice bright green caterpillar. Apparently this is the caterpillar of the Automeris amoena, a silk moth.
Because it was already becoming late in the morning we decided to go back along the other slope of the Ser'i Palomba. With the cars we took the road to the Seru Gracia where we parked our cars on the slope. And there we found a rare third kind of Orchid, the Polystachya foliosa. This orchid is only a few centimeters high, has yellow flowers and grows only on stone. Strange enough we found several of these on one single stone and nowhere else. On the same stone we found also a small version of the Humboldt's orchid (Banana shimaron) and also the Lady of the Night (Orkidia) with a flower. So on one stone we found all three of the local orchids, two of which were blooming.

After this intermezzo we went back to the entrance of the park and there we left for home. This will certainly not be our last visit to this part of the park. There are many more hills and valleys that need to be explored.

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