Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My 600th Blog posting, and a clutch of Butterflies.

Yesterday was my 600th post. Who would have thought it possible? I could not have imagined it when I first expressed interest in setting up my own Blog about 'The Nature of Robertson". And I doubt that Anni would have either, when she responded to my request for some coaching in how to set up a Blogger account. And what a slow learner I was. I am still learning, hopefully.

Thanks to the people who have visited my site a total of 22,585 visits since 30 November 2005. Give yourselves a pat on the back. I certainly appreciate your loyal support.
I have followed up yesterday's post about the corporate branding of Women's Cricket with a feisty letter to the editor of the Southern Highland News (the local paper produced in Bowral). Lets hope it gets published.
Meanwhile back to the theme of creatures, great and small. Remember a few weeks ago I published a photo of the large green Caterpillar with the bright pink "horns" which suddenly popped out when the creature was alarmed? Those defensive organs are called "osmeteria". Well, I told you it turned into the large black and white Orchard Swallow-tailed Butterfly (Papileo aegeus). Well here is one of them. This is a male, with black wings, with clearly marked large white patches, and two red spots in the lower panel of the hindwings.
The females of this species, have a series of red and blue spots along the trailing edge of the hindwings.

This next Butterfly is called the "Yellow Admiral" (Vanessa itea) These butterflies have large cream patches on the forewings, and the very dark tips of the forewings. On the day on which I took these photographs, it was a warm morning and Butterflies and other insects were swarming over the pure white flowers of this bush (which I have not yet identified - much to my annoyance). If you really want to photograph Butterflies, watch for where they are feeding, and just walk up close, but very quietly. If you do not disturb them, you might be lucky to get some good shots.The underwing has the forewing cream patch visible, and the dark tips, with a blue "eye marking" (occellus) surrounded by the black markings. The hindwings have a very well camouflaged effect of silver and brown mottled markings. It makes the actual location of the Butterfly difficult to focus upon, which is surely a good defence mechanism. Sometimes these butterflies would land high on this bush, and sit with their wings spread flat and wide open. This is a common display technique adopted by this species.

I have written about the Macleay's Swallow-tailed Butterfly (Graphium macleayanus) previously. But this photo is the clearest I have managed so far of the insect sitting on a flower. If you click on the image to enlarge it, you can even see the insect has green legs. Very cute. It is a large-bodied butterfly, and is extremely active. This is a hard one to catch sitting for more than a second or two. Fast shutter speeds required, as they often flutter their wings, even when perched like this, having a feed. This Butterfly lays it eggs on Sassafras and Native Pepper, both common plants in the rainforest of Robertson - as these are appropriate feed plants for the developing caterpillars of this species. So these butterflies a re commonly seen here. They are attracted to many nectar-producing flowers, especially my Buddleja davidii plants.

This last species for today is one of the very large family of "Skippers" or "Darts". These butterflies earn their general name from their habit of resting (well camouflaged) and then suddenly flying away very quickly, then dropping to the ground again, and becoming very hard ot relocate once "sitting still" again. This one was found at Kangaloon, sitting on a log in the bush. One of the common plants there is the Spiny-headed Mat Rush (Lomandra longifolia) It is possible that this species is "Iacchoides Skipper" (Trapezites iacchoides). That species is an obligate feeder on the Lomandra mentioned above, which is one of the most common plants in the tall Eucalypt forests of Kangaloon.


Gaye from the Hunter said...

Denis, as a regular reader of your blog, I have enjoyed and appreciated countless postings, most particularly your detailed nature observations.

I feel sure that you, me and many others who post similarly are making a positive difference to how nature is perceived.

Well done, and I will of course look forward to much more of the same.


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gaye
Thanks for your encouragement, and I look forward to learning from your blog too.
Talking of learning, have you had a chance to get out into the bush recently? Down here, the Chiloglottis and "Greenhoods" are starting up. Hope you can find some up your way.