Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Australian Admiral shows its colours

Ever since my brother, Brendan has been working here, he has been feeding the birds (or so he intended). He has used fruit, such as Watermelons (his favourite), Grapes, (the Bowerbirds' favourite) and Pears (the Butterflies' favourite). As a result, he has also been feeding Butterflies (or some of them, anyway). None of the Macleay's Swallowtails have come in to feed, nor the abundant Cabbage Whites (which love the Wild Turnip weeds around this district). But these guys obviously have a taste for juices of fresh fruit.
One Butterfly species has been a regular visitor, but it has been oh so hard to capture with its wings open, revealing the diagnostic upper wing patterns.

Today I got lucky.As you have seen already, we had two butterflies at once, and one of them was sufficiently relaxed to open the wings, revealing the russet colouring, and the yellow patches.

This is Vanessa itea, the Australian Admiral. And a darned nice Butterfly it is too.

The closed-wing position reveals none of the bright colouring, but it does show the bright blue ring marking quite nicely.
More importantly (for the species' survival) this photo reveals a remarkable camouflage technique. It is very hard to focus on anything other than the blue ring, and so it is almost impossible for a predator to gauge "distance" to the "object". Mind you, sitting on a pear in the open, does limit the effectiveness of that technique.

Tonight, with a crystal clear sky I was able to capture a nice image of the full moon.
Here it is cropped to full pixels.
It doesn't get much rounder than that.

My Moon Phase calculator (well not mine, if you know what I mean) - the one I have on my side-bar of my Blog, is available for downloading from this site:
Its free, and you can select southern and northern hemisphere orientations (of the moon), and your time zone (as I recall).
You need to register, that's all. Follow the instructions.


Mosura said...

Hungry little things. They seem to have finished off that pear in a hurry :-)

mick said...

The fruit sounds like a great way to create a distraction from too close attention to building :-) I have had an extra lot of butterflies in my yard over the last couple of weeks but NONE have stayed still long enough for photos.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick and Mosura.
We have had several extra weeks of warm weather, which has helped them stay around. I thought it had been raining up your way, Mick, which would not have helped them, I would have thought.
Delightful creatures if you can get them to stand still long enough to photograph.
Mosura. You're having a lend of me!
The Bowerbirds do the main damage, and the Butterflies gently suck the juices which flow from the opened fruit (as you would know!)

Tyto Tony said...

Looks more like H. sap. bite to me.

Denis Wilson said...

Well spotted, Tony.

I do always start off the Pears, (but not the Watermelon, which I detest.
However, the Pear on the right has been thoroughly pecked down by the birds.
Currawongs have learnt to lift the fruit off the "spike" (screw) and fly off with the entire package, once they are chewed down to about the level of that one,
The one on the left is still more or less intact, today (24 hours later) as the wind was strong, and cold.
Not a single Bowerbird or Currawong came in today.
One solitary Admiral sucked away to his heart's content, for an hour or more.
But against Mosura's wicked suggestion, the Pear is still more or less intact.
As I have removed several trees and shrubs (for the building project, I don't have rampaging Possums at present. So, it (and two half-Apples) will stay there till sunrise, now.

Mosura said...

The pics just tickled the old funny bone. Great way to get pics though. I must try it myself.

P.S. Just in case you missed it, Kevin Bonham replied to your comment in this post.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mosura
Thanks, I was just reading Kevin Bonham's comment - very informative.
Its great to be able to bring in the occasional expert opinion, when needed.
Tasmania seems to be full of "experts", as Bob Mesibov. the Millipede guy who helped me last week, is there, too.
Re feeding birds and butterflies, the Fruit does seem to be good, and not bring in annoying birds, like Sparrows and Mynahs.
Mind you, my brother says his feeder is plagued with Lorikeets which chase everything except Currawongs.