Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Spotted Sedge-skipper Butterfly

Several days ago my friend Peter Falk rang me and told me that there were masses of pink Orchids in flower on Tourist Road. I guessed that they were in fact Trigger Plants, but anyway I still appreciate the "tip-off". I had not been down that "dry" end of Tourist Road (not really dry at all, just a relative term, especially this wet season) for several weeks. So until Peter's call, I didn't realise I was missing out on a great floral treat.

This is what I found. A truly spectacular display of Trigger Plants. Stylidium graminifolium
Click to enlarge the image.
Yes, I was lying on the ground to get that effect, but it is the only way to show the real impact of the massed display of flowers.

At the risk of seeming philosophical here, our eyes see things differently from how cameras see things. Or rather, our brains see things differently to how cameras show the world. So, this was my attempt to capture the real impact of such a massed floral display.

While I was down there, wandering around, surrounded by tiny, but beautiful flowers, I found this little jewel of a Butterfly - also clearly in love with Trigger Plants.
Once again click to enlarge the image
of the Skipper Butterfly and the Trigger Plant
(Note the "style" (trigger) held out beside the flower)
That's how it gets both its common name and specific name.
The species is well documented, fortunately. No doubt that is in part due to its dramatic patterning. It is a small Butterfly, in a group known as "Skippers" or "Darts", because of their propensity to "dart off", as soon as one points a camera at them.

It is a Spotted Sedge-skipper (Hesperilla ornata)
Anyway, this little Butterfly was
so deeply in love with the Trigger plant
that it allowed me several shots, even from different angles.
I found two other websites sites with links to images of this species.
The Chew Family's Brisbane Insects site
and the Museum of Victoria Butterfly site.

And here it is, as close as I dared to go,
without disturbing the Butterfly.
The patches of orange on the wings are the colour one sees when these "Darts" are flying. Then they land, and generally disappear from view instantly, because of camouflage.

This species, for some reason, has opted to pretend it is like a small Zebra (look at the abdomens stripes). Only problem is it is in an Australian grassland, so it stands out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Although they are wide spread, I have never seen this species before.

I have seen a number of Darts before, but seldom managed more than a single shot, because of their "jumpy" nature and their fast flight and the ability to disappear once they land.


So many people race along Tourist Road, and they probably wonder what it is that I find so entrancing there.

I, on the other hand cannot understand why they insist on roaring past such a beautiful display, without even glancing sideways.

At least Peter Falk understood that it was important enough to make a phone call to me. And I am grateful to him for letting me know.


mick said...

Ah-hah. Now that is one flower that I know from up here. Or maybe you'll tell me it's a slightly different one?
btw I wish my camera could capture what my eyes see! The light and space is never quite right. I keep trying anyway.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
The distribution map shows that plant going right up the NSW Coast, and into Qld, so we probably both enjoy the same cheerful little pink "candles" of Trigger Plant stems in flower.
As for the whole business of capturing "perceptions" that is the mystery, and the challenge of photography.
And the fun of Blogging about it, when you feel you have got something "almost right".

Stone Art said...

Lovely butterfly.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Stone Art (Sunny) for visiting my blog.
I also liked the gorgeous lines of the little Skipper Butterfly. Glad you did too.

Snail said...

Skippers are flightly little devils!
That's quite a delightful pattern on the underside of the wings. So different from the ones I used to see in the garden in Melbourne.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Snail
You are right about Skippers (or Darts) as I generally think of them.
I had no idea what this was until it half-opened the wings, and I got the glimpse of orange, and I suddenly realised what it was.
Once I got that, it was relatively easy to check out on the Web pages.
I liked the body stripes, and the random patches of black on pale cream. Top side totally different. Quite a surprise package, really.
Glad to hear from you.