A blog about what I love….photography and bicycles!

This weekend’s butterflies

The weather this weekend was far too good to spend it locked away doing the ‘Macro Photo Tip’ thing, as it was sunny and hot in the KZN Midlands.  We went on a trip to the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve just outside Howick.  There is a little hill in the reserve that has always been particularly rewarding for butterfly viewing.  Not only do you have the normal insects ‘hill-topping’ but you also see grassland butterflies on top.  My friends Wolter and Jill  and their two sons  joined Isabelle and I for a rather warm afternoon. We went into the reserve at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, it was very hot but we saw some beautiful butterflies and flowers. (I have to add that the attraction of our swimming pool won over and we all went home two hours later and relaxed in the pool!!)

To those people reading this who do not speak ‘South African English’, a skolly is a layabout, bandit or rotter…, why our Thestor butterflies have the common name of ‘Skollies’ I do not know.  They are small and drab but have a very interesting life history and are unique to Southern Africa.  My friend Alan Heath is busy trying to unravvel the life histories and taxonomy of the genus.  After a little walking and a lot of sweat we met with one Thestor basutus basutus (Basotho Skolly) on top of the hill.  I chased it but lost the race over the rocks.  Later, as we left, my friend Wolter saw a male settle and here are some of the pictures I took.

Thestor basutus basutus (Basotho skolly)

Thestor basutus basutus (Basotho skolly)

And then another butterfly (one of our lichen/algae eating Liptenids) and a beautiful Gazania (the Gladiolus dalenii were flowering and all very red and orange but the wind was too strong to shoot any of them).

Alaena amazoula amazoula (Yellow Zulu) male

Gazania krebsiana (Common gazania) Common perenial grassland herb.

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