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

A very hot Saturday and some South African butterflies

This past weekend Steve Woodhall (www.butterflygear.co.za), fellow butterfly enthusiast and photographer Doug Morton, Isabelle (my daughter), Rob (Steve’s mate) and myself went up Table Mountain – not the one that most folks know in the Cape – rather our local one. A large, flat piece of grassland above the Valley of a Thousand Hills near Pietermaritzburg.  It was an interesting drive, Steve proving the merits of owning a Subaru Forester and Doug following in a very powerful Nissan 4 x 4. 
We ascended before insects are usually on the wing and had a great day. It was an enjoyable walk as most of us had never been up, but there were very few insects.  A few dashing skippers, the usual Nymphalids and masses of migrating Belenois aurota aurota (Brown veined white).  The day was particulary memorable for the heat, the emerging flying ants (we were covered), the lack of butterflies and Steves asking 11 year old Isabelle where she would like to walk to, and her response being a very definite, “to the car please Steve”.  The only picture that I returned with was of Danaus chrysippus aegyptius (the African Monarch), a very common but beautiful insect. It was hot and unproductive but a very pleasant day spent with interesting people in a lovely place that people do not visit very often.

Danaus chrysippus (African Monarch)

On Sunday morning my family and I went for a short trip to Umgeni Valley again.  We came across a number of interesting insects and flowers.  The first was Axiocerses croecus (Dark-banded Scarlet).  I found a very terretorial male on top of the hill chasing off everything that came near him.

Axiocerses croecus male underside


Axioceses croecus male upperside

 Also found on the hill were Crudaria leroma (Silver spotted grey) and the very beautiful and common Vanessa cardui or Painted Lady. 

Crudaria leroma (Silver spotted Grey)


Vanessa cardui (Painted Lady)

And finally a few other interesting things, an Asclepiad species and a moth larva (anyone prepared to forward their ID’s??)  There were also some lovely Gladiolus dalenii flowering and I shall post pictures next weekend.

Asclepiad gibbii (or so I am told!!)

Dice Moth larva

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