Out of Sinc (But it’s OK)
This last weekend was to be spent looking for Chrysoritis pelion and Lepidochrysops louwensteini on the Black Mountain Pass in Lesotho. On Thursday afternoon a rather glum Steve Woodhall phone me to tell me that there was no way that we would get up Sani Pass (after the deluge we have had over the last two weeks). We rapidly created Plans B through G and I got onto Plan B, Woodridge Estate, a very good spot for the Mooi River Opal (Chrysoritis lycegenes) and other interesting lycaenid butterflies. I phoned Alistair McGlashen, the owner of the estate, and he again granted us permission to visit and work on the hill above the development. I phoned Steve to tell him and we decided to meet the next morning near the Mphophomeni turn off to look for Lycaena clarki. Ada Kaliszewska from the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, is working on the Lycanidae in South Africa and required a number of adult specimens as well as food plant samples for her work . The next hour was spent looking for Lycaena clarki. We found one specimen (I went back two days later and got more and bumped into fellow photographer Doug Morton!!, the world is small). With the single L clarki were a number of Hyalites rahira rahira. I got photographs of the insects and they are below :
After a successful morning we headed off to Woodridge Estate. Alan Heath, Steve and I had found larvae and adults of Chrysoritis lycegenes there in January 2010 and I was sure that we would see them again. After a very short walk up the hill we soon found larvae and adults. We also found Durbania amakosa natalensis (the Natal Rocksitter) and Aloeides penningtoni (Penningons Copper, named after the old Michealhouse Master and ground breaking Lepidopterist Ken Pennington). Ada and Alan collected a small sample of the insects and foodplant and Steve and I had a great time with the cameras. We were joined later in the day by my old friends the Kaspers clan. Wolter is a well known KZN butterfly person and even though he has spent the greater part of the last 15 years in Papua New Guinea he has not lost his touch. His wife Jill and two sons Liam and Courtney share his enthusiasm and skill at finding the little copper bullets we battle to find. Attached are a few photographs of the insects we saw. I photographed a lot of plants but they weill be posted at a later date.