The rest of the Lepsoc Weekend (Part 2)
After a very rewarding Saturday, complete with meeting etc in the evening, everyone (except yours truly who had to study) went up to Grey Mares Tail. Kevin Coburn had, in all his years of butterflying, collected some very rare and interesting insects however he noted that he had never collected the relatively common Junonia tugela. This was to be his day. Not only did he capture his first J tugela but he and Steve found what we all believe to be the larvae, feeding on Plectranthus eckloni in the forest. That was their Sunday, mine was spent studying earlier in the day and then Tracey suggested that we head to the Kamberg for the day. I have never been there so I was dead keen. We packed up and headed off. It is a beautiful place with some of the most rugged mountains that you will ever see surrounding the wet valley full of marshes and trout dams. I had a frustrating afternoon chasing Acraea anacreon around inbetween rain showers. I never succeeded in photographing the insect and had to be satisfied with brief glimpses of them sunning themselves. That said I did get one pan of some of the hills to show off. See below..
The Monday was also a holiday and we went to Wahroonga to look for the Karkloof Blue, Orachrysops ariadne. At this juncture I have to relate the story of the discovery of this insect at Wahroonga. O ariande is a strange beastie, it is the one of the genus that flies in autumn. The rest are spring fliers. In March about 14 years ago I was collecting Charaxes xiphares penningtoni at the Yellowwoods spot in Balgowan. There I met Kyle O-Donahue, a school boy from Howick. He asked me where to collects Lepidochrysops butterflies. I told him to visit Wahroonga however thinking that he knew that they flew when the Becium was out, neglected to tell him to go in Spring. Two days later I got the call that he had got O ariadne!! I flew over to his house and confirmed it. Amazing that we had been collecting there for years and never gone in autumn! Anyway, the insect has been collected and studied there ever since. The colony is strong and the habitat protected.
Anyway, back to Monday. We got to Wahroonga early. It has been years since I was last there and the house and garden have changed a lot since Marten Kunhardt left. The grassland is still the same though. We all went straight in looking for blues. This time of year is wonderful with the forest nymphalids out along with the new winter for Precis octavia and P archesia on the wing. I chased a number of these along with some skippers and got a few pictures. After a while the O ariadne started to be seen. They are very hard to photograph at Wahroonga as the colony is huge and the terrain hard to cover. No one photographed them on the day but we got some good butterfly pics nevertheless. (and for those who want to see some great pics from the Eastern free State, see my mate Doug Mortons blog www.douglasimages.co.za . He was up there fore a few days, had very testing skies but got some interesting stuff.) Enjoy…………………S