Archive for August, 2009

Spring is the beginning of butterfly season here in the Western Cape. There are however a few species that fly a little earlier – especially if the weather warms up. With a hot weekend predicted recently, Andrew & I headed to Het Kreis in pursuit of a few specials. we also wanted to cover some empty pentads for the South African Butterfly Conservation Assessment.

The surveyed locality:

We were in particularly in pursuit of a subspecies of the quite spectacular King Copper – Tylopedia sardonyx peringueyi:

The most abundant butterfly around was the Boland Brown Melampias huebneri:

We also saw a few specimens of the fast-moving Warrior Silver-spotted Copper Argyraspodes argyraspis:

As well as specimens of the Common Blue Leptotes pirithous:

We also found numerous specimens of a caterpillar that I later identified as belonging to a very attractive moth, the Cherry Spot Moth Diaphone eumela:

In our initial location, unphotographed sightings included the Painted Lady Vanessa cardui, and the Donkey Daisy Copper Chrysoritis zonarius.

A second flatter sandier spot produced a specimen of the Pan Copper Chrysoritis pan.

There were a lot of wildflowers in bloom also:

Babiana sp.

Lessertia sp.

Tritonia undulata.

All in all, a very good start to the butterflying year.


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Back in March we went camping at Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve near Swellendam. The reserve contains the most noteworthy example of indigenous forest in the southwestern Cape. It is home to a number of birds including the most westerly population of the Narina Trogon. See birding information on the Cape Birding Route website. We did not have great weather, however I did manage to see two new species: the beautiful Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher (Trochocercus cyanomelas)and the less beautiful but interesting Terrestrial Brownbul (Phyllastrephus terrestris).
There were a few butterflies about – Grootvadersbosch is home to a subspecies of the Forest King Emperor butterfly Charaxes xiphares occidentalis. It was a little late in the season however & I only had a very brief glimpse of a single specimen & no luck attracting them to baits of rotting fruit. I did see numerous specimens of the Rainforest Brown Cassionympha cassius and the Cape Autumn Widow Dira clytus.

We also spotted a Rhombic Night Adder (Causus rhombeatus) crossing the path late one afternoon.

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