Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A Season of Butterflies

It is one of life’s luxuries to be able to spend quiet time in one’s own garden. Even in your ‘down’ time, you might be hard at work, weeding, pruning and planting… You might be deep in blissful contemplation, relaxing on a garden seat… You might even be allowing any disquieting thoughts to be blown away with the breeze - that same gentle breeze which carries pairs of bejewelled, fluttering wings.

This spring, summer and autumn have brought us many butterfly visitors, some almost daily, some once in a while, others rarely…

Common Crow Butterfly
A pair of delightful Common Crows has visited us almost every day, feeding busily on our Grevillea and on our Kasturi Lime tree, but especially on its favoured China Doll shrub (Duranta erecta). These butterflies are wonderful photographic subjects because of their relaxed nature when feeding.

Blue Triangle
The Blue Triangle has been flying in our street for much of the summer. However, it discovered our China Doll plant at the end of February. Since then, it has been a constant house guest, feeding two or three times per day. It is a difficult subject to photograph, because of its rapid wingbeats, and because it settles only briefly at its food source flower. Almost neurotic in nature, the Blue Triangle must be a tasty meal for birds!

Caper White
The Caper White is not a common butterfly in Sydney. They visit our city when hot westerly winds blow them off course during their inland, northern journey. During November, this specimen stopped to take a drink from our back path.

We only recorded one sighting of the Monarch butterfly… close to Christmas. It has landed on the bush rock pathway near our fish pond.

 Meadow Argus
On the second last day of summer, we made our only sighting of the Meadow Argus butterfly. As a child, this was a common visitor to my father’s Sydney garden. Like other butterflies, it was attracted by the blue and white flowers of the China Doll tree.

 Common Dart
A pair of Common Darts has been sighted regularly in our backyard since mid-March. As the name suggests, they are rapid fliers. However, they appear happy to perch on the leaves of fruit trees for longish periods, making them easy to photograph.

White Cabbage Moth
Not necessarily a welcome visitor, the White Cabbage Moth has been at home in our yard throughout the warmer months, feasting on some of our Choy Sum plants. Without a doubt, this is the most common butterfly in our yard… Such an honour?

Schistophleps albida
I am unsure of the common name of this pretty, little, yellow-striped white insect. It landed on our prize mangoes in early March. From my research, I believe that this moth is not common in Sydney.

 Some Other Visiting Moths and Butterflies

Oecophorine Moth
You will need your magnifiers for this one... Click on the photograph to enlarge. The Oecophorine moth was photographed resting on a young jackfruit.

Unknown Moths

I would love some feedback on the identity of these moths...

Caterpillar of White Tussock Moth
Munching away on the young fruiting body of a jackfruit tree...

Unfortunately, I was unable to photograph some of our prettiest visitors. These included...
  • Dainty Swallowtail, which frequents citrus trees 
  • the Tiger Moth 
  • the little Pencilled Blue
  • and the Common Grass Blue. The two Blue butterflies liked to feed on our small bedding flowers. I encourage you to view these lovely creatures online.

Wishing you hours of enjoyment and contentment in your garden…

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