Day 353 – Garden shot

The work on the house continues with some painting, some lighting and some extra additions here and there. The pool is full, but it’s dark and wet (outside, not the pool), so I can’t do my after photo just yet.

Here’s one from yesterday then – a Citrus Swallowtail (Papilo demodocus) in the back garden:

We see a lot of these around (they’re probably the second most common butterfly locally after the Acraea horta) but they never stop moving: they’re flitty and flighty, so I’ve never managed to get a shot before. This one actually settled for a few moments, although it never stopped moving its wings (rapidly) for a single second and so I was forced to use high speed shooting in Sports Mode on the camera to get a decent image (and about 74 poor ones).

There are actually a couple of other reasonable shots, but I haven’t got as far as Lightroom yet, because the work on the house continues with some painting, some lighting and some extra additions here and there (I think I mentioned this), so those might have to wait for another day.

Spring is in the air

And I’m not talking about the front right suspension unit of Gavin Watson’s Toyota Corolla at OR Tambo this morning. More to come on that story, I would imagine.

No. The changing of the seasons is upon us and the butterflies are plunging into the pool in celebration.

Sadly, the swimming stroke is a misnomer, as butterflies are completely rubbish at swimming, as the one above is painfully demonstrating.

Not much to do with this one, although I completely stand by my gentle vignetting. The background was ready made, the contrast in colours there from the start and the dust on the water just adds to the grainy film look.

It could be the poster for an early 1990s art house movie, but it’s actually just a dead butterfly on the surface of our swimming pool.

Waterfront Butterfly

A quick trip down to the Waterfront on Friday made for some happy children and a leisurely afternoon. We pulled in at the Foodmarket for lunch, and it was while we were sitting outside that fine establishment that we were visited by this individual.

Now, I’m no expert on insects, but I was pretty sure that this was a butterfly. I just didn’t know what sort. A quick visit here:

Butterflies of South Africa’s National Botanical Gardens: an illustrated checklist

led me to believe that it was a Charaxes spp. but I wasn’t sure which one, given that none of them seem to be Cape Town residents. So I went to iSpot, where I described the situation thus:

Lunchtime in Nobel Square, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa.
The boy doesn’t like tomato, and removes it from his otherwise delicious ciabatta.
It’s instantly pounced upon by butterfly, which enjoys the tomato and creamy sauce thereon.
Hung around for around a minute and then flew away.
Tomato left mostly intact.

Because that was pretty much exactly as things happened, and the experts there told me it was likely a female Whitebar Charaxes (Charaxes brutus subsp. natalensis).

…which can be found on Page 61 of that SANBI checklist and which is described therein as:

Pugnacious and aggressive.

Takes one to know one, I guess. It also mentions that it likes to go after red flowers. And tomato is red, so I guess this all fits.

I now know one more species of local butterfly, so I won’t have to ask next time I see one of these.

Current Affairs

It’s actually quite hard to blog when you’re not watching the news, reading the twitter or doing anything except planning your next week off work. Thus, I don’t have any incisive insight into the current state of affairs in SA or the world in general, because I actually don’t know what that state of affairs is right now. Look, based on previous experience of these sort of things, it’s probably not great. But if you were here for that sort of cutting edge opinion, then you’re going to be sorely disappointed. (Spoiler: you were going to be sorely disappointed anyway.)

Instead, I bring you a photo of a butterfly (I’m no expert, but I think that this one is an Acraea horta), taken this morning while walking the beagle (us, not the butterfly) in Newlands Forest.

It was a nice walk in the shade of the trees, and we all had fun. The beagle was less impressed when it got bathed when we got home, but cheered up a bit when it got fed. It’s worth remembering that a beagle’s favourite food is anything.

The rest of the afternoon will be spent preparing for a trip down to Agulhas for New Year, during which time you can probably expect shorter, photo-filled posts on here, increased Instagram activity and the already bulging Summer 2015 album on Flickr to swell even further. I’m determined to relax, drink beer, walk on the beach and listen to some music – sometimes all at the same time – while I’m down south.

Come live vicariously through 6000 miles…

P.S. The game last night finished 4-0. I was finished long before then though.

A bit of weekend

After a very successful (ie. winning) quiz evening at Cafe Roux last night, supporting the amazing work of the Jones Safe House, we hit Surfers’ Corner at Muizenberg for brunch and a bit of fresh air this morning.

Then home, where the kids were delighted to find a Garden Acraea (Acraea horta) on the patio:

Obviously, those two photos aren’t to scale, or that would be a butterfly of fairly terrifying proportions.
More kid/butterfly interaction here.