CAPE AUTUMN WIDOW II

The seasons have turned and, if we’re not already sure of that, we could tell by the variety of butterflies flitting through the garden. Most are too high or too fast for me to capture and then there is a host of Cape Autumn Widow (Dira clytus) butterflies that fly slowly just above the level of the grass, often settling on bare patches of ground.

These velvety brown butterflies only appear during March and April, when the warm, dry days provide perfect flying conditions. They sometimes land on the bricks surrounding the pool and wait obligingly to be photographed.

We have watched them with delight as they skim the lawn and dip into the surface of the pool in passing. Sadly, some take a dip too far:

During one teatime we rescued three Cape Autumn Widows in less than a minute – all within seconds of them landing in the water. Here is one on the pool net:

We have since covered the pool to slow down evaporation. This is another rescued butterfly, pausing to dry its wings. Doubtless the eyespots help to protect them from predatory birds – it is interesting that they are clear on the underside too:

I am pleased to report that it was able to continue its flight – many more were not as fortunate.

These photographs were taken with my aged cell phone.

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