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Depicta Copper – Aloeides depicta

The Depicta CopperAloeides depicta is pretty small butterfly ranging from 26mm to 29mm in the males and 29mm to 35mm in the females. Depicta is a relatively variable butterfly, colour-wise. The upperside being a ground colour orange with a wide grey-black border.  The hind wing underside is sandy to buff-brown, occasionally reddish.
The distribution of  this Aloeides is fynbos, Nama Karoo along mountain chains from Matjiesfontein to Gydo Mountain and also Eastern Cape, Port Elizabeth. It’s habitats include hillsides and rocky ledges. It’s flight period is in the warmer months of the year being September to June. The Depicta Copper’s larval food is  Aspalathus. Aspalathus is the genus to which the rooibos tea plant belongs, is the largest member of the pea family endemic to South Africa.
These pictures were taken in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Depicta copper - Aloeides depicta

Another Shot of a different Depicta copper:

Depicta copper - Aloeides depicta

Most of this information was supplied from Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa

Bark Spider – Caerostris sexcuspidata

Bark Spider

I am not going to say too much about this spider as I have given a pretty good explanation of it on a post a few weeks ago. You can find the information here.

I was trying out a flash guide that I made from one I saw somewhere on the internet. These are the resultant pics of this spider with this flash guide.

Here is a macro of its ‘face’. A stunning looking spider, close up.

Bark Spider - Caerostris sexcuspidata

….. and another of the same spider in its web later on in the evening.

Bark Spider - Caerostris sexcuspidata

Another one taken at van Stadens Flower Reserve

Bark spider

And one off my wall at home

Bark Spider

This was yet another willing spider to sit still for me to take a shot. Thank you Nature…

Bark Spider

These pictures were taken in my back yard with a Canon 7D with a Tamron 90mm macro lense and a 580EX II Speedlite flash attached to this guide:

 

Malachite Sunbird – Nectarinia famosa

Facts about Malachites:

The male Malachite Sunbird – Nectarinia famosa is a metallic green bird with yellow pectoral tufts and has a long tail making his total length approx. 25cm. The female has a brown back with pale yellow underparts and white outer tail feathers. The tail is much shorter than that of the male, making her total length approx. 15cm. The juvenile malachite looks like the female but it has greener upperparts and yellower underparts. This sunbird is territorial and aggressive  especially when nesting.

Habitats:

The Malachite Sunbird is found on hilly fynbos, on proteas and aloes. Malachites prefer a habitat consisting of montane grasslands and scrub, riverine bush, fynbos and gardens. This species can occur at high elevation, 2400 metres in Ethiopia, 3000 metres in Tanzania, and from sea-level up to 2800 metres in South Africa.

Feeding and Diet:

The Malachite Sunbird feeds primarily on nectar and insects. It gets food from several plants such as Lobelia and Aloe, and also Kniphofia (Liliaceae). They will also feed from other plants as well. It will observe insects from an exposed perch and fly up to grab them. The babies will eat mainly insects and other small bugs.  Both genders have long curved thin bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues for nectar feeding. It feeds and forages alone or in pairs, or in loose groups of 30-40 birds.

Male Malachite Sunbird

 

Picture of a female Malachite Sunbird –  note the lack of colours compared to the male. She usually lays two grey eggs, which she incubates for 13 days. Her nest is oval. It is made with grass, plant fibres, leaves, twigs, rootlets and spider webs.  The interior is lined with soft grass, hair, feathers, down and wool.
The nest is placed within a bush with an entrance facing inwards, between near ground and 20 metres up in tree or bush, often above the water.

Female Malachite Sunbird

 

Another male, but this time without the breeding plumage.

Malachite Male

 

The Pearl Emperor – Charaxes varanes varanes

From the Genus, Charaxes – Emperors, comes this absolutely stunning Pearl Emperor.  The Charaxes species are generally brightly colours in shades of orange and red or iridescent blue. They are aggressive and territorial and will chase or push other butterflies away from food sources. The larva are usually green. The pupae are also green, sometimes with white stripes or streaks, rounded with more or less pointed head.
The Pearl Emperor, however, has orange and pearly-white wings and very conspicuous against foliage. The underside colour us quite variable, often golden brown, but can look like the picture below with almost a greenish-brown-silver look to it. The wings’ veins are also green in colour. These are relatively big butterflys with males from around 65mm – 70mm and females from 70mm – 90mm.
The distribution of the Pearl Emperor is Eastern Cape from Mossel Bay to Kwazulu Natal and Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West provinces.
Their habitats include: forest edges, flatlands and the coast. They fly all year round in warmer areas with a week peak in September to November and a stronger peak from January to June.
Their larval foodplant consist of: Allophylus africanusAllophylus dregeanusAllophylus natalensis and also Cardiospermum halicacabum. This shot was taken at “The Island” reserve, near Seaview Lion Park, outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Most of this information was supplied from Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa“.

Pearl Emperor - Charaxes varanes varanes

A shot with the wings open of the same butterfly.

Pearl Emperor - Charaxes varanes varanes

Bar-Throated Apalis

The Bar-throated Apalis is a small African passerine bird (relating to or denoting birds of a large order distinguished by having feet that are adapted for perching, including all songbirds) belonging to the genus Apalis of the family Cisticolidae.

The Bar-throated Apalis or Apalis thoracica inhabits forest and scrub in Southern and East Africa from southern and eastern parts of South Africa north as far as the Chyulu Hills in Kenya.
The Bar-throated Apalis is a slender bird with a long tail and is 11 to 13 cm in length. The plumage varies depending on the subspecies: the upperparts can be grey or green while the underparts are white or pale yellow. All forms have a narrow black band across the breast, white outer tail-feathers and a pale eye. The black bill is fairly long and slender and is slightly curved. Females have a narrower breastband than that of the males. Juveniles have buffer underparts and may have an incomplete breastband.
Pairs sing a duetting song with the female’s call being higher-pitched than that of the male.
The oval, purse-shaped nest is made mainly of plant material. Three eggs are laid, these are bluish-white with reddish-brown spots. The breeding season lasts from August to January.
This species forages for caterpillars and other insects amongst vegetation, often forming mixed-species flocks with other birds.
This photo was taken at van Stadens Flower Reserve, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Information from Wikipedia

Bar-throated Apalis

African Grass Blue – Zizeeria knysna knysna

This little African Grass Blue, Zizeeria knysna knysna, was shot in one of the suburbs close to where I live in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  Another tricky little butterfly to photography as it is really skittish. It is a common, widespread butterfly, which one will find throughout South Africa. The Zizeeria knysna knysna is also known as the Sooty Blue.  It habitats gardens, parks and fields, flatlands, wetlands, forest edges, mountains and hillsides. They fly all year round, but peak from October to December and February to April. Their larval foods include Tribulus terrestris (devil’s thorn), Amaranthus deflexus and Amaranthus viridis, Oxalis corniculata (Yellow Wood Sorrel) and  Medicago saltiva (Lucerne plant). Most of this information was supplied from Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa“.

African grass blue

African Clouded Yellow Butterfly

One of the rare opportunities I have had to snap one of these stunning butterflies. They are from the family Pieridae and subfamily Coliadinae. The genus is Colias, which contains the Clouded Yellows.  These two butterflies are African Clouded Yellows or Lucerne ButterfliesColias electo electo.
The distributions of Colias electo electo  are throughout South Africa in all biomes. African Clouded Yellows’ habitats included; fields, parks, gardens, coastal areas, forest edges, mountains and wetlands. Their flight is throughout the year, but will peak between April and August. The lava will eat Lucerne (Medicago Saltiva).

These two photos were taken in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

 

African Clouded Yellow Butterfly

Another Clouded Yellow, shot on a different day, but looks a little on the damaged side.

African Clouded Yellow Butterfly

van Stadens Gorge Frog

A frog is something that I do not often photograph, but and opportunity presented itself that I could not turn down.  This photo was snapped in the river underneath the old van Stadens River Bridge, outside Port Elizabeth.  The is a beautiful place less that a kilometer down the road from the van Stadens Flower Reserve, where I often go to take pictures. The frog, itself, I have absolutely no information on. I have looked through many books, but to no avail, but have posted the amphibian on the Virtual Museum of South Africa in hopes that someone will or can identify it. The picture is pretty sharp as it was made up of three picture, stacked in a program called CombineZP. An absolutely excellent program, and also free.

Frog

Jumping Spider Macro

This jumping spider macro is a really close up shot of a spider from the Salticidae family. This family resides in the spider order Araneae. and belong to the class Arachnida.
The shot was taken with a Tamron 90mm Macro lens with a Raynox DCR250 attached to it. The problem with this combination is that the depth-of-field is so small that you have to really make sure to take the shot in focus. This shot was taken at f16 to get as much depth-of-field as possible with this lens combination.

Jumping spider macro

A Sunset HDR Outing to Maitlands

A group of us decided to go and shoot a few sunset photos out at a place called Maitlands, outside Port Elizabeth (South Africa), but to our disappointment, the clouds came over and was completely overcast and the sun was gone! The light was not to bad, so we did some HDR shots instead and these were the best of my shots for the day.  These were merged together in picturenaut and completed with The Gimp.
This one is a picture of the dunes in the fading light:

Maitlands dunes

This is a picture of the river flowing back into the sea

Maitlands

 

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