The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) is one of the loyal visitors to my garden. Two weeks ago I saw the last of them on flowering Ivy. As this species is a migratory butterfly and the weather switched from summer into autumn a few days ago, they probably on their way to the south now. With their departure it's time to look back to a wonderful butterfly season and making plans for the next one!
Nature it's on her best at the moment! Next to birds, deers also butterflies giving 'birth' to the next generation. Wherever I look, I find caterpillars, their enemies and other little creatures!
Wanda (my shepard) hates them....actually not them but me walking slowly through the forest and searching for them. In almost every Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) caterpillars are living:
Unfortunately all the caterpillars of Red Admiral which I found in my garden were parasited. When I unfold the nettle leaf I noticed an opening at one cocoon and a few minutes later I witnessed the emergence of a parasitoid wasp. The newborn wasp flew to a higher nettle leaf and allowed me one image before she flew away to search for new victims:
Instead of mushrooms I photographed butterflies today. The majority of the Red Admirals will fly to the Mediterranean area to hibernate but some them stay here and try to survive the winter. Although there are still some flowers most of the remaing butterflies can be found on Common Ivy. Common Ivy has become a nuisance in my garden but the butterflies are using it for all kind of purposes. Can you find the butterfly in the next picture?
Without knowing that a butterfly is hibernating between the Common Ivy, you will not find or seeing him as he (actually it's a she) became invisible!
While I was writing the former blog I looked at the chrysalis of the Comma Butterfly and saw a butterfly sitting above the empty chrysalis. I inspected the chrysalis the evening before extensively with a torch to find colour details but as I did not find any emerging sign I assumed the chrysalis was dead. The chrysalis/butterfly fooled me!
These days I could write daily a blog as so much interesting things are happening. Next to the Comma Butterfly I also had a chrysalis of the Red Admiral. Also this chrysalis did not have any colour changing signs and when I returned from my 'finding new caterpillars' tour I noticed that something else was sitting near the chryslis. It was a parasitoid wasp and looking at the hole in the chrysalis it was obvious where it came from.
Although I have no butterfly and missed the chance to photograph a sequence of an emergence, I was very happy to catch the parasitoid wasp on the photo. Normally they are gone very quickly and I only find an empty chrysalis.
Since years I had the plan to create one day my own drive-in restaurant for butterflies with over-ripe fruit. As this is a very good fruit year and because there are more ripe prunes than there is capacity to make marmelade, eat them or bake prune pies, I feed the butterflies.
I took an old dish and filled it with very ripe or foulded and/or fermenting prunes and created my own drive-in restaurant for the Red Admiral. Sometimes a Comma Butterfly and/or Speckled Wood also visits my restaurant.
It's funny how many other insects like different kind of flies, bees and wasps come too and how quick the prunes are eaten. On sunny days I counted at least 20 Red Admirals!
Each day I had to fill the dish again with 'fresh' foulded prunes....their happy meal!
All my life
Is changing every day
In every possible way
In all my dreams
It's never quite as it seems
Never quite as it seems
On 'Everybody Else Is Doing It, so Why Can’t We' the beautiful song 'Dreams' describes the mood I'm in. Last week a lot has happened and everytime I'm surprised by what people are capable of. I feel 'smashed' like this deceased Red Admiral.
And oh my dreams
It's never quite as it seems
Cause you're a dream to me
Dream to me
© The Cranberries
What a beautiful autumn weather we have in the Netherlands this year. Every minute that the sun is shining I'm outside and enjoy the little creatures which I see. Today I visited a forest with a lot of oaks and beeches and I saw a lot of ladybugs. Two days ago I was pleased to see and photograph a Red Admiral (which is in fact a migrating butterfly). This will probably my last taken butterfly picture of 2011....it's a kind of farewell but I'm also looking forward what 2012 will bring as the 'emperors' will return in spring.
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.