Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus)
Orchard Swallowtail - recently emerged (Feb 2011)

There have been butterflies fluttering around most districts for several weeks now, especially during the warm spells in late October and November. Of course there have been Cabbage Whites in their hundreds, but also Painted Ladies, Wood Whites, Caper Whites and Australian Admirals. But on the 7th November I saw the first Orchard Swallowtail for the season (admittedly at low altitude and a little south of the Strathbogies, at Flowerdale) and a week later another was seen at Euroa (thanks Tony!). So, the eggs/pupae from last  Summer survived the local winter (at least around Flowerdale and Euroa) and have already emerged to kick of this year’s round of breeding.

Has anyone else seen Orchard Swallowtails around yet? And an all-time-first for me, was seeing a Lesser Wanderer in our Boho South Garden this year. Visit Butterfly Gardening website for information about the Lesser Wanderer and other butterflies.

These are pics (29 Oct. 2011) of the Wood White Butterfly caterpillars, who  often feed on Drooping Mistletoe in our region.

Wood White (Delias aganippe) caterpillars
Wood White (Delias aganippe) caterpillars on Drooping Mistletoe
Wood White caterpillars just hatched from their egg cases.

And in the last two weeks the Common Brown Butterfly has started to emerge en mass so that, once again, clouds of these creatures billow up from their resting position in the grass or on the ground/road as one approaches. I do feel a little sorry for them though in this cold weather; they are slow and clumsy and must be an easy meal (though I don’t see many birds taking the opportunity). Here are some pics of last year’s Common Brown’s.

You can find more pics of local butterflies on these Nature View pages.

Common Brown Butterfly- male
Common Brown (Heteronympha merope merope) female upperwing
Common Brown (Heteronympha merope merope) female upperwing