For a month or more we have had butterflies visiting the small flowers
around the building. Sometimes I go outside in the middle of the day
and I'll see 20 or more butterflies flitting around and feeding on the
little orange and yellow flowers. I've only seen Cabbage Whites and
Painted Ladies. This past week I have started finding spiny painted
lady caterpillars in little silk shelters on the Mallow plants growing
in an open area near us. Since there are holes in the leaves
surrounding the shelter, I'm assuming that the caterpillars come out
at night to feed.
The Painted Lady is one of the most widespread butterflies in the
world. It is found on every continent except Antarctica and South
America. In 2004 I saw hundreds of these butterflies when our
Eucalyptus trees started flowering. Last week, our large Eucalyptus
had the first of its little puffball flowers open, so I may be seeing
a lot more butterflies soon.
Some other insects are visiting the flowers also including large
hoverflies that look like the Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax).
On the bird front I watched a group of White-cheeked Bulbuls feeding
on the ground with a few house sparrows. I've heard from others that
the Bulbuls will eat such things as cookies that people put out for