Thursday, December 31, 2020

Australian Wildlife Series - Black-Winged Stilt

This is one of a series of posters I have had for some time. Each article will reveal one poster at a time. The drawings are from Stanley and Kay Breeden and they were sponsored by BHP. This is #1.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Monarch Butterflies 2020

Today it is a warm spring one and the monarch butterflies are having a great time doing acrobatic, syncronised movements around our property. They are also interspersing that with fuel stops at flowers (purple ones in particular) and creating the next generation of butterflies, if you get my drift. It gives a warm feeling to have them enjoying life even if they don't give us a second thought.

So how many beautiful monarchs have we released? My wife has tabulated a list. She initially wasn't at all keen to have the plants they feed on in the garden, but is now more committed than yours truly. By the way, can you spot the chrysalis in the picture above? The bird statue is of the Pukeko, a native of NZ known for wading in swampy areas. The caterpillar went 14 metres to get to this destination.

Back to the list of successful butterfly releases:

2016: 19
2017: 19

We realised they needed more protection from voracious predators so the work really began.

2018: 78
2019: 216
2020: 240 (150 Female)

Updated 31.12.2020

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Questions About Countries - Part 2

1) Would I need insect repellent in Laos?

2) Do they get enough to eat in Hungary?

3) Do they chew things over in Norway?

4) Are they fit in Iran?

5) Are people nutty in Brazil?

6) Is there a lot of grass in Greenland?

7) Are people known to patiently queue in Kuwait?

8) What do people wear in the Jersey Islands?

9) Are people prudish in the Virgin Islands?

10) What do they cook with in Greece?

Questions About Countries - Part 1

1) What sort of reception do tourists get in Chile?

2) Are chamber pots popular in Poland?

3) Do people take their mothers on holiday to Myanmar?

4) What's the favourite musical instrument in Qatar?

5) Do people move around quickly in Russia?

6) Are things well organised in the Marshall Islands?

7) Are people easily angered in Ireland?

8) Are they plenty of sharks in the waters around Finland?

9) What's the favourite bird in Turkey?

10) Are there many chefs in the Cook Islands?

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Butterfly Predator Graveyard

Wasps have been viciously attacking our Monarch Butterfly caterpillars they have to be cared for in containers to protect them until they can fly away. Even waiting on a bush - after hatching but before being ready to fly away - was too precarious.

A particular wasp species was getting more and more common and whenever we could we were out  swatting them. We got some and missed others. Those that were hit then had to be quickly given additional treatment as they would soon compose themselves and fly off. Very tough creatures. The dead ones were fed to the local ants who removed them with vigour (see graveyard below).

Then the other day, I was walking in another part of the garden when a wasp nearly flew into me and then went up into the corner of the roof guttering and into the cavity behind it. Maybe it was a warning shot across the bow. I watched the guttering and saw wasps come and go. Out came the ladder and fly spray. In no time, numerous bodies were littering the guttering channel.

Now we don't see wasps patrolling the swan plants looking for a defenseless Monarch caterpillar to sting to death. It came as a surprise that the flow of predators was coming from our very own property. But for a lone wasp who nearly flew into me for whatever reason, they would still be on their killer missions.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Smoke In The Sky

The smoke from the bush fires in Australia has made its way across the Tasman Sea to NZ. Here is an evening shot of the effect. The setting sun is shrouded in haze and not very strong. That isn't cloud cover that blocks the blue evening sky.