Archive for the 'Butterflies' Category

Blockhouse Bay, Spring 2016

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

It’s 20 August 2016 and it’s been a strange winter. the weather gurus say it’s been the warmest yet. July and August it just rained and rained (or so it seemed). I was up north and it was impossible to stay un-muddy. If that’s a word.

I’m writing this briefly – have pots of things to do (a magazine to get out, a calendar to finish… and then whatever comes next). However, I’ve just been around my garden and found eggs on swan plants so thought I should document when I get the first eggs of the new season – so here it is.

Some of the swan plants are looking very sorry for themselves so I’ve pruned a few of them where the snails (and slugs) are eating them. And put down slug bait.

I collected five or six eggs and realise that there is another just about to hatch. I’ve taken photos of it with a macro lens – hope it’s worth keeping (the photo).


There is at least one small black caterpillar on a cineraria at the door to the deck. I presume it’s a magpie moth.

IMG_0550[1] IMG_0558[1]

I also weeded the stinging nettle today. There were old dried stems that needed trimming back, and the plants are all beginning to sprout again. So it got some sheep manure and water and that should get that part of the garden going. There are yellow admiral pupae on the wall of the house although quite a few of them have flown.

Spring is about to come!

The Big Bright Butterfly 4.

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

IMG_3953 cropped


I wasn’t meant to come home this weekend but during the week (I was working five hours away) it just got too much for me. I was in a part of the country where there was horrific wind and rain. What was happening to my garden back home: would I get home in a few weeks to find it had been blown and washed away? Or would the weather be the opposite and everything had died due to lack of water?

So I came home and was so pleased I did. There hadn’t been much rain and so the first thing I did was water. Now already I can see some of the wildflower seeds have sprouted: the California poppies look like grass, only a few millimetres long. But I recognise them!

Does it look any different to you? Isn’t it exciting… I can’t wait to see it next – I go away again tomorrow but only for three days. Back on Wednesday 23 October. Another update then!

Butterfly release – Bourne wedding, Rotorua

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

“Thank you for the lovely butterflies you provided us for our wedding.” The weather wasn’t the best but from all reports, on the ‘planning’ and ‘success’ scale, this event rivalled Kate and Andrew’s!

Butterfly release – Stonefields School

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Stonefields School is a new school that wanted to release butterflies at their opening – but the supplier who was to deliver the butterflies had let them down at the last minute.

Their plan was to release four butterflies as part of our opening day celebration. Each one would signify one of their four vision principles, and Sarah, the principal, had written a very appropriate speech that refers to these as well as referring to the ‘butterflies in our stomachs’ that everyone might be feeling on the first day of a new school.

They were thrilled with their butterflies and the outcome – Thursday 3rd February – they gave my favourite charity (the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust) a generous donation, and were blown away by the event.

“We discovered that they moved much quicker than we expected them to…”

Butterfly release – Titirangi

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Mr and Mrs Philip Lim released butterflies provided by me at their Titirangi wedding in summer, 2011.

“The butterflies were wonderful and all went as planned.”

Betty Boopino – fantastic designer

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

I’ve been working on educational resources for schools (butterflies) and Emma designed a wonderful ‘frame’ for them. Originally it was going to be a website, but perhaps we’ll launch under the banner of the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust.

Take a look

IBBA – more photos

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Anne Clune and Ralph Ritchie at Baldi Hot Springs

Baldi Hot Springs 1

Cornelius & Pat duPlessis and Alicia Baylor at Baldi Hot Springs.

 Baldi Hot Springs 2

International Butterfly Breeders Association Convention in Costa Rica 2008

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Renee reports from San Jose, at the Convention:

All is going has been very cooperative. Here is a group photograph taken on Wednesday:

Group photo

From left to right..

Bottom row: Alexa Jones, Pat DuPlessis, Una McGurk, Georgann Serino, Lary Reeves, Renee Cooke, Rick Mikula, Nili Shahar.

Standing: Jerimiah Jones, Cornelius DuPlessis, Gary Exelby, Claudia Mikula, Ory Roberts, Jerry Roberts, Gloria Brons, Kathleen Ziemer, Gloria’s daughter-in-law, Barbara Bosco, Kathleen’s niece’s friend Abbey, Lew Bosco, Kathleen’s niece Emily, Chris Jacobs, Deb Jacobs, Mary Shields, Mike Rich’s son Andrew, David Spivey, Pam Kirwood, Peggy McClung, Dale McClung, Alicia Baylor and Mike Rich.We were in Arenal Monday and Tuesday for the Breeders Seminar. Costa Rica has three active volcanoes and one is in Arenal. We had the opportunity to see the lava flow and rumblings from Arenal served as our wake up call yesterday!

The breeders seminar was held at the Butterfly Conservatory; Glenn Baines’ place. A BEAUTIFUL facility… We visited three farms today and it was quite the experience; very informative, interesting and educational.

Our tour guides/drivers that work for the travel agency are excellent translators for those of us whose Spanish skills are non-existent and they are getting VERY good at spotting larvae, pupae and adults… They are getting a butterfly education and seem to be as interested as our participants are.

There are about 50 of us in total. but not all are here at all the same times, some are here from the Breeders Seminar through the paper presentations on Sunday, more arrived yesterday for the pre convention “field trips”, even more are due in tomorrow.

Will do my best to send an update or two as we go; the internet has been better than expected but still not always reliable! TTFN and please have a Marguerita for me!

Observatory Lodge

The Observatory Lodge at Arenal. And below, Helen Johnson, Monarch Alert, Monterey, California at the Icebreaker event.

Helen Johnson

San Diego

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Maureen Austin and Jennifer Collins lived in Alpine, about thirty miles east of San Diego, and had very kindly come to the airport to wat for us, when we arrived about midnight. They are both key Committee members of CHIRP.

CHIRP was established to instil respect and preservation of garden wildlife. The group organises a garden tour each year – and this year had organised one especially for us. At their meetings they would discuss organic gardening, low water use, local native and desert plants, planting for birds, hummingibrds, and backyard wildlife and such.

Jen’s home was beautiful, overlooking a desert canyon, but with many attractive plantings to encourage wildlife. We were amazed at the activities of the hummingbirds, finches and other visitors to her feeders.

Maureen and Jen had planned quite a programme for us. We had our own private garden tour and not only the homes, but the gardens were wonderful. Each gardener focussed on saving water and utilising the local specially adapted plants to best advantage. They had planted shade trees as an infrastructure to ensure that there was protection from the elements. They all utilised garden sculptures and art to some extent, and outdoor living rooms were common place. Wonderful! Thank you so much CHIRP for sharing your homes and gardens with us.

That night they had arranged a New Zealand reception for us. We got to meet other members of the CHIRP team and congratulate them on their work.

Our last day in California, and Maureen and Jen had planned a wonderful climax to our trip. We were off to the raptor rehabilitation centre, Sky Hunters.

A not for profit group, Sky Hunters is set up to teach the public about raptor conservation, raptor being birds of prey such as eagles, falcons, hawks and owls.

They give presentations and demonstrations, and teach people what to do if a sick or injured raptor is found, and about the birds’ behaviour. Although Nancy Conney, the director, was away, her husband showed us around and let us photograph the birds that were there. It was a wonderful facility and we will always treasure our visit.

Jen, her husband George and Maureen delivered us to the train station, where we just got to the train in time – only a few seconds to spare. Amtrak provides a great service, getting us to Union Station in LA within a few hours. It was a pleasant trip, interesting scenery outside the window.

At Union Station we caught up with Roger Sutton, lepidopterist visiting from England, and all three of us caught the shuttle to Los Angeles International Airport. It was great to meet him at last and to sit and relax awaiting our Air New Zealand flight.

The trip was over. We had a twelve-hour flight back to Auckland, but thank heavens we were travelling with Air New Zealand. Their service, catering and appointments were above anything else we had encountered.

I confessed to the check in desk that I had a bad earache. They adjusted some of the seating so that Mary and I could spread out and get a good night’s sleep.

At 5am we were back in NZ. Pleased to be back home – but delighted with our three week adventure.

Final daze in Florida

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

The Hampton is a great place to stay. It’s economical, it has all the facilities you could ever want – to me complimentary broadband internet was a big plus – and this includes a complimentary breakfast.

There were several Hamptons in Orlando, but the one we chose was in a huge estate of hotels – roads and roads of multi-storey buildings, all offering accommodation.
We had been up until the early hours packing and repacking. I was exhausted. It was a struggle getting everything in to our bags but I was determined not to leave anything behind. I had such wonderful goodies, souvenirs and gifts for friends and family.

After breakfast we struggled with our bags to the car and drove to the airline terminal. I realised that we were going to have to park the car and then take the bags to check in. We got there without too much difficulty, although we walked right past the check in counter, and found that we could not check in until two hours before. Our flight didn’t leave until later that afternoon. Aargh!

We had too much luggage to have with us throughout the day – espeially as we had to quit the car at 9am – so it was off to Hertz.We had made it to the airport okay, but without the GPS (now packed away) we got lost getting back to Hertz. A GPS unit is an amazing accessory, saving a lot of time and mileage in locating shops and points of interest – and finding the quickest way to and fro. Highly recommended.

The huge Hertz depot was abuzz with people leaving vehicles and taking the shuttle bus every five minutes to the airport. People came and went, as we pulled up we were greated by awoman with an electronic machine who inspected the car for its condition and printed out a receipt.

I asked at the counter if we could leave our bags, but there was nowhere. This was a huge facility – and on one particular day they had processed over 2,000 vehicles! Isn’t that amazing?

I phoned my friends who were driving up from Delray Beach; fortunately they had a huge boot in their car and could take all our luggage. They soon picked us up and we were off to have brunch with them and then explore Orlando. It was wonderful to catch up with Baron and Marcia Degner, who I had guided on a visit to New Zealand about ten years ago.

The TGIF that we lunched at was noisy, but we were able to share a few laughs and catch up. Then we were off to Disney World, a shopping mall offering Disney treats and some delicious sidelines, ice-cream and sodas

All too soon it was time to check in and we were off to San Deigo via Denver, with Frontier Airlines. Orlando International Airport was massive – after going through departure procedure, from the departure lounge, we were taken by shuttle to the aircraft and more shops.

On the shuttle my cellphone rang. It was a call from NZ – I answered it and then never saw my cellphone again. Where it went to was a mystery.

We were off to California.