Archive for the 'Butterflies' Category

Caterpillars five days old – 3 September

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

They’re growing very quickly now.




You’ll notice that they are no longer black and cream but that the yellow stripes are beginning to show up. Still very tiny.

I collected another 40 or so eggs yesterday, and more today. I’m going to be busy very soon!

Tuesday, 30 August – Blockhouse Bay

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

The season has started!

I have five or six first-instar monarch caterpillars.

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Aren’t they hairy little beasts!

I also collected about 40-50 monarch eggs off swan plants in my garden. There are aphids already too… now what did I do last year about them? Snails are eating the new growth on the swan plants, so that’s another challenge to address.

Over at the Blockhouse Bay Recreational Reserve Butterfly Habitat it’s much the same, although I haven’t been looking for eggs. I put used coffee grinds around the swan plants as the new growth was getting eaten by snails/slugs. Those plants will have to look after themselves!

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.

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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

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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