I don’t know what kind of bugs they are, nor do I know what they were up to. (Some similarity to cockroaches, but different.) On Swan Plant, Hillsborough Cemetery.
Edit: thanks to NatureWatch, I now know that these are “common small milkweed bugs” (Arocatus rusticus).
They were buzzing along this wooden fence, sitting down occasionally, joining up briefly, then following the fence line into the bush. An unending supply of them. Paper wasps (Polistes sp), Cornwallis Peninsula.
This beauty got disturbed when I opened the window and flew right into the handbasin. (No idea of ID.)
Next to our front door we have a blechnum fern. Always enjoy seeing the unfurling fronds.
You might notice the bits of ‘fluff’ here: the nymphs (“fluffybums”) of the passion vine hopper are already out and about. I am puzzled how these teeny critters can appear in force on totally new vegetation (i.e. a long distance away from where eggs might have been deposited at the end of the previous season).
I had just closed the door of my car, ready to take off, when this crane fly sat down on the window, right next to me (on the outside). With a bit of contortion, I managed to get a shot with decent background.
The intricately woven web of a nursery web spider offers protection to the egg sac and, after hatching, the young spiderlings. The spider guards over it from a safe hiding place.
Yellow Admiral (Kahukowhai)
A few days ago I was wandering through Chalmers Reserve, Avondale, when I came across this Yellow Admiral (kahukowhai) – only the second time ever that I saw one of them in the wild. About 5cm wingspan, this one was feeding on a hebe (koromiko), just long enough for me to grab a shot. These butterflies are native to New Zealand (and Australia and pacific islands), requiring nettles as food plant for their larvae.
A moth had chosen to spend the day on a window to our deck. The morning was cold, so there was no danger of it flying away. Taken from the inside out and from the outside in. Flew away later in the day. (A black towel for background.)
Any suggestions of ID?
The other day I took delivery of a load of firewood (not a moment too soon as it turned out, since our heat pump died shortly after). This was one of the pieces: the bark had come off, and the work of the larvae of bark beetles was showing clearly.
This is how I think it works: A bark beetle carves out a ‘brood gallery’ through the bark (two of them visible here), laying eggs along the way. Eggs hatch, larvae eat, forming these food galleries, and when they have matured, they pupate in those cosy nests at the end of their corridor. When the time comes they find their way out through the bark and the cycle repeats.
For more black and white images check out Dragonstar’s Weekend in Black and White.
Female Monarch Butterfly
Yesterday was by far the coldest day for months – and it so happened that the chrysalis that I had brought home on a twig of milkweed (swan plant) was ready to turn into a butterfly. Sadly, just at the crucial moment, I was not around, but still, it was fun reliving an episode of the past when we produced monarchs big time.
A sequence of shots of an emerging monarch butterfly can be found here.
Still a bit crumpled.
The Chrysalis, a few hours before the event