Garden Visitors

On our last full day of this trip in Australia, two weeks of which have been spent in Stanley with the in-laws, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate some of the visitors that have made an impression while we were sitting, relaxing on the front deck, maybe with a drink or three. We may not be able to repeat this experience ‘cos selling up and consolidating in Sydney is a topic on the cards.

The front garden of the property has a central flower bed, planted largely with daisy-like plants that several butterflies obviously enjoy. With a camera at hand, they occasionally posed advantageously for me. Here are three, all of which were small, but I would particularly draw attention to the delicately marked little Barred Skipper on the right.

Common Grass Blue PSSaltbush BlueBarred Skipper

Imperial JezebelAnother spectacular and much larger butterfly was actually snagged in the back garden – more of an arboretum of mixed trees, really, rather than a garden. This is the regally named Imperial Jezebel (Delias harpalyce). I find it a particularly curious butterfly in that all the impressive colour is on the underside of the wings. It is a member of the Pieridae, which means that it is one of the Whites – the topside, though I didn’t get a chance to see it myself, is mostly white with some dark markings. It’s a most unusual set-up.

The front garden also contains a bird-bath which, along with the daisies, also attracted some delightful feathered friends. Here we saw a Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis) and the gaudily marked Red-browed Finch (Neochmia temporalis). One evening, the daisies attracted an immature male Eastern Spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) which didn’t seem at all concerned by our presence.

SilvereyeRed-browed FinchEastern Spinebill

Laughing KookaburraAnd [lose 100 points for beginning a paragraph with a conjunction] what visit to Australia would be complete without taking some notice of the good ol’ Laughing Kookaburrah (Dacelo novaeguineae)? When Michel cuts the extensive grass in between the trees of the rear arboretum, the Kookies are around waiting for chopped up worms. Sandrine, however, keeps a supply of raw chicken to throw for them when terrorists tourists are in town. One obliged by watching us with our cameras for some time. They’re a delight.

I’ve had a blast, this has been great. It’s actually been better than I could have hoped in that I’ve collected six new Australian dragonfly species [only 240 to go] and begun concentrating more on the butterflies and birdlife, both of which are equally spectacular.

I’m not exactly ready to return to England’s cold and grey shores – I am NEVER ready to return to England’s cold and grey shores – but I return a happy camper.

Posted in 2024-01 Australia