Friday 5 January 2018

From the Antipodes

Apologies for the blog silence: it was a long journey, and things have been busy here in Wellington since we arrived. The weather – always a big feature of Welly life – has been extraordinary: mostly hot, hot, hot (it's been a most unusual, drought-affected summer) but suddenly switching yesterday to wet, wet, wet, with rain sheeting down in tropical style and gale-force winds adding to the fun. Eighteen hours later, the storm has finally blown itself out and the sun has reappeared. With it will come the butterflies, which are flying in glorious abundance here on the Brooklyn heights, where the Agapanthus and Pohutokawa are in full bloom, along with less showy flowers more familiar to English eyes. The chief attractors of butterflies are, as in England, the Buddleia bushes, and these are alive with, mostly, the New Zealand Yellow Admiral [pictured above]. This creamy beauty is flying in astonishing abundance, as numerous as the Cabbage Whites (official NZ name), with here and there a New Zealand Red Admiral, and every now and then a stately and spectacular Monarch.  All this against a soundtrack of virtuoso improvisation –  a mix of tuneful notes, bell-like sounds and wolf whistles with clicks, grunts, pops and strange mechanical sounds  – courtesy of the pugnacious, nectar-feeding Tuis [below].

Along the way, I have managed to read a rather remarkable novel, on which I intend to report in my next post.

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