Lockdown Wētā Hotels

During the time between these two lockdowns, our hotels have been gaining more and more residents. The uptake was slow at first whilst the word was getting out there, but now they have many regular patrons.

A New Zealand Tūī Feeding on Flax Nectar

Click to zoom in New Zealand’s Endemic Tūī Tūī (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) are an endemic New Zealand bird found across almost all of New Zealand. They range from the subtropical Kermadec Islands to the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands. Tūī are noticeably absent from the Canterbury region although they were found there historically. With native planting, predator control,…

Our Local Green Woodpecker Family

We have had the builders in putting up an extension to the house since our last post about our resident female Green Woodpecker.  As a result of the building works, we haven’t been able to get into the garden as much as we would normally. We haven’t even been able to hear the ‘yaffling’ of…

Ruby-tailed Wasp: Beautiful, But Deadly*

After a 4-hour drive home after a few days away, we finally pulled onto the drive.  With a sigh and a conscious mustering of energy, I attempted to swing myself from the car. Emma, sat in the passenger seat, suddenly pointed out of the window at the front wall of the house and said, ‘ruby-tailed wasp!’ I was…

British Orchids in Bloom

What a heatwave we’ve been having here in the UK over last few days! All of this sunshine has meant plenty of time outdoors enjoying Britain’s wonderful flora and fauna. Our most recent wanderings took us along roadside verges in search of Britain’s native orchids. Who would have thought that these verges would be one…

Takahē: The World’s Largest Living Rail

The takahē’s story is quite amazing. Between 1849 and 1898, only four individuals were ever sighted… By the early 1900’s takahē were considered to be extinct.

A Native New Zealand Centipede

Recently, whilst weeding one of these gardens in residential Whanganui, we came across this beautiful centipede. It was about 4cm in length, and bared its forcipules AKA ‘fangs’ when we disturbed it under a log in the flowerbed. The blue antennae were stunning, so we took the chance for a quick photo-shoot.

New Zealand’s Sacred Kingfisher

Now that I am in New Zealand, I’ve been looking out for kingfishers. I often hear a ‘keh-keh-keh’ as I go about my daily business, and even see the silhouette of New Zealand kingfishers perching, at height, on telegraph wires near waterways.

From the Garden

So much of my childhood was occupied by garden explorations – trying to find the shiniest beetle, the jumpiest leaf hopper, the longest stick insect, the biggest bug… The emperor gum moth and its caterpillar were always the ultimate find.