Friday 27 March 2015

Hunting Wasp Drags Spider

The path in my greenhouse is covered with coarse chainsaw dust. Today I found a red wasp dragging a large spider. It was heavy going because the wasp couldn’t get traction with the loose wood fragments. As it tugged at the spider its back legs were working hard and chips were flying. Now and then it stepped aside to rub its head with its front legs. Eventually it got its feet on the edging board and rapidly dragged the spider up the 10cm board and over into a mess of gardening tools.

Trying to get traction.

The wasp's strength is amazing. The spider looks like a grey house spider. It has been paralysed and will remain alive for the wasp’s offspring to feed on.


Tuesday 17 March 2015

New Zealand Pigeon

New Zealand Pigeon

The Maori name is kereru

It is puffed up because of the cold wind
Today a native New Zealand pigeon visited my garden. This was such an unheard of event that I did not immediately recognise it. We are a long way from its forest habitat. There has been a sudden cooling of the weather. Perhaps it is migrating to a warmer place. All it wanted was a drink of water and a little rest.

This is a big bird, measuring about 51 cm. Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae.

Friday 6 March 2015


For the first time in months we had some real rain, earth-soaking rain, relief from the drought. At sunrise the sunlight slipped through a narrow gap in the clouds and lit up the underside of the cloud cover. Then, for a couple of minutes, the most magnificent rainbow appeared. The colours were so intense. The light below the rainbow was so radiant compared to above the bow.

Because of the low angle of the sun the arch was very high. I could not capture the whole of it in one shot. Here are two shots, the first at the climax of the colour, and the second as the sky began to darken.

It was a marvellous experience standing in the rain with that brilliant arch towering above me.