The time of the butterflies
It's the time of the butterflies. Landcare member Julie Macdonald says .....
'The Imperial Blue butterflies are out. They use young wattles and have a symbiotic relationship with a specific species of ant, which guard their juveniles and are rewarded with food secreted from the butterfly lavae. Down by Riddells Creek, by the car park as you come in from Gisborne, before the bridge, three young wattles (which the ants prefer) are hosting this year's continuation of this amazing life cycle. Look carefully for chrysalis, ants, butterflies.'
The Imperial blue butterfly, Jalmenus evagoras
Meanwhile, everywhere else, the Common Brown butterflies in Barrm Birrm are having a big year. Walking the kangaroo and smaller trails, they fly up as you approach, a haze of fluttering. Check out the URL below to learn more about them.
And if you thought orchids were just a Springtime thing, think again, because, says member Sean McConnell, the Rosy Hyacinth orchid is abundant on the mid to upper slopes of Barrm Birrm. What incredible colour!
Stand at the ready too, because it's Sweet Bursaria flowering time, and you will find out why the 'Sweet' is attached to the name. The fragrant flowers of Bursaria attract masses of bufferflies, moths and other native insects which in turn attract insect eating birds.
Bursaria hosts insects that feed on the sawfly larvae (spit-fire grubs ) which feed on eucalypts. It is also a nectar source for wasps that parasite on (occupy the bodies of) leaf-eating scarab insects and pasture grubs, generally within 200 metres of the bush.
The thorny plants make excellent refuges and nesting sites for small birds. You'll find Sweet Bursaria on the lower slopes of Barrm Birrm, and a buzz of insect activity around the bushes.