CAIRNS BIRDWING BUTTERFLY (Ornithoptera euphorion)

Now I’m into reviewing 2012 (and have given the rest of 2011 a miss) in my archives, there is a bit more variety in photography subjects.

I’d gone to Melbourne Zoo on 21 February 2012 (having already to take out a membership on an earlier visit).  Entry for a pensioner as I was, meant paying the concession rate of about $19(?) a visit back in those days.   Membership per annum was about $70+ for all 3 of Melbourne’s zoos, so it would only take 3-4 visits a year to make membership worth the money.   If you’re a tourist visiting Melbourne and planning on seeing all 3 zoos (which includes Healesville Sanctuary in the country and Werribee Park Open Range Zoo in the western suburbs) and have children, defintely take out a year’s membership.  It’s much cheaper than visiting all 3 zoos on a day pass.

As it turned out, I had so much fun photographing the animals, birds, insects and reptiles, I ended up visiting over 100 times over 3 years – (I counted the dates of each photo folder to work that total out).

Furthermore, the beautiful Temperate Rainforest landscaping was so cool and refreshing, I would often go 3 times in the one week mid-Summer.   I guess the enormous Great Aviary really confirmed my newly found love of Bird Photography also.

This main zoo in North Melbourne is small enough to cover in one day, but large enough to make all the newer enclosures, including the walk through ones, interesting.

The Butterfly House with its humid artificially controlled atmosphere became the first port of call when I entered via the large entrance on the main road.  The back entrance/exit was used from then on as it had a tram stop (& train stop) close to the gate.

CAIRNS BIRDWING (Ornithoptera euphorion)
MAINTENANCE DAY THIS DAY WHEN ALL THE BUTTERFLIES WERE ABSENT THAT I COULD SEE. HOW DID THEY REMOVE THEM ALL IS THE BIG QUESTION.
THIS DAY MIGHT HAVE BEEN DURING THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS AS IT WAS QUITE CROWDED AND HARDER TO PHOTOGRAPH THE DIFFERENT SPECIES.

 

AUSTRALIAN PAINTED LADY (Vanessa kershaw)

The Australian painted lady (Vanessa kershaw) butterfly is mostly confined to Australia, although westerly winds have dispersed it to islands east of Australia, including New Zealand.

AUSTRALIAN PAINTED LADY (Vanessa kershaw) – Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

This butterfly migrates from place to place and loves to visit gardens. In southern Australia, the best time to spot them is after a few warm, sunny days at the end of winter, and from spring to autumn.

In the northern part of the Painted Lady butterfly’s range, they live in the same location year-round.

Whenever they rest or stop to feed, they spread their wings out low to keep predators away. The vibrant colours and patterns advertise to birds and other animals that they are poisonous.

Butterflies also spread their wings to soak up warmth from the sun and to show off their patterns to potential mates.

These images were shot in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne on 4th December 2010, resting on some Shrubby Verbena (Lantana) flowers.

FLOWER PHOTOGRAPHY

While I love my current home location, I can’t deny that it’s not as ‘colourful‘ as when I lived next to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne (up to May 2015).

I was also a short bus ride away from some of Melbourne’s other main public gardens and The Conservatory (in the Fitzroy Gardens) at that time.

After walking the Royal Botanic Garden’s many paths for over 25 years, it really was fun to capture some of the beautiful flowers through the seasons when I bought a DSLR in late December 2010.

While I do have a relatively small Edwardian public park a bus ride away at the current time (images above), somehow it’s not the same as the diverse range of flowers, grasses and old trees of the RBG (Royal Botanic Gardens) which was first planted in 1846.   Quite a few of those old trees were uprooted or severely damaged in a storm in 2009, but other 150+ year old trees, sourced from many countries around the world, remain a backdrop to some of the RBG’s beautiful paths and avenues.

One of the main drawcards to the RBG is the wide variety of formal garden beds, informal planting of native plants as well as a rich variety of grasses and trees.  It’s variety is constantly being updated and replanted to maintain a lovely array of foliage as well as flowers.

Melbourne is known as the Garden capital city of Australia and its many public parks and gardens are a living testament to the wisdom of some of the early settlers in the area who made the effort to surround the first white settlement with gardens.

While recent years have seem much re-landscaping from English cottage garden plants to more drought-hardy natives, South African and South American plants, some of the 55,000 plants are bound to be in flower in any season.

The Treasury Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens on the eastern perimeter of Melbourne’s CBD (Central Business District) together with many National Trust Properties make for a wealth of photo subjects to entertain and enchant the Garden Lovers among you.

So to cheer up those living in the northern hemisphere, which is still under storms and/or snow/wintery chill, here’s a colourful array of some of my early flower images – mostly made between 2010 and 2013 (combined with a few butterfly images from the Butterfly House at Melbourne’s main zoo in North Melbourne).

NOTE: As always, if you see a misspelt name, blame the Auto Spellcheck which keeps changing my typing OR if you see an incorrect name, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section.  There are 3-4 flowers which have several common names, but I’ve only listed one to save space.