Saturday, December 22, 2012

Critters and Flowers@ Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne

CH and I arrived at Melbourne city centre and checked into the hotel in the late morning on 5 Dec. Brenda,  CH's friend who is working in Melbourne, took time off  accompanying us to the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) which is located a few tram stops from where we stayed - the  Mercure Welcome Hotel. Thanks for your hospitality, Brenda.

It was drizzling shortly after we alighted at the stop opposite the Shrine of Remembrance. Instead of going straight to RBG, we hurried to the Shrine of Remembrance - one of  the important and prominent landmarks in Melbourne. Thanks to the bad weather, we had the chance to tour inside the building.
The sky cleared up in the late morning. We followed Brenda, heading towards RBG which is a stone's throw away from the Shrine.

Strolling on garden paths, we were surrounded by all kinds of shrubs and trees blooming with many colourful flowers. 

We saw a lot of Plague Soldier Beetles (Chauliognathus sp) on different plants and flowers.
Here is another shot of  three of them "fighting for space" on a leaf.
When there were no butterflies for us to shoot, I took some pictures of  hardworking bees collecting nectar from different flowers. 
We were walking aimlessly and occasionally stopped  by the beauty of a great variety of  bloom. Except for some white butterflies fluttering past us in the garden, we didn't find any other flying jewels for a long period of time.  At last I spotted this dark brownish-orange Telicota species resting in a shade.
Though the weather was getting hotter in the afternoon, the cold summer breeze kept me dry and I didn't perspire at all.  Instead we were succumbed to hunger and thirst. So we had a quick snack at The Gardens Shop next to a lake.

Outside the shop and cafe, we found one Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi) loitering around at its host plant.
We had to endure the heat and the breeze to take some pictures of this fellow. 
There were  many small Grass Blue butterflies fluttering and feeding on some tiny  flowers growing on the grass lawn. They were extremely skittish in the hot sun - this upperside shot was my best attempt.
It was late in the afternoon when we were at the Plant Craft Cottage at one corner of the garden. When we were looking for direction to the gate, I noticed a different butterfly feeding on flowers at a distance - yes, it was Dainty Swallowtail (Papilio anactus).
It flew closer to me and I managed to "fire" rapidly a few shots instinctively.
Finally it rested on some dry stems of a tree.
We headed towards the gate where the Children's Garden is located. at. At last, I found a resting Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) inside the garden waiting for me to take some shots . 
There were many larvae on its larval host plant - the cabbage leafs. What were these two small flies doing on  on the larva ?
I guess this is what will happen to the larva if it is parasited.
I spotted a few Pea Blues (Lampides boeticus)  in the Children's Garden. But this better specimen was photographed outside the garden. 
The sun was still above our heads in the early summer evening. When we were about to leave RBG, we bumped into a few Common Brown (Heteronympha merope) butterflies flitting outside the National Herbarium building. A sun-bathing male was rather tame for me to take a few shots.   
They flew close to the grassy understorey and tended to fold their wings when they rested on the ground.  Without a pair of sharp eyes we would not be able to spot any of them as the dull underside of the wings blended perfectly with the environment. 
This is a female which is rarer and much harder to shoot than the male.
CH spotted this female resting in the shade - the undersides are paler than the male's.
After participating in a conference at La Trobe University on 6 and 7 Dec, we spent the whole day in the zoo on 8 Dec. While CH flew back home early, I continued to travel further and re-visit RBG and Fitzroy Gardens.    

To be continued


  1. I'm not sure what i like more the beautiful flowers or the butterflies, thanks so much for sharing. I wish they had butterflies floating around the flower district los angeles because that's the closest I ever get to a field as gorgeous as this.

  2. Hi George

    Thanks for dropping by here.
    I also hope that some butterflies especially in the summer will visit the gardens around your area.