Tonga’s 3 main island groups - Tongatapu, Ha’apai, and Vava’u – have mostly similar birds and other fauna. However I didn’t take many photographs on land as my camera was usually locked in an underwater housing. The wet weather and the camera-shy nature of many of the birds didn’t help either, but I did manage to get photos of a few creatures that were new to me.
The bird that woke me most mornings in Vava’u was this Polynesian Starling (Aplonis tabuensis). It regularly called outside my bedroom window and would then call on and off for the rest of the day. At least it didn’t start as early as the neighbourhood cockerels, or as early as our Kiwi fisherfolk neighbours who started their boat motor at 5 a.m. (and left it to warm up while they chatted!)
I’m a notorious non-participator in group activities, but one I did participate in last month was the Autumn Wild Pollinator Survey. The results of the survey came today in an email with a link to some of the photos submitted, including some of my own.
Looking at those photos reminded me I had yet to review my portfolio for what had been a pleasant morning’s outing near the BP site at Waverton. I had taken a camera with a telephoto lens, as I didn’t want to get too close to any of the flowers lest I discouraged the pollinators.
Not long after setting out, I became aware of a beady set of eyes regarding me with deep suspicion.
I pulled my hat a little lower over the back of my neck and continued on. A little further along, I was reminded that there were others who prefer consuming pollinators to counting them:
It’s mid-autumn in Sydney, and I’m still seeing butterflies and moths flitting around and laying eggs, usually on our grapevine and lime tree. One of the egg-layers was this Orchard Swallowtail, Papilio aegeus aegeus:
If you look carefully at the enlargement below you can, with a bit of help from Photoshop, make out the spherical creamy-brown egg at the tip of the butterfly’s abdomen: