I love writing, taking photos, travelling and enjoying life. I have a BA of Adult and Vocational Teaching and a Master of Arts (Writing). My business card says Writer, Traveller, Camera Addict, and Bamboo Fan www.dihill.com.au
Published March 15th 2016
Flutter around the Butterflies on Bribie
Shhhh. Don't frighten the butterflies! Did you know that if you say hello to a group of caterpillars they will nod their heads? Well, sort of. They certainly react to the greeting!
I had the honour of visiting the Bribie Island Butterfly House this week to learn about the work being done by Volunteers to create this wonderful community activity. At the moment, it is in the home of founder Ray Archer and as it is currently in his backyard, you will have to phone to arrange a visit, and then you will learn the address.
Soon though, perhaps in the Spring of 2016, the Butterfly House will move to a new and more public venue in another part of the island.
Now, it is all in Ray's backyard. "It consists of gardens, nursery and a hydroponic gardening area. This is the place where the host plants are grown to feed the caterpillars. There is also a basic laboratory where the hungry caterpillars are fed and housed. Here they reach their pupal (chrysalis) stage. A butterfly house out the back is where the butterflies live and happily mate and lay their eggs, so we can produce more butterflies." - from the website.
Standing in the butterfly house, one can watch the butterflies flutter about – and you can witness some other amazing events of nature. A big butterfly fluttered past, pausing by a plant, angled its "tail" towards a leaf and within seconds planted an egg on the leaf, before fluttering away.
In a tree above, there was a collection of butterflies mating. Hard to tell if the male had a smile on his face, but he had about four "ladies" interested in him.
Ray, dressed appropriately in his butterfly shirt, quickly disposed of intruder spiders, and explained some of the activity in the house. He named the different variety of butterflies, and introduced the male and female stick insects that enjoy the ambience of the butterfly house – friendly insects that are fascinating to view.
I was able to watch a butterfly come out of its chrysalis and slowly its wings grew to adult size. Ray explained the process, as the wings "grow" as you watch
Ray explains every part of the lifecycle of the butterfly, eggs, (which are harvested by volunteers), the caterpillars which are fed indoors until they curl up, then shed their last caterpillar skin to expose the new chrysalis – amazing stuff! After a couple more weeks they emerge as butterflies.
Volunteers work planting seedlings to provide food for the voracious caterpillars, harvesting eggs, removing ants or other sneaking insects and spiders that find their way into the butterfly house and much more.
Do visit now – everyone is excitedly looking forward to the new venue. In the meantime, there is more work to do and more funds to source. It will be a great tourist venture for Bribie, and Ray Archer and his team of Volunteers are keen to hear from anyone who would like to donate funds, or sponsor some aspect of the work, or just Volunteer.