1. The flowers might look pretty, but the spread of boneseed along New Zealand's coast is worrying. However, in early 2007, the boneseed leafroller (Tortrix s.l. sp. "chrysanthemoides"), a potential biological control agent was released (365 Kb PDF). Caterpillars of the boneseed leafroller damage the plant's leaves, stems, and bark, causing terminal leaves and shoot tips to die. The outcome of the biological control programme might not be known for some time — possibly many years — but we can remain hopeful.
2. Californian quail were introduced to New Zealand in 1865 and are now widespread. I have a soft spot for these birds, as they were common where I grew up, in a small valley on the outskirts of Christchurch. Hearing their distinctive call can take me back decades.
Photos (click to enlarge them):
1, 3. Californian quail, Callipepla californica (photo 1, female; photo 3, male). Wellington coast, near Burdan's Gate, Point Arthur.
2. Torea, the variable oystercatcher, Haematopus unicolor. Wellington coast, near Burdan's Gate, Point Arthur.
4. Boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. monilifera) flowers. These appear identical to the flowers on the little girl's hat.
Photos and words © 2007 Pete McGregor