Book magnifies butterfly magic

PAINTED ladies, yellow admirals and monarchs – the names sound like something from a comic opera but the reality is much more down to earth.

They are the common names of some of the butterflies that flutter around the natural environment of Ash Island in the wildlife-rich estuary of the Hunter River.

While the names may be common, most people know little about the butterflies’ habits and habitats, or what they look like.

Works in a new book by Stroud artist Rosie Heritage, however, provide the opportunity for intimate views of the creatures, something that would be very hard to find in the wild.

 Heritage has created 40 images of island butterflies that have been compiled into Butterflies and Bushland, An Illustrated Guide to the Butterflies of Ash Island.

The artist has drawn  on a range of existing sources, including the works of the remarkable Scott sisters, for inspiration.

Helena and Harriet Scott lived on Ash Island with their family in the 1800s and are considered to be two of Australia’s most talented natural history artists.

The book has been made possible by a government grant that also helped fund a planting program at the Kooragang wetlands designed to encourage   native butterflies.

 Heritage said she had received support from the volunteers and staff at the Kooragang Wetlands Rehabilitation Project, headed by Peggy Svoboda.

A log is kept on the island to record sightings of butterflies. 

This record can then be compared with the extensive list of native species kept by Helena Scott,  Heritage said. 

For details of the book contact Kooragang Wetlands Information Centre on 4964 9308.

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