Focusing on the detail – Glenys is back

For the past eleven years, the gecko we call Glenys has made regular summer appearances

Glenys is back. When she first appeared in 2011, Mark initially named it Elvis (“In the Ghetto”, gecko, geddit?). A kind enthusiast from the herpetological society advised us that it was almost certainly a pregnant female, hence the name change. He also identified her as Hoplodactylus pacificus and was as excited as we were by our observations of a breeding female here.

Overseas readers may be baffled by our excitement at having resident geckos but they are rarely spotted here, not unlike our two species of rare bats that nobody I know has ever seen. We only have three native reptiles – skinks are common enough, everybody knows about tuataras but the geckos are shy, retiring and not seen widely at all.

I assume we have several resident geckos, or at least three. For Glenys to be pregnant, there must be a Mr Glenys around and a couple of years ago we had two sunning themselves on the dead pine tree. We think the second, smaller one must have been Glenys’s daughter.

Hoplodactylus pacificus but we call her Glenys

This is a summer sight. NZ geckos are most unusual in that they give birth to live young – usually just two and apparently they look like matchsticks on legs. The pregnant females use the warmth of the sun to incubate the young which is why we only see Glenys in summer, out in her discreet sunbathing spot. Geckos have a long life span – anything from 20 to 50 years but I guess it is hard to measure the life span of geckos in the wild. Glenys may be with us for a while yet. If she lives to 50, she will out-live us.

I skipped my usual Sunday post. I didn’t think many would notice (thanks, Jane in Australia). I just couldn’t think of anything to say around the start of a new year. We all hope 2022 will be better than 2021 and 2020 but the signs are not good. In New Zealand, it is like living with the sword of Damocles poised above us. We are on track to achieve the impossible – the elimination of Delta (just 14 cases of community transmission across the whole country yesterday although the number yo-yos up to the 40s some days) but Omicron is hovering in the wings, looking for its chance to unleash itself. We know that but the longer we can stave it off, the better prepared we will be. These are not easy times we are living in, even less so for those in Australia, France, UK, USA and other countries near paralysed by this latest wave. I find thinking small, looking at detail and the natural world keeps me focused and reduces the catastrophising.

All I have to offer is the detail, in this case of Glenys. We have to be sharp-eyed and quiet to spot her; she can disappear back into her hidey-hole beneath the bark in a flash at sudden movements or loud noises.  

That is Glenys, pretending to be a bit of bark on her tree. We tread quietly around this area.

16 thoughts on “Focusing on the detail – Glenys is back

  1. Sarah D

    I did miss your Sunday post, so was pleased to read about Glenys and her family. I enjoy reading about your NZ garden and look forward to the time when I’ll be able to visit (from the UK) and see if for myself!

  2. Alexandra O’Brien

    I did wonder where you were on Sunday as reading your weekly musings is the highlight of my Sunday breakfast. Like you, we have all our children and grandchildren in Australia and I sometimes despair of ever seeing them again. Our little one is only 6 and we have missed the precious last 2 years. Our garden is my only consolation – as you say, we need to concentrate on the little things in nature. Our garden is full of monarch butterflies flitting about. Such a joy to see them and to anticipate a bumper crop of caterpillars this year. Keep writing Abby – you keep us going in these troubled times 🦋

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Alexandra, that was the nicest comment to read. Thank you. There are so many of us in the situation with family overseas – particularly Australia. The small person in our life is ony five so I know exactly what you mean about missing out on two years of growing up – which is a lot when it is at least one third of their lives! I find myself envious of our peers whose children have settled close to home. But we can hardly blame our children when we raise them with the desire to explore further afield, to see and experience more and then they wash up well away from us.
      We are not seeing that many monarchs at the moment so you are doing well. We have some but not the clouds of them we get some years. They are such a joyous sight, I agree. Like beacons of hope.

  3. Glenys

    I am delighted by your post. My name is quite unusual in the states, it’s only in New Zealand that I meet others named Glenys, and here’s a gecko sharing my name too.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Oh! It had never occurred to me that Glenys was a name favoured more in NZ than elsewhere. Though probably not in the younger generations.

  4. Glenis Hallmond

    I can totally relate to Glenys’s aversion to sudden movements & loud noises.
    Love her colouring! I’m sure I have a top with that pattern. 😁

      1. Glenis Hallmond

        As was I during my only visit to your gardens & came home with 2× Deutzia Rosea & some others I think. Brain getting old now 😆 . Remember also your aversion to blue pots at the time, your description still makes me chuckle.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      I felt it as I was going to sleep but then forgot about it until I read your comment. While relatively close to us and of a reasonable size, it was very deep so nothing alarming. Thanks for thinking of us.

  5. Paddy Tobin

    I would be thrilled to have the equivalent of Glenys appear here in our garden. We had a buzzard perch on a tree in the garden today, exciting but they fly overhead very regularly so not unknown to us.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      We get karearea – NZ’s only native falcon and now a threatened species – which are remarkable birds but they mostly come in to pick off Mark’s tumbler pigeons!

  6. Pauline Rae Crowley-Zieltjes

    New Year’s greetings Abbey from 614 Kelly Road love your postings and especially about Glenys I’m sure we have seen some here on this old property also. Have a great year look forward to enjoying our gardening times and pushing all the catastrophes away from our thinking processes.

    Regards Pauline and Tony Zieltjes

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