Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Move over David Attenborough

Despite living on the outskirts of a city of around 150,000 people, we can see (or hear) our fair share of wildlife. I'd like to take photos to show you all but it's always all too small, or too far away, or too quick to run away when it hears a camera coming. Anyway, here's what I've spotted in the last few days, all from the comfort of our back garden:
  • wild ducks, white ibises and herons in the rice fields

  • masses of tadpoles in the rice fields, and frogs still croaking at night

  • pheasants - I often hear them shout and this morning I spotted one wandering about

  • tiny little shrimp swimming around in the rice fields

  • swallows, sparrows and various other birds I can't identify, plus crows eating our tomatoes :-(

  • butterflies - everything from big tropical-looking swallow-tails to the dreaded cabbage whites

  • bats flying around at dusk

  • a snake rustling through the overgrown fields behind our house - luckily this one was spotted by H

  • creepy crawlies of every description, most interestingly the mino-mushi. Read on...

Mino-mushi literally means 'straw raincoat bug', and I've seen it translated into English as 'bagworm' or 'basketworm'. The caterpillar builds a little house around himself from whatever he can find, usually little twigs, to protect himself from predators, so that he ends up looking like this:

But if you carefully cut open his house, you can find him hiding inside:

Then if you give him new materials like, say, a cut-up pizza flyer, he'll build a new, much more colourful home. I don't think this one would work well as camoflauge though, unless he was living on our kitchen table....

** No mino-mushi were injured in the making of this blog post. Pizza-flyer caterpillar is living happily in his new home, with fresh food delivered to him regularly (leaves, not pizza...) **

1 comment:

  1. That little caterpillar is awesome. You have a really cool little ecosystem over there!