5/3/2016 Yesterday was a fine day, so I drove up into the mountains and did some hiking around Yasu Kogen. There is a large public park there popular with the locals where I sometimes go early in the morning to avoid the crowds and catch the good light for photography. For the most part, the birds were proving to be rather elusive, so I pointed the camera to other flora and fauna. I noticed a species of brush-footed butterfly (satyrinae) flitting around a sawtooth oak, (kunagi). It was attracted to the sweet smell of sap which was leaking from a branch. As I was taking a close up picture of the butterfly (and some flies), an Asian giant hornet, (suzumebachi) suddenly buzzed in and scared away all the insects from the oozing sap. It was intent on drinking the sweet sap, and allowed me to place the lens very close for these pictures. In the second photo, just in front of the hornet, you can see a species of assassin bug lurking. It is not there for the sap. Rather it is waiting there for a proper-sized insect to ambush. It will pounce on it and quickly stab it with it’s rostrum, (straw-like mouth part), to inject a paralyzing toxin, and then sucks out the juices, like a single-fanged spider!
If you’re interested, click on the link below to learn more about the fascinating giant hornet.
A Japanese 5-lined skink, ((Nihon tokage) soaking up the early morning sun. Notice the end of it’s tail is regenerating.
This time of year, I sometimes find this beautiful bloom, often on the edge of roads near shady trees. It is called the Japanese fringed iris, (shaga). Notice the small male Japanese cedar pollen cone, (I think) nestled in the center of the flower in the second picture.
This is a Hwamei (Chinese meaning is painted eyebrow) , native to China, which was introduced to Japan and Hawaii, among others, for it’s beautiful song. They are also known as the Chinese melodious laughing thrush. Unfortunately, they are caged in some countries, China and Singapore among others, for their song.