Sunday 20 December 2015

Billions of spiders... !

I was up on the Japan Sea with my wife for a couple of nights; an eating trip to Tottori city in the main. But I got up one pre-dawn morning to check the fields inland of the coast near Shinjiko.

Freshly fallen snow had been covering the backroads through the mountains on our overnight drive up, my first snow of what has been an exceptionally mild late autumn and early winter. Steep and twisting backroads at night; what was I thinking, of course it would pick then to snow! But milder conditions had returned the morning I spent birding, a hail shower aside there was intermittent light rain and enough of the sun to paint vivid and regular rainbows. An unseasonable small tortoiseshell flitting around riverside berry bushes, presumably looking for non-existant flowers, was a further contradiction to that cautious drive up two nights ago.

Unexpected as the butterfly may have been the biggest surprise was spiders, billions of spiders. I didn't notice them at first, not for a long while in fact, but the tips of emergent vegetation and old stubble alike were festooned with threads. I wasn't parked long before my windscreen was covered with threads and arriving spiders were busy constructing webs on any angle they could find.

So no pictures of the spiders but as any birds feeding over a huge area of fields were draped with fine threads this is all by way to explain their appearance.

Rooks were very common, there were a couple of flocks of over a hundred birds and smaller groups here and there. These flocks were quite mobile but the upside of that was finding any Daurian Jackdaws became far easier than when birds might have been hidden behind field borders. In the end I only found a single Jackdaw and I don't for a moment think I missed any.

Rooks and spider silk...

Daurian Jackdaw...

These Northern Lapwings about a kilometre away didn't fare any better, and notice the streaming spider threads from the stubble...

Eight species of birds of prey weren't getting covered with spider silk. Hen Harrier was the best for me as it's a species I don't often see around Kyoto nowadays but the best photo op came in the form of this approachable Merlin sitting on the wires.

No comments:

Post a Comment