Today, I saw a Bull-headed Shrike, when I was walking along the Tama river in Tokyo. Bull-headed Shrike distribuets to Japan, Korea, China, and southeast of Russia. Bull-headed Shrike is famous for sticking their food (insects, frogs, or mice) in branches of trees and leaving them. Meaning of this behavioral is still unclear. It is said that Bull-headed Shrike is saving their food for surviving winter. However, this bird often forgets the food and never eats them. It is also said that this bird has a habit to fix their food by sticking them to branches first, and then eats. When they are eating, they often need to fly away to escape from their enemies. So, we are just seeing their left over, and thus there is no meaning. This bird is very common in Japan (although I saw it for my first time), but we still do not understand their behavior completely. It is interesting to examine, I think. Japanese name of this bird is Mozu (百舌). "Mo (百)" spells "a hundred" in Chinese, and "Zu (舌)" spells a tongue in Chinese, indicating that this bird has a hundred of tongues. Actually, this bird can mimic songs of various (a hundred of) other birds. This is why name of this bird is Mozu in Japanese.
ハワイ島の海辺で磯の生物を観察していたら、なんだか不気味なものが岩の間で蠢いていました。これはおそらく多毛類のゴカイの一種ですね。英名は、bristle worm。触ったら毛がゴワゴワしていて、怖いもの知らずの私もさすがに気持ち悪かったです。後で調べたら、ゴカイの仲間にウミケムシというのがいて、それは毒を持っているらしいです。私が触ったのがウミケムシではなくて良かったです。良い子のみなさん、私のように知らない物になんでも触るのはやめましょう。昔、アメリカ人の友達が好奇心が強すぎる私をみて、 "Curiosity killed the cat (好奇心が猫を殺す)"という諺を教えてくれましたが、ホントいつか好奇心に殺されないように気をつけます。
I saw very creepy something moving between rocks. It is probably a kind of bristle worms. I touched it and felt "Ew!". After I studied about bristle worms little bit and found that there are similar worms called stinging or fire worms. These worms have toxins. Whew. I was lucky that I probably touched ordinary bristle worms. Please don't touch strange things like I did. Curiosity killed the cat.
Hiloの町で巨大な不思議な木を見ました。この木はBanyan Tree (バニアン・ツリーもしくはベンガルボダイジュ)というそうです。Wikipediaによると、この木は熱帯アジア原産の常緑高木で、典型的な「絞め殺し植物」だそうです。絞め殺し植物なんて初めて聞きました。どうやってバニヤン・ツリーが下のような木になるかというと、まず1) 鳥がなんらかの木の上に実（種）を落とす。2) 種がその木の上で発芽し、何本もの根をその木の幹伝いに下ろす。3) 根が土まで届くと、急速に太く木質化する。4) 着生された木はバニアンに締め上げられ、日光や土中の養分を取られ枯死する。5) 枯死した木が朽ちても、下の写真のようにバニヤン・ツリーが残る。なので幹のように見える所は、実際はバニヤン・ツリーの根の集合体で、バニヤン・ツリーには幹はないそうです。ホントに不思議な木ですね～。
I saw a very big strange tree in Hilo, Hawaii. Name of this tree is Banyan Tree. According to Wikipedia, a banyan is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree (or on structures like buildings and bridges). The seeds of banyans are dispersed by fruit-eating birds. The seeds germinate and send down roots towards the ground, and may envelop part of the host tree or building structure with their roots, giving them the casual name of "strangler fig." The "strangling" growth habit is found in a number of tropical forest species. Older banyan trees are characterized by their aerial prop roots which grow into thick woody trunks which, with age, can become indistinguishable from the main trunk. Old trees can spread out laterally using these prop roots to cover a wide area.
ハワイ出張中、ヒルトン・ワイコロア・ビレッジに滞在しました。そのホテルにカンムリヅル (英名: Black Crowned Crane) がいましたよ。カンムリヅルの分布はアフリカ中央部・西部だそうなので、ホテルにいたのは野生ではなく連れて来たんでしょうね～。頭の冠が日の光で金色に光ってとっても綺麗でした。
I stayed in the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawaii island.In the hotel's garden, there was a Black Crowned Crane, which is native to central to west Africa. Thus, the crane in the hotel was probably not a wild bird, but a domestic bird. Its yellow crown was shining under the sunlight, and was so beautiful.
Bougainvillea are widely cultivated in Hawaii. The true flowers, small and tubular, are inserted amongst the showy bracts that range in color from white to orange and red to purple. The beauty of the flower matches Hawaii's scenery, but it is native to tropical rain forest in central to South America.
I saw Black-crowned Night-Herons in Hawaii island. It stands still at the water's edge and wait to ambush prey, mainly at night, although I saw the bird during daytime. The color of adult and juvenile is quite different. The first picture is an adult night-heron. An juvenile looks like in the 2nd and 3rd photos. This heron also lives in Japan.
I found a fashionable basket worm today. It wears a red berry! Japanese call basket worm "Mino mushi". "Mino" means old Japanese rein wear made of straw. "Mushi" means insect. Ancient Japanese probably thought that the insect looked like wearing the rein wear.
I went to bank of the Tama river today. I saw a huge spider there. It was more than 10 cm! The spider name is Brown huntsman spider. It distributes in subtropical parts of the world, including Asia, Réunion Island, the Caribbean islands, the Southeastern US, and Australia. It doesn't bite you. It eats cockroach, fly, and small mouse. The spider in the above photo has eggs under her berry. She doesn't eat until baby spiders are born. She is a very good mother.
職場のクヌギの木は、昼は主にスズメバチと、サトキマダラヒカゲで賑わっています。たくさんのサトキマダラヒカゲが飛び交う中、ふととまった蝶が羽を開いたら、鮮やかな青色の帯が目に飛び込んで来ました。びっくりしました。ルリタテハです！羽を開いたところは残念ながらとれませんでしたが、羽を閉じている写真は撮れました。ルリタテハの英語の common name はBlue Admira。学名はNymphalis canaceと言うそうです。東京もまだまだ捨てたもんじゃありませんね。
A Sawtooth Oak tree in my work place attracts many insects. Today, I saw a butterfly with blue line inside of its wings. It was a Blue Admira! Although I was not able to take a picture of the blue line, I took a photo of the butterfly. Japanese name of this butterfly is Ruri tateha. Its scientific name is Nymphalis canace. I think that Tokyo has still a lot of nature.
軽井沢では有名な白糸の滝に行って来ました。よく見ると滝の上でちょこまか動いている鳥が一羽。ものすごい勢いで流れている滝の上を器用に歩いて水生昆虫を取っていました。この鳥はカワガラス。英語の common name は Brown dipper。色は全体的に黒くて、あまり目立ちません。
We went to Shiraito-no-kaki, which is a famous waterfall, at the Karuizawa. When we saw carefully the waterfall, there was a bird moving on the waterfall and catching some aquatic insects, although speed of the waterfall flow was very fast. Name of this bird is Brown dipper. Its Japanese name is Kawagarasu.
Garden of the gods にある visitor center では、ロッキー山脈の形成の歴史などを学べる他、インディアンの歴史や、Garden of the gods を発見した人々、そしてアメリカ人の Buffalo の大虐殺の歴史が学べます。アメリカンインディアンは、慎ましく食用や毛皮用に群れを崖に追い込むなど伝統的な手法により必要な分だけ狩猟を行っていました。ところが、西部開拓時代に猟銃による狩猟が行われるようになり、数千万頭の生息数は激減し、19世紀末には1000頭未満にまで減少したそうです。現在は生息地で保護され、生息数は数十万頭まで回復したとされています。以前は大地が真っ黒に染まる程たくさんいたバッファロー。どんなに獲ったっていなくならないと鷹をくくった人間の傲慢さ。スポーツ感覚で殺戮数を競った浅はかさ。Wikipediaに私が visitor center で見たのと同じ写真が出ていたので (著者の死後70年以上経っているので、著作権の問題はないそうです)、下に掲載します。数万頭のバッファローの頭蓋骨がうず高く積み上げられ、その頂上に誇らしげに立つ人物の写真が見られます。その頃は英雄だったのでしょうが、大馬鹿者の一人として後世に記憶される事でしょう。ちなみにアメリカでバッファローと呼ばれている動物は、正しくはアメリカバイソン。バッファローはアジアで水田の耕作に使われていた水牛を指し、アメリカバイソンは水牛に比べ毛が長く、外見が随分違います。
We learned a lot about the American history at the Garden of the gods visitor center. We learned that Americans killed millions of buffaloes literally. There were more than 10 million buffaloes. But by the end of 19th century, the number was decreased to less than 1000. They were almost extinct! Now the number is recovered to 100,000. I found the same photo that I saw in the center on Wikipedia. Since its copyright is expired, I put the photo here. A man on the buffalo skulls looks very proud. But he was just an idiot. We should learn from our history and save the earth. This photo will be a good reminder for humans. We should not repeat this kind of things including whaling. By the way, although American usually call the animal buffalo, strictly speaking, the animal is American Bison (Bison bison). According to Wikipedia, "Buffalo" is somewhat of a misnomer for this animal, as it is only distantly related to either of the two "true buffaloes", the Asian buffalo (or "water buffalo") and the African buffalo.
I found this sign, BIG FOOT XING, along the road in Rocky Mountain National Park. I like this American humor. In Japan, it seems that any humors are not allowed especially these days...like, a staff of Tokyo city designed a beautiful mark for Sewerage Works Division, but a stubborn stupid government bureaucrat did not like it, because the mark had a line which should not be there according to a stupid regulation that no one knows. Because of the one line, Tokyo spend another $350,000, which was our tax, to remake it. No one cares the extra line. Even Governor of Tokyo said that the line is beautiful. He scolded the stupid bureaucrat, after he spend the $350,000. Anyway, Bigfoot is an UMA (Unidentified Mysterious Animal), which has been observed around Rocky Mountain. These days, people think that it is probably a Grizzly bear, or just a fake.
I visited DC and Denver from last Wednesday to today. I just went back from there. I saw this bird in Denver. Name of this bird is Black-Billed Magpie (scientific name is Pica hudsonia). In Japan, we have Magpie (scientific name is Pica pica). According to Wikipedia, these two species are almost identical, but little bit different. The black and white patten of this bird is so distinguishable. But I found that the black part is little bluish (see bottom picture).
黄色のかわいい房になった花を見つけました。いろいろ調べた結果、ヒュウガミズキだと思うのですが、間違っていたら教えて下さい。ヒュウガミズキの英語の common name は Buttercup winter hazel。学名はCorylopsis paucifioraというそうです。
I saw cute yellow flowers. I think that this is probably flowers of buttercup winter hazel. If I'm wrong, please let me know. Japanese name of this plant is Hyuga-mizuki. Its scientific name is Corylopsis paucifiora.
I saw a black-faced bunting today. Its scientific name is Emberiza spodocephala. Size of the bird is about that of sparrow's. The male has a dark grey head with a mix of yellow green and black between the bill and eye. The underparts are yellowish. The pattern on wings is brilliant compared with that of sparrow's. According to Wikipedia, It breeds in southern Siberia across to northern China and northern Japan. It is migratory, wintering in northeast India, southern China and northern southeast Asia. It is a very rare wanderer to western Europe. In Tokyo, since I did not see the bird during summer, probably, it visits from northern Japan in winter.
I saw many small sea gulls swimming in the Tama river. I did not see the birds in summer. Name of this bird is "Yuri kamome" in Japanese. English name is black-headed gull, although its head is not black. It has black spots behind its eyes. The bird visits to Japan in winter. It is the prefectural bird of Tokyo and the "Yurikamome mass transit system", which is a relatively new train in Tokyo, is named after it. In the right picture, left bird is herring gull (60 cm), and right bird is the black-headed gull (40 cm). Black headed gull is smaller and cuter than herring gull, I think.
Today, I also saw birds who were singing by high pitched sound. The birds were Brown-eared Bulbul. Japanese name of this bird is "Hiyo-dori". As the name tells, this bird has brown parts at its cheeks. They have crown like hairs on their top of head. They eat mainly insects. But, since there are no insects in winter, they eat fruits. In my garden, there are chestnut trees and orange trees. I think that they came here for these fruits.
I saw a Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris) at bank of the Tama river in Tokyo. The bird is resident in East Asia, including China, Japan and Korea. It is a vagrant to Alaska and northeastern North America. It has a red and black spot at the end of the bill, and a black tail. Japanese name of this bird is "Umineko" that means "sea cat". The name is derived from its cat-like call. Wikipedia says that Korean name of this bird is Gwaeng-yi gull, which also means "cat" gull.
私は5月に日本に帰って来た訳ですが、まだ引っ越し荷物がアメリカから届きません。アメリカの引っ越し会社に頼んだのですが、とんでもない無責任さです。２週間に一度、reminderを送っているのですが、まったく埒があきません。アメリカにいるアメリカ人の友達も、その会社に2週間おきに電話してくれているのですが、尋ねる度に、「すぐに発送します」と口先だけの返事が来ます。仕事に必要な書類もたくさんあって、この損失どうしてくれようって感じです。友達に、「お願い。また電話して。」っと頼んだら、"I'll bug them again."との返事。"bug" って「虫」ですが、「～を困らせる、イライラさせる、うるさく悩ます」って言う動詞としても使えるんですね。友達は "bug them again" と言っていますが、彼らはイカの神経で、もしかしたらぜんぜんbugされていないのかもしれません
I went back to Japan this May, but I haven't gotten my moving boxes from the US (A half year has passed!!!). I asked an American company to ship my boxes (I had payed the cost on May already). The company doesn't have any responsibilities. Every time I ask status of the shipping, they say "We'll ship your boxes soon.", but they never did it. In these boxes, I put many job-related books. My job is seriously affected by the delay. My American friend and I bug them every two to three weeks. Actually, I learned the usage of "bug" as a verb recently from the friend, since the company is so lazy and we have to bug them!!! But they may not be so bugged, since they haven't shipped my boxes. Sigh....
北海道大学のポプラ並木で一匹のセイヨウオオマルハナバチが忙しそうに草むらを飛び回っているのを見ました。尻尾の先が白いのがこの蜂の特徴です。この蜂はヨーロッパ原産で、温室のトマトの受粉を媒介するために日本に1992年頃に導入されましたが、現在は温室から逃げ出したこの蜂が日本在来種のマルハナバチの生存を脅かして問題になっているそうです。英語のcommon nameは buff-tailed bumblebee または large earth bumblebee。学名は Bombus terrestrisと言うそうです。英語版のWikipediaによると、このハチの行動範囲は13 km にもなるそうです。行動範囲が広いですね。
I saw a bumblebee in Hokkaido University. It was very busy looking for something under grasses. Name of this bumble bee is buff-tailed bumblebee or large earth bumblebee that is one of the most numerous bumblebee species in Europe. Scientific name of this bumble bee is Bombus terrestris, Their white-ended abdomens are really distinctive. According to Wilkiedia, this bee can navigate their way back to the nest from a distance as far away as 13 km. In Japan, it was imported around 1992 as a pollenizer of Tomatos in green houses. But it escaped from the green houses, scaring native Japanese bumblebees off. It is a big problem in Japan now.
北海道では電車に乗って小樽の方まで行ってみました。小樽駅の手前の朝里（あさり）駅で下車して海を眺めていた時に見た鳥が下の写真のイソヒヨドリ。英名は Blue Rock Thrush。海岸地帯に生息し、昆虫やフナムシ、カニなどを食べるそうです。この写真を撮った時も、海から何か魚介類を取って来ていました。分布はアフリカからユーラシア大陸、インドネシア、ニューギニアまでとかなり広いようです。
I went to a small seaside town named Asari in Hokkaido during the trip. I saw a "Blue Rock Thrush" there. Japanese name of this bird is "Iso hiyo dori". It lives around seaside and eats insects, sea slater, and crabs. When I took this picture, the bird was eating some sea food. It distributes in southern Europe and northwest Africa, and from central Asia to northern China and Malaysia.
My parents have an interesting plant named "Ko dakara so" that means a plant that have many children". As you can see, its leaves have many buds. The buds drop on earth and start to grow. Scientific name of this plant is Bryophyllum 'crenatodaigremontianum', since this plant is a hybrid of B. crenatum (Kalanchoe crenata) and B.daigremontianum (daigremontiana). This plant is sometimes also called Kalanchoe 'crenatodaigremontianum' . Anyway, it is interesting and the buds are cute.
私の家の庭でかわいい白い花を見つけました。イヌホウズキと言うようです。英名は Black nightshade。昼にかわいらしく咲いていたのに、なんか影のある名前ですね。Wikipediaで調べてみたら、ソラニンなどを含む有毒植物だとの事です。あのジャガイモの青い芽に含まれる有毒成分のソラニンです。和名のイヌホウズキは役に立たないホウズキの意味らしいのですが、ワンちゃんは人間の伴侶としてとっても役立っていますよね（っていうかかけがえのない存在って方も多いはず）。犬に「役に立たない」なんて意味があるとは知りませんでしたし、動物好きとしてはあんまり好きな名前じゃないかも。まあ、何はともあれ、かわいいです。ナスの花を見た事がある方は『似てる!』って思われると思いますが、御推察の通りナス科の植物です。
In our garden, we have black nightshade. This pnat contains glycoalkaloids such as solanine. Soanine is the toxin that is in potato's green bud. Japanese name of this plant is "Inu-houzuki". "Inu" means dog in Japanese and also means "useless". I don't think that dog is useless. For many of us, dogs are great partners. So I don't like the Japanese name. Anyway, the flower is cute. You may think that the flower is similar to eggplant's flower. Yes. You are right. This plant belongs to the same family that eggplant belongs too.
Bindweed is famous in Japan. We see it everywhere. Japanese name of bind weed is "Hiru-gao" that means face of the noon. It blooms from morning like morning glory, but it doesn't wilt by noon like morning glory. That is why this flower is called "Hiru-gao (=face of the noon) in Japanese. This plant expands by rhizomes. Its flower of language is "bond". I think that it is derived from this feature (expands by rhizome, thus connects each other).
I found very small cute blue flowers named blue-eyed grass. This flower is a relative of iris, although it is hardly believe, because the size of this flower and iris is so different. You can see this flower in the US too. It is so lovely.
これはどこででも良く見かけるツマグロオオヨコバイです。拡大してみると意外に美しいかも。写真って肉眼よりも細部まで良く写せて、感激しきりで、とにかく撮ってみるこの頃です。ツマグロオオヨコバイの英名は Black-tipped Leafhopper。羽の先が黒く、葉っぱから葉っぱへ hop (ピョンピョン飛ぶ) ところから来た名前ですね。日本語の横這いも言い得て妙で、この虫は横に動きますよね。Wikipediaで調べた所、一部の地域ではバナナ虫と呼ばれているとか。東京では聞いた事がないので、東京ではないですね。でも言われてみると、バナナっぽいかも!?
In Japan, we see this insect very often. The name of this insect is Black-tipped leafhopper. As you can imagine from the name, this insect has wings with black tip and hops leaf to leaf. Japanese name is "Tsumaguro Oo yokobai" that means "Big black-tipped move aside insect". The naming also describes this insect's behavior very well. This insect moves laterally when they want to hide. In some place in Japan, it seems that this insect is called "banana bug". I've never heard that, so the place is not Tokyo. But I think that this insect looks like little bit a banana, doesn't it?