Saturday, December 31, 2016

Nature class close to home

Last week the nature class took place in our community. As we live in the mountains there is plenty of "nature" to see and explore just outside our door.

We started the class at home, making small "Christmas trees" out of pine cones.

Right after we went out to explore the neighbourhood.

Our walk led is down, down, down to the stream and further down along the stream. The path was overgrown as even our family doesn't take it very often (we used to when kids were younger, but now everyone is too lazy). 

On the way we encountered quite a few spiders.

The next few photos are of a black-and-yellow argiope spider (金珠屬 - pająk z rodziny krzyżakowatych) sucking on a ladybug. 

Giant woods spider - Nephilia pilipes - 人面蜘蛛 - Prządka olbrzymia

Giant woods spider - view of the abdomen

A beetle:

Citrus long-horned beetle - Anoplophora chinensis - 星天牛 - Chrząszcz kózkowaty

And a few ant nests:

We also looked closer at a some trees and other plants:

Shell ginger - Alpinia zerumbet - 月桃 - Alpinia zwyczajna
It was a beautiful day, just like a nice and sunny day in summer in Poland.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Neigou River Park 內溝溪

 There is a short, only 7km long, and narrow river on the border of Taipei and New Taipei City, where Neihu 內湖 meets Xizhi 汐止. The river is called Neigou 內溝溪 and flows into Keelung River 基隆河. 
That is where our nature class took place. The closest MRT station is Donghu 東湖捷運站.

The park is located along the narrow stretch of waterway, which at times looks more like a canal than a river. 

At the beginning of of our nature class we went through a park called Lohas. 

Closer to the water many different kinds of Japanese cherry trees were planted. I can only imagine how beautiful the place looks in springtime. Because of the unusually warm winter, some of the trees were blooming even now.

Formosan cherry - Prunus campanulata

Prunus taiwaniana

Prunus campanulata

The river looked more like a canal at the beginning of our walk. We actually walked on the concrete embankment. We could see from there an amazing mosaic on the other side. The mosaic was many meters long and was showing life scenes from Taiwan's rural life.

Soon the canal turned back into a river, a very overgrown river. 

The part of the path that we walked was like a community garden. Many plants attracting butterflies were grown there and we were lucky enough to spot a few pupas and butterflies.

Common tiger pupae

Common tiger - Danaus genutia

Ceylon blue glassy tiger - Ideopsis similis
Other insects (and spiders) we've encountered: 

A very big grasshopper (or locust)

White spotted moth - 鹿子蛾 - Amata fortunei

Tussock moth caterpillar - Orgyia postica - 小白紋毒蛾幼蟲

Argiope aemula- 長圓金珠
The butterly path was decorated with all kinds of funny ornaments. 

Close to the river and in the river we could observe many different kinds of birds.

Common kingfisher - Alcedo atthis - 翠鳥

Egret - Ardea alba - 白鷺

A very hungry egret - Ardea alba - 白鷺

Black-crowned night heron - Nycticorax nycticorax - 夜鷺

Grey heron - Ardea cinerea - 蒼鷺

In the pond nearby there were a few water lilies.

It's interesting how Taiwanese people can turn any piece of land into a small vegetable plot:

As always kids also had some time to fool around:

The teacher showed them how to make a ring with a blade of grass:

The weather was wonderful for this kind of walk and I am glad we get a chance to explore new places every week.