|Ayame?.... or Hanashobu?|
The kids had school, but my husband was off for the last day of Golden Week. So, since the weather was fine, we took a walk (bike ride) up to Maioka Park, something we rarely get to do by ourselves:-))
|Tsubame... Hirunda rustica, Barn Swallows, nesting under the Karate Dojo|
Sure enough! Papa zipped out and Mama zipped in just as I walked up. I dragged Shun over to have a look-- we could just see tiny beaks gaping for a meal. Looking around, we saw three other nests left from previous years, which seemed not to be in use (at least, not yet).
Back to the bicycles, Shun ahead, me following along behind somewhat slowly. I tend to be slow this time of year. Between the birds, the flowers, the trees, the bushes, the butterflies, the spiders, the ladybugs... well, there are just a goodly number of things to be getting on with checking. I need more eyes.
|Kintaro with Konobori and wearing a folded Kabuto|
In the post office (ostensibly the purpose of our going out), I admired the hand-drawn postcards while he put something in the mail. Several were Kodomo no Hi-themed (like the detailed drawing of a Kabuto helmet I posted yesterday).
Whenever I look at these postcards, I wish I had my sister's drawing skills...
There's a pig farm not too far from the post office, and, since it's a warm day, we could smell it... so we stop at the little shop that sells fresh ham products. Tonkatsu sandwiches for lunch. We sit outside, and I feed my bread to a pair of sparrows who are flying in and out of a nook in the triangular roof of the building next door. There's a narrow stream--part of Maioka River, in fact, that goes right in front of the school and by our house--and we follow it toward Maioka Park.
|Kobanaonigumo (Araneus marmoreus... the Marbled Orb Weaver)|
Stop! A big one! Well, a pretty big one --nowhere near the size of Jorougumo or Argiope, but bigger than the Diadem Spider I found a week or two ago. In fact, I stopped to look more closely at this one, because I think at first that it *is* the same species of Araneus that I found before, only bigger. Since her web is strung across the stream, and her abdomen is facing me, I can't get a good look at her markings... maybe if I sort of... turn half upside down.. but without falling into the water...? By this time, Shun has noticed that I am not behind him and has turned around and come back to where I am.
"Wow! You have stuff all over you!" And so I do, since I'm standing practically inside a large Spirea gone to seed. "Look! A big pretty spider! See?"...but he's more concerned about the stuff all over my jacket, my jeans, my hair. I try to gently pull the web toward me so I can see her back, but without damaging her work. At this, she scrambles to the bush I'm standing in--good! Now I can see her better--well enough to think that yes, this is probably another Araneus, but *not* the little Garden Spider (or Diadem Spider, I like that name better) I'd found before. This one is a good deal bigger, for one thing, and has much more intricate markings, for another. After we got home, Google Image search revealed-- the Marbled Orb Weaver! Araneus (hah! I was right about that!) marmoreus, Kobanaonigumo (Little Flower Ogre Spider). I managed to get one photo, half upside down and without falling into the stream, then stepped out and let Shun brush me off.
This is why, in fact, I like to go walking with my mother-- she likes to look at every damn thing, too:-)) Much to the consternation of my dear, long-suffering dad;-)
|photo taken back in February-- Koi swimming in... the Maioka River? Or in the trees?|
I continue pedaling, feeling virtuously good that I haven't made Shun stop for a while... and then we turned down a narrow side street with mountain on one side and farm houses on the other.
Irises! Loads of them in front of an old farm house! I can't not stop... I *know* my mother would stop. These photos are for you, mom. Happy Mother's Day:-))
|what's this one, mom?|
They had quite a number of varieties planted, several cultivars of Bearded Iris as well as a couple of species of which I remain ignorant (just go have a look at the list of Iris species-- species, not including hybrid cultivars!-- over at Wiki).
Mostly, though, I was determined this time to find out once and for all...
|...a Hanashobu or an Ayame?|
...whether this dark purple iris was what the Japanese call...
I *always* get them mixed up...
...And I've never been able to get a clear explanation of the difference out of anyone, a source of endless frustration. My friends just seem to 'know', and assume that the difference must be clear to anyone with eyes in their head.
|Ayame... Iris sanguinea, Blood Iris|
|Hanashoubu... Iris ensata, the Japanese Iris|
temporarily borrowing a Wiki photo 'til our Hanashobu bloom over at the Crawdad Pond
We continue, and Shun points up. I squint to see what he's pointing at (now he's getting into the spirit of noticing things!)....
Koshi's kitty. Awww-- he knows I like to notice kitties:-))
I ask whether they know what it will be, and one of the ladies kindly tells me it will be Akahoshigomadara. Ooh! I know that one! The Red Ring Skirt that I saw last fall while out walking. I thank them and tell them I'm impressed with their ability to notice that one of those leaves was not a leaf...
|Shioya Tombo-- Orthetrum japonica, the post-coital female|
|Graphium sarpedon... the Blue Triangle|
|Acer palmatum var. dissectum|
Near one of the buildings in the Old Village of the park (more about that another time), we both stop to admire a spectacular Japanese Momiji (maple).
This particular cultivar has deeply dissected, feathery leaves that might be red all year in this cultivar. Really spectacular!
|Isn't this pretty, mom!|
|Buglossoides zollingeri... "Firefly Vine"|
Thumbing through my field guide at home... atta! Found it-- Hotarukazura. Hunting online for the English common name, I find that there isn't one. In Japanese, though, it's called "Firefly Vine". I put a satisfying check in my field guide...
We make it back about half an hour before the kids got home from school. What a lovely morning we've had, just the two of us-- kimochi yokatta, ne!, we tell each other as we start up the stairs. And if you think I'm not going to notice anything else because I'm walking up a flight of concrete steps, well, you don't know me very well:-))
|Pipistrellus abramus... the Japanese House Bat, or Japanese Pipistrelle|
A bat! A tiny, soft, furry little bat sitting there in the middle of the day! What are you doing, Little Bat? It's the middle of the night! Or...well... you know what I mean.
He doesn't move at all and I think he might be dead or badly injured. I watch, and wait... and finally he lifts his head, opening and shutting his mouth a few times. Maybe because we recently rescued a kitten, this little member of the Chiroptera order looked distinctly kitten-like to me. The ears, the soft fur, the helplessness of his pose. I shoot a minute of video, then go reluctantly upstairs.
Five minutes later I head right back downstairs, determined to crawl out there and help him if I can...
...but he is gone. Goodbye, Pippa-- mata asobou, ne!
(p.s.-- I didn't fall off my bike at *all* today)