02 May 2009

Snakes alive Again! & more little creatures

The first of May is Labour Day over here in Hong Kong and noone works. Its a family day whihc for us means spending time outside. Well we did just that, back down to MKT to continue with renovations. Although it is now quite hot, the humidity is not too unbearable yet so we have been busy clearing back the scrub and bushes in front of the house. We never knew so many creatures enjoyed our little garden. Perhpas creatures celebrate Labour Day as well? In one day we discovered:
Praying Mantis - everywhere
Stink bugs - These a funny bugs that have what looks like a brightly painted shield on their backs, trouble is if they get scared they wee on you and not only does it smell but it is quite caustic and can bring you out in a deep red , firey rash for a few days.
Cicadas - Thes fellahs, live in the ground for up to seven years, then dig themselves out, climb up into a tree, sing, attract a mate, do the do and then die, all in a matter of days.
House Geckos - I like these little geckos, they eat mosquitos
Pale Geckos - These too
Skink - this too
Changeable Lizards - one was about a foot or more long and was clearly non plussed when the bush he was sat on was chopped down. We know it was a male as he had a bright red colouration to the underside of his throat.
Malayan Bull frogs, one of which had magnificent orange side patterns. These big fat frogs are also called Cow frogs as when they call they really do sound like a cow. They live in damp soil and a re big, six or seven centimetres or more. when calling normally they find a drain or a culvert to sit in which really helps their calls resonate.
Common toads - well common but wortth seeing
Two bamboo pit vipers - Neither were very big, perhaps 16 inches but a beautiful vivid green on top and a yellow underside and a pale orange tail. Not big but venomous so one was sent into the woods to the side and the other slithered away. People can confuse these snakes with another green snake that is a little less common but harmless. So if it is bright green and has an orange coloured tail then avoid it, if it is solid green then it should be harmless. However, noone should be picking up any snakes. We also saw the following birds:
Drongo - Must be building a nest nearby as they flit past every two minutes heading for the trees behind
Mynah birds - lots (but not the Hill Mynahs you see in pet shops)
Kite - cruising
Buzzard - cruising
Sanderling - three of them down on the beach
Little Egret - about sixty or more in a large slow flock flapping lazily off somewhere

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