On bug watch!


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by MichaelJM on March 1, 2013

Now who would have thought that anyone could get real excited about seeking out bugs. Well Ian is "well in to them" and after dinner on our first night he announced that there was a net-throwing spider in town. When I say town I actually mean his "garden". We all dutifully followed him and he spot-lighted the little fellow, complete with the blue net in his mouth ready to throw. Now I do remember seeing a nature programme that had managed, with a lot of patience and modern technology, to record the event but to see one "ready to go" was a real treat. Right up there with the stripper ant!

Indeed Ian said that his was only the third one he’d seen in nine years. What a privilege!

From there our garden tour continued and although we lost people on route I was too fascinated to leave. So to say I was hanging on Ian’s every word would not be too much of an exaggeration.

We went on to checkout some more spiders and I returned to the scene later on to get a few photos of these tiny creatures. I caught a number of bugs on film including a stick insect, a spider, a cricket and some butterfly eggs and with the promise of a bug tour the following night I went to bed a happy man, I’m now giving good attention to the ground and foliage and spotted a scorpion in the pool area. At about 3 inches long from head to tail it’s the biggest one I’ve seen, but it had vacated the pool area by the time I returned with my camera.

Mid evening on our second night Ian asked if "his assistant had his camera with him". I reported "no" and was dispatched to get it. Ian was as secretive as ever and refused to "spoil the surprise". I dutifully followed him and was told to turn off the torch. The ground was alight with fire flies. He reassured me that they were just bugs and would "do no harm" so I just enjoyed the spectacle. Later I was told that they were not all fire flies and that some wasps join in the show. However, the wasps are more sinister in their intent as they are attempting to attract the female fire fly before ingesting the aforesaid bug. Afterwards we went on to view the intended sight. It was a huge stick insect, about four inches long. I showed my ignorance by thinking the head was at the other end of the body. I just hadn’t realised that the stick-like appearance is created by the antennae and two of its six legs. That bright green bug was an amazing sight and dwarfed the stick insects seen the previous night.

Ian reiterated our planned bug tour later that evening and despite the fact that I was feeling a bit under the weather (a combination of a dickey stomach an overdose of sun and probably an insufficiency of liquid) I was determined to join him. What new sights were ahead of me?

We set off at 9:00pm and a couple of minutes later we’d seen stick insects in the middle of their sex act. It seemed a bit of an intrusion to take a photo but I was soon in to paparazzi mode! Next we saw a praying mantis, a bit of a let-down with such an exotic name, followed by the massive web structure of the funnel web spider with a couple of orb spider webs in the centre. The two spiders obviously live happily alongside each other.

At this point another three joined Ian and I and for a few moments I was mesmerized by the Sony "layering" camera. I tried to put envy to one side as his night photos were just superb, and continued snapping with my Canon. We saw our second net casting spider (Ian at this point was in raptures) and as we moved deeper in to the undergrowth we were all mesmerized by the incredible site of fungi. I’d never seen anything like it before and soon we were all snapping away like there was no tomorrow. A couple of tarantulas were spotted but after a time the familiar, but unwanted drone of the mosquito was heard and that was a good time to finish. None of us fancied being bitten whilst on bug watch so decided to call it a night

How sad is all that? Well, I can now say, thanks to Ian, that it’s fascinating and not sad. There’s so much out there that it would be so easy to miss and I’m now determined to keep my eyes well and truly peeled when out in the countryside. For more examples of what's up around Hickatee check out Ian's Flickr Account at http://www.flickr.com/groups/1714372@N24/pool/
Hickatee Cottages
Ex-Servicemen Rd.
Punta Gorda, Toledo, 148
(+501) 662 4475

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