Sunshine On My Shoulder

Inspite of predictions for another week of overcast and rainy skies, the sun popped out Tuesday around mid-day and gave Kashima an afternoon of blue skies accented with scattered clouds. Stayed nice Wednesday and Thursday too.

I'm not the only one who responded in a positive way to these developments. As I walked and rode my bike around the neighborhood, I noticed a lot of things putting on a happy face.

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The birds were out in numbers - swallows, swifts, sparrows, crows, etc. Here, a flock of sparrows wheels around the top of a cedar at the local shrine a block from our house.

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Down by the Shingon Buddhist Temple, what I guess is a variety of orchid spreads its petals.

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The hibiscus is the State flower of Hawaii. This one is the biggest I've ever seen, measuring over 25 cm (10 inches) across, it is bigger than our dinner plates. It is thin enough to let the light through, yet strong enough to remain flat. Amazing.

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Tiger Lilies are one of my favorites around the neighborhood.

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Yes, the insects like the good weather too. This fancy lady (shown actual size) is an Asian Longhorned Beetle. They have made their way by ship to parts of the US around Chigago, New York, and New Jersey, where they do major damage to hardwood trees. Hopefully they can be controlled and restricted to the evironments where they belong.

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Yup. Another Rhino Beetle in my yard. This one has a four pointed horn and measured 7 cm including the horn. He was munching on a fallen kumquat when I spotted him.

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We are blessed with lots of butterflies around here. I have trouble catching them with the camera as they are always on the move. Not the best shot I'll admit, but the best I could do at a distance. This is a monki-ageha butterfly (English name "Red Helen" - Helen happens to be my mom's name) which measures about 10 cm (4 inches) across.

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Here's one I "borrowed" from a butterfly website so you can see just how beautiful they are.

A lot more plants and animals came out to enjoy the sun with me. Down at the lake, the rice fields are a lush green and the fish are jumping and birds circling overhead.

After such a long rainy season, I feel like singing that John Denver song - "sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy"...

Enjoy your summer. (And if you're "down under", enjoy your Winter.)


Don Snabulus said...

You are creating a great natural history of Kashima. Is that Rhino beetle a fan of the Kashima Antlers I wonder?

Pandabonium said...

No doubt Don! They should call them "Deer Beetles". Thanks. I was in the home improvement store today and similar (I admit a tiny bit larger) beetles were for sale for 598 yen. In the next glass container were a couple dozen crickets of some kind offered at 68 yen each. I can't get into the idea myself, but as a parent it might look attractive to spend a little for an insect rather than a whole lot for a dog or cat along with the commitment that entails.

Martin J Frid said...

I do wonder why Japanese kids (mostly boys) love beetles so much.

I'm more of a Beatles fan myself.

Great photos, as always!

Pandabonium said...

Martin - I guess they are interesting to look at and from a parent's point of view they make an inexpensive pet that doesn't require much care. Keeping insects goes back centuries in Japan. Crickets were first collected for thier "song".

I'm with you in preferring Beatles.

Momo the Wonder Dog said...

Dogs are obviously a far superior pet.