New Caledonia is at the edge of the tropical latitudes at about 21 degrees south of the equator, and is home to many species of plants and animals. I thought I’d show you some of the characters I’ve been seeing around.
I was excited to find touch-sensitive plants here! They are abundant on road sides and in other places where grass is well trampled. It turns out that they are not native to the area, but it is fun to play with them anyway.
A gorgeous beetle flew into the house one night and we interrupted all activity to get a closer look at this brilliantly iridescent beauty!
A praying mantis has set up shop above my tent and seems to be doing quite well – there are lots of dead bugs caught in the netting below it.
Beautiful little butterflies flutter through the grass everywhere – I’m always afraid I’ll accidentally step on one.
I found a bird’s nest on the ground under a tree. It looks like they are using some human-made materials (blue plastic) in their construction.
A bright green spider became quite attached to my hair clip and didn’t want to let go.
When working with New Caledonian crows, plants of the genus Pandanus come up often in conversation. The crows cut out pieces of the barbed leaf edge and use these pieces to fish animals out of the Pandanus plants.
Eagerly waiting for the pouring rain to stop so I can continue testing the birds,
And now for a bit of Terry Pratchett…
“Something ripped, behind her. She turned and saw the raven carefully removing a strip of red wrapping paper from a package.
‘Stop that this minute!’
It looked up guiltily.
‘It’s only a little bit,’ it said. ‘No one’s going to miss it.’
‘What do you want it for anyway?’
‘We’re attracted to bright colors, right? Automatic reaction.’
‘Damn. Is it?’
The Death of Rats nodded. SQUEAK.
‘Oh, so suddenly you’re Mr. Ornithologist, are you?’ snapped the raven.”
(Pratchett 1996, p.69, Hogfather)
P.S. I’m going to run out of Terry Pratchett quotes on bird intelligence in a few weeks and I didn’t bring many Pratchett books with me. Does anyone have good quotes to share?