Rainy Season Nature Observations

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June in Osaka is warm and rainy. It rains about 1/3 to 1/2 of the time, humidity is usually over the 80% and average temperatures are in the 80s F. On my bike ride today I photographed this pied skimmer dragonfly (Pseudothemis zonata) . They were numerous and flying above the pond in the Senri Chuo central park.

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The most unusual feature of my ride today was spotting two Reeves’ Turtles (Mauremys reevesiion sidewalks in two different parks. I notice a lot of the exotic red-eared slider, but not many of the Reeves, or Chinese pond turtles. I was able to catch them quite easily so I see why they are threatened in the pet trade. In China they are disappearing from the wild, but are raised extensively on farms for medicinal and culinary uses. They were bigger than my hand and quite docile, not clawing or snapping at me.

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I also spotted (photo above) a family of  “swamp chickens” (love the name) or common moorhens (Gallinula chloropus). The colorful beaked male above was with two females and three chicks. My final observation (photo below) was this Japanese Wagtail (Motacilla grandis) “Seguro sekirei” in Japanese. They are endemic to Japan but have been feeling pressure from the white wagtail, a species that thrives in human habitat and has expanded its range throughout Japan. The Japanese wagtail prefers feeding along the river, like this one was when I photographed it. I see more white wagtails in parks and a pair in our school. The Japanese wagtails are hanging tough, maintaining their numbers and range, but the white wagtails are becoming more numerous, especially in the past 20 years. I hope the Japanese wagtail can continue to survive as it is truly Japanese.

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