Monday, December 8, 2008

International Creepy Crawly Survey

This is going to be a bit of a ramble to give you some back story, but I'm hoping to get some feedback from those living in other parts of the world and also locals to see if they have seen similar changes.

Growing up in Melbourne, Australia in the 80's meant hot, hot Summers, thunderstorms, lady bugs, earwigs, blue tongue lizards, skinks, kangaroos on the school oval, dust storms and bush fires.

It's interesting how as you grow up you don't notice certain parts of your childhood disappearing. Yes, I remember when Greatest American Hero and MacGyver went off air, but I didn't notice the lady bugs disappear, that is until this year.

The only reason I noticed that they disappeared is because they've re-appeared!

About 2 months ago Hubby called out for me to "Come and check this out!".

He had on a leaf two lady bugs mating. So either it was a gentleman bug and a lady bug or the bugs have gone all new age.

We hadn't seen lady bugs since we were 8 or 9 years of age. I was going to get footage of the two, but felt that it was a breach of their privacy and just felt kind of wrong so we left them to be and thought no more of the matter.

In case there is a lost in translation issue, here's a dinky little picture of a lady bug courtesy of Wikipedia.Look familiar?

Thinking our mating bugs was a one off it was not thought of again.
Until I found another lady bug on my windscreen, then on the lemon tree, the deck chair, they're everywhere! I asked my Mum if she had noticed them at her house. Turns out she had noticed them around again too.

Following the discovery of the cute bug plague, one day I heard a rustling noise at the front door. I went to inspect and found this guy...

For those of you that haven't seen one of these guys before, it's a blue tongued lizard. Extremely pre-historic looking, but they are gentle giants, until they latch onto your finger.

This one would have been a foot and a half long and a real chubber! He had a bit of a wander around, teased the dogs at the front door then went back into his hole. I've been lucky to see one blue tongue lizard every couple of years for the last 15 years.

Back in the mid-80's we would continually be rescuing them from the backyard in Summer and releasing them back into the bush. I've seen 2 more since this guy.. and no they weren't the same one.

So, strange re-appearnace Number 2 - blue tongue lizards.

Next on my list - grasses.
It's at about now you are wondering if I have a life?

I always had budgies growing up. Budgies, or budgerigars, are a native bird that love to eat grasses with seeds. They grew in abundance in our backyard in the 80's. The seeds, not the budgies.

Budgies... not be mistaken for

budgie smugglers..

This year, our back and front yard has been taken over by these same grasses I haven't seen since I last owned a budgie. And wouldn't you know it, they itch!

Strange re-appearance Number 4 - Earwigs.Earwigs always look like something that has crawled out of the primordial goo. And this one looks like it could crawl off the page. Eeek! Don't spray your screen please.

Also to add to the list, but you are probably bored out your brains by now are dragon flies, millipedes, butterflies and trees are flowering that don't usually flower.

The only other insect I'm waiting to see again are these ones...

I'm sure you will be holding your breath to hear an update if I find them re-appearing. Oh sarcasm font, how I seek thee.

With hardly any rain this year and all of these little beasties making a re-appearance, does it mean to expect bushfires and dust storms this Summer as well? Only time will tell.

For those not from Australia, a lot of our native flora requires fire to release their seeds from the pods and germinate. So as catastrophic as fire is, it is natural and required in this land. That means it is also cyclical and should be expected.

Unfortunately we live in a suburb that doesn't like you disturbing any fallen logs or cut down trees so we are in an extremely dangerous area for bush fires. On one hand we get told to be "fire ready" and to clear any debris, but if we attempt to move fallen debris we get fined. **shakes head**

So now I ask you, have you noticed anything re-appearing after a long absence in your neck of the woods?


mannas7mom said...

Hi Narelle,

I love reading your blog. I always learn something or have a good giggle.

Re: Your post on Cap'n Mallozzi's blog, I say, "Here, here!" I was going to leave without saying anything... well, after the next Carson Beckett episode airs. Could you PM me, please?
Thanks ever,

for the love of Beckett

mannas7mom said...

Oops. PM me at aol, that is.

--for the love of Beckett

Narelle from Aus said...

Hey for the love of Beckett!
Can I call you FTLOB?
Sounds like a 90's boy band.
Glad you pop by and have a read. Thanks!

Reading today's comments on Joe's blog they actually seem more constructive rather than just tanty throwing, making irrational comments and calling people poopy heads.

I went to your AOL profile but couldn't pick up an address.
I'm having a pretty blonde day so I may be experiencing domestic blindness!

mannas7mom said...

Wait till you have a redheaded moment; they're even more fun. ;-)
Try this for an e-mail:

I might loiter around Cap'n Joe's for a while, but honestly, venom and vitriol wear me out. Will have to visit for the obligatory Beckett comment after Identity airs, and when the BOTM discusses "On Basilisk Station," which I'm pecking away at. As for the rest, we'll see.
Ta for now,

for the love of Beckett
(torch-carrier for Carson Beckett/Paul McGillion)

Tiges and Weince said...

Hey Relle it's Ky.

Would you believe a lady bug landed on me the other day inside my house. I had the doors open which generally means open invitation for all those from the insect world. I can't tell you if it was a lady bug or man bug, but it was a nice suprise.
I do wonder....have those disgusting fat blow flies got slower & creepier or is it just me? I hate the way the hover & don't get that what they constantly are crashing into is a window aarrgghhh!!!!!
See you Sat night.

Narelle from Aus said...

Hey Ky!

So it's not just us then.
The blowies are shocking. They seem choc full and heavy as well. Not looking forward to when they really get going this Summer.
Although with the heavy rain outside at the moment it's hard to believe it's Summer.
We need to look at changing when the seasons are.


Sparrow_hawk said...

Hi Narelle! I really enjoy reading your blog and also your comments on Joe Mallozzi's blog! I tend to more of a lurker than commenter there, but I do enjoy reading most of the discussion. People do get a bit snarky at times and I can understand your wanting to avoid the stress of the negativity. But I hope you'll come back at least for the BotM club!

Anyway, I wanted to reply to your question about changes in the local fauna. So I actually created an account here!

It's interesting that you've seen a resurgence of the bugs and crawly things that haven't been around in years. I didn't grown up in this neighborhood (born 40 miles east and south of my current residence in the suburbs west of Chicago, Illinois, US) but I have noticed some changes around here too, some good and some bad.

1. On the good side: a come-back of Redtailed Hawks and Coyotes, increases in the numbers and variety of birds like Goldfinches and Downy Woodpeckers.
2. On the bad side: Japanese beetles (blasted things devour my roses) and earwigs (harmless, I know but I hate those crawly guys!)have invaded.

Also, we had our native lady bug population replaced by Asian beetles which look similar but are more aggressive. It was due to importing the eggs to help decrease the use of pesticides. You could order "ladybugs" through garden catalogs and what you got were Asian beetle eggs. I guess they eat aphids, too. But I miss the old gentle ladybugs.

Narelle from Aus said...

Hey Sparrow_hawk!

Nice to see you here!
Thanks for the kind words. I'll definitely be back to Joe's blog for the BOTM. I have a horrible feeling it is only about 5 days after the Atlantis finale so I may have to "lalalalalala" my way through everything else to get there.

The snarkiness finally got to me last week and I needed to walk away for a bit. I found it consuming my thoughts trying to understand the psychology behind some people's reactions and wondering how they are outside of the virtual world and then it would just make me want to shake the nearest thing to me due to not being able to get my hands on the actual people. My poor palm tree in the backyard is still wondering what it ever did to me.

So it sounds like your area has been a victim of the extreme short-sightedness that is "introduced species". I want to know what dim-wit decided that the way to eradicate one thing was to introduce something equally destructive ... and bigger!

Ever heard of Cane Toads? It's one mighty stuff up in Australia. They are fascinating on one level, the extreme rate they are evolving. They are evolving so quickly but now there are side effects to this rate of evolution.

Redtail hawks and coyotes are interesting animals to be coming back. Hawks - majestic creatures. Coyotes remind me of our dingoes. Hopefully their numbers continue to increase, but I guess that depends on how you feel about coyotes!

All the best, hope to see you around again soon.