Jeju birdlife


I would like to be able to say that I took these photos but I didn’t. They were taken by Rebecca over the last day or so as she has been out birdwatching. The first two species are common enough – the Blue Rock Thrush and the Brown-eared Bulbul. The Blue Rock Thrush is typically seen on the coast but you don’t usually get close enough to see its plumage in this detail. The Bulbul is common and very vocal, often present in loose flocks and making load squawks.

The Varied Tit in the last photo is less common. This photo was taken in Halla Arboretum after a patient wait by a small pond.



Golden orb web spider


Here are a couple of shots of the golden orb web spider that has been using the clothes drier as part of the framework for her web. I didn’t get a picture that included the much smaller male. These spiders are a common sight, especially at this time of the year.

According to my investigations on the internet, there are lots of different kinds of orb web (or orb weaver) spiders but this is Nephila clavata, found throughout Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan.


Gathering swallows


I’m a week too late with these photos. Last week, the swallows were twice as dense on these telephone wires. Even though the camera on my iPhone works very impressively in many situations, it couldn’t cope with the low light. So I went back last night and took these pictures.

This is in the centre of Museulpo, the local port town, in the short section of street between Paris Baguette (the Korean bakery chain that’s causing some raised eyebrows by opening a branch in Paris) and Walmart (that’s the English transliteration of the Korean name and, as far as I know, nothing to do with the US chain of the same name).

Maybe by next week these birds will have started their migration to more southerly parts of Asia.


Rhinoceros beetle


I saw this remarkable-looking beetle just before I went on holiday: it’s a Japanese rhinoceros beetle, about 5 cm long. Wikipedia tells me that they’re sold as pets in Asia (I remember seeing the film ‘Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo’ at Bristol’s Watershed a couple of years ago, which gives an insight into the Japanese interest in insects as pets), and that gambling on fighting rhinoceros beetles is popular. I prefer to see them in the wild.

Rock pooling


I spend plenty of time peering into rock pools around the coast of Jeju. With so much rocky shoreline teeming with little creatures, there’s always something to watch.

I saw these two just outside the harbour at Museulpo this afternoon. There are any number of crabs, like the one below, of different sizes and colours, but I’ve never seen anything like the slug in the photo above. Everything else does its best to blend in with the background, but this fellow doesn’t seem to feel the need. Given that it travels at the speed of a slug, perhaps it relies on being poisonous as a means of defence.

It could be a chromodoris aureopurpurea. There are references on the internet to this species on the coasts of countries around the western Pacific.


Bugs in the grass


It must be summer – my little garden is alive with little creatures, which I disturbed when I cut the grass today – spiders, grasshoppers, beetles, ladybirds, etc., and here are three of them. That’s the first stick insect I’ve seen in Jeju in the photo above, but there are plenty of the centipedes like the one in the photo at the bottom and their presence encourages me to keep my shoes on.



Another beastie on the path


Isn’t this a beauty? I found him this morning on the path close to home. I got down on my hands and knees to get a close-up, and he was clearly watching me.

I’ve seen three Praying Mantises today. I saw two more within half an hour of seeing this one, while I was running on the network of concrete tracks that pass through the tangerine farms nearby. The second one was smaller and brown, the third just like this one. From what I’ve just read, it seems that the female is green and relatively large while the male is smaller and brown. That being the case, this is a ‘she’ rather than a ‘he’.

If you get the impression that the paths are alive with insects, that’s not so far from the truth. There are all sorts of hopping, jumping and whirring things. It’s cooler now than it was a month ago, so there are fewer but they’re still around.


Here’s another photo, this time of a male. He’s smaller and less impressive than the female.




Half term has just started. At 5:30 this afternoon, not long after most people had left, I found this fellow, around 0.5m long, heading towards the open doors into reception. I encouraged him to head the other way, which he dutifully did.

I’ve seen snakes before on Jeju – I came across one on a small road I was running along a couple of weeks ago. I assume it was the same species. Our next door neighbour has also skinned one that had been run over so he could display the skin in his biology classroom.

But the photo I took this afternoon prompted me to try and identify the species. There seem to be lots of different species on Jeju, but the best I can do by way of identification is Gloydius ussuriensis, which is a venomous pit viper according to one website I looked at. You probably don’t want those around school. Not alive, anyway.

Land Planarium

WormThere was torrential rain last night and this morning, and it’s been wet all day. It was wet enough to cause a fun run due to take place this morning in GEC (Global Education City) to be postponed.

I don’t know if was the rain that brought this little beastie out onto the pavement. According to my investigations, it’s a ‘land planarium’, Apparently, they’re predatory on earthworms.

It is getting cooler. It was tropical five weeks ago, and although it’s still mid-20s during the day, it’s dropped to around 16 degrees C at night. There are still cicadas and crickets, but they’re not as noisy as they were a few weeks ago. Lots of people have told how the wind makes it feel so cold in winter, so I’m enjoying the warmth while it lasts.

Olle trail 7

Olle_trail_7_1One of the features of Jeju is the connected set of walking routes, called Olle trails, that go round most of the island. There are 20 or so, each of a length that can be walked in a day, and generally following the coast. They’re easy to follow as they are marked at close intervals with signposts and blue and orange cloth tags. That’s just as well – we haven’t found any decent maps yet.Jeju_olle

Anyway, we did a short section of Olle trail 7 this morning, on the south coast. Most of the south coast is rocky, with cliffs, rock stacks, offshore islands and boulders on the shoreline. There are plenty of signs of Korea’s recent troubled history, and that’s a subject for another day, once I’ve done some research.

Our map tells us which places have been used to shoot scenes in Korean dramas, and Korean people come and have their photo taken in places familiar to them from the TV.

There’s plenty of life on the sea shore, and I’ve not seen anything quite like these shell fish before. I guess they’re a kind of barnacle.