Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mostly Black (This week's Photo Hunt theme)

More than a decade and a half ago, I spent two years working and living in Tanzania. Towards the end of my East African sojourn, I treated myself to a safari trip that included visits to Lake Manyara, Serengeti and Tarangire National Parks and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Over the course of a few days, I was treated to the sight of thousands of pink flamingos and migrating wildebeest, hundreds of elephants and zebras, and scores of other wild creatures including lions, lionesses and their cubs, cheetahs, hippopotamuses, hyenas, baboons and giraffes. But -- somewhat astonishingly to me at the time -- my safari companion and I discovered that our eagle-eyed guide reserved particular passion and enthusiasm for sightings of rare birds.

These days, when out hiking in Hong Kong, I often think of that guide -- because, if nothing else, hiking in the Big Lychee has taught me to appreciate the smaller and noticeably seasonal, even if not super rare, natural sights. And yes, certain birds definitely fall into this category -- but so too do certain insects such as the super big -- and, yes, mostly black! ;) -- spiders and beautiful butterflies that make Hong Kong their home for at least part of the year.

Oh, and should this Photo Hunt entry have you hankering to see more photos of Hong Kong wildlife, do please feel free to go here and here on this blog for a few more close-up shots of certain of this territory's denizens that I'm happy to see when out hiking (but would be far less happy to see inside my apartment -- as was the case a few weeks ago when a scarily giant centipede decided to visit! :O).


MaR said...

I prefere black butterflies over black bugs...!! hadn't seen a black butterfly before.
The piece of wood I posted was just weathered...
Happy weekend and happy hunting!

mostly black

Kingwho? said...

Wait! That first picture of a spider isn't real? Is it? If I saw that I would just crap! Then run out of my apartment.

I have crickets visit my apartment. Currently I have 4 of them hoping around. Every once in a while they have babies so I have to be careful when I start the shower that I don't drown any of them =P

Anonymous said...

Both are beautiful in their own way.

Sandra said...

Oh my, that is a huge spider, ugh, the black butterfly is very beautiful, I had never seen one before. Nice post. Happy weekend.

Pat said...

Wow - have never seen a black butterfly. Great shots!

Happy Weekend.

btw - fixed the link to view my photo.

EG CameraGirl said...

I have friends who just returned from 6 weeks in Tanzania! The husband goes every year.

Of your two photos, I prefer the butterfly. :))

LifeRamblings said...

seems like you travel a lot too. Bugs give me the creeps but they are fascinating to look at. :)

annie said...

Cool shots both, I like the big spider. I like them to stay outdoors too. :)

gengen said...

I like the black butterflies than the spider. Happy PH!

jams o donnell said...

The butterfly is beautiful. I love the spider too. The spider is pretty impressive! Have a gret weekend

Gattina said...

I prefer fury animals to ugly bugs, lol !

Anonymous said...

Wow that is a big spider! Lovely butterfly - very unusual!

Francisca said...

That's an impressive spider... and the butterfly is gorgeous... both mostly black!

Susan Demeter said...

Beautiful creatures, but scary too!

YTSL said...

Hi Mar --

Thanks for clarifying re the piece of wood you photographed. As for my shots: well, a butterfly *is* a bug too, right? ;b

Hi KingWho? --

Yes, that spider in the first picture IS real -- AND not the biggest I've seen in Hong Kong. But very fortunately it was far away from my apartment and in a rest area of Tai Tam Country Park, in fact! :D

Hi azahar --

Agreed! :)

Hi Sandra --

Happy weekend to you and like I told Kingwho?, that is not the biggest spider I've seen in Hong Kong by a long chalk!!! :D

Hi Pat --

A *mostly* black butterfly... ;b

Hi EG Wow --

Wow re your husband going to Tanzania every year!!! Hope he finds the country's situation improving with each new visit. :)

Hi Life Ramblings --

Ya, I have done my share of travelling -- and have to say it's something I feel most grateful for. :)

Hi Annie --

Outdoors -- and far away from where my residence! :D

Hi gengen --

Your sentiment appears to be shared by many other Photo Hunters. ;b

Hi jams --

Once I got over the shock of it all, agree that the spider's beautiful. :)

Hi Gattina --

I know... with cats being your very favorite, right? ;b

Hi bookmouse --

Am happy to have photos to show you of both. :)

Hi Francisca --

Yes, indeedy! :D

Hi Sue --

You find the butterfly as well as the spider scary? ;O

bing said...

what a beautiful black butterfly. i rarely see them now!

Trekcapri said...

Hi YTSL, wow I have never seen a black butterfly before. They are also very beautiful. I also love your first photo of the spider, terrific capture with the web. Of course, if I saw one I would freak.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Carver said...

The first picture looks like a scary insect to encounter. The black butterfly would be one I'd be more comfortable around. As usual, great post! Happy weekend.

YTSL said...

Hi Bing --

Do you have this same species of butterfly where you live??

Hi TrekCapri --

I've only ever seen this black butterfly once -- and am so glad I managed to take photos of it. Re the spider: I like how in the picture, it can look like it's got a face painted on it! :)

Hi Carver --

I'd seen so many big spiders in Hong Kong this one wasn't the scariest -- believe it or not! But yeah, butterflies are less scary -- for sure. :D

srp said...

The spiders I can do without, but the butterfly is beautiful. It must be some variety of swallowtail... not like anything I've seen here though. Great shots!

Mostly Black

Anonymous said...

very nice take on the theme. a little scary for me :)

have a lovely weekend.

YTSL said...

Hi srp --

Am not good at ID-ing butterflies. Would be cool if it were a swallowtail -- if nothing else because a Japanese movie I like a lot is entitled "Swallowtail Butterfly". :)

Hi ewok1993 --

So... did you click to enlarget the photo for a larger view of the spider? ;D

Marta said...

Both are beautiful although I don't like black spiders - our are one of the poisonous types - black widows. Normally I don't mind them but I don't like it if I see an hourglass.

Maya said...

YTSL, love your photos. Your time working in Tanzania must have been interesting! I am glad to know that I am not the only one who takes time to stop and appreciated the smaller things.

YTSL said...

Hi Marta --

Yikes and hahaha at the thought of seeing a large spider behind an hourglass! Re the Hong Kong spiders: am not sure if they're poisonous but they're so alluring that I can't help but move closer to photograph them!! :D

Hi Maya --

Glad you like my photo and yes, I did have an interesting time in Tanzania. :)

magiceye said...

wonderful takes!!

YTSL said...

Hi magiceye --

Thanks, glad you approve! :)