Dear J-E Missy/Kalli,
Happy New Year!
I followed your directions and opened your gift when I reached Tasmania. Hurray! Thank you for the “I wonder…” sticks! You must know that wondering is one of my favorite things to do. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been away from Jemicy for three weeks, but it does feel like I’ve come to a very different world here in Tasmania. One of the biggest differences is that it is the middle of summer here right now, while you are having winter. So, flowers are blooming, insects are pollinating the flowers, fruit is growing, birds are hunting the insects and eating berries, and so am I. More on that later. These next few blog posts will give you some of my thoughts about your questions for now, but I will take your wonder-sticks with me when I go to New Zealand to see what kind of answers I find there. And if you have any new questions, let me know!
Parker asked, “I wonder if you will see a new animal.” Well, almost ALL of the animals I have seen here are new to me! I don’t think I have discovered any new species for science, but I’ve been taking lots of photos of insects that I haven’t found the names for yet, so you never know… What would you call this one?
My two favorite most recent new animals I’ve seen were from a four-day trip to the central highlands of Tasmania, where there were mountains and rainforest. I knew that duck-billed platypus lived in the lakes and rivers there, but as we hiked through the bush (that’s what they call the woods here), I saw none. Later, though, when we went back to our cabin for the night, we walked around a pond and saw something making a bubble trail through the water. It would swim around under the water feeling for small invertebrates with its bill, then come up for air, open its eyes, and dive again.
Another day, we took a walk up a track (that’s what they call trails here) to a mountain lookout, with huge trees and other fascinating plants along the way. You could see very far away from the top, in every direction. No, I could not see all the way to Jemicy (how many miles would that be?). But while everyone else was looking at mountains, I was looking at something else. All these bright green and black swallowtail butterflies were swooping and fluttering around in the wind, and I wanted to know what they were, but they never landed. The next day, we took another hike along a lake, and on the trail were some of the same butterflies, looking a little tired. This one let me take its picture.
So, what new animals have you been seeing this winter in Maryland?