Nature class at Zhishan Yan 芝山岩

After a very hot Sunday and a really rainy and cold Monday I was wondering what will the weather be on Tuesday, the day of our nature class. The day started a bit wet and chilly, but in the afternoon it became really pleasant - not too hot nor too sunny - a perfect weather for a walk.

This week we went to another park on a mountain - ZhishanYan, czyli Zhishan Rock. It's actually not a mountain, but a small hill, just over 50 meters high. In 18th century emigrants from the Zhangzhou 漳州 city in Chinese Fujian 福建  province have settled there. They named the hill Zhishan as it reminded them of a hill of that name in their homeland.

The best place to start the walk is at the bottom of the stairs leading to the temple. The address is Zhicheng Rd Sec.2 至誠路二段 (right at the beginning of Sec.2). There are plenty of roadside parking spaces as well as a parking lot.

We started our walk taking the ramp on the right side of the stairs. The ramp took us all the way around the hill and to the temple on top.

First thing children noticed were hundreds of dead or dying caterpillars spread all over the ground. There were many more on the trees around of course.

Anomis Fulvida moth caterpillar (超橋夜蛾)

Beside these we saw many other caterpillars, big and hairy:

Caterpillar of Trabala Vishnou Guttata moth  (青黃枯葉蛾幼蟲)

Cocoon of  Trabala Vishnou Guttata moth (青黃枯葉蛾) - don't touch it! It may irritate your skin.

Olene Dudgeoni month caterpillar (褐斑毒蛾)

Tiger beetle  (虎甲蟲 - Trzyszcz)

Kind of a wood cocroach

Aegista Mackensii (臺灣盾蝸牛)
Ants eating something and getting ready to fight.

Green rose chafer - Cetonia aurata (金花金龜 - Kruszczyca złotawka)

We also spotted a few birds:

Chinese bulbul - Pycnonotus sinensis (白頭翁 - Bilbil chiński)

Malayan night heron - Gorsachius melanolophus (黑冠麻鷺)

There were also some interesting geological features in the park:

This kind of rock is called "onion rock".

And tree roots hugging huge rocks:

And a tree with only the outside bark:

It wouldn't be Taiwan without a few small 土地公廟 temples:

And a big temple on top of the hill. The temple is called Huici Gong 惠慈宮 and was build in 1751. Unfortunately we didn't have time to visit it - this gives us a reason to go back there!

Kids played a bit in front of the temple, sliding down a natural slide.

 The stairs and the gate we saw at the beginning of our class:

... took us down back to the playground.