I am not a morning person. That is, I am not a morning person until I leave the US and head off to another part of the world. In Beijing, I awoke at 6am daily — at least an hour before any alarms were set. This morning, our first in Shenyang, I awoke at 5am, with the sky already fully lit.
I putzed around the room for a while, with 3 and a half hours before any commitments and no internet with which to waste away the time, or make any alternative plans. Eventually, it was 7am and I was fully clothed and ready to explore. I began by walking around the floor of the campus hotel — the 13th floor. (In China, 4 is an unlucky number, and 13 is just the number between 12 and 14.) Shenyang Jian Zhu University is in the suburbs, so there are not a great number of tall buildings around. But, out one window, I could see what looked like some fields with rows planted. So, I wandered downstairs and outside to see what I could see.
Within ten or fifteen feet of the door, I found what I suspect was Apis mellifera, the same honey bee we see at home. It was inspecting some flowers, and then flew up to a willow tree, which it spent quite a long time inspecting. When it flew off, I looked down and saw lots of weedy flowers — many the same as I had seen in Dalian a year ago. And I saw bees! Several different species, one more common than the others, with very large yellow patches on its midlegs.
So, tomorrow morning, we can begin with some observations right outside of our hotel!
Oh, and I said butterflies, too, didn’t I? Many Pierids are about here, including the cabbage white, Pieris rapae. A few others flitted by, too quickly to be able to identify. Promising start!