Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Western Camel-cart

A shy and bashful looking Western Camel-cart.
Keep well clear of those front wheels!
I stumbled upon this beauty just a couple of blocks from my house on a quiet back alley in Courtenay, British Columbia - what a spectacular find!

Don't let the docile appearance and the demure tilt of the pale blue wheels of this wild cart fool you. Camel-carts are well know for their unpredictable and often aggressive behaviour. I gave this Western Camel-cart a wide berth, getting only close enough to take a few photographs before it got too surly.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Common Blue Rollers

A herd of Common Blue Rollers.
I first encountered this aggressive, introduced cart back in the fall of 2009. Know as an ambush predator, this herd (also know as a rollback) of Common Blue Rollers was remarkably calm - perhaps it was the poor weather that had driven them to seek shelter together.

You'll find Common Blue Rollers throughout North America - look for them lurking behind dumpsters and in ditches waiting for unsuspecting prey. Caution is advised when viewing them and approaching too closely is not recommended.

Detailed natural history accounts for species of other Vancouver Island carts can be found on my personal blog Island Nature.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Shy Blue Tipper

The Shy Blue Tipper
(defensive posture)
A new lifer for me today - the Shy Blue Tipper. When threatened, it positions itself basket down with wheels raised. The Tipper remains in this indelicate way until the predator, bored with the display, moves on.

Read more about the Shy Blue Tipper.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Welcome to Wild Shopping Carts

A pair of Crimson Wanders - one of the
first wild carts that I was able to
conclusively identify.
One of the most neglected and overlooked macro-invertebrate of urban and suburban landscapes is the wild shopping cart. Separate from the domesticated herds that cluster in the parking lots of our cities and towns, these fascinating wild carts live a remarkable and yet unrecognized existence. They lurk in the back alleys and ditches, seldom noticed by humans unless they are approached too closely and disturbed. Some are harmless omnivores, eating what they can find. Others are nocturnal detrivores that scavenge the streets at night. Still others are aggressive predators and must be approached with caution.

If you're looking to learn more about these wonderful wobblers you've come to the right place! I'll be posting photos of the species that I discover while traveling around Vancouver Island, British Columbia and I hope that this blog becomes a gathering place where others can post images of wild carts that they've found in their own back yard. More on that later.

This blog was inspired by the creative work of Julian Montague at The Stray Shopping Cart Project who developed a method of classifying stray carts that might be of interest to those wanting to learn more about species of carts in their own area. Detailed natural history accounts for species of Vancouver Island carts can be found on my personal blog Island Nature. Researchers should also consult Rock, Paper, Lizard for descriptions of species of Lower Mainland/Vancouver carts.