4/05/17 Another bird you can see around here in early spring is the long-tailed rosefinch, or benimashiro as it is called here in Japan. They generally winter south of Fukuoka and pass through here on the way to their breeding grounds up north in Hokkaido and Eurasia. Late last March, I was at Yamagami Dam again when I noticed a man with a long lens on a tripod. We said good morning to each other, and I asked what he was photographing. “Benimashiro”, he said. I have seen this bird only once before, also at Yamagami Dam. As we were observing and taking pictures of this chipper bird, two more birders with long lenses and nice cameras joined us. They were acquaintances of his. One of them I had met here before, walking around the Yamagami Dam lake. Bird photography is booming here in Japan, so it is really gaining in popularity here so it is more difficult to find quiet, uncrowded places.
A Daurians redstart, jobitaki in Japanese suddenly appeared not far from the rosefinches.
Another bird I often notice in early spring is the red-flanked bluetail, or ruribitaki in Japanese.
Island City, Central Park in Higashi ward is another place to see water birds. It is a man-made pond were I stop by on my way to Shikanoshima. In March, many birds migrating through, will stop here to rest. Eurasian wigeons were here on their way to northern Asia, and I took the opportunity to try and capture some grazing and in flight.
Grazing with common coots, Oo-ban in Japanese, and white-cheeked starlings, mukudori in Japanese.
Keeping an eye on me!
Ainoshima, or Cat Island as it is also called due to the large number of stray cats that roam the island, is another place high on my list to visit. Before sunrise, I put my bike in the car and drove to Shingu Port a few weekends ago, where you catch the ferry to Ainoshima. Unfortunately, bicycles are not allowed on the ferry on weekends. I decided to go back again soon on a weekday when you can take your bike with you.
Sunrise at Shingu Port
Moonset at Shingu Port
Last, but not least, the cherry trees are in full bloom here in Fukuoka on this day, but last Monday, only a few buds had come open.