First Days of June

June 3rd, 2019    I have been going out almost everyday this last week. The end of May, I returned to a favorite pond of mine for the first time this year. There, I noticed a Common Kingfisher diving into the water from a post over and over, but never coming up with a fish. I thought that was strange, as Common Kingfishers are pretty successful at catching their prey, unless they are juveniles, but this was a mature male. 

  I returned the next morning, and took a slow motion video of him repeatedly diving into the pond. With the slow motion, you are able to see that he was actually wetting his feathers and returning to the post to preen.   You are also able to see exactly how he goes about this. Before entering the water, he opens his beak, just as they do when trying to catch a fish. In this case though, I think it’s the kingfisher’s way of helping to create more resistance as their head enters the water. The dive is shallower than normal, allowing them to reverse direction and spring from the water very quickly, saving time and energy. Just after breaking the water’s surface, the kingfisher does a curious and quite playful-looking maneuver of bouncing on the surface, creating a springboard effect that helps propel them up and out of the water. At natural speed, it is impossible to see this.  He then flies to the top of the post and begins to preen, which is also quite interesting to observe at a slower speed.

  Just a short walk along a path from this pond, is another larger pond where a family of Little Grebes live. The male and female both help in raising their five young chicks, called grebettes, or dabchicks by some. I took a morning, and spent it with them, albeit from a blind. Both parents carry their young on their backs when they feel threatened, and to help keep them warm. 

 Click on pictures for an enlarged view.

  Yesterday was overcast with an occasional shower. A good day to photograph waterfalls, and this time I chose a popular and beautiful one named Nabegataki Falls. I wanted to arrive their just before opening at 9:00 am to avoid the crowds. Even so, the parking lot filled up quite quickly. I was able to get some shots without people for the first 15 minutes, but not after. It is a beautiful falls with a path leading behind the cascade into a hollowed out cave where you can get a unique perspective. Formed by the pyroclastic flows from the great caldera of Mt. Aso 90,000 years ago, it is quite an awesome place. (link attached below)

A sign warning of  the poisonous Japanese mamushi, (pit viper) was posted on the fence at the entrance. I have seen these well camoulflaged snakes on occasion, but they are difficult to spot unless they are on rocks or paths.

Click on pictures for an enlarged view.

  Thanks for visiting, and until the next post, get out there and spend some time with Mother Nature if you have the chance.

2 thoughts on “First Days of June”

  1. Excellent video capture of the kingfisher using hydrolics to escape the water! I really enjoyed the slow motion depiction of its intricate maneuvering.



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