November 3, 2019
Yesterday I had planned on going to Duck Pond in Shikanoshima, but I arose too late to arrive there for the early morning sun. Instead I went to Yamagami Dam again, this time hoping to photograph water birds. As I was walking along the road that surrounds the lake, I decided to drop down a steep embankment covered in bamboo. The bamboo provided good handholds and when I reached the bottom I discovered a thick tangle of brambles. I had brought some pruning shears with me enabling me to get through without too many scratches. Here, I found a little cove with overhanging branches. It seemed a great place to get under the camouflage cloth I had with me. Right away, a Winter Wren, Misosazai, started scolding me, but it was too close to get focus on. Eventually it tired of it’s tirade and left me in peace.
After about half an hour had passed, the birds I had probably scared away as I cut through the brambles, started to return. As you can probably imagine, birds behave differently, depending on if they know you are there, or if they don’t. It is quite fascinating and a privilege observing creatures when they don’t know you are there. I was able to see a Little Grebe, Kaitsuburi,diving for and catching fish, along with two of it’s competitors, the Common Kingfisher, Kawasemi, and the Great Cormorant, Kawa-u. Before I realized it, the sun had risen quite high in the sky and the light was becoming too harsh for good photography. I packed up my gear and reascended to the road, naming this new place ‘Secret Cove’ and I intend on keeping it so.
(click on any image below for a larger view)
I have seen Little Grebes swallowing even larger fish than the one in the video below. They maneuver the fish into a headfirst position under the water which also provides lubrication, helping it slide down the throat. They then tilt back their heads and let gravity assist in swallowing.