May 23, 2020 Yasukougen is a great place to observe birds and wildlife. It is nestled in a shallow and wide valley at an elevation of about 300 meters. It is about a 30 minute drive from my home, and I have been there 8 times in the past 2 weeks. Reason being, to TRY to photograph the Ruddy Kingfisher (Aka Shoubin) that has seemingly taken up residence there. The territory it has chosen is about 40,000 square meters, and therefore, each time I have arrived there early in the morning, it’s call invariably comes to my ears. For me, it is high on the list of birds I want to see and photograph. So far, I have glimpsed it a number of times, but it has always flown before I can capture it’s image. It’s call, which drew me to it in the first place, is mysterious and beautiful. I couldn’t believe my ears, as they are somewhat rare and extremely difficult to spot, let alone capture on film, which I have yet to do, except for one blurry image.
Each day I returned to Yasukougen, I expected it to have departed for one of it’s known breeding, grounds in Miyazaki, or Shikoku for example. I shall continue my quest to capture it on film, hopefully before it leaves Yasukougen.
In the meantime, there have been other creatures to catch my interest in the area. Yesterday, a raccoon, and this morning a fawn. Both of them were photographed and or filmed on my way to a hole in a tree newly excavated by a pair of courting Japanese Green Woodpeckers (Aogera). As I was observing them from a blind, they suddenly became agitated. I was worried it was because of my presence, but it was actually a young raccoon that had climbed into their tree to check out their hole. Afterwards it nonchalantly began grooming itself on a nearby branch for a few minutes. Then it calmly climbed into a neighboring tree, descended to the forest floor, and vanished into the early morning gloom.