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)
male Common Kingfishers
Little Grebe, Kaitsuburi
Male C. Kingfisher
Eyeing the competition
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.
Thanks for visiting my site, and enjoy the autumn outdoors.
October 13, 2019 These past few weeks, I went to an estuary near Hakata Bay in Fukuoka four different mornings. I wanted to try and capture different images of Osprey, especially diving for fish.
The Osprey, or Misago in Japanese, is an especially photogenic bird. Nothing is more beautiful to me than an Osprey, wings spread in flight in the light of the early morning sunrise.
In the enlarged photo of the Osprey’s head, you can see the clear membrane partly covering the eye of the Osprey. This is called the nictitating membrane, and it fully covers the eyes when the Osprey is diving at high speed and also underwater. There is more information about this membrane in the link below.
Other various photos of birds taken around the estuary on those four days.
Temminck’s Stint, Ojiro-to
Greater Scaup, Suzu-gamo
Glaucous Gull, Shiro-kamome
Great Cormorant, Kawa-u
Black-tailed Gull, Umineko
Two photos from one morning at Yamagami Dam. A Grey-Spotted Flycatcher, Ezo-bitaki, and one photo of two flowers.The small, white flowers are a species of Knotweed, Mizosoba, and the purplish red flowers are called touch-me-nots, Turifunesou. They are called Touch-me-nots because the seed pods burst open and scatter their seeds when they are touched. Thanks go to Unakunisan, my student, and his wife for helping me in identifying the flowers.
Grey-spotted flycatcher, Ezo-bitaki
Knotweed (white flower) and Touch-me-nots
Please get out of the house and away from the TV and commune with Mother Nature.
August 11, 2019 I went to Omijima in Nagatomachi, Yamaguchi prefecture on the nights of August 9th and 11th to watch and photograph the night seas and skies. I went there last year for the same reason. Though it wasn’t the peak of the annual Perseid meteors, you can still see quite a few, especially at a location that has dark skies, like Nagatomachi. I was able to see around 50 or so, though none of them appeared in any of the camera frames. Here is the time lapse of those two unforgettable nights.
Thanks for visiting!
Link to Nagatomachi https://visit-nagato.com/en/sightseeing/naturalwonders/omijima/