This blog is for family and friends, to share my feelings and photos with and for myself, to support my fading memory and improve my Japanese. I intend to do some writing in kanji, but am not getting very far without a Japanese computer. So for the moment I say "konnichi wa". Aisatsu dake - just saying hello.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Japanese badger, アナグマ

Driving on a small mountain road in Itoshima at the end of the day we saw this badger skimming the ground, picking up morsels of something, taking its time, not being bothered by us at all. After about 10 minutes it happily jumped in the bush.

こんにちは ! Nice bushy tail

hmm, what's that?   これは何ですか
   Note its fore feet have claws

a berry of some sort  何とか ベリー

Look at the shape of its hind feet. 


Friday, 26 September 2014

ヒガンバナ Wild Amaryllis in the woods

September, it's time for higambana. The red flowers, a kind of amaryllis are lining the rice fields of Kyushu, creating a nice contrast with the golden yellow-green color of mature rice that is about to be harvested. This year I found the same flowers here in the woods, That splash of red, accentuated by the soft sunbeams of the late afternoon in a darkish green forest made it quite a surprise.

The big butterflies that like these flowers are swallowtails. Below the Red Helen

Another swallowtail, the Spangle,

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Late summer waders, a collection

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, ウズラシギ

Common Sandpiper, イソシギ

Common Greenshank, アオアシシギ

Grey-tailed Tattler, キアシシギ 

Marsh Sandpiper, コアオアシシギ

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Wood Sandpiper, タカブシギ

The posts of waders wouldn't be complete without this Sandpiper. Very comon in the Imazu area and one of my favorites. They are always active and fun to watch. I think they are quite pretty as well, slender, with fine and well marked features.

always active


Just caught a dragonfly. It seemed a bit of a struggle to rid it of unedible wings.

Pretty feathers up to under the wings.

not too shy, coming this close it hardly fits in my frame

Friday, 19 September 2014

Terek Sandpiper, ソリハシシギ

A fairly common migrant that we see every year around Fukuoka, but never in big numbers. Easily distinguished from other sandpipers by the upturned bill. The name Terek comes from the river Terek in Russia.

With pink colored snail eggs at the back .

Pretty orange-colored legs in summer

Early evening scene

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Ruff, エリマキシギ

Large shore birds with long legs, migrating from the cold tundras of East Russia to the warmer shores of SE Asia and beyond. There were 8 of them in Imazu at one time. Hanging around for over a week. I'd love to see these birds in breeding plumage!

Portrait, I think a female.

Huddling together when raptors fly by. The smaller one on the left should be a female, the males are about 20% larger, In the back one black-winged Stilt

Wandering off in pairs or by themselves when the danger has gone.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Once in a life time, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, ヘラシギ

It was the first time for me to see this bird.

This critically endangered bird is very small and looks like any other small wader from a distance. When it mingles with stints of the same size it's nearly impossible to detect. However, its spatula-shaped bill makes it very special and it appears on many birders' wishlist.
Somebody spotted it and sent the word out. The following day (a Saturday) many birders drove to the mudflats of the Ariake Sea.

The search started on the upcoming tide, which drove the birds close to shore. At the top of the tide, when all the mud was submerged thousands of waders took refuge on the rocks lining the flat. A Peregrine Falcon sent them all flying again few times and when the tide went out all birds returned to the extensive mud.

Between 2 Broad-billed Sandpipers

At the back behind the dunlins

To the right of the dunlin

I was lucky to see it on 3 occasions, thanks to the help of people with digital scopes. Taking photos was extremely hard, because the tiny bird kept on disappearing behind rocks and other bigger birds. It also moved very fast, sending waves of panic and frustration through the group of photographers.

Just about to vanish behind the rocks.

Out on the mudflat again (glad the falcon didn't get it). The bird in the back is a juvenile Grey Plover and about twice as big.

There are only a few hundred of these birds left in the world and I feel very lucky that I was able to see this little bugger. It might never happen again...