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.

Monday, 30 January 2017

One sunny afternoon in January

They are just common birds, but spring is around the corner...!

Red-flanked Bluetail, ルリビタキ

Japanese White-eye, メジロ

Bull-headed Shrike, モズ

Pale Thrush, シロハラ

Friday, 20 January 2017

Trip to Kagoshima 2, Ibusuki - Hitoyoshi

Daurian Redstart, ジョウビタキ

Our goal was Ibusuki for the Nanohana marathon. The weather was still bad, the parking lot where we camp every year a swimming pool, but I had my boots. After a soak in a hotspring we were ready for the ordeal. However, after everybody got up in rain jackets etc the rain stopped, the sun broke through and the day became horendously humid and way too hot for the runners. But all our friends, including Jaap finnished,

The drummers doing their thing were in good spirits.

That night, after the party we left Ibusuki and spend the night at Sakurajima SA as usual, so we could get an early start the next day.

We drove to Hitoyoshi in Kumamoto to see the Crested Kingfisher, but he wasn't at his usual fishing point. During a quick visit to a friends house we learned he had been down stream that day. Too bad.
On to the Aoi Aso Shrine for the roosters that we saw there. They also shined in absence...


Trip to Kagoshima 1, Izumi

On the way south we stopped at Izumi to visit the cranes at Arasaki. I love the sounds of the 12000 birds when they gather to eat, when they quarrel and when they take to flight all at once. It is one of the most spectacular sights in Kyushu. Of the 4 species that winter here I easily identify the Hooded Crane, ナベヅル

They are most common. Next comes the elegant White-naped Crane, マナヅル

The conditions were kind of bad. A dark blanket of clouds hung on top of us and the wind blew quite strong. The early morning, when all cranes gather for breakfast was dark

When the day cleared a bit I could get more detail. Below one  White-naped Crane, マナヅル  among many Hooded Cranes, ナベヅル who look at him (or her) in a way that seems to say: "What are you doing here? Go find your own"

Soon they all duck down to eat again. Just as well the people of the Crane center supply them with those grains, there would never be enough for all of them.

Watching them interact is most entertaining and sometimes results in interesting photography.

The big challenge of course is to locate any of the other 2 species that are there. There number is so small, maybe 4 or 5 that I don't usually go for that needle in the proverbial haystack. This time however my eye caught something. Among the Hooded Cranes was one different coloured bird. Look below:

This one bird seems to be a hybrid between the Hooded Crane, ナベヅル and a Common Crane, クロ

Other birds I usually look for are sparrows. Not the ordinary Tree Sparrows,
but the Russet Sparrow, ニュウナイスズメ



Omnipresent this month: Rook, ミヤマガラス

Northern Lapwing, タゲリ

 Spotted Redshank, ツルシギ

Below a resident Osprey, ミサゴ

A few Water Pipits, タヒバリ

And a cute young female Kestrel, チョウゲンボウ

But when we saw this beauty we had already left Izumi and were in Satsuma land.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

A sunny winter day

Today was supposed to be a walk in the forest, so I didn't bring my usual photography gear. Just a 24-300 zoom lens for handheld shooting. So nothing spectacular and I vowed to go back with the right set-up some time.

We saw several Red-flanked Bluetails, ルリビタキ, male and female and some seemed very friendly.

Early plum blossom

Raindrops on the feathery part of some seedpods caught my attention

The Shiroito waterfalls were not frozen, but some icicles had formed in shady corners

On the right in the very bottom some fish can be seen huddling together. Are they cold?
A Grey Heron, アオサギ kept a close eye on them. 

It always seems strange to me to see these herons in an environment other than seashores and harbors. Not the Magpies, カササギ  below, they are like naughty kids, always near the roads, rubbish, gardens, always into something.