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.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The story of the Tundra Swan

When Junko phoned to tell that somebody had seen a rare bird, I went to pick her up and we drove to the area west of Fukuoka city. The weather had been bad with lots of rain, but right then it cleared a bit and though the cloud cover was dark grey, there was a little soft light coming through.
We scanned the river, the mudflats and the fields of Imazu. Stopped to look at an Osprey in a tree, a White Wagtail eating “something with legs”, Greenshanks in green grass and a Common Kingfisher on the side of a canal, matching colors with the water pipes.

アオアシシギ、Common Greenshank

ハクセキレイ、White Wagtail


カワセミ、Common Kingfisher

Then we drove to fields at Taremaro. They showed a whole lot of nothing. Where was this bird?
Junko called it a ko-hakucho. Hakucho means swan and ko usually stands for small so I pictured a not too big swan, but not too small either so where could it be hiding – in the grass? The sprouted rice plants? The soybeans? We figured it had to be across the river, in the paddies behind the factories. We went over there and the moment we rounded the corner of the first factory building we came to a dead stop and our mouths dropped in ashtonishment. The old ricefields were flooded from the rain and on every square foot was a duck. Ducks were everywhere! Hundreds, thousands of ducks. They were circling above us, too. Landing and taking off in formation. What a sight!

We debated how to proceed and decided to back-up and take another access road with more favorable light conditions. I took a few quick shots, counting on more in about 5 mins. But… we got distracted by this cute little Sandplover and the 5 mins became 15 and when we got back to the fields… they were empty! We looked at each other as if we’d had a dream and weren’t sure what was real. Nothing to see. No ducks anywhere and certainly no little swan.

イソシギ、Common Sandpiper

The next day, on Sunday I went back. Guess what? In the middle of the plain that held thousands of ducks the previous day was now a very white, very conspicious huge bunch of feathers fluttering in one of the flooded paddyfield: the swan. Not a small one, but a rather big, impressive Tundra Swan, showing off his (her?) wingspan of over 2 meter. And not one duck. Where was he (she?) yesterday? And were had the ducks gone?
A friend had some explanation: The duck-hunting season started this weekend. I hadn’t seen or heard anything about it, but it was most likely in the newspaper and I still cannot read well. However, the ducks can apparantly.

コハクチョウ、Tundra Swan

A lot of English today.
I will write the Japanese version later, when I have a holiday of some kind. It will probably take me a whole weekJ

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Great Cormorants

今日の写真: カワウ、Great Cormorants in the harbor

Day trip to Isahaya

A day trip to Isahaya in Nagasaki pref. didn t produce many good pictures, but was interesting anyway, thanks to John A. Wright who showed us the best locations. Thank you John!

チョウゲンボウ、Common Kestrel


チュウヒ、  Eastern Marsh Harrier

ハイイロチュウヒ、 Hen Harrier,

カンムリカイツブリ、Great Crested Grebe

Sunday, 13 November 2011

November birds

初めて日本で見ました。コマドリ、Japanese Robin
wachten, zoeken, gevonden. A first for me, Japanese Robin.

 この二羽の話は何? What are these 2 talking about?

ハトを食べているカラス. タカから取りました? A crow eating a pigeon? Must have been stolen from a raptor.  ハシボソガラス、Carrion Crow

キセキレイ、Grey Wagtail 日本語で黄色また英語でグレイ


ミヤマホオジロ、Yellow-throated Bunting

ジョオビタキ 雌、Daurian Redstart fem

今日の勉強  めて = はじめて

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

First week of November

First week of November.
A full week passed and still no blog update.
Sometimes it feels like there isn’t much to tell (and show)
And in Japanese it’s hard: making a story out of nothing.
But of course, there’s always something.

Our anniversary for starts.
We took Esther for a spin and drove to Itoshima, to the Sunset road. We stopped to look at the landscape and harvested rice. So very Japanese. We watched the sunset and had Italian at Palm Beach. Nice place. The resort-type setting made me long for Thailand and Malaysia. It isn’t that long ago that I said I didn’t feel like moving for a while… Well, that feeling is fading… Must be the time of the year.


There are few places where you can dine outside. Generally customers don't like bugs like this green hopper, who surprised us with his acrobatics on the tabasco bottle, while eyeing the salad.

On another day I checked out Minami koen and saw the first Shirohara of the season.

Yes, that time of the year. And then the Mandarin Ducks. They returned!
We are still wearing T-shirts and sometimes no socks, but it’s obvious, winter is on its way.


Alishan is now hauled out at Odo. BRRR. Not my kind of living. No toilet, no afvoer.
Fortunately Jaap hasn’t gone off with Mitsuda-san to Fukyo in the Setonaikai. Though the “dirty” work is done by the people of the yard he is quite busy…  treating blisters.
It is our turn now: Alishan has osmosis. We might have to strip her down one day. Oh well. Now that could be a good reason to do another SE Asia run…

Cat of the month, found wandering on a hill at Shinmoji, Kitakyushu

View from Alishan's cockpit when she is in our homeport, the fishing harbor of Meinohama

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Wild horses - acting wild

For Judith

 今年の春 オランダで
野生の馬、 wild horses in nature reserve De Blauwe Kamer



They came running straight toward us, 怖かった!!!

No image of their next move, had to hurry out of the way.

Peacefully at rest again

今日の勉強  野生の馬 = yasei no uma,  wild horses
                  怖い = kowai