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.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

ツバメ, Barn Swallows

In the harbor our neighbors are mostly boats, but our one big neighbor is the ferry for Nokonoshima. I go to the island at leats twice a week for work and in summer I always look out for the swallows that nest at the building, on the island and on the ferry itself. As usual I took the camera to go and see them and this year, the moment the fledgelings left the nest, they came to see me, in our harbor, at Alishan! It kept me amused and busy and Nori and Wakame alert all day.

One nest on the east of the entrance with 3 babies

I love their head feathers, still so downy, but they will loose them soon. 

And another nest on the west side with 4 chicks

About ready to fly out, but not very eager; parents and helpers kept flying by with yummy-looking titbits, enticing them to try out their wings.

And then they did and all 4 of them followed mum and dad towards the fishing harbor, where it's easy to find insects for all.

Struggling to keep balanced


Still huddling together

One secure spot on top of a fender

From the deck, watching the bugs on the water surface. What are they, what should we do with them? No idea...

Enjoying space, but still relying on mum and dad for food

Nori and Wakame on the look out


Saturday, 3 August 2013

アオバズク 家族, A family of Brown Hawk Owls

At the end of June a male Brown Hawk Owl was seen perched at the edge of a small but dark tree. From where he sat he could see through the slits of his eyes an old kusunoki or camphor tree with holes in the stem, a place these birds like to use for their nest.

I took one photo and didn't come near, but regularly checked his presence the following days. It wasn't till the 2nd week in July that I found a female nearby, peeking out from behind green leaves that kept her well hidden. She was also facing the same camphor tree and one evening I decided to check it out.

I hid behind a temple building and endured the curiosity of mosquitos and wasps. All was remarkably quiet until just before sunset, when some tiny bit of movement in the hole made me hang around a bit longer. Then twice a little owl's face showed in the deep shadows. At twilight the 2 adults started flying in and out, frequenting the nest with bits of food. Soon it became too dark for me to see.

A few days later the family of 5 sat proudly together, again keeping very quiet during the day. Cicada's had hedged as well and were flying around their heads, but they barely payed attention. I guess it's the lack of height of their tree that made them extra careful. 

A parent (mother) and 3 chicks.


Dad at his favorite possy

The Mrs. when she was still waiting for her offspring to leave the nest.


The colors of the young aren't very pronounced yet, but their eyes are!

mother and child

An owl is the symbol of wisdom, in many countries and has been that for thousands of years. In Dutch we use the word uilskuiken, which means chick of an owl, for ninny or foolish person. Watching these clumsy babies makes me understand. The way to wisdom starts at the very bottom.
The following photo's were taken after 7 pm. My Nikon 300mm F2.8 lived up to its reputation in low light. 

The next time I came around they were all gone. Off to the safety of the nearby forest, I guess.
I quietly wished them GOOD LUCK.

今日の勉強  クスノキ  =  kusunoki, camphor tree