Sunday, May 29, 2011

Grey Heron

Grey Heron
Fukushimagata, May 28, 2011.

Grey Herons are common all year round in Niigata, however it seems numbers are highest in the warmer months when there are frogs and things in the rice fields. It's easy to overlook them because they are so common.





Grey Heron
Summer 2010



Also at the moment Carrion Crows are nesting and can be seen chasing away Black-eared Kites whenever they come into sight. Wish the skies were brighter.



Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bird-Love-Care Centre at Shuinji, Shibata, Niigata.

Mountain Hawk Eagle, at Saezuri-mosato, Niigata Prefecture, June 2009.

It's raining again for the weekend so I've been browsing old files... Niigata gets 250 days of precipitation a year according to wikipedia. (Monday to Friday was beautiful).

Strange title to this post but we don't know how else to translate it. "Saezuri-mosato" (Singing-bird-village) is the name of a care-centre for injured birds at Shuinji, Shibata, Niigata. We visited it back in June, 2009.


There is a park, a museum and an area where birds that have been injured in the wild are brought-in and cared for. I like photographing wild birds but thought the fact that all of these birds are from Niigata Prefecture is interesting. I have seen all of these species in the wild here in Niigata but usually wild encounters are very distant. Especially for the eagles. I don't remember seeing any species other than raptors at the centre and only took a few shots. The 'cages' were very dark and I had to press my lens up to steel mesh barriers. It was also very hot and we were savaged by mosquitos. There was no information on the cages. I can only guess that these birds have been injured in the wild and will spend the rest of their lives here. The owls puzzled me as there was a an apparent clutch of young that must have either lost their parents or/and their tree. 

Last year, the female Peregrine Falcon that lived at the Niigata Prefectural Office was recovered with a broken wing and taken to this centre. I often saw her rocket along the river. -I'll have to go back to the centre to visit her soon.

Mountain Hawk Eagle

Golden Eagle

Peregrine Falcon



Young Ural Owl (I think)

Another young Ural Owl


Monday, May 16, 2011

The Briefest Glimpse.

Japanese Paradise Flycatcher
(Junsai-ike, Niigata, May 15, 2011)

Not my best photos but exciting first encounters for me. Just had the briefest glimpse of the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher high up in the canopy before it made squiggles with its long tail into the shadows. Also Mugimaki Flycatchers seem to be around in numbers and are on everyones' lips. Both at Junsai-ike, Niigata. I only had a couple of hours there. I wonder if I should brave the herds of photographers there next weekend for better shots? 

Female Mugimaki Flycatcher. A rarity here.
(Junsai-ike, Niigata, May 15, 2011)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Welcomed Sight.

Blue-and-white Flycatcher


Went to Toyanogata looking for birds yesterday afternoon. The first time in a month. I wasn't really expecting to see much as I had a call from a friend on Wednesday night who goes out a lot and he reported that things had been very quiet: "No Blue-and-white Flycatchers in Niigata this year". - Hence, I was surprised to see one within seconds of my arrival. Got just a couple of shots before he disappeared. Also got a glimpse of a Narcissus Flycatcher but no photos.


Toyanogata parklands. A favoured area for young families.

Further into Toyanogata. A pathway alongside the lake.
Waterbirds to the left and passerines in the trees.

Black-eared Kite with annoying power lines in the background.

Black-eared Kite,  Milvus lineatus

Worn-out Black-eared Kite.

Wisteria has come-out in the last week.



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Golden Lanterns.

Female Oriental Greenfinch with nesting material at Toyanogata, Niigata, April 17, 2011.

Golden Week has come and gone for another year. I didn't do any bird watching. Last 'bird' outing was at Toyanogata back on April 17. Didn't really see much although we found a couple of Long-tailed Rosefinches almost in the exact spot I photographed one on the 10th last year. I didn't get any good shots this year. A little frustrated by rows of photographers with big 600 and 500mm lenses on tripods. It means you can't stalk subjects without getting in the way. I like portable equipment allowing me to meander, wander, explore and stalk. This allows me to choose the best angles for lighting and good backgrounds. I don't like standing in a line waiting for Monday to get closer. 

For Golden Week we just visited some local tourist spots. First we went to the Northern Culture Museum followed by Yahiko Shrine. Buckets of people were flowing through both places on the always busy Golden Week Holidays. I uploaded these photos en mass and they came out in in different order than intended.


Male Oriental Greenfinch, Toyanogata, April 17, 2011.
A walking path at Toyanogata. Photo taken with my mobile phone. April 17, 2011

Azure-winged Magpie, Toyanogata, April 17, 2011.

To the side of the entrance path of the Niigata Northern Museum.  (May 4, 2011)

View at the Northern Culture Museum (May 4, 2011)

Inside looking out at the Northern Culture Museum. (May 4, 2011)

Garden at the Northern Culture Museum.

Wisteria just showing signs of awaking at the Northern Culture Museum.

The scenery at Yahiko Park. The blossoms all gone.

Looking towards Yahiko Mountain from Yahiko Park. 

Stone stairway at Yahiko Park. 

"Toro" - Japanese Lantern at Northern Culture Museum. (May 4,  2011)

At the Northern Culture Museum. (May 4, 2011)

This "Toro" in the grounds of the Northern Culture Museum is about a metre high.

Same as above.

"Toro", in the grounds of the Northern Culture Museum. (May 4, 2011)

A stone "Toro" at the Northern Culture Museum.

A very large stone "Toro" at Yahiko Shrine.

Wooden "Toro" at Yahiko Shrine.

One of two, "Komainu", (They mirror each other)
- a 'Lion-dog' guarding against evil spirits at the entrance of Yahiko Shrine. (May 4, 2011)


Canal at the entrance of Yahiko Shrine.