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, 24 November 2014

福岡の秋, Autumn in Fukuoka; コサメビタキ, Asian Brown Flycatcher

After a short break I returned to birding and found the sites in full autumn colors.
Winter birds had arrived, The Daurian Redstarts, Red-flanked Bluetails, Black-faced Buntings and the common Thrushes.

An Asian Brown Flycatcher was still around, on November 22nd. Isn't it time to move on?

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Mandarin Ducks, オシドリ

Every year they spend the winter at these lakes in the mountains just south of the city. They feed on the acorn type nuts and hang around under the dark trees at the waterfront, mostly out of sight. They don't like to come close at all, but the males with their colorful plumage are easy to detect, even from a distance. Getting a nice photo is a different story. I hope to get the chance to see them up close sometime. In the meantime...

From far:

All mens affair. Where are your ladies?

One female joining the crowd

A few more in the back.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Pied Avocet, ソリハシセイタカシギ

An incidental visitor to Japan, and the first time for me to see in Kyushu.
It's a cute bird with its up-turned bill, feeding in shallow water, sweeping that bill from left to right, much like a spoonbill. Despite the distance it was fun to watch. We had to wait for the tide to recede before we could see its legs. Not brightly colored like a stilt, but an elegant bird in its own way.


With some plovers flying over

shake shake


Shichimenso is a kind of sea blite, found on the shores of the Ariake Sea in Kysushu.
In October the plants turn red and purple, creating colorful photo opportunities. However, the Dunlins didn't show up in their typical formation flight, neither were there any other waders that could do the job, so I had to be content with our Avocet.

Trying to get both in the picture

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Grey-streaked Flycatcher, エゾビタキ

Seen on September 27th


Below an Asian Brown Flycatcher, コサメビタキ 

a Dark-sided Flycatcher, サメビタキ to compare

And some kind of vine with edible looking mini potato type bits of fruit that was dangling in front of my eyes...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Siberian Stonechat, ノビタキ on the way south

The day after the typhoon, it's still quite windy.

We all have a bad hairday sometimes


Still around, よかった!Spotted Redshank, ツルシギ

Watching the activity from a pole...  Bull-headed Shrike, モズ

Sunday, 12 October 2014

オーストラリアセイタカシギ, White-headed Stilt

On October 8th I drove to Isahaya in Nagasaki hoping to find some migraters, kestrels, merlins or an early Amur Falcon maybe.  I left early and got there just before sunrise. There was very little activity that day, although I did see some Common Kestrels and a very early Daurian Redstart.
Luckily a White-headed Stilt was spotted and mentioned in one of the blogs. Not a common bird in Japan. We get many Black-winged Stilts, also in Fukuoka, but this one usually stays further south, therefore named Australian Stilt in Japanese. So halfway the morning I headed out in search.

Stilts are easy to detect with their long legs, but some ongoing construction work in the reclaimed area made them retreat to some hidden corner and it took me and 3 others the best part of the day to locate. Halfway the afternoon someone finally found it and there were the birds: 8 of them; male and female, adults and juveniles, all dressed in black and white and all looking different. They moved in and out of the rice plants and the watered field, behind that blue netting that is so widely used in Japan (I hate it!) Now, which one is the Ozzie???

Got it! Once you know it's easy... White head, Black nape, slightly different bill and just a wee bit taller than the others. (Only visible when they all stand up straight, which is.... seldom)

juvenile female  オーストラリアセイタカシギ, White-headed Stilt on the right, juvenile Black-winged on the left.

on the right again.
Once I had her sorted out our bird disappeared in the greenery. It took time again to wait for it to come out so all of us birders could see it. 

lurking at the back...

stepping forward...? No, not yet.

When it finally did come forward it lifted one leg up, tucked its head in and went to sleep…
Of course the only thing we could do was wait...  again. But then: 

Our bird from down under is the one on the left, calling "Hi, it's me!" with an Ozzie accent.

With my white face and blackish nape, on the very left.



Just when I got ready to leave it did a brief tour in the waterlogged field and returned to the safety of the secluded rice paddy. By now it really was time for me to head back, but I did have some photos.