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.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Fukuoka's biggest festival, Yamakasa 2014

The 'tsuyu' brings us a lot of rain every year for about 6 weeks, starting from the beginning of June. That doesn't mean it rains every day, but we can expect some real heavy downpours at some time. This year we didn't get much the first 4 weeks, but July made up for that. Thus.... we had a pretty wet YAMAKASA. In between showers I managed some shots.

The festival runs for 2 weeks, but doesn't become exciting until the last 5 days. I went in town to see Oiyama narashi on the 12th, Shundan yamamise on the 13th and the final Oiyama on July 15th at 4:59 am. Jaap, who participated this year again in Doi nagare, wasn't home much those days. And when he came in it was to eat, sleep and dry his clothes. I don't think he noticed much of the rain...

Monday, 21 July 2014

Glossy Ibis, ブロンズトキ

What a chance to see such a special bird in Japan!! Where did it come from?

At ease in a renkon field. Lots of food, lots of shade and places to hide.

From a distance

Looking for snails in a rice paddy

Looking great with wings spread 

In size a bit smaller than the Great Egret, more like Little Egret

Friday, 11 July 2014

Rainy season in Kyushu, 九州の梅雨 2

Paying an early morning visit to the harbor:

Striated Heron, ササゴイ



Having a ball in the pouring rain:  Barn Swallows, ツバメ

(me too, polishing my skills)

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Rainy season in Kyushu, 九州の梅雨 1

A fantastic work of origami displayed at a vegetable store

My photo of the same thing in a park

Which do you prefer?

Crested Kingfisher, ヤマセミ 2

The day after that I got there early, but had to wait quite some time. When one bird past by flying low over the river upstream, I followed it at a distance for about 1 km. Lugging my heavy gear along was exhausting. I stopped to take a rest and saw the bird doing the same in a tree not far from the road. I quickly got up again and managed this shot:

Thank you!

Later in the morning 2 other birds were found further downstream and I got another chance. The distance was a bit larger, but I was happy anyway.

Practice diving and fishing

Coming up with just a leave, nothing edible. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Crested Kingfisher, ヤマセミ 1

A popular bird among bird photographers here in Japan, but increasingly difficult to see around Fukuoka. I'd waited a long time for a chance, spent many mornings searching places where they'd ever been seen. A good friend jumped in and showed me a nesting site near one of the bigger rivers in the south. The first time I got there the chicks had left the nest and were going their own way already, so chances of seeing the whole family together were small. However, we found 2 siblings playing around a quiet part of the river. At one stage a 3rd bird dived in out of a tree from where it had been watching; probably a parent.

A bit of orange on the chest and malar stripe, but also under the wings. Is this a male or female?

2 birds practicing their fishing skills, but mostly caught leaves and twigs.

 My first decent images of a Crested Kingfisher in flight!

3 Crested Kingfishers!

Other birds around included Dippers, Wagtails and a Common Kingfisher.
Here is a juvenile Brown Dipper, カワカラス 幼鳥

I stopped by the next day around noon and didn't really expect anything, but one bird briefly perched on a rock before it disappeared in the greenery