Thursday, 3 May 2018

Tulips in Niigata


Nagaike Park, Shibata, Niigata, Japan

April 28, 2018

I haven't been a very good birder recently. Here are some tulip photos taken last Saturday.

Niigata takes great pride in their tulips this time of year.

Today is the start of the second part of the 9ct Golden Week holidays but it's raining. We had to go to work for two days in the middle of Golden Week this year. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Robin in the Shadows

Japanese Robin

Junsai-ike, Niigata, Japan

April 21, 2018

Just a brief post to keep this blog alive. Enjoyed two days at Junsai-ike over the weekend but didn't get many pics. Best were of this robin in the shadows. Anyway, it's a new bird for this blog.

Been having lots of software troubles the last few months and I'm tired of sitting at the computer for two hours to do a 5 minute edit. I have used Adobe for 20 years but now I'm tired of signing in every time I want to edit something. Wish I could just open up an app and just do it.

I also bought Affinity Photo, Luminar, Aurora HDR. I have Nikon software and Apple Photos. I miss iPhoto and Aperture. Maybe I need another computer. Recently, I have been enjoying reading books made of paper and printing my photos for albums and framed prints. I went to an Ed Sheeran concert in Tokyo and stood behind a woman who held up her smartphone over her head, (in front of my face) filming it all night. I watched her watching her screen. I think it should be called an iLive.

I guess I'm old now.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Return to the Kingdom of the Great Ice Eagles

Whenever I see any wild eagle my heart becomes like that of a small child playing barefoot in a garden, holding out a plastic dinosaur with one eye squinted-imagining it is real.

Not that I ever did that.

 In February 2006, I realised dreams from my childhood in undertaking a cruise by the kind people of GOZIRAIWA SIGHTSEEING or Their English Website and Japanese: Pension Rausukuru (Your cruise is discounted if you stay at the Inn). We returned to join them again, 12 years to the day, to again behold one of the greatest sights within this solar system. Where else can any of the world’s space agencies travel to find such wonders? This time we also stayed at their beautiful Canadian log-house, Pension Rausukuru, and feasted on delicious fresh food and went on two cruises into a kingdom unseen in any other known world.

We're also grateful to Stuart Price of Hakodate Birding for advice when we were making our plans. Stuart really helped me with the owl. Thanks, Stu. Check out Stuart's magnificent blog and brilliant pictures!

The Greatest Eagle in the World

I still remember black & white TV. I especially remember it on rainy Sundays. It always seemed so cruel for the day before a new week of school to be rained out. I remember getting up, turning on the tele, and swivelling the channels; “O”, “2”, “7”, “9”. I’d be scorned by a wooden-faced man, then fidget watching a cowboy movie. I’d give up by the time they’d hurry off to lynch someone. If I was really lucky there would be an Elvis movie on after lunch. In the meantime I’d draw a picture, or make some kind of craft. I’d try to reinforce the idea of my freedom being a non-school day by having a bowl of ice-cream and decorate it with a couple or four spoons of Milo. I did like finding a documentary to watch. Especially on something like eagles. Once I saw a documentary about Golden Eagles in Scotland.  The only other eagles I knew were the Bald Eagle in America, and my Wedge-tailed Eagle in Australia. I got it into my head to find out which one was the biggest. I pulled every book out off the shelves in my search. Eventually I decided to look into a really old set of encyclopaedia. It was so old that even the gold trim was brown. I looked up the word, “eagle” and was so excited to find that it had a chapter especially about the greatest eagles on earth. Bonus! The pages were dull with only a few colour plates here and there. Finally I found the page I was looking for and was kind of let down by small sepia and black and white photos. No big wedge-tail’s wings spanning over two pages. I began to read and became even more perplexed. It went on about a monkey-eating eagle in the Philippines, and a great harpy in the jungles in South America. It went on further to claim that the most massive eagle on earth was actually off the icy coasts of eastern Russia, Korea and Japan. I’d never heard of such a thing. I peered into a small sepia picture of a big fat bird sitting on what looked like a rock. It looked pompous; almost imperial. It’s white shoulders reminded me of the clothes worn in those old portraits of Napoleon and Henry the Eighth. It’s head and beak were were huge in proportion to it’s body. It didn’t look like what I thought an eagle should look like and I had no mental image of icy coasts anywhere. What a crappy Sunday.

For years, I would think about eagles again. I would search for pictures in bookstores and libraries. Such images of wild eagles were very rare. I often went back to look at the small old pictures in that book. I had many questions. Who had taken the pictures? How did they find the eagle? How did they get there? Through the 70s, 80s, and 90s, finding such pictures was a great challenge. Now we can find anything with the internet. Type in a name and there a thousands of pictures. I only hope that we don’t become complacent, and disregard such subjects as something unimportant because of the ease with which we find them. I hope there are still little girls and boys who are inspired, and dream of standing in the presence of a wild eagle.


Pension Rausukuru