Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Daurian Redstart

There seemed to be buckets of these guys around weeks ago but now it's a bit quieter.
Photographed at Junsai-ike, Niigata, April 17, 2010.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Spring Bath

Japanese White-eyes taking a quick splash and dash at Junsai-ike, Niigtata, April 25, 2010. (Blew-out the metering a bit but still thought they're worth a look.)

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Serpent and the Pheasant.

I was crossing a walker's bridge at Toyano Lagoon, Niigata,  on April 10 and saw a Japanese Green Pheasant going mad stomping around in the dead reeds. I was looking into the sun, took a few shots and walked on without realising why it was so frantic. Saw the reason when I got home and downloaded the photos.  Some great nature observer I am, heah?

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Rusty Blue Roof

Found this Blue Rock Thrush enjoying an industrial environment along the Shinano River, Niigata on April 10.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Buds and Sprouts.

There are four seasons in Niigata - Spring, Summer, Autumn and the Ice Age. To say that joy can be had at the first signs of Spring is an understatement. -But well worth he wait.

Blue-and-white Flycatcher

Daurian Redstart (female)

Red-flanked Bluetail (female)

Have to look this last guy up. All photos at Junsai-ike Niigata City, April 8, 2010.

Next week, the blossoms should be in full glory. I'd love to get that Flycatcher posing in the middle of them. There will be buckets of people there though.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Polite and Social Birder.

Blue-and-white Flycatcher

Usually, well at least in the old days, I used to go out looking for photographic subjects alone, however in recent years I have discovered the benefits of social birding, both in Australia and Japan. It’s just in the last year in Japan that I have been going out looking for birds with an elder “Birding Friend”. It’s interesting how my bird list has increased through “word-of-mouth-know-abouts”. My birding friend meets someone who knows someone else who sighted a something in a particular place. I have discovered the residences of Long-eared Owls and Northern Goshawks in city parks as well as new places that are often regarded as places of interest for migrants or other natural features.

Blue-and-white Flycatcher

This approach certainly has its benefits however, there are behavioural or cultural adaptations required to my usual methods of observation and photography. That is, when we go to an informed place of interest, we are not the only ones there. There are usually troops of bird photographers preceding us. This is good in that we can get live updates on what’s been seen recently in the area (There is no surprise in finding something special) and enthusiastic picture takers kindly insist on showing us what they have recorded on their digital screens. It’s interesting to see the latest of Japanese birding technology being used in the field. I enjoy looking at the various scopes, cameras and lenses.

Above and below: Blue-and-white Flycatcher in flight.

The funny thing is what to do when a subject of interest appears. Everybody shuffles into formation. Of course there are better positions than others, depending on lighting, backgrounds and angles. I often find I’m more interested in watching the photographers in action than the birds and I don’t really feel comfortable with trying to move into a position. Does my big head get in the way of someone’s lens or will I trip over a tripod and send a million yen, nano-coated, 600mm lens bouncing on the ground? Most people rush into a row ‘uplight’ but I tend to stand back ‘downlight’ in the open. The problem is, I don’t seem to be getting any good pics from such outings.

Eastern Crowned Leaf-Warbler.
(post-edited: Name changed Thanks to observations by Unravel. See comments below)

I guess I have to enjoy the advantages of new discoveries, (both of nature and culture) but adapt and develop new approaches and techniques with my camera.

Above and below: Japanese Grosbeak

It's nice to see new birds. All photos taken on Sunday, April 4 2010, at Junsai-ike, Niigata, Japan.