Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A place for a walk

Sakura at Toyanogata, Niigata on Saturday, April 21, 2012

Nikon V1 with 10mm f2.8 lens

Haven't done much birding recently. The main bit of birding excitement for me was my first ever Hoopoe sighted at this park two weeks ago. We were told of its presence by another birder and were lucky to find it but it quickly flew off and further search failed to re-find it. I failed to get a photo but it is an unmistakable character and much daintier than I'd expected. It came a few days after a pseudo-typhoon in the Sea of Japan blasted us with 100km an hour winds. A similar but weaker event occurred about four years ago in the same season and I found a pair of Amur Falcons and some Daurian Starlings, (all species from the continent), so I guess it's worth being aware of strange encounters following strange weather. 

I guess a more important occurrence of the birding world has been the hatching of Crested Ibis chicks in the wild on Sado Island this last week.  A species once extinct in the wild -(I'm tired tonight. Can I say it was extinct now that it's back?) Anyway, it is the first such hatching in 36 years (I read on the net). The latest news I could find was at The Daily Yomiuri

Saturday was the only day that was fine last weekend and I took the dog for a walk. Two weeks ago it was snowing and today the blossoms are almost replaced by new green leaves.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Bush Stone-curlew and a Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Bush Stone-curlew

Toowoomba Aerodrome, Queensland
September 8, 2008

Just digging through some files and found these shots which again, were birds found and shown to me by Mick Atzeni.  (As with my previous post) Thanks Mick!

Way back in 2008. I wonder where they are now?

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Gowrie Junction, Queensland

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Buff-banded Rail

Buff-banded Rail

Lake Annand, Toowoomba, Queensland

August, 2011

Thanks to Mick Atzeni for taking me to see this guy in Toowoomba last year. It was much friendlier than one I spent some time trying to get close to in Cairns back in 2007.

Buff-banded Rail at Cairns in 2007

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Faces in the Rain

Japanese Macaque
Also known as a Snow Monkey

Jigokudani Yaen-Koen, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

March 31, 2012

These photos were taken yesterday in Nagano Prefecture at Jigokudani Yaen-Koen. It is the famous place for wild Snow Monkeys bathing in a hot spring. 

I recommend you click on the Official Jigokudani Website for more information.

After years of thinking about going, it was pouring with rain when we finally got there. It was pouring rain in the morning as we were going there. It was pouring with rain while we were there. It was pouring with rain when we left. 
After we left, it snowed, and many more monkeys went into the spring. Ain't it the way?

Luckily, the night before we went I went into a camera store and bought rain coats for my cameras. I saw that the forecast for the weekend was for rain so I thought I'd prepare for it. Lucky I did, as I had imagined drizzly, soft rain and cloud but actually it rained quite heavily. I carried two heavy bags with cameras and lenses but couldn't change lenses in the conditions. Actually I didn't really watch my camera settings at all as I was just battling to keep them dry while balancing an umbrella. I'm happy with what I got in the conditions and think the rain actually added atmosphere. I know some photos are very dark but I like them that way.

I hope to go back someday. I recommend you go there too!!

Above and below: Shibu Onsen is the last of a string of hot spring villages leading towards the Monkey's Onsen (the Monkey's hot spring). We stayed there.

Walk to the Monkey's Onsen