Sunday, 25 May 2014

coffee, cake, and eagle

Wedge-tailed Eagle

Preston Peak Wines, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

January 8, 2014

We enjoyed coffee and cake at Preston Peak Wines on the last day of my last visit to Australia and this was the flight show just outside the window of the cafe.

Sad to hear the cafe is now closed. It was a nice farewell.

Saturday, 17 May 2014


Japanese Green Pheasant

Shinano River, Niigata City, Japan

Last week

My plan to photograph all the gull species along the Shinano River was totally missed as summer has arrived and the best time for gulls here is March/April. I wanted to especially have a closer look at the Black-headed Gulls that pass through at that time. I think the numbers vary year to year. I will have to wait until next year to see them again.

Other news was seeing the peregrines mating on a building near the prefectural office back in March.  I didn’t think much of it to be honest as I’ve seen them doing it in before but nothing came of it. I think they practice birth control. 

I had a heavy heart when listening to Mr Honma talk with his friend about the peregrines at the prefectural office. They seem to be expecting great things from the falcons this summer but I heard that both of them found kestrel remains beneath the peregrine eyrie. I was alerted to this as it’s just about kilometre away that I have been watching kestrels raise young every summer since 2005. I have been visiting the cement factory a couple of times a week since early April but found everything was quiet there. Last Saturday afternoon had a small change when I found a single kestrel sitting atop a rusty tower. It stayed for just a minute before flying off up river and out of sight. I thought it may have just been a visit of nostalgia. 

The next morning was fine so I went back. Everything was again very quiet for about 15 minutes until a crow arrived at a nearby factory. The radars must have been switched on out of my view as suddenly a pair a kestrel fighters emerged from the cement factory and bravely warded the menace away. The fighters returned to their base flurrying their wings down and proclaiming that this is their territory. “Ye, be warned!”

Maybe signs of happy days ahead.

Black-headed Gull

Shinano River

End of April, 2014

Peregrine Falcon

Niigata Prefectural Office

Japanese Bumble Bee

Junsai-ike, Niigata

* UPDATED* A new bird for me. I was told, this thrush was called "Akihara".
I looked it up and found it was called, "Brown-headed Thrush" in English.
My pictures look different to my guides, however. >>
*Stu, from Hakodate Birding has identified it as an "Eyebrowed Thrush"
Thanks Stu!

Blue-and-white Flycatcher

Junsia-ike, Niigata

Eastern Crowned Leaf Warbler


Friday, 9 May 2014

Golden Week Birds Niigata 2014

I guess this is a female Narcissus Flycatcher

Junsai-ike, Niigata, Japan

May 3, 2014

Don’t let these beautiful birds fool you, I’ve been rather miserable for the last week. We had a nice start to the four day Golden Week holidays last Saturday morning, arriving at Junsai-ike before 8:30am. It was nice sitting beneath the blooming trees but most of these photographs were taken in about a 20 minute period just after 1:30pm when I could see small insects coming out of the trees and bringing the birds. 

We went to a nice restaurant that evening and my nose began to run.

I don’t remember the two middle days of the holidays but I did lots of sneezing and couldn’t sleep well for a blocked nose. 

Tuesday was the last day of the holidays so we went back to Junsai-ike for more but I got only a single shot of the Blue-and-white Flycatcher sitting on a small waterfall just 5 minutes after we arrived - the final picture in this set, which I have framed for you.

We sat, walked and watched again to about 1:30, but no more birds appeared. In the meantime my cold was becoming unbearable with sneezing and shivers and running nose. I took off my glasses and gasped to see them coated in yellow, sticky, dusty, pollen. Time to call the holidays to an end. I realised, it wasn't a cold.

Blue-and-white Flycatcher


Blue-and-white Flycatcher


Narcissus Flycatcher


Eastern Crowned Leaf-Warbler

Blue-and-white Flycatcher


May 6, 2014

Black-faced Bunting

May 6, 2014

"Oruri" - "The Colour Earth" Junsai-ike, May 6, 2014