Diamond Firetails

Here’s a new bird for my blog. Photos aren’t so great but nice records nonetheless. These are tiny little Diamond Firetails as seen with Mick and Rod at Girraween back in March, 2019.

Nagaoka Hanabi, August 2, 2019

I remember my father in-law driving me around the streets of Nagaoka. He explained the streets were wider than those narrow lanes in many old villages and towns that were spared from the bombing raids of WWII. He, and his wife-to-be, were school-aged children during World War Two. On the night of August 1st, 1945, Nagaoka was bombed heavily from the air. Leaflets at been dropped in the preceding weeks, warning the city to evacuate because of an impending air raid. Nonetheless, I read that over two-hundred school aged children died that night, and well over a thousand adults. Sixty to eighty percent of the city was destroyed.

Now every year, in the first days of August, many travel to witness a magnificent fireworks display along the banks of the Shinano River that passes through the city. The fireworks celebrate another year of peace, and remind us of those lost to war. Like all our lives, the fireworks are bright and brilliant, and shine for the briefest of time.

We enjoyed a hot evening this year and took the bullet train from Niigata to Nagaoka. I learned what it is like to be a grain of sand passing through an hourglass.

Black Dragons

Dragonflies have been becoming more numerous in Niigata since the start of July. I visited the pond in the park near Big Swan at Toyanogata a couple of times. The weather has been humid but not so hot. I photographed several kinds of dragonflies, but my favourites are the black ones. Depending on the angle they shimmer with various hues. Purple, then green or blue and their movements are very graceful.

Atrocalopteryx arata, Haguro Tombo (Black-winged Dragonfly) Actually a large damselfly.

The beautiful damselfly above is almost 7 centimetres in length. I saw just the one and was lucky to get these shots before it disappeared through the green. It was a very nice encounter indeed.

A more common beauty is what reminds me of the “flutterer” group of dragonflies I saw in Australia earlier this year. There are quite a few “Chou Tombo” or “Butterfly Dragonflies” getting around Toyanogata. I first found them there 11 years ago. Rhyothemis fuliginosa. They are really graceful and make me feel like I’m wandering around in a Tomb Raider video game. See the images below:

Rhyothemis fuliginosa,   Chou Tombo,  Butterfly Dragonfly

Rhyothemis fuliginosa, Chou Tombo, Butterfly Dragonfly

I’ve captured a number of other dragons too, and the season has a long way to go. Let’s hope I get more.

Prince Henry with Mick

Prince Henry Drive is always a special place for a wander. Best enjoyed with good company. I always remember the highlights of each walk and who I was with. I remember I was with Kevin, Kay and Plaxy when I got one of my favourite Grey Goshawks pics there. This time Michael Atzeni and I shared views of a passing Regent Bowerbird, as well as many other treats. Maybe my favourite picture of the day is of a Red-browed Finch which was channeling the forces of all the known universes through a single, freshly acquired branch of grass seeds. The little bird seemed so calm and confident with such a responsibility. Makes all our election fears, global and social anxieties on this small planet seem meaningless in their brief passing. It was such a wonderful thing to witness with Mick.

Olive-backed Oriole

Olive-backed Oriole

Lewin’s Honeyeater

Lewin’s Honeyeater

White-throated Needletail

White-throated Needletail