Summer Lovin'

Tiger Shrike

Niigata, Japan

July, 2018

I've been enjoying summer this year. I feel for those suffering from the floods though.

I have been trying to get out despite of my feebleness in the hot weather. I think winter is so long here that I should enjoy wearing t-shirts and shorts while I can. There have been some nice summer things to see including bugs, dragonflies and butterflies. I have been trying to collect images of the dragonflies to post later after I've tried to ID them. I've also seen many butterflies but mostly on the wing and out of reach of my lens. 

Yesterday was the anniversary of breaking my arm so I'm pleased I can get out with my camera. It's good to look back and realise that I have had many good days since. 

I've watched the kestrels at the cement factory court, return to the nest with food, fledge, practice hunting bugs, and disperse for another year too.

Azure-winged Magpies

newly fledged

Bull-headed Shrike


Eurasian Kestrel

Whiskered Tern


Summer Shadows

Summer scenery at Toyanogata, Niigata, Japan

August 28, 2016

 At least I tried to do a spot of birding and I was even hoping for dragonflies, but I just ended up getting into the summer shadows at Toyanogata to finish August off.

I saw a lot of dragonflies on Wednesday but they quickly disappeared.

Hopefully, the next big thing will be the raptor migration at the end of September.

Azure-winged Magpie

Magpies Niigata

Azure-winged Magpie

Shinano River, Niigata City, Japan

August 2013

These are the only kind of magpies I've seen in Niigata. They are quite attractive but always sticking themselves in the densest foliage. I have wanted better pics than these for quite a while but I can't get good views when I've got my camera. They are fairly common about the place and are here all year round. These photos are of a family along the Shinano River. I felt sorry for them last year as many of the trees they lived in were cleared away. 

Some interesting behaviour when I was photographing the young one below occurred when the adults in a tree behind me started a softish alarm call. Actually I was wondering if it was an alarm as it was repetitive but not so desperate. The young bird flew over to disappear in the thick leaves of the trees with its family and the calls went on for a few moments. Suddenly all went quiet and I looked up the see a Peregrine Falcon jetting by. Can't say, I've noticed alarm calls like this before in Japan. Different to the noisier birds in Australia.

This isn't such an attractive shot but it's easier to see their colours with some kind of background.
Photos of these birds with a blue sky background are quite disappointing. 

Young bird in front of a house.

Peregrine Falcon

Tortoises on the Rocks (UPDATED)

Brown-eared Bulbul

Junsai-ike, Niigata, Japan
May 13, 2012

Nikon 1 V1 + FT1+ Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm VR 

UPDATE: Thank you to IsuzuGeek and Mick Atzeni for confirming that these ‘turtles’ are Red-eared Sliders. I was happily greeted to the new day (May 16th) with a comment from IsuzuGeek (check below) and an email from Mick (with links to this and ...this). I was excited to find out what they are, but a little disappointed to find they are an introduced species. (They are from the United States). Anyway, I have been able to add Red-eared Slider to my TAGS on this blog and have been given a flag to further lead me. I have found this link to a webpage on TURTLES of Japan and found their Japanese name is “Mississippi-Aka-Mimi-Game”. (Is that easy to say in a sentence?) Of puzzlement to me however, was that they are “Turtles”. They looked like Tortoises to me! I learned when I was a kid that “turtles had flippers and tortoises had claws”……This is apparently of the Australian view and dialect and differs to both British and American definitions for colloquial use, as outlined at this Wikipedia page. Other pages I found give cloudy definitions of ‘turtle vs tortoise’. It’s good to keep learning. What I thought of as a mediocre post as been a nice lesson for me. Thanks again, Mick and IsuzuGeek and to all who keep me honest in viewing this blog.

Original post below:

What do birdwatchers do on Mother's Day? Why, go birdwatching of course!
Had another quiet birding outing yesterday, this time at Junsai-ike. I failed getting a male Narcissus Flycatcher and was told about the presence of a female Mugimaki Flycatcher but didn't see it. All the birders we met talked of the quietness for birding. I think there were birds around but they were high up in the canopy. The air was cool but the sun warm. 

All of these pics were with the Nikon V1, FT1 adaptor and the Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm VR. Actually, I enjoyed this light weight combo and think the results are pretty ok. Nice for a walk in the park. 

Last week I walked past a couple of children admiring the green-coloured trees. It is a pretty time now with bright green plants and purple flowers and fine days. Maybe just 4 more months and the green will go away again.

Red-eared Slider

Original post: I'm sorry I don't know what this tortoise is. 

...with Moorhen

Azure-winged Magpie


Above and below: Brown-eared Bulbul

My best Bush Warbler pic for the day.

Golden Lanterns.

Female Oriental Greenfinch with nesting material at Toyanogata, Niigata, April 17, 2011.

Golden Week has come and gone for another year. I didn't do any bird watching. Last 'bird' outing was at Toyanogata back on April 17. Didn't really see much although we found a couple of Long-tailed Rosefinches almost in the exact spot I photographed one on the 10th last year. I didn't get any good shots this year. A little frustrated by rows of photographers with big 600 and 500mm lenses on tripods. It means you can't stalk subjects without getting in the way. I like portable equipment allowing me to meander, wander, explore and stalk. This allows me to choose the best angles for lighting and good backgrounds. I don't like standing in a line waiting for Monday to get closer. 

For Golden Week we just visited some local tourist spots. First we went to the Northern Culture Museum followed by Yahiko Shrine. Buckets of people were flowing through both places on the always busy Golden Week Holidays. I uploaded these photos en mass and they came out in in different order than intended.

Male Oriental Greenfinch, Toyanogata, April 17, 2011.
A walking path at Toyanogata. Photo taken with my mobile phone. April 17, 2011

Azure-winged Magpie, Toyanogata, April 17, 2011.

To the side of the entrance path of the Niigata Northern Museum.  (May 4, 2011)

View at the Northern Culture Museum (May 4, 2011)

Inside looking out at the Northern Culture Museum. (May 4, 2011)

Garden at the Northern Culture Museum.

Wisteria just showing signs of awaking at the Northern Culture Museum.

The scenery at Yahiko Park. The blossoms all gone.

Looking towards Yahiko Mountain from Yahiko Park. 

Stone stairway at Yahiko Park. 

"Toro" - Japanese Lantern at Northern Culture Museum. (May 4,  2011)

At the Northern Culture Museum. (May 4, 2011)

This "Toro" in the grounds of the Northern Culture Museum is about a metre high.

Same as above.

"Toro", in the grounds of the Northern Culture Museum. (May 4, 2011)

A stone "Toro" at the Northern Culture Museum.

A very large stone "Toro" at Yahiko Shrine.

Wooden "Toro" at Yahiko Shrine.

One of two, "Komainu", (They mirror each other)
- a 'Lion-dog' guarding against evil spirits at the entrance of Yahiko Shrine. (May 4, 2011)

Canal at the entrance of Yahiko Shrine.