Bird-Love-Care Centre at Shuinji, Shibata, Niigata.

Mountain Hawk Eagle, at Saezuri-mosato, Niigata Prefecture, June 2009.

It's raining again for the weekend so I've been browsing old files... Niigata gets 250 days of precipitation a year according to wikipedia. (Monday to Friday was beautiful).

Strange title to this post but we don't know how else to translate it. "Saezuri-mosato" (Singing-bird-village) is the name of a care-centre for injured birds at Shuinji, Shibata, Niigata. We visited it back in June, 2009.

There is a park, a museum and an area where birds that have been injured in the wild are brought-in and cared for. I like photographing wild birds but thought the fact that all of these birds are from Niigata Prefecture is interesting. I have seen all of these species in the wild here in Niigata but usually wild encounters are very distant. Especially for the eagles. I don't remember seeing any species other than raptors at the centre and only took a few shots. The 'cages' were very dark and I had to press my lens up to steel mesh barriers. It was also very hot and we were savaged by mosquitos. There was no information on the cages. I can only guess that these birds have been injured in the wild and will spend the rest of their lives here. The owls puzzled me as there was a an apparent clutch of young that must have either lost their parents or/and their tree. 

Last year, the female Peregrine Falcon that lived at the Niigata Prefectural Office was recovered with a broken wing and taken to this centre. I often saw her rocket along the river. -I'll have to go back to the centre to visit her soon.

Mountain Hawk Eagle

Golden Eagle

Peregrine Falcon

Young Ural Owl (I think)

Another young Ural Owl

Golden Eagle.

Golden Eagle.

Above is a photo taken yesterday of a Japanese Golden Eagle in Niigata. I wish I was a kilometre closer but I'm happy to get this record shot. (I think it's identifiable?) I had heard they existed in a particular area five years ago and I've looked for them there once or twice a year without luck. This one appeared over a mountain ridge just twenty minutes after we arrived, circled upwards and floated away out of sight. We waited for another six hours without any further luck. 

I've heard mixed reports on the status of Golden Eagles in Japan. Birders have told me that there are only about three hundred pairs nationally but a bird guide regards them as being "uncommon residents". What ever the case, they are not too common. (May be three or four pairs in Niigata). In Niigata, they are well away from human activity tending to be in near inaccessible mountain terrain.
Such a raptor head as myself, I'm always watching out for such subjects and have only had  a few distant sightings beforehand: One many years ago in Tochigi Prefecture, one about three years in western Niigata (the only other distant pic of one in the rain)  and another close, fleeting encounter in northern Niigata about four years ago.

(Curious about the Japanese name, Inu Washi, "Dog Eagle").

Thought it was worth posting as it may be another few years before I get yet another distant glimpse.