Zen and

Spot-billed Duck

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

I saw a book advertised in a Birdlife magazine this past summer and I ordered it. It is called "The Art of Mindful Birdwatching - Reflection on Freedom & Being". It was written by Claire Thompson and published by Leaping Hare Press, UK. 

It has some nice ideas and I recommend it. 

I sometimes worry about and, and a bird a day reminds me of where I am. I'm sure many birdos would agree with this book.

A walk around Fukushimagata


Niigata, Japan

May 15, 2016

 It was early summer out there today. I went for bit of a walk around Fukushimagata. Didn't really find anything new. The bird of the day was "Grey Heron". They were everywhere. Also spot-billed Duck and Mallard. A small sprinkling of egrets and other small herons but I didn't take any pics. 

I also saw Oriental Goldfinch, Oriental Reed Warblers, sparrows, Chestnut-cheeked Starlings, and Black-eared Kites. I realised today that I haven't seen Ospreys here for a least 3 years now. They were always here before that during summer. I think the trees are less now.

This Large-billed Crow didn't like me walking near its nest.

Hyoko with Billy

Bewick's Swan

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

October 17, 2015

Post Edit: Stu from Hakodate Birding correctly corrected me as identifying the swans in this post as Bewick's Swans. I had incorrectly labelled them as Whoopers. There are usually two species of swans at Hyoko in the winter; Whooper Swan and Bewick's Swan. As Whoopers seem to outnumber the Bewick's most years I usually assume that everything is a Whooper. Thanks for keeping me on my toes, Stu.

Billy and I enjoyed a few hours at Hyoko this morning. I'm keen to brainwash him about birds. The weather was beautiful and clear. I usually wait and visit Hyoko when it is grey and dull in the midst of winter. We found a few arrivals for winter and I enjoyed getting some portraits in nice light. We also saw one peregrine and a young goshawk which stirred up the ducks at the back of the lake.

Bewick's Swan

Tufted Duck

I took a number of similar portraits but I like looking at them. They are all different.

Spot-billed Duck

Northern Pintail


White-tails a Huntin'

White-tailed Sea-eagles
Too far away!

-I recommend clicking on the image for a bigger view!

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan.

January 12, 2013

Warning: This post consists of poor photography and dust spots. I was going to call it, "I am Useless", and post it on Sunday morning but another blog, Owls About That Then beat me to the "useless" theme. Actually, I was hopeless and useless. As you can see in the first shot the eagles were too far away. I took my attention away to focus on some buntings in the reeds behind me and and while I was bumbling about I became aware that billions of birds were flocking around me. I looked up to see an eagle right behind me and then couldn't get it in focus because of all the birds that came in between us. 

White-tailed Sea-eagles often hunt birds at Fukushimagata and always stir up the mud. They are so big but when all the birds are zooming around in all directions you just lose sight of them. 

I'm happy to find them for the first time this Winter. I had heard that they were first recorded at Sakata in Niigata back on November 21st. 

Mallard male

Spot-billed Duck 

Either Lesser or Greater White-fronted Geese and Bean Geese

Two Common Ducks

Pacific Black Duck
(Toowoomba, March, 2008)

One of the first birds I ever saw in Japan was a Spot-billed Duck Anas zonorhyncha (below). I immediately thought of the Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa (above) of Australia. Both ducks are common year round in both countries. Both are about the same in size but their colours are slightly different and the yellow-spot on the bill of the Japanese bird is absent from the Australian.

Spot-billed Duck
(Fukushimagata, October, 2010)