The Frozen Lake

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

February 11, 2018


After a long cold week with heavy snow, it was sunny yesterday morning so I went to Hyoko. It was treacherous walking between thick walls of ice. A kind lady showed her concern for me while I was standing on the slippery ice and she cleared a space for me next to her on up on a ledge of soft snow. We stood side-by-side for a while with our digital cameras with birds all around us. I think everyone should have a digital camera and stand by the side of a lake.



















A Hybrid

Hybrid Ferruginous Duck + Common Pochard

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

January, 2018


It's been very cold the last few weeks and I haven't birded much. I get so tired of falling down. I've heard people have had frozen toilets and showers and taps for days and days. Really different to following the Australian Open Tennis.

These pics were taken earlier in the year in nicer light and conditions. I posted the pics of this hybrid on the Kantori page in Japan and the kind people there confirmed it was a hybrid Ferruginous + Pochard. My birding pal Luke thought of that but I ignored him as he's just starting out. He looks at the details like real birders. I am too abstract.

I just visited my blog for the first time in a while and discovered a number of kind comments. Thank you for that. I will try to brave the conditions and get newer and better shots.




This Whooper Swan gave this poor Common Pochard a hard time. We watched the pochard go under one last time and it didn't seem to come up again. Challenges the idea that swans are so graceful and beautiful.

Common Pochard with leg ring.

Eurasian Wigeon and what seems a borderline hybrid with an American Wigeon. I think it is just a wigeon with shine in its feathers. There have been a couple of American Wigeon the last few years at Hyoko but I'm yet to see them this year.

Little Grebe

Northern Pintail are so common here in the winter but don't you think they're worth a close look?

Little Grebe

Mallard in nice light

Eurasian Wigeon

BiFs for the New Year

Northern Pintail

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

January 5, 2018



After two years thinking about it, I finally got a Nikon D500. The pictures are noisier than the D800 but the AF is pretty amazing, and I can take millions of pictures in half a second. It seems. Thankfully I'm not paying $36 for a roll of Ektachrome.

I was interested in BiFs decades ago and it was such a big thing to get any decent shot. Like one every three months or so. I don't know if I have stated it before but I remember going to the Birds Australia library in the early 1990s and a kind man named David Eades photocopied several articles on how to do it. I think one was by the American photographer Brian Wheeler. I then got one of his books but can't find it anywhere. 

I learned about 3oo 2.8 lenses a but they were beyond me. I found a Pentax 400 f5.6 for $4500 aus but those who knew me suggested I shouldn't spend that on a hobby. Not to matter. I got one for half the price when I arrived in Tokyo. I can't understand why Australians have to pay so much more than everyone in other countries.

It's all point and shoot now. Easy to forget to concentrate. Can't blame the equipment any more.

I guess Nikon will announce the D500s next week with much less noise. 



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Another Year Over

Cygnus

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

December, 2017



My mum passed away on the first day of this year so today is the eve of her first anniversary.

I still have metal things in the arm I broke. The largest looks like a utensil for serving spaghetti. 

There have been some challenges but I have wonderful family and friends and I know I'm lucky to be looked after so well. 

I think the best way for me to see out this year is to find something beautiful with my lens and share it with the world. 

Hyo Lake in Agano City, Niigata is famous for its swans. 80% are Tundra Swans and the rest are Whooper Swans. 

Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you find something beautiful in your new year.






















Tundra Swan



Whooper Swan
































Return of the Great Ice Eagle 2017

Fukushimagata

Niigata, Japan

January 29, 2017

I really love Mr Honma’s enthusiasm. Every winter we look for the Steller’s Sea-eagle and he is always so bright and hopeful. We set out at 6:30 in the dark and freezing cold and he is never bored with finding the same bird perched up high above us.

I realise now that many of the birds we find each winter are actually the same individuals, not just ‘a’ Steller’s Sea-Eagle, or ‘a’ Peregrine Falcon. I guess it is the same for the ducks and swans and so on. In recent years, there is always one American Wigeon, one Steller’s Sea-eagle, one Peale’s Falcon. (as I describe it)
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Winter would be much colder and emptier without these now familiar treasures and I too, don’t want to take them for granted. 


Peregrine Falcon



Bean Goose




Whooper Swan

Steller's Sea-eagle