Arrivals and Departures

Bewick's Swan
(Tundra Swan)

Hyoko, Agano City, Niigata, Japan

October 6, 2018

Last night's local news was pretty exciting. They announced that the first swans arrived at Hyoko just before sunrise on Thursday. There were birders with tripods, scopes and cameras there to greet them. I wasn't there but, welcome back!

I went there today. There weren't so many and I saw some that looked pretty tired and hungry. I hope they will find food soon and fatten up before winter. It was a beautiful day with another typhoon approaching and I believe it got up to 30C. Strange to look at winter birds under brilliant warm sunshine.

I found a cross of winter birds and summer birds. A young cuckoo baffles me as well as some ducks. There are many brown ducks with different shaped heads and facial expressions. I fear, I'm a failed birder. I am often disconfident with my choice of words. Please help me, Stu.

Intermediate Egret

Grey Heron

Common Cuckoo


Perplexing Gadwell or Square-headed Pintails?




Swarming Ducks

Northern Pintail

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

September 30, 2018

Well. It's that time of the year again. It's exciting to see so many ducks arrive at Fukushimagata. Many Pintail went overhead without landing but in front of me were thousands of Common or Eurasian Teal. I visited last Sunday too, but there was only one single teal then. How a week has changed things. Raptors were on the go, but I failed to get any decent shots. Two peregrines, three goshawks. I could see a spectacular adult goshawk sitting out in the middle of the water but it was way out of reach of my lens. When it moved, so did the ducks and I totally lost sight of the raptor in the crowd. Hopefully some exciting months ahead.

I only stayed a short while as a felt the wind building its power behind my back. I decided to get home before the typhoon got here. I feel sorry for all those birds that have travelled far only to arrive in time for a typhoon.

Mt Yamamoto Raptor Migration 2018

Eastern Buzzard

Mt Yamamoto, Ojiya, Niigata, Japan

September 24, 2018

We made it to Mt Yamamoto briefly this weekend and we saw a number of thermals carrying some raptors. There were a heap only briefly between 9-9:45am yesterday morning and I didn't take as many photos as I should have. I was saving my film for more later, which didn't come. Some patchy weather at times too. Anyway, it only happens once a year so good to see it even briefly. In past years, I got more sparrowhawks and occasional falcons but this time I only photographed Eastern Buzzards, Grey-faced Buzzards, and Oriental Honey Buzzards. Maybe the latter will end up on islands off the coast of Western Australia in about a month's time.

Grey-faced Buzzard

Oriental Honey Buzzard

On the Move

Eastern Buzzard
looks young

Sakata, Niigata, Japan

September 19, 2018

I was lucky enough to have a few days off mid-week this week and the weather was much better than the previous weekend. Sunny and warm, but not too hot.

I went to Sakata yesterday and encountered a few raptors on the move: a pair of peregrines, one osprey, usual Black-eared Kites and my first encounter with an Eastern Buzzard for the coming cold months.  It was nice to see them as I think I'll miss seeing the raptor migration this year from Mt Yamamoto.

There are still lots of insects but I spared you from them. Many the same and others I'd have to identify. It might be a good exercise for me on a rainy day but I'm not in the mood today. I walked between rice fields and large numbers of green grasshoppers parted like the sea as I moved. Not good for the farmers I'd say.

I set my camera for j-pegs last week and forgot to reset it back to RAW and although my tired old computer found it easier to edit the files I'm not so excited by green/purple casting and a soapy finish to the images. 

Sorry, I've failed to put subheadings to my images. Maybe I will edit them sometime in the future. I have to attend to a needy, howling dog at the moment.

In Search of Angels, Trolls and Dragons

Common Yellow Swallowtail

Papilio machaon hippocrates


Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

August 2018

Well, away from festivals and birds I have been searching for a new quarry for summer. I have been slowly getting some images of the summer insects. It is difficult. I have watched many butterflies and dragonflies shoot by me and I stood helpless to respond. I have mainly only photographed those that have landed near me.

Today's post is just a sample, and as often is the case, I may not post all the images I have attained. 

Baby steps for today, as it is time consuming to search through, edit and identify the images I have collected. I think it is worth some effort when I look at the results. They are quite stunning creatures when we stop and look.

Japanese Copper

Lycaena phlaeas


Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

August 2018

Painted Lady

Vanessa cardui

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

Painted Lady

Vanessa cardui


Painted Lady

Black and White Citrus Longhorn

Anoplophora chinensis (Forster) or Anoplophora malasiaca (Thompson)

Tainai, Niigata, Japan

August 2018

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Pseudothemis zonata

Toyanogata, Niigata, Japan

August 2018