Saturday, 15 July 2017

Azure-winged Magpies

In a small park near where we live, Azure-winged Magpie (Onagaオナガ) chicks have fledged quite recently.

The magpies are colonial breeders and the park was full of their calls:)
video








Friday, 14 July 2017

The Sumida River

One hot and humid morning (well, it is the norm in Japan in July), I decided to go for a walk on the Sumida River in eastern Tokyo to look for Black-tailed Gulls (Uminekoウミネコ).

A few Black-tailed gulls were flying up and down over the river.

This one was there for a long time, its head against the wind.

Yanagibashi Bridge over the Kandagawa canal

On both sides under the concrete embankment, 2 Grey Herons (Aosagiアオサギ) and a Great Egret (Daisagiダイサギ) were standing still like decoys.


Grey Herons and Cormorants (Kawauカワウ) were resting on a concrete slab.


Two Thick-billed Crow (Hashibutogarasuハシブトガラス) fledglings were waiting for their parent to bring food for them on the girder of the motorway.


A Blue Rock Thrush (Isohiyodoriイソヒヨドリ) fledgling was hunting insects on its own. It still had a little bit of yellow on the side of its beak.


It was really hot (over 30 degrees) but strong winds were blowing over the river and as long as the winds kept blowing it was not too bad for walking.
It looks as if there is no life at all in the hostile-looking environment, but, if you look for it, interesting lives are everywhere! 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Sakura, Chiba

I had wanted to go to Sakura for a while to visit the National Museum of Japanese History and samurai houses still well-preserved in town.

Only a few minute's walk from the JR Sakura station, I found myself in the paddy fields.

A young Grey Heron (Aosagiアオサギ) was standing still just like a decoy! 

There were so many bird songs and calls coming from all directions - Skylarks, Oriental Reed Warblers, Meadow Buntings, Barn Swallows, Grey Starlings, Tree Sparrows, Oriental Greenfinches, Brown-eared Bulbuls, Japanese Pheasants, Japanese Bush Warblers...

Loads of Dragonflies as well




tadpoles
 hmm... a turtle but I do not know which one...
a lonely hybrid duck


The Lake used to be part of the moat in the Castle Park.
(There is no longer a castle there, only some remains scattered in the park.)

Uba-ga-ike in the castle park

the Iris garden in the castle park

Samurai Houses(Buke Yashiki武家屋敷)





Three houses are still open to the public with a small admission fee.

Samurai Path (an old path through thick bamboos)





Sakura is 10 miles northeast from Chiba and it takes only 17 minutes on the JR Narita Line. The National Museum of Japanese History is worth a visit and there are a couple of art museums in town too. For bird-watching, the paddy fields are very good for herons and egrets and the castle park is full of birds as well.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Breeding Season

4 Little Grebe (Kaitsuburiカイツブリ) chicks have hatched in a pond where a pair has bred every year for the last few decades. (It doesn't mean it's been the same pair though).
The pair had 5 eggs and one of them was swallowed by a snake only a day or two before it would have hatched.

10 days later, one of the biggest chicks grew big enough to eat a dragonfly!

A couple of weeks later, all the four chicks were well looked after and they were no longer chicks.
They seemed independent and I guess it wouldn't be long before they left or were expelled from the pond where they were born and the pair would try for the second brood.


A pair of Grey Starlings (Mukudoriムクドリ) were busy carrying food for their chicks.
The Grey Starlings are famous for building their nest in all sorts of nooks and crannies.
Chicks started calling very loudly when a parent arrived at the door (well, there's no door, I know!).  A few days later, they seemed to have fledged as there was no sound coming from the hole.

Grey Starling fledglings foraging in a flock

There are not so many Barn Swallows' (Tsubameツバメ) nests around where we live. I found this in an indoor carpark.

A male Eastern Great Tit (Shijukaraシジュウカラ) was singing in a tree carrying a bit of a caterpillar (it seems) and went into a tree hole.
And then came back with the same bit for some reason.
And went back inside. Is it a nest hole or he did he go in just to find something tasty?

Everyone seems very busy looking after their chicks and partners at the moment:)

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Tokyo Bay Area

3 Grey-tailed Tattlers (Kiashishigiキアシシギ) were on the breakwater concrete blocks.

They were just standing there and I didn't see them move for a while. Waiting for the right moment?

Turnstones (Kyojoshigiキョウジョシギ) were, on the other hand, busy moving around on the rocks and concrete blocks.

Cormorants (Kawauカワウ) were resting and drying their feathers.

A lone female Scaup (Suzugamoスズガモ) was floating among the waves. All her friends must have left a while ago. She can't fly or just decided to stay longer?

Little Terns (Koajisashiコアジサシ) were preening on the buoys. They come to Japan to breed and a few pairs have bred on the artificial beaches around Chiba-shi. I hope they stay here to breed this summer again.