Two pheasants on the north bank of Yasugawa, cropped image.

A Brace of Pheasants

On August 30th I was taking some photos at Yasugawa near my home when two pheasants flew out from the bushes on my side of the river, just below where I was standing. My camera and long lens were aimed and focused far down the river, so the pheasants crossed the river before I could react.

I’ve had similar experiences quite a few times. It’s very rare to see two together, and usually they quickly disappear into thick vegetation across the river. I often hear pheasants along the river, especially in Spring, and sometimes they suddenly fly out from nearby as I walk through patches of weeds. Every time I’m startled and delighted to know they are alive and well. For years I had hoped that one day I’d be able to photograph one.

This time, to my great astonishment, they briefly stood in the sand on the opposite bank. I had just enough time to focus my manual lens and take one photo before they disappeared in high grass. Neither of these two showed the colorful plumage we can see on male pheasants, but I’m grateful that I had a chance to see them.

Two pheasants on the north bank of Yasugawa

Two pheasants on the north bank of Yasugawa

Duck at Yasugawa

Birds at Yasugawa

This morning several species of birds were active at Yasugawa in Ritto City near the sports park between the Shinkansen tracks and Japan Route 8 (map). All of these photos were taken with a micro four-thirds camera and a 27-year-old 300mm manual focus lens. Focusing on moving birds is a real challenge with this lens, but it gives me a good excuse to stand along the river and watch wildlife.

Community bulletin board in Hayama Danchi

Neighborhood on a Gloomy Day

On a gloomy Sunday I took some photos of my neighborhood just before the rain started again. This is a fairly typical middle-class neighborhood in semi-rural Japan. My wife and I have lived here since 1980. Our two sons attended the local elementary school, and we have been active in neighborhood affairs for more than three decades.

The neighborhood has two playgrounds, although the smaller one is no longer used very much. Kids on our block often play in the street, which has little traffic. Today the kids are all indoors, and the neighborhood is unusually quiet.

Our section of the neighborhood is surrounded by canals. Two or three times a year we clean up the playgrounds and sometimes pull weeds from the inner canal, which runs all year.

On one cleanup day each year the local Fire Department offers training for emergencies. Almost everyone has practiced operating the fire equipment and hoses that are placed in red boxes on every street. Fortunately, we have never had to extinguish a real fire.

Mountain Bike, Yasugawa, and Bodaijisan

Yasugawa Scenes

Western Japan has had a lot of rain recently. Here in Ritto we have not seen much damage from landslides or flooding, but Yasugawa has been running quite high.

By August 17th the river had become low enough that I could walk under Yasugawa Ohashi. When it floods this area is all under water. One of the photos shows vegetation on a bridge pillar. That appeared after the last typhoon, when the river become very high.

On August 20th the sun came out in the afternoon, and I was able to take some photos of blue water and blue sky.

Cloudy skies are predicted for most of next week. It looks like more gloomy weather ahead, but I’ll keep my camera ready just in case the sun comes out.

Closeup of old waterwheel, water pouring down to left from low tower onto large wheel. paddles

Sounds of Notogawa Suisha

Notogawa Suisha is a very large old waterwheel that continues to turn slowly in Higashi-Omi, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. The site includes a small park and a boat rental facility. Recorded with a Sony M10 on August 13, 2014.

The recording is also available on radio aporee ::: maps.

The map below shows the location of the field recording.