Rainy Season seems pretty dry this year, and local rivers are running low. On Monday, June 23, 2014, I rode down along Yasugawa, looking for egrets and other wildlife along the way. Only a few large birds were on the river, mostly a little downstream of Shiga Route 2.

Great egret walking to left in shallow river, left foot raised.
Great Egret in Yasugawa.
Grey heron flying low along river to left below center, wings up slightly, feet dragging in water.
Grey heron beginning flight down Yasugawa

I spent nearly an hour watching a black kite (tombi) on a small tree stump over the river. The kite called continually but quietly. Finally another kite appeared and swooped down, very briefly hovering near the caller. They both flew downstream and circled overhead near each other. After a few minutes one flew to a nearby tree and the other returned to the same location on the tree stump. When I left 20-25 minutes later, the kite was still there, quietly calling.

Black kite on right, back to camera, head turned to right, beak open. Colors match brush and dirt in background.
Black kite on small tree stump, calling.

As I was watching the kite, a kingfisher (kawasemi) emerged from nearby bushes, hovered over the river, dived in, caught a little fish, and returned to the bushes where I could not see it. I did not have time to photograph it, but what a beautiful sight and pleasant surprise! These days I don’t see many birds along the river, but patience can bring great rewards.

Published by Greg Peterson

Professor Emeritus, Kyoto Notre Dame University. I have retired from full-time service (1977-2014) and now offer weekly lectures in interpersonal and intercultural communication. Since 1980 I have lived in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, where I enjoy outdoor activities, especially photography, hiking, and cycling.

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