On December 13, 2018, I rode my mountain bike down along the left bank of Yasugawa to Moriyama. Along the way quite a few Japanese black kites (トビ) were flying and roosting on the ground and in trees near the carcass of a large fish.

Japanese black kites (トビ)
Japanese black kites (トビ) at Yasugawa
Japanese black kite (トビ)
Japanese black kite (トビ) at Yasugawa
Japanese black kite (トビ)
Japanese black kite (トビ) at Yasugawa

Below the weir I rode over the embankment that divides the riverbank from houses and fields in Moriyama. A patch of weeds along the road included shepherd’s purse (ナズナ) with tiny white flowers.

Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd's-purse, ナズナ)
Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd’s-purse, ナズナ)
Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd's-purse, ナズナ)
Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd’s-purse, ナズナ)

At the end of the road I rode up the hill and along a playgound (北川原公園) to Shiga Prefectural Route 151. I turned left and followed the right fork of the street to Hatonomori Park (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園).

In the park I left my bike near a bridge across the little stream, where calla lilies were blooming.

Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica, カラー)
Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica, カラー)
Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica, カラー)
Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica, カラー)

I was hoping to find small birds among the camellias, but there were only flowers and fallen petals.

Camellia bushes
Camellias at Hatonomori Park (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)
Camellia bushes
Camellias at Hatonomori Park (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

Fortunately, quite a few birds were near Firefly Pond (蛍池), the upper pond. Japanese white-eye (メジロ) were in large trees.

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ)
Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ)
Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ)
Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ)
Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ)
Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ)
Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ)
Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ)

Some bushes and trees border the area above the pond. A pygmy woodpecker (コゲラ) was on a small tree right in front of me.

Pygmy woodpecker (Dendrocopos kizuki, コゲラ)
Pygmy woodpecker (Dendrocopos kizuki, コゲラ)
Pygmy woodpecker (Dendrocopos kizuki, コゲラ)
Pygmy woodpecker (Dendrocopos kizuki, コゲラ)
Pygmy woodpecker (Dendrocopos kizuki, コゲラ)
Pygmy woodpecker (Dendrocopos kizuki, コゲラ)

Nearby a Japanese tit (シジュウカラ) flitted between bushes. The shy but curious little bird stayed in the area as it kept its distance and peered out at me from cover.

Japanese tit (Parus minor, シジュウカラ)
Japanese tit (Parus minor, シジュウカラ)
Japanese tit (Parus minor, シジュウカラ)
Japanese tit (Parus minor, シジュウカラ)

A female Daurian redstart (ジョウビタキ) in the same area perched in the open and called. She did not seem to mind my presence.

Daurian redstart female (Phoenicurus auroreus,  ジョウビタキ)
Daurian redstart female (Phoenicurus auroreus, ジョウビタキ)
Daurian redstart female (Phoenicurus auroreus,  ジョウビタキ)
Daurian redstart female (Phoenicurus auroreus, ジョウビタキ)
Daurian redstart female (Phoenicurus auroreus,  ジョウビタキ)
Daurian redstart female (Phoenicurus auroreus, ジョウビタキ)
Daurian redstart female (Phoenicurus auroreus,  ジョウビタキ)
Daurian redstart female (Phoenicurus auroreus, ジョウビタキ)
Daurian redstart female (Phoenicurus auroreus,  ジョウビタキ)
Daurian redstart female (Phoenicurus auroreus, ジョウビタキ)

At the lower pond a flock of Eastern spot-billed ducks (カルガモ) included one with green head plumage, perhaps a hybrid.

Eastern spot-billed ducks (カルガモ)
Eastern spot-billed ducks (カルガモ)
Eastern spot-billed ducks (カルガモ)
Eastern spot-billed ducks (カルガモ)
Eastern spot-billed ducks (カルガモ)
Eastern spot-billed ducks (カルガモ)
Eastern spot-billed ducks (カルガモ)
Eastern spot-billed ducks (カルガモ)

As usual at this pond, two pairs of mallards (マガモ) joined the Eastern spot-billed ducks. One of the females swam leisurely, and other was more active.

Mallard female (マガモ)
Mallard female (マガモ))
Eastern spot-billed (カルガモ) and mallard ducks (マガモ)
Eastern spot-billed ducks (カルガモ) around a mallard female (マガモ) at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

One of the mallard males put on a show right in front of me as he stood and fanned his wings. What a beautiful creature!

Mallard male (マガモ)
Mallard male (マガモ)
Mallard male (マガモ)
Mallard male (マガモ)

After I left the park, I rode back toward the river, stopping at Ten Shrine (天神社) to admire the late fall colors.

Late fall colors atTen Shrine (天神社)
Ten Shrine (天神社) in Kawata-cho, Moriyama City

At Yasugawa I crossed Kawata Ohashi (川田大橋) and rode upriver along the right (north) bank.

Susuki grass along Yasugawa
Susuki grass along the north side of Yasugawa in Ichimiyake, Yasu City

A few kilometers from home I paused atop a mound to rest and enjoy the late afternoon scenery.

MOuntain bike, woods, and Mikamiyama
Mountain bike on a mound at the woods along the north side of Yasugawa at in Ichimiyake, Yasu City (野洲川北流跡自然の森), Mikamiyama (三上山) in background.

In nearly five hours I rode only 19.25 kilometers, but I was lucky to enjoy the colorful late fall scenery, see wildflowers still in bloom, and photograph some beautiful birds. A short bike ride down along the riverbank turned into a very good day outdoors.

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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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for posting photos of lovely birds.
    Winter used to be my least favorite season, but birds have changed it to likable one. It is about time a dusky thrush ツグミ comes to our garden, we are looking forward to seeing her again.
    Have a nice winter time.

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