In Japan February 4-18 is the beginning of Spring, Risshun (立春) in the traditional calendar. The beginning of Risshun, February 4-8, is Harukaze kōri o toku (東風解凍), when easterly wind melts ice. This micro-season brought a few relatively cold days this warm winter.

Several species of small birds appeared as I walked between fields and along the Yasugawa riverbank near my home. (See these and other photos in my Flickr photostream or one of my Flickr albums.

February3

White plum blossoms
Plum blossoms
Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ)
Japanese white-eye
Grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea, キセキレイ)
Grey wagtail

February 7

Long-tailed rosefinch (Carpodacus roseus, ベニマシコ)
Long-tail rosefinch
Japanese tit (Parus minor, シジュウカラ)
Japanese tit
Japanese tit (Parus minor, シジュウカラ)
Japanese tit
Japanese pygmy woodpecker (Dendrocopos kizuki,  コゲラ)
Japanese pygmy woodpecker
Japanese pygmy woodpecker (Dendrocopos kizuki,  コゲラ)
Japanese pygmy woodpecker

February 8

Bull-headed shrike (モズ)
Bull-headed shrike
Olive-backed pipit (Anthus hodgsoni, ビンズイ)
Olive-backed pipit
Black-faced bunting (Schoeniclus spodocephala Pallas, アオジ)
Black-faced bunting
Meadow bunting (Emberiza cioides, ホオジロ)
Meadow bunting
Eastern spot-billed ducks (カルガモ)
Eastern spot-billed ducks
Little egret (コサギ)
Little egret
Little egret (コサギ)
Little egret

Environment for wildlife

After typhoons and bulldozing in recent years, very few trees remain along the Yasugawa (野洲川) riverbank in Deba, Ritto City. Sometimes small birds visit one stand of trees and bushes near the ground golf course.

Trees along Yasugawa
Yasugawa riverbank along the ground golf course in Deba, Ritto City

Downstream along Yasugawa Athletic Park (野洲川運動公園) the river flows into ponds in high water. Teal and ducks swim on the upper pond, and Susuki grass around the ponds becomes home to several species of buntings, as well as other small birds. Most of them remain well hidden.

Susuki grass, Mikamiyama (三上山), and Bodaijisan (菩提寺山)
Pond along Yasugawa Athletic Park (野洲川運動公園) in Deba, Ritto City

This time of year seems pretty desolate without snow, but little birds appear in trees and bushes and sometimes on the ground. With good timing and patience we can enjoy watching these beautiful little creatures.

See these and other photos in my Flickr photostream or one of my Flickr albums.

Published by Greg Peterson

Professor Emeritus, Kyoto Notre Dame University (1977-2020). Since 1980 I have lived in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, where I enjoy outdoor activities, especially photography, hiking, and cycling.

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