Category Archives: Shiga

A Walk to the River

On December 8, 2018, the sun was shining and a cold northwest wind was blowing clouds across the sky. Hoping to see an interesting horizon, I walked to the riverbank along Yasugawa (野洲川).

The riverbed is mostly dry, but it supports vegetation near the left bank.

Vegetation along Yasugawa

Vegetation along the left bank of Yasugawa in Deba, Ritto City

On the riverbed I saw one low cosmos plant with a few flowers. Most of the flowers were drooping down to the muddy ground, but one was standing tall.

Cosmos flower along Yasugawa

Cosmos flower along the right bank of Yasugawa in Deba, Ritto City

Susuki grass grows abundantly where the riverbed gets enough moisture. Small ponds fill in high water, and some apparently have underground sources.

Vegetation along Yasugawa

Vegetation along the left bank of Yasugawa in Deba, Ritto City, Bodaijisan (菩提寺山) in the background

Vegetation along Yasugawa (野洲川)

Vegetation along the left bank of Yasugawa (野洲川) in Deba, Ritto City, Bodaijisan (菩提寺山) in the background

At my destination beside the river I set up a tripod to photograph little rapids with Bodaijisan (菩提寺山) and other mountains in the background. I took many photos as moving clouds rapidly altered the light on different parts of the scene. Finally the mountain showed its autumn colors, and a large patch of blue added perspective to the sky over the distant mountains.

Yasugawa (野洲川)

Yasugawa (野洲川) upstream from Mikami, Yasu City (near Hayashi, Ritto City), Bodaijisan (菩提寺山) in the background

Location (Google maps):

Autumn foliage 2018

Autumn foliage in Shiga Prefecture 2018

October 22

Fall colors at Konze no sato

Konze no sato (now 滋賀日産リーフの森)

Fall colors at Konze no sato

Konze no sato (now 滋賀日産リーフの森)

Fall colors at Konze no sato

Konze no sato (now 滋賀日産リーフの森)

November 8

Fall colors

Omifuji Botanical Gardens in Kitazakura, Yasu City

Fall colors at Tōhōzan Anyō-ji Temple

Tōhōzan Anyō-ji Temple (滋賀県 栗東市 東方山 安養寺)

November 9

Fall colors

Along the path to Takano Shrine (滋賀県 栗東市 高野神社)

November 10

Omifuji Karyoku Park woodland trail (近江富士花緑公園 森林散策コース)

Omifuji Karyoku Park trail (花緑公園 森林散策コース) above the Botanical Gardens in Kitazakura, Yasu City

Fallen leaves and maple tree in Omifuji Karyoku Park

Fallen leaves and maple tree in front of the Forestry Schoolhouse in Omifuji Karyoku Park (近江富士花緑公園 森林のわくわく学習館) in Yasu City

Fall colors in Omifuji Karyoku Park

Garden beside Furusatokan at Omifuji Karyoku Park (近江富士花緑公園 ふるさと館) in Yasu City, Mikamiyama (三上山) in the background

Reconstructed Yayoi period dwellings

Reconstructed dwellings in Yasu City Yayoinomori Historical Park (野洲市弥生の森歴史公園)

November 13

Fall colors and Mikamiyama

Fall colors at the ground golf course along Yasugawa in Tateirichō, Moriyama-shi, Mikamiyama (三上山) in the background

November 15

Fall colors at Yayoinomori

Water lily pond in Yasu City Yayoinomori Historical Park (野洲市弥生の森歴史公園)

Fall colors at Yayoinomori

Water lily pond in Yasu City Yayoinomori Historical Park (野洲市弥生の森歴史公園)

Fall colors at Yayoinomori

Water lily pond in Yasu City Yayoinomori Historical Park (野洲市弥生の森歴史公園)

Maple trees near Sato no Ie (里の家)

Maple trees near Sato no Ie (里の家) in Kitazakura, Yasu City

Reservoir in Autumn

Reservoir above Omifuji Botanical Gardens in Kitazakura, Yasu City

November 20

Fall colors at Shusse Fudoumyou (出世不動明王)

Stairs at Shusse Fudoumyou (出世不動明王) on Mount Myokoji (妙光寺山) in Yasu City

Fall colors at Shusse Fudoumyou (出世不動明王)

Stairs at Shusse Fudoumyou (出世不動明王) on Mount Myokoji (妙光寺山) in Yasu City

Fall colors at Mikami Jinja (三上神社)

Maple leaves at Mikami Jinja (三上神社) in Myokoji, Yasu City, Mikamiyama in the background

Mikami Jinja (三上神社)

Mikami Jinja (三上神社) across Oike (御池) reservoir at the base of Myokojiyama (妙光寺山) in Yasu City

November 25

Fall colors in Takano Park

Takano Park in Ritto City (滋賀県 栗東市 高野公園)

Fall colors at Takano Park

Takano Park in Ritto City

November 27

Fall colors in Omifujikaryoku Park (近江富士花緑公園)

Fall colors in Omifujikaryoku Park (近江富士花緑公園), Mikamiyama in the background

Fall colors in Omifujikaryoku Park (近江富士花緑公園)

Fall colors in Omifujikaryoku Park (近江富士花緑公園)

Fall colors in Omifujikaryoku Park (近江富士花緑公園)

Trail above the Botanical Gardens in in Omifujikaryoku Park (近江富士花緑公園)

Fall colors in Omifujikaryoku Park (近江富士花緑公園)

Along the trail above the Botanical Gardens in Omifujikaryoku Park (近江富士花緑公園)

Butterflies

Shiga Prefecture in Japan is blessed with quite a few species of butterflies. A few species are shown here in photographs taken between April and September 5, 2018, when I also made a short video clip (music from “Redwood Highway” by Jason Shaw at AudionautiX.com.)

Asian swallowtails (Papilio xuthus, アゲハチョウ)

Old World swallowtail (Papilio machaon, キアゲハ)

Common copper (Lycaena phlaeas, ベニシジミ)

Eastern pale clouded yellow (Colias erate poliographys, モンキチョウ

Common sailor (Neptis hylas, リュウキュウミスジ)

Common bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon nipponum, アオスジアゲハ)

Common straight swift (Parnara guttata guttata, イチモンジセセリ)

Indian fritillary (Argyreus hyperbius, ツマグロヒョウモン)

Great Mormon (Papilio memnon thunbergii, ナガサキアゲハ)

Notes

The video clip and most photos were shot with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera and an Olympus M. Zuiko 40-150mm 2/2.8 PRO lens. A few photos were taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX9 camera (Japanese monolingual version of LX10/LX15).

All postprocessing was done on a Fedora GNU/Linux workstation. I edited the video clips and added titles with with Kdenlive, but I did not modify the colors or add any enhancements other than slow motion (1/4 speed) from the middle of the clip. Photos were organized and edited with digiKam.

Little Egrets at Yasugawa

Little egrets (コサギ) are very active at Yasugawa (野洲川) in early August.

When conditions are just right, many little egrets and a few great egrets (ダイサギ) and grey herons (アオサギ) feed on small aquatic creatures at the weir between Moriyama City on the left bank and Yasu City on the right. I recorded some of the action with video and still photos just after sunrise on August 6, 2018, and again in late afternoon on August 8, 2018.

Video

Photos – August 6

On August 6, 2018, some little egrets and a few great egrets were catching fish in shallow water above the weir in Moriyama City. Others were standing on the weir and feeding on small aquatic creatures.

Often one bird would chase away an interloper. They did not chase other species of birds, but when confronted by an aggressive crow the egrets did not back down.

Photos – August 8

On August 8, 2018, I went to the river late in the afternoon. The sun was behind my back, and there was a strong wind from the northwest (downstream).

As usual, some little egrets bullied others over territory

A few little egrets crowded up close to much larger great egrets (ダイサギ). Sometimes the larger birds snapped at the little ones when they got too close, but real conflict erupted only between birds of the same species. Once a great egret stopped feeding and marched off to confront another great egret.

Sometimes other birds appeared at or below the weir.

Some of the little egrets were feeding very actively.

As we can see in the video above, sometimes they would slip and fall before taking flight. It seemed that they had temporarily forgotten that they could fly. Of course, little egrets fly very well!

Notes

All photos and video clips were shot handheld with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera and M. Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens. Some closeup scenes were shot with the camera’s 2X digital teleconverter.

Music: “Kawai Kitsune” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

All postprocessing was done on a Fedora GNU/Linux workstation. I edited the video clips and added titles with with Kdenlive, but I did not modify the colors or add any enhancements. Photos were organized and edited with digiKam.

Other photos can be seen on my Flickr photostream. Videos are on my YouTube video channel.

Egret Rookery

Great egrets (ダイサギ), cattle egrets (アマサギ), and other birds nest in the woods at Hyozu Shrine (兵主大社) in Yasu City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. I recorded the sounds of the rookery on Sunday, May 27, 2018, and posted a six-minute sample on radio aporee ::: maps and SoundCloud.

The woods are between a large shrine and Yasu City athletic facilities (野洲市中主B&G海洋センター). The white spots in the satellite image of the woods are egrets.

The recording location was not very photogenic. White bird droppings covered everything in the area. On the ground near the tree that held my recorder broken eggshells and a feather indicated young egrets above.

Eggshell below a great egret nest

Eggshell below a great egret nest beside Hyozu Taisha (兵主大社) in Gojo, Yasu City

Short feather below a great egret nest

Short feather below a great egret nest beside Hyozu Taisha (兵主大社) in Gojo, Yasu City

Nests and young birds were hidden in the treetops.

Egret nests and young great egrets (ダオサギ)

Egret nests and young great egrets (ダオサギ) in the woods beside Hyozu Taisha (兵主大社) in Gojo, Yasu City

Now and then an adult egret appeared, and I was lucky to see a cattle egret carrying a branch for a nest.

Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis, アマサギ)

Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis, アマサギ) in the woods beside Hyozu Taisha (兵主大社) in Gojo, Yasu City

Recording and post-processing

This recording was made with a Sony PCM-M10 recorder and FEL Communications Clippy Stereo EM172 Microphone tied to a tree. Since I was near the south edge of the woods, I placed the mics placed slightly forward of center facing north.

Audio post-processing was done with Audacity on Fedora Workstation, a Linux system running on a Lenovo ThinkStation 20 computer. I trimmed this excerpt from a longer recording and raised the overall volume. No other digital signal processing was done.