Category Archives: Moriyama

Turtle Doves (キジバト) in Hatonomori Park

On May 28, 2017, a couple of Oriental turtle-doves (キジバト) were mating in Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園).

Earlier a solitary turtle-dove was high in a tree, calling to its mate.

Oriental turtle-dove (キジバト) at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

As I was looking for small birds, my wife saw the two turtle-doves and called me. I saw them mating, but I was not able to get a clear view.

Oriental turtle-doves (キジバト) mating at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

By the time I found a place to take photos and video clips, the turtle-doves were taking turns grooming each other.

Oriental turtle-doves (キジバト) at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

Oriental turtle-doves (キジバト) at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

While I was moving to another position, the two birds separated and then flew away.

The two turtle-doves appeared together for only a few minutes, but I was moved by their mutual affection as I watched them through the viewfinder.

Notes

Video was shot handheld with an Olympus OM-D EM-5 Mk II camera and 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens with a 1.4x teleconverter.

Music in the video is from “Love Story” (piano) by Sławomir Zając, chafer on SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/chafer).

Post-processing was done with Kdenlive running on Fedora Workstation, a GNU/Linux operating system.

Kingfisher (川蝉)

On March 16, 2017, a female common kingfisher (川蝉) took more than a minute to swallow a fish at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園).

When I saw her, the fish was head-first in her beak.

Common kingfisher female (カワセミ, 川蝉) with a fish at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

She repeatedly gripped the fish at different places along its body. Perhaps she was crushing it to make it easier to swallow.

Common kingfisher female (カワセミ, 川蝉) with a fish at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

After swallowing the fish she remained on the same branch for several minutes. She was in the same position when I left.

Common kingfisher female (カワセミ, 川蝉) at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

Hatonomori Park

Previous posts about Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

Technical notes

I shot the video clips and still photos with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera and a Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar f4.0-6.3 / 100-400mm zoom lens at 400mm with lens stabilization (O.I.S.) on. I did not use any special movie mode settings. After a few still photos, I simply pressed the video record button. After the bird flew to another branch, I held the lens on a fence post to reduce camera shake. Fortunately, she remained visible and in focus.

For post-processing I used the free version of DaVinci Resolve 12.5 on a Fedora Linux workstation. Recently I had upgraded my video card to an nVidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB), so the software ran smoothly. This professional editing and color grading software works very well, but it has three limitations. First, I could not directly import the video file from my camera. I had to convert the video codec to ProRes, which created huge files (ffmpeg -i kf-1.mov -vcodec prores kf-1-prores.mov). Second, audio does not play without a Blackmagic DecLink card. Audio editing is possible, though, so I edited by sight and listened to the exported video file. Third, export formats are limited to a few formats. For convenience I prefer other editors, but Resolve is great for professional video editing and color grading work on Linux computers.

Yasugawa Riverside Park

Just before noon on January 7, 2017, I made a field recording in a large park along Yasugawa in Shiga Prefecture, Japan (野洲川立入河川公園). The recording was made with a small Sony PCM-M10 digital recorder mounted on a tripod near the lower end of the park. I chose this location in order to reduce traffic and train noises from bridges upstream, as well as the rumble of water at a dam downstream. I pointed the microphones southeast toward Mikamiyama.

We can hear the rumble of a nearby dam, traffic, crows, and kids playing in the distance. These sounds are overwhelmed by a recorded public address message broadcast from speakers on a small building on the embankment above the park. The recorded message asks people to obey park rules: no golf, RC cars or aircraft, fireworks, unleashed dogs, fires, littering, or other activities that may disturb people. The same loud recorded message dominates the sonic environment of the park once every hour.

Yasugawa Riverside Park (野洲川立入河川公園), lower end just upstream from the dam in Moriyama, looking with the microphones southeast toward Mikamiyama

Yasugawa Riverside Park (野洲川立入河川公園), lower end just upstream from the dam in Moriyama, looking with the microphones southeast toward Mikamiyama

Yasugawa Riverside Park (野洲川立入河川公園), lower end just upstream from the dam in Moriyama

Yasugawa Riverside Park (野洲川立入河川公園), lower end just upstream from the dam in Moriyama

Yasugawa Riverside Park (野洲川立入河川公園), lower end just upstream from the dam in Moriyama

Yasugawa Riverside Park (野洲川立入河川公園), lower end just upstream from the dam in Moriyama

I often visit this park to look for birds. Egrets, herons, cormorants, and ducks can be found in the river both above and below the dam, and many small birds live in the vegetation along the riverbank.

Yasugawa Riverside Park (野洲川立入河川公園), lower end just upstream from the dam in Moriyama, looking downstream to the north

Yasugawa Riverside Park (野洲川立入河川公園), lower end just upstream from the dam in Moriyama, looking downstream to the north

On January 7th, as I was recording, I walked upstream and saw a few birds.

Daurian redstart male (Phoenicurus auroreus,  ジョウビタキ) along Yasugawa upstream from the dam in Moriyama

Daurian redstart male (Phoenicurus auroreus, ジョウビタキ) along Yasugawa upstream from the dam in Moriyama

Dusky thrush (ツグミ) along Yasugawa upstream from the dam in Moriyama

Dusky thrush (ツグミ) along Yasugawa upstream from the dam in Moriyama

Oriental Greenfinch (Chloris sinica, カワラヒワ, 河原鶸) along Yasugawa upstream from the dam in Moriyama

Oriental Greenfinch (Chloris sinica, カワラヒワ, 河原鶸) along Yasugawa upstream from the dam in Moriyama

Activity in this park varies a lot, depending on the season, the weather, and the day of the week. But whatever they are doing, everyone in the park hears the same loud recorded message once every hour.

Coots – オオバン

On December 29, 2016, several coots (オオバン) were feeding on moss at the base of a flood control dam on Yasugawa about five kilometers upstream from Lake Biwa. Here in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, I often see coots in still water and slow streams, but I’ve never seen them eating so actively. I happened to be carrying a tripod, so I made a short video.

The pool and nearby running water below the dam make this an interesting location. In late spring and summer many people gather to fish there. Cormorants, egrets, and herons hunt nearby, and Japanese kites circle overhead, sometimes swooping down to pluck fish from the river.

Music

“Running Water” by Jason Shaw at AudionatiX (http://audionautix.com/). License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-By) 3.0.

Technical notes

Hardware

I shot the opening and closing scenes with an Olympus OM-D EM-5 camera and two lenses: Olympus 17mm f1.8 and Panasonic/Leica 25mm f1.4. For medium, closeup, and extreme closeup shots I used an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera and a Panasonic 100-400mm zoom lens.

I used the camera’s optical teleconverter for extreme closeups. At 800mm (400mm x 2) with a micro four-thirds system the 35mm equivalent focal length is 1600mm, which requires a steady tripod. I used a Manfrotto 055XPRO4 tripod and an MVH502AH fluid head. That seems like a lot of tripod for a micro four-thirds system, but it’s great for long lenses. The four-section model is easy to carry. I attach it to my Lowepro Flipside Sport 20L AW, a small backpack that holds two cameras, several lenses, a small audio recorder, etc. Recently I’ve been concentrating on still photography with a handheld camera, so I rarely use a tripod. This experience with the coots reminded me that I should carry a tripod more often.

Video post-processing software

I process media on a Lenovo ThinkStation S20 that runs Fedora GNU/Linux. For this video I first extracted clips from the raw files with FFmpeg. I wrote a shell script to automate processing by reading a data file that specifies how to make each clip.

Video editing was done with Pitivi version 0.97.1. Pitivi has become quite useful and much more stable than the editor I had been using; however, I had to experiment with rendering to get decent output. I used MP4 (x264enc) with a fixed bitrate of 8192K (default is 2048K), and I turned the speed/quality setting OFF (default is medium). Using a good fixed bitrate worked, but I’m not sure why or if my solution is best. Hopefully, future versions of Pitivi will make it easier to produce high-quality output.

Before uploading to YouTube I transcoded the video to Web-optimized M4V with HandBrake. The only trouble I had was that I could not change the title, which was derived from from the filename, and I was not able to edit metadata. (Perhaps it was due to my lack of knowledge.) Before uploading I edited the title and other metadata with the VideoLAN VLC media player.

Yasugawa and Mikamiyama from  the fish ladder along the dam in Moriyama

Yasugawa and Mikamiyama from the fish ladder along the dam in Moriyama

White-eyes in Camellias at Hatonomori Park

Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (守山市の鳩の森公園) has small grove of sasanqua camellias (カンツバキ) along a small stream. They bloom in early December.

Sasanqua camellias (Camellia sasanqua  カンツバキ) in Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Kojima-cho, Moriyama City

Sasanqua camellias (Camellia sasanqua カンツバキ) in Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Moriyama City

Sasanqua camellias (Camellia sasanqua  カンツバキ) in Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Kojima-cho, Moriyama City

Sasanqua camellias (Camellia sasanqua カンツバキ) in Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Moriyama City

In mid-December Japanese white-eyes (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) gather in the camellias. These photos were taken on December 17 and 19, 2016.

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Kojima-cho, Moriyama City

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園) in Moriyama

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Kojima-cho, Moriyama City

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園) in Moriyama

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Kojima-cho, Moriyama City

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園) in Moriyama

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Kojima-cho, Moriyama City

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園) in Moriyama

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Kojima-cho, Moriyama City

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園) in Moriyama

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Kojima-cho, Moriyama City

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園) in Moriyama

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Kojima-cho, Moriyama City

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園) in Moriyama

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Kojima-cho, Moriyama City

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園) in Moriyama

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Kojima-cho, Moriyama City

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園) in Moriyama

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園), Kojima-cho, Moriyama City

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) in a camellia tree at Hatonomori Park (鳩の森公園) in Moriyama

See more of my photos on Flickr: Greg Peterson in Japan.

Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City

I often ride a bicycle from my home in Ritto City down along Yasugawa to Moriyama, and then on city streets over to Hatonomori Park. Usually it’s a quiet place, except when people play ground golf, and often wild birds can been seen in the trees. Last August I posted a recording and some photos:

Hatonomori Park in Summer

As we can see on the map, the park is in a residential district of a small city. As of November 30, 2016, the city reported a population of 81,126 Japanese and 858 foreigners (自治会別・地区別人口). More information about Moriyama City is on the city website in Japanese (滋賀県守山市).