A pair of Eastern spot-billed ducks (カルガモ) is spending this winter in Tsuji, Ritto. On February 27, 2020, they were calmly swimming, sometimes walking, up the irrigation canal that crosses under Shiga Prefectural Route 11. They allowed me to approach closely enough to take some photos before they flew away.
Several species of small birds appeared in Ritto City in the first week of February
Late January, from the 25th to the 29th, is the middle of the traditional Japanese cold season, Daikan (大寒), or Big Cold. This year, 2020, has been quite warm and often gloomy, with heavy clouds and light rain.
Before checking into Saiseikai Shigaken Hospital (済生会滋賀県病院) on January 13, 2020, I took a photowalk in and near my neighborhood and saw a Japanese pied wagtail (ハクセキレイ), some people flying kites, a farmer in a field, and a little egret (コサギ) in a canal.
The beginning of the modern new year in January overlaps two traditional Japanese seasons: 冬至 Tōji (Winter solstice) and 小寒 Shōkan (Lesser cold). In Shiga Prefecture autumn colors have mostly disappeared. Susuki grass and shrubs along rivers have become a darker shade of brown. We can see some flowers, but most large and colorful flowers have been planted. Small winter migrant birds have appeared, adding some activity and color to the countryside and local parks.