Long-tailed tit (エナガ) with cocoon

On February 24, 2018, a long-tailed tit (エナガ) struggled to remove insect cocoon material from the left side of its head, neck, and wing. A sequence of photographs shows how the bird rubbed itself against a branch to escape from the material.

Birds & Plum Blossoms in Risshun (立春)

The two-week period of February 4-18 marks the beginning of spring, Risshun (立春) in the traditional Japanese calendar of 24 seasons. In southern Shiga Prefecture winter birds are still here, often hiding in bushes and trees as raptors patrol the skies. Sparrows are active in fields, and great cormorants return to local colonies. Pink and […]

Grey Heron Landing

On December 23, 2018, I was walking between fields near my home when a lone grey heron (アオサギ) appeared in the sky. As the heron began to descend, I aimed my camera at the top of an old light pole, the tallest location along the bird’s flight path. When I first spotted the heron in […]

Late Autumn Birds

Near the end of November bird photography becomes even more interesting in the southern part of Shiga Prefecture. Some larger birds, including most egrets, herons, and cormorants, fly south for the winter, but winter migrants appear, and some species that live here throughout the year seem more prominent and attractive as the temperatures drop and […]

Wildflowers and Insects

Here in Shiga Prefecture some wildflowers continue to bloom well into November. They attract a variety of flying insects, including butterflies, moths, bees, hoverflies, and wasps. On November 3, 2018, quite a few insects were feeding along an irrigation canal near rice and soybean fields near my home. Common grass yellow butterfly (Eurema hecabe hecabe, […]