Early Usui

February 19-23 marks the first third of the traditional Japanese season Rainwater – Usui (雨水). Winter birds remain active, often seen perched in trees, and small wildflowers appear, adding a little color along fields. Here and there pink and white plum blossoms brighten the countryside. https://flic.kr/p/2ivvLX5 Dusky thrush (Turdus eunomus, ツグミ) https://flic.kr/p/2ivuyJJ Brown-eared bulbul (Hypsipetes […]

First photos of 2020

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.

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 […]