Tag Archives: 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).

Taiko Practice

Listen to the recording on SoundCloud (5:48).

A taiko group often practices in Moriyama on Saturdays. Sometimes they sound like a professional group, but January 23, 2016, was a practice day for children. This recording is the end of one nonstop session that lasted about 15 minutes.

Taiko practice in Moriyama near Yasugawa along Shinkansen tracks

Taiko practice in Moriyama near Yasugawa along Shinkansen tracks

Taiko practice in Moriyama near Yasugawa along Shinkansen tracks

Taiko practice in Moriyama near Yasugawa along Shinkansen tracks

They practice very close to the Shikansen high-speed train tracks. In the recording we can hear trains pass at about 1:50, 3:12, and 5:20.

Shinkansen going away from the camera across Yasugawa in Moriyama

Shinkansen going away from the camera across Yasugawa in Moriyama

We can also hear some kids shouting in the background. They were playing baseball and soccer nearby on the other side of the Shinkansen tracks.


(See map on Web).

This park extends upriver (southeast) to Yasugawa Sports Park in Ritto City. Even on a gloomy day it’s a nice place to take a walk.

Yasugawa riverbank and path in Moriyama. Trees are in Deba, Ritto City

Yasugawa riverbank and path in Moriyama. Trees are in Deba, Ritto City

Soybean Harvest


On November 24, 2014, I went cycling along Yasugawa in Moriyama. I took my camera and a new zoom lens I had just bought. I had hoped to find some wildlife along the river, but I saw onlya few Japanese black kites soaring high overhead.

Just below the bridge, Hattori-Ohashi, I saw farmers harvesting soybeans. I parked my bike against a little shed for monitoring water levels along the river, grabbed my camera, and shot video clips as I braced myself against the wall of the shed. The harvester is a Kubota ARH430 (in Japanese).

I appreciate farm equipment because I grew up on an apple orchard and began to operate machinery at an early age. I suppose now an 8-year-old tractor driver would be a violation of child labor laws or an insurance risk, but in the mid-1950s it was normal.

The movie was edited with FFmpeg and the OpenShot Video Editor on a Lenovo ThinkStation S20 computer running CentOS Linux.

Large white bird, a great egret, standing in water facing right.

Cormorants, Egrets, and Herons in Spring

Cormorants, egrets, and herons actively feed on fish in Yasugawa near Shinjo-cho, Moriyama, Shiga, Japan. This area, just downstream from where Shiga Prefectural Route 48 crosses the river, teems with life. It is not yet “developed” for ground golf or other recreational activities, although many people walk nearby. In late spring and summer quite a few people can be seen fishing within a few hundred meters both upstream and downstream.

Here the river flows north-northwest, toward the top of the map. I positioned my tripod on the left bank where the river is closest and shot upstream to the southeast.

Cars cannot enter the area beside the river or the road on the embankment to the west, so I left my car near a park just upstream from Shiga Route 48. From my house it is about 20 minutes by car and 25-30 minutes straight down along the river by bicycle. I usually ride a bicycle unless I’m carrying a heavy tripod and a big telephoto lens.

This area, especially the park, is a popular spot for local people, especially on Sundays and holidays. In the late afternoon and early evening many people jog, cycle, or walk their dogs at the park or on the closed road on the embankment, where some school kids commute by bicycle.

Except for a few people who fish, very few people go near the river here, so it is a good place for wildlife. With nearby traffic, farming, and light industry, it’s not very quiet, but it’s a beautiful place to relax.

Technical notes

I shot the video in mid-May, 2014, with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera and mostly a 1986 Olympus OM System 300mm f4 lens with a circular PL filter. For many scenes I used the camera’s digital converter, which effectively doubles the focal length of the lens. Manual focus was hard at such a great focal length.

Video was 1920x1080p at 29.97fps (fixed on the Em-5), and camera settings were all manual: shutter speed was 1/60 sec., aperture was f16 (in sunlight), ISO was 200, and white balance was set for sunlight. Color balance, saturation, and brightness were adjusted, and images were stabilized, with video editing software (Final Cut Pro X on a late 2008 MacBook).

An additional soundtrack was recorded separately with an Audio-Technica BP4025 mic (with a furry windscreen) and an Olympus LS-100 recorder. I put the mic on the ground in the grass near the camera tripod. The strong wind made the camera audio unusable, even with the external Olympus mic and a windscreen. The sound is what I heard at the camera position far from the river. Camera sound is included, but it has been reduced (-30dB). Ocasionally we can hear a strong puff of wind.