In April the rural fields of northern Ritto City near Yasugawa (野洲川) come alive with agricultural activity, and many flowers and insects appear. This year, 2020, the threat of the new type of coronavirus (COVID-19) has greatly reduced human activity. Japan is in a nationwide state of emergency from April 16th through May 6th, but rural life goes on and nature is taking its course as usual.
In early April many flowers begin to bloom. Some flowers attract insects and other small creatures that become active as the days become warmer.
March 6-20 is Keichitsu (啓蟄) – Insects awaken – in the traditional 24-season Japanese calendar. March 11-15, the middle of its three micro-seasons, is Momo hajimete saku (桃始笑), when peach blossoms begin to bloom. I photographed some flowers on three of the five days of Momo hajimete saku.
Two sunny days in the first week or March brought out some local birds and winter visitors.
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.