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.
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.
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 […]