COMMON KESTREL (chougenbou)

c. kestrel back view 22

  November 29, 2015     Yesterday was a cloudy day, but the weather report called for no rain, so Tabi, (our dog) and I went for a walk. As always, I had my camera with me even though the light was relatively poor for photography. As we were walking our usual route among the rice fields towards Homan River, I spotted a bird of prey a few hundred meters away perched on an electric pole. As I was trying to get closer to see if  I could identify it, it took flight and headed my way, landing on another pole very close by. It was a common kestrel, (chougenbou) which I sometimes see around here, but I had never seen one this close before. I was happily surprised it didn’t fly away, even after tying Tabi to a guardrail and walking around it’s perch to take different shots. It made occasional, short forays every five minutes or so, each time scattering a large group of oriental greenfinches, (kawarahiwa) and Eurasian tree sparrows, (suzume) who were foraging in freeshly plowed under rice fields that had been harvested a few weeks ago. This pattern lasted for about an hour, but I never witnessed the kestrel press home an attack on a small bird, which they sometimes eat if they kind can’t find their normal prey, small mammals.    I gave Tabi her usual jerky stick for being such a patient and understanding pal, and we headed home.

common kestrel, chougen bou 2a
male common kestrel, chougen bou
ch bo 3
oriental greenfinches, (kawarahiwa) and Eurasion tree sparrows, (suzume)

common kestrel, chougen bou 1





European coot, Ou-ban Tempai Lake 11,15,15
European coot, Ou-ban
great cormorant, kawa-u
great cormorant, kawa-u
little grebe eating, kaitsuburi 11,15,15
little grebe, kaistuburi eating a minnow

        Today I was at Tempai Dam. Found a quiet place under some trees by the water pretty well hidden by the hanging branches. There was no wind this morning, and then the sun chased the clouds away. Perfect conditions for photography. After about an hour passed, three different species of diving birds passed within 10 meters of my position, with about a 10 minute interval between each appearance. It was like watching a parade! Each bird had different color eyes, and it was the first time for me to see the beautiful green eyes of a great cormorant. I saw some Mandarin ducks , so I will go back this week to see if I can get close enough for a good picture. They are so shy.