The Hill of Oshitoishi

April 24, 2021 The Hill of Oshitoishi lies about 20 kilometers north of Mt. Aso. I discovered it on Google Earth while searching for a place to photograph the Milky Way. It has relatively dark skies (Bortle class 3), and is free from trees on top, providing a beautiful and unobstructed 360 degree view of the surrounding area . It is a power spot, with a group of mysterious rock formations.

I was surprised to see a few camps set up near the parking area, as camping facilities were not mentioned on their website. I ended up taking occasional naps in the somewhat uncomfortable car. It proved to be windy all night long on top of the hill, so the time lapse was too shaky and I had to delete it. Some stills turned out okay. I also saw a fireball, but it was out of frame. A beautiful place, and I will return with a tent the next time.

The next post will be of my continuing search for the elusive Ruddy Kingfisher, as I return to the Miike Wild Bird Forest in Miyazaki prefecture. Wish me luck!


Happy Spring

April 3, 2021

This is the month of growing and greening, especially the weeds in my yard! But I have to say that the birds do love them for their tiny seeds and shoots, so I don’t complain that much.

A few species of birds have already raised and fledged young, such as the Long-tailed Tit (Enaga), but most are are either in the courting or nest building phase.

The past few weeks, I have been spending some time at a small pond, walking around a lake, and through the fields.

I found one of my favorites, the Common Kingfisher at the pond, along with the first Bullfrog of the year. He, (the Kingfisher) was a good fisherman, and managed to catch something about 50% of the time.

Around the lake, I came across the cheerful Daurian Redstart (Jobitaki) and some Yellow-throated Buntings (Miyama Houjiro).

In the fields, the loud call of the gorgeous male Common Pheasant (Kiji) can be heard, making it easier to find them, but they can quickly disappear into the undergrowth if you approach too closely.

Day by day, different birds are arriving from their wintering grounds. The cheery Skylark and Swallows have arrived, bringing with them their uplifting melodies that always cheer the heart. Something we all can appreciate in these trying times. Ah, happy spring!