I was driving along a local back road on my way to work when I saw this pheasant standing at the top of a bank next to a field. I didn’t expect to be able to get a shot, but I stopped the car and tried and, amazingly, managed to get quite close. He was very proud of himself it seemed!

Green PheasantGreen Pheasant

Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Phasianus versicolor
Green Pheasant = kiji

Location: Fields under Jouyama in Munakata (Google map)

This stonechat (nobitaki) was sitting on a signboard at the side of the river this morning. As I approached, it flew to another perch, and then disappeared. I was in too much of a hurry to catch my train, so I couldn’t wait for it to return. I’m sure that it will be there another day, so I hope that I can catch it again and get some better photos (it was too dark today).

Passeriformes: Muscicapidae

Common stonechat (nobitaki)
Saxicola torquata

Location: Near Akama, Munakata (google map here)

These really are terrible photos of a Japanese bush warbler (uguisu), but it was way up at the top of a tree and under dark rain clouds… I just wanted to put something on my blog because we’ve been hearing the beautiful singing of these birds for a few weeks now, and this is the first one I’ve managed to photograph. This species is nothing much to look at, but the call is truly wonderful, probably one of the most memorable there is, and it is regarded as a sign of spring in Japan: hohhh-kekkyoh (sound file here on Wikipedia).

Passeriformes: Sylviidae (warblers)

Japanese bush warbler (uguisu)
Cettia diphone

Location: Yamada Village, Munakata (google map here)

I need the exercise, so I walk the 5km to my nearest train station (Akama) three times a week. When the sun is out and the birds are singing, it takes a lot longer than the 45 minutes it should do – I just cannot resist stopping a hundred times to take photos. It’s usually the same few species, but this morning I had a real treat when this pretty little varied tit (yamagara) flew past me and settled on a nearby branch.

Passeriformes: Paridae (tits, chickadees)

Varied Tit (yamagara)
Parus varius

We visited Huis Ten Bosch, which is a Dutch theme park in Nagasaki, and had a good day looking around at all the tulips and the (mock) European buildings. I enjoyed it, but the most exciting thing was being able to get these shots of a beautiful Blue Rock Thrush (inhiyodori)!

Passeriformes: Turdidae (thrushes)

Blue Rock Thrush (inhiyodori)
Monticola solitarius

This male Durian Redstart (joubitaki) was in someone’s garden. I leaned right over the wall and took some shots, then noticed the old woman doing her garden. Not sure if she saw me, but if she did, she exhibited amazing self-control not to react!

Order: Passeriformes; Family: Muscicapidae
English: Daurian Redstart; Japanese: Joubitaki
Scientific: Phoenicurus auroreus

Photographed this brown-eared bulbul (hiyodori) sitting on a branch outside my office window. The yellow on the end of its beak is probably pollen – these birds often feed from flowers.

Order: Passeriformes; Family: Pycnonotidae
Microscelis amaurotis
Brown-eared Bulbul = hiyodori

I went for a long walk through the forest and fields near Munakata Common, with my camera at the ready to try to get some shots of Daurian Redstarts (Joubitaki), since there are so many in the area and I’m still not satisfied with my photos. These ones are a little better (maybe!). The first three photos are of a male and the final one is of a female. As you can see, the sexual dimorphism is striking.

By the way, the Daurian (DAW-ree-an) Redstart is named after the Dauria (TransBaikal) region of Russia, as are several other species. More info: here.

Order: Passeriformes; Family: Muscicapidae
English: Daurian Redstart; Japanese: Joubitaki
Scientific: Phoenicurus auroreus

Location: Near Munakata Common (google map here)

I was so pleased with these shots of a little egret (kosagi). I just happened to have the camera on “sports mode” and pre-zoomed to 360mm when the egret flew by, allowing me to get quite close shots of the action! It also oblingingly circled around for a second pass, slightly higher with the blue sky behind. What a kind bird!
(By the way, the black specks on the bird’s feathers are plant seeds.)

Order: Ciconiiformes; Family: Ardeidae
English: Little Egret; Japanese: kosagi
Scientific: Egretta garzetta

Location: near Hyoutan Pond (google map)

This pretty grey wagtail was hopping around in the concrete channel running through the fields near Munakata Common. I took some better photos of a grey wagtail before (here).

Order: Passeriformes; Family: Motacillidae
English: Grey Wagtail; Japanese: kisekirei
Scientific name: Motacilla cinerea 

Location: Munakata

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