November 2004


The pied wagtail is a very common bird and I see them by the stream all the time. This one was sitting high up on a wire and caught my attention because it looked so white. It didn’t have the usual black eye bar either. I wonder whether it’s a subspecies (or maybe I’ve just embarrassed myself and it’s not a pied wagtail after all!).

Pied wagtail (hakusekirei): Motacilla albans

Motacilla albaMotacilla alba

Today was a pretty good day for birds. I have always thought that it’s much harder to get pictures of birds in Japan than in the UK. There are few bird tables around and I think that this makes the birds much more elusive. When I do see them, they tend to be flitting around in the trees or dense vegetation, and it’s hard to get a clear shot. I was therefore very happy to watch this great tit from up close.

Great Tit (shijuukara): Parus major

Parus major
Parus majorParus major

I see one or two kingfishers almost every time I go for a walk in my local area, but it’s usually just a flash of blue as they fly away to a spot further along the stream. They are such wary birds and I’ve found it just about impossible to see one sitting still. So I counted myself extremely fortunate this morning when I saw the kingfisher before it saw me. I threw myself down in the grass and crawled to a place where I could get the shots below. I know they are far from perfect, but they are my best ones to date. I really need to sit in a hide and wait if I’m going to get better photos…

Alcedo atthisAlcedo atthis

Common Kingfisher (kawasemi): Alcedo atthis

Five-lined Skinks (nihontokage) are very common in Japan, but are not the easiest to see because they hide themselves very effectively. In fact, at first I didn’t notice the one in the photos below, but when I was sneaking up on a grasshopper I suddenly saw the lizard. The young of this species have blue tails and five yellow stripes (hence the name).

Eumeces latiscutatusEumeces latiscutatus

Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae (skinks)
Eumeces latiscutatus (nihontokage) = Japanese Five-lined Skink

Some nice poses by a Japanese Mantis (kamakiri).

Tenodera angustipennisTenodera angustipennisTenodera angustipennisTenodera angustipennis

Class: Insecta; Order: Mantodea; Family: Mantidae
chousen-kamakiri = Japanese Mantis
Tenodera angustipennis