12 December 2007
2007 winding down........
The Kingfisher was still there yesterday.......and in reasonably good light so I took the 400mm lens. This (above) was my favourite shot. Not much else around........December always seems to be a bit of a quiet month. The Kingfisher kept me entertained for half an hour.
It hasn't snowed this week..........in some places the snow has gone, in others it is kind of powdery and in shady places it is hard compacted ice. The river is generally always ice-free so no pronged beaks for this bird.
*WARNING* Ranting ahead.
I went to Yunokawa this morning. A bit depressing as there is a huge construction project going on next to the river. This was an area of farmland/grassland that had breeding Chestnut Eared Bunting/Siberian Stonechat/Black Browed Reed Warbler/Bullheaded Shrike and Latham's Snipe. Now it's full of Japanese men in hardhats and overalls operating huge cranes, drills and diggers. Shifting lots of land, digging and drilling lots of holes. I don't know what they are building. A supermarket perhaps. Another pachinko parlour maybe. The area isn't big (about 3 or 4 footie fields in area I suppose) and in world terms the habitat loss is insignificant but I'm still annoyed. Why build new stuff when there are loads and loads of derelict and empty pieces of land already in town? I think Japanese people prefer concrete to grass anyway. They won't be happy until every last bit of flat land in the country has been concreted over. The country will be one third existing buildings, one third old empty shells of buildings and one third under construction buildings.
I suspect it may even be publicly funded and Yunokawa may be blessed with a useless eyesore masquerading as some kind of 'community centre' or some such crap. They use pointless wasteful construction projects as a way of keeping unemployment figures down. A couple of years ago they 'improved' the river in Yunokawa by chopping down lots of trees (which used to be great for migrants in spring) and channeling the river (before it was gentle and meandering) and of course adding yet more concrete to the riverbanks.
There's a construction project near my flat now. A block of flats. Hakodate's population is actually falling and there are lots of empty apartments. But no. Let's build some more. I can watch them working from my window (and hear them too the noisy bastards). Interesting job descriptions some of them must have. The 2 men whose job it is to wave around those absurd red batons and blow whistles incessantly for no apparent reason. Several workers jobs seem to entail standing around all day watching others work. Others seem to do construction work completely by cellphone or via smoking cigarettes. FIVE MONTHS it will take them!!!! The only thing that hinted at speed and efficiency was when they put up their little prefab hut. The place where they sit around smoking, napping and eating instant noodles all day.
*END OF RANT*
Birds? Not much at Yunokawa fittingly enough except a couple of Great White Egrets. Nice to shoot something that isn't very fast, small and blue. They still flew away as soon as I raised my camera.
Around December 12 down the years:
1986 (Dec 13) A long day's birding on Merseyside began at Marshside.........not much here except lots of Pinkfeet and a few Twite. Nowt at seaforth either and at west Kirby we had a fruitless search for Shore Lark (which I've yet to see anywhere).
1988 (Dec 11). A long day's birding around Newcastle. 2 lifers.......Long Tailed Duck at South Shields and Bohemian Waxwing at Washington. Also saw Eider, Red Throated Diver and lots of Golden Plover plus other common waders........
1998 (Dec 11) I arrived back in England after a long stint abroad (2 years in Germany plus 3 or 4 months travelling around Asia) with no money, no voice, no job and no girlfriend. Gloomy........so I did a lot of birding this week on the Ribble at Penwortham and saw.........nothing interesting at all. 60 Curlew on the 17th seems the most noteworthy entry.
2002 (Dec 13) a male Goshawk near my flat in Hakodate was a lifer. Would have made a great picture if I'd had a camera as it was very close.
2003 (Dec 17). 4 years ago and Yunokawa was much nicer than it is now. Water Rail (my only ever view of this species) and Long Billed Plover (another lifer at the time) were the pick of the day's birds and there were also Japanese Wagtail and Goshawk.
I watched the Liverpool game last night. If they can beat Man U on Sunday and England can appoint a decent manager (I quite like the idea of Capello I have to say) life looks a bit rosier. The cricket team are still sh*t though.