19 December 2007
Some more common birds.........
A wintry view of Onuma this afternoon.
A couple of close-ups of some of the flock of Whooper Swan at Onuma. Every year a small tame flock of about 70 overwinters in a small unfrozen corner of the lake. They are fed by the local council as a matter of fact. Just about the whole lake is frozen now so they are beginning to congregate. My close-ups weren't entirely successful (I think a normal point and shoot camera would have done the job just as well as the 100-400mm) but I have all winter to get it right. There were also lots of Mallards, a few Tufted Ducks, 3 Coot (relatively uncommon in Japan compared to the UK), sveral teal and a lone Goldeneye.
Lots of common birds in the forest. Jay, Siskin and Hawfinch and the usual common Tits and Woodpeckers. I got my first Treecreeper picture.........which wasn't so great actually. The other usual photogenic species compensated.
Not much new around in Hakodate the last couple of days. This was just outside Kamiso this morning. Not a very good picture but an interesting scene of a distant White tailed Eagle being argy-bargied by some of the local crows.
Over the festive period we should be heading up to Yakumo to hopefully get some decent pictures of Eagles (both Stellers and White tailed).
The 'festive period' in Japan is a bit of a joke. They have christmas decorations and carols in the shops but that's as far as it goes. It's not a holiday and there's none of this 'good will to all men' stuff going on here. It's just an excuse for the shops to con a bit of cash from their customers by inventing an artificial 'festival'. Actually put like that it's not so different. At least we have the pretence of it being vaguely spiritual.
They have a big New Year's thing here anyway which is exactly like christmas back home. Meaningless annual visit to the shrine, time spent eating and drinking with family, cards sent to vast legions of acquaintances who you have no other contact with except sending these cards, a week or so off work (a long time in Japan), absolute mindless drivel on TV (even more so than usual), everything closed or over priced............
Just to show the Japanese have no idea of christmas and have just half-arsededly copied it from the west..............they buy Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas day. Turkey is a bird right? KFC is western food isn't it? And they are amazed when I tell them nobody does this in the UK (is KFC even open on the 25th?) and I'm pretty sure nobody does it anywhere except in Japan. The ads are on TV already. Have a Kentucky Christmas.
Here's an interesting article from snopes talking about this kind of stuff. It's pretty funny. I talks about that urban myth (which may actually be true) about the crucified Santa.
I watched an absolute stinker of a movie yesterday. 'Reign of Fire'. A post apocalyptic story (I usually like those). Christian Bale (I think he's a great actor but he must cringe when he watches this). That Scottish actor who always plays sarcastic macho Scotsmen (I forget his name but he was in '300' and 'Timeline'-2 other preposterous movies). Dragons. Crazy American soldiers. Plot holes you could drive a military convoy through. Don't watch it. Trust me on this one.