17 February 2008

Crossbills, fascists and a death in the fishtank

Some of a small group of Common Crossbill near my flat this afternoon. These are the first I've seen in Hakodate for ages (since 2004 in fact) but like Redpoll and Asian Rosy Finch they are present this winter after a long absence.

Also around in the same general area were a party of Long Tailed Tit, a species I haven't seen in town before today. They were as active as ever but this individual stayed still long enough for a couple of nice shots.

Also around today were Peregrine, Redpoll, Brambling and lots of Dusky Thrush/Grey Starling everywhere feeding on the abundant berries (I've given up on Waxwings thsi winter). I watched the Crossbills feed above me in some pinetrees for a few moments. Odd looking birds it has to be said. I assume this is just the regular Red/Common Crossbill. I remember in springs 2003/4 there were loads of them and they were very tame. The first ones I ever saw were in Scotland in 1984. I counted them as 'Scottish' Crossbill (hey they were in Scotland weren't they?) but they were just as likely Common or even Parrot Crossbill.

Whilst walking around town today I couldn't avoid these charming folk. Snapped with my 100-400 lens (not the ideal lens for shooting right wing propaganda vans).

'Uyoku dantai' they are called. Japanese Nationalists. They drive very very slowly around town in those black trucks with absurd pompous military music blasting out, bellowing out slogans about something or other (Japan's glorious imperial past or kick out those nasty foreigners or some such nonsense). If there are laws about noise pollution the police choose not to enforce them (they're probably off-duty cops driving the bus anyway). The music sounds a bit like the theme from 'The Water Margin' only not as cool. You can read more about these groups here.

There are rumours that the Russian head of state will visit Hakodate this year after the G8 summit up in Toya. These right wing groups are constantly protesting about how the Russians cheekily pinched several Japanese islands at the end of the war (memo to J-fascists:riding slowly around my neighbourhood blasting out that crappy music will never ever ever result in Russia renouncing those territorial gains. Trust me on this one. I studied politics at University). The upshot of that will apparently be hordes of these black vans/buses descending on Hakodate to annoy the visting Russian delegation. F***ing wonderful. I'll have to make sure I'm out of town for that one.

You know that shrimp I bought on Tuesday? It's dead, bobbing around lifelessly at the back of the fishtank. Hank the Clownfish is a psycho.

The footy season plumbed new depths last night. I actually laughed when Barnsley scored. I mean how worse can the 2007/8 season get? I can't really see Rafa surviving now unless we have a good Champions League run. By 'good' I mean 'win it'.

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