9 June 2008
Those Ruddy Kingfishers
I've taken a lot of photos over the last couple of days and I've learned something valuable. People have huge expensive lenses mounted on non-budget DSLR bodies for a reason. I struggled with some forest shots at Onuma........at ISO 800 and with the lens wide open I left most of the photos uncropped. I even used a tripod too.......
Birds out in the open, like these in Ono, are much easier.
So the Ruddy Kingfishers are back in the same tree as last year. Right next to the road. Just a little too far for my 100-400 lens alas and my digiscoping camera seems to have given up the ghost so no respite there either. The only time they came fairly close they were a) hiding behind a branch and b) I had stupidly left the image stabilization off.
My shutter speeds weren't fast enough for flying birds in a green forest. Although the explosion of wood chips as they left the nest hole was pretty impressive.
And the pics weren't much better when they weren't moving much either.......
A couple of miles further round the lake there was Great Spotted Woodpecker nest.
The Woodpeckers had some help...........and this is a bit bizarre I have to say.
This female Red Cheeked Starling seemed a bit confused and insisted on feeding the Woodpecker chicks. Why? Had her own chicks died? Do some birds instinctively provide food when they hear chicks of other species begging for food? Either way the woodpeckers didn't seem to appreciate it and would chase her off every few minutes or so.
Otherwise lots of activity in the forest at Onuma. Lots of singing Warblers, Flycatchers and Thrushes. Wailing calls of Japanese Green Pigeon that sound uncannily like the Clangers, Long Tailed Rosefinch, oh lots of stuff.
Over at Ono there were Stonechat fledglings, more Night Herons and lots of Black Browed Reed Warblers.
Star bird yesterday was an Oriental Pratincole swooping arounnd over the ricefields at Ono (no picture I'm afraid). It was my first new bird of 2008 and a bit of a surprise find. Another surprise was this immature Kittiwake in amongst the gull flocks at Kamiso. The 9th Gull species of the year in Hakodate.
And a slightly hazy view to finish with......
Not much exciting going on in my life at the moment. I watched 'A Mighty Wind' and thought it was pretty funny. I can't get some of the songs out of my head.
I watched the opening 10 minutes of Switzerland v the Czech Republic but couldn't muster any enthusiasm for it and went to bed (the half dozen or so games even a jealous bitter little Ingerlunder like me would watch are all on at 4am), looked at our finances again and thought oh sh*t another tight summer ahead, read an interesting book on the genetic make-up of us Brits (the basic premise of which was we're mostly descended from stone age hunters from Iberia with a stong dash of central European neolithic farmers. Celts, Anglos-Saxons and Vikings merely added a bit of seasoning. And, according to Mr Oppenheimer the indigenous population may have been speaking some form of Germanic language before the 'English' barbarians arrived anyway. Anyway.....).