Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Another Noisy Bird -- Brown-eared Bulbul

Japanese Name Hiyodori ( ヒヨドリ )






So far, I've found two scientific names for this bird.

 Hypsipetes amaurotis has been used for several years as a nomenclature.

 See Avibase for all the data.

gif,chirping bird,tree

 Experts at analyzing bird things came up with a new Latin name for us.

Now, they call it, Microscelis amaurotis, the Brown-eared Bulbul.

These characters can screech really loud.

Being hearing impaired, they don't really bother me with the racket they make.

But, I do remember them, eating my tomatoes.

The varmints would poke holes in your food, just to steal the seeds.

And, you'd be left with a bunch of holy, rotting tomatoes.

It you grow your own veges and hear these birds coming, get some nets over the plants.

Or, do what I did. Quit gardening and, let somebody else worry about it.

More About the Brown-eared Bulbul

Monday, March 30, 2015

Eastern Spot-billed Ducks in a Motion GIF

3 ducks swimming in river

 Anas zonorhyncha would be the scientific name for these birds.

They are migratory visitors to the Ryukyu islands.

Read more about them at South Dakota Birds and Birding.

More, in Japanese, at Wildlife Okinawa

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bird Photo: Tachybaptus ruficollis -- Little grebe

bird, Little grebe

These are some tiny creatures that live on fresh water and dive for fish.

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Sigma 50-500 at 500mm

Exposure: f/9   1/320   ISO 100

Location: Okukubi Dam, Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time:  MAR 29, 2015  11:01AM

Learn more about this bird at ARKive

Kaitsuburi -- カイツブリ -- Wildlife Okinawa ( Japanese )

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Teahouse of the August Moon Arrived

DVD, comedy

Good Two Hours of Laughter



Have no fear, I'm not going into the business of doing movie reviews.

Last year,  having visited the Juri-uma Parade in Naha, I tried to order this movie.

Many times people ask if, I've ever photographed the teahouse in Naha.

They claim, it was in this 1956 movie, which I had never seen.

Online, I tried ordering through Amazon and, they were out of stock.

DVD cover, Teahouse of the August Moon

Gearing up for the festivities in Tsuji, again this year, I went to Amazon once more.

And, Bingo -- For the price of a few beers, the DVD came through.

Picturing Marlon Brando, as any kind of Asian, is a bit difficult but, he is hilarious.

The rest of the actors, playing roles of US military officers, are most excellent.

They act like something which rhymes with pampas grasses.

We still see a lot of them, proudly serving their country, over here, today.

Pampas grasses.

The Movie was not Filmed in Okinawa





Eleven acres of land were used for movie set and Tea House of the August Moon.

The location: Nara, Japan

The Teahouse of the August Moon in the Tsuji district of Naha, Okinawa wasn't in the movie.

concrete dragon, teahouse location

Anyone interested in finding the location of the impostor teahouse, should go here.

When composing this shot of a concrete dragon, I was standing right on the spot.

Looking at a friends photos from way back, I found it.

The Teahouse of the August Moon, in Tsuji, was right over this piece of ground.

Visit Remembering Okinawa to see more of old Naha.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Most Special Rock I've Ever Seen on Okinawa

Yaharazukasa, rock, Okinawa

This stone is a monument, marking a spot on the east coast of Okinawa.

It is said, the creator of the Ryukyu Islands set foot on the main island, here.

Yaharazukasa is the name of this historical rock.

The tide was in when we discovered it so, I couldn't just walk over to see the whole stone.

At low tide, someday, I'll get the full picture for you.

The legendary goddess, Amamikiyo, passed through this spot, coming from Kudaka Island.

And, I have a list of all the places, she visited next.

So, some sort of pilgrimage, could be made, through this area in Nanjo City.

For those, not so interested, in pilgrim stuff, I have a surprise.

paraglider, near special rock, over ocean

Non-pilgrims could go paragliding, right near this sacred stone !

Related Post: Paragliding in Okinawa

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Freak Wildlife Photo of the Month

birds, osprey with fish, crow

An Osprey in Flight with Fish -- Chased by a Crow


Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Pentax F4 300mm

Exposure: f/7.1   1/1250   ISO 200

Location: Okukubi Dam, Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time: MAR 19, 2015  9:31AM

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Okinawan Spiritual Women in Procession

2 women in white robes, man with gong, parade

Rituals Before a Parade



The scene above occurred at the start of juri-uma in the Tsuji district of Naha, Okinawa.

Leading visits to each sacred site are these two special women.

Just being allowed to attend and, photograph these events, is enough to satisfy me.

But, some people want to know more of the mystery behind the scenes.

For those, who like to dig deeper into the rituals and culture, I find some links:


There You Have It  





There's probably enough information up there to write your own dissertation.

All this research and reading is fine for most folks.

But, I prefer what, I call flip-flops on the ground-type research.

So, I plan on making a few more trips back to Tsuji, where I can talk to real people.

Wouldn't it be nice to know if the place is full of holy ladies or, hookers ?

Related Post: Brilliant Colors and Dancing with Horses

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tamashigi (タマシギ) is What this Bird is Called in Japan

Greater Painted-snipe



Early morning is the best time to photograph these critters.

It's a good idea to know the name of the birds, in Japanese so, I looked it up.

If some farmer, were to ask me what I was looking for, I'd tell him, Tamashigi.

They don't speak much Latin around here.

Rostratula benghalensis is too hard for me to remember.

The Japanese name got memorized and, written on a note in my pocket.

Down to the marshes and farmland, I went, just as the sun was rising.

male, female, Greater Painted-snipe,birds

This pair of Tamashigi birds was posing for me before 9AM today.

The male must have had some work to do and, he left the scene.

female, Greater Painted-snipe

The female bird, looked like she was falling asleep.

As soon as, I had my fill of photos, I packed up and hiked back to town.

While this GIF was being created, I was in the office, taking a nap !

Monday, March 23, 2015

10 More GIFs from the 2015 Kin Bay Sailing Sabani Race

bailing water, sabani boat, straw hat

There were a couple of  firsts, I witnessed at the sabani races, yesterday.

Seeing sabani boats capsize isn't anything new.

Once they got it up-righted, one guy started bailing water out with his hat !

two sail sabani, outrigger

This boat with twin sails also, had an outrigger.

So, it would take some fairly rough seas to tip this one over.

sabani races, festival

The yellow archway, in the background of this photo was the entrance to a festival.

That meant, after getting done with  boat races, I'd be going to the Ginoza Matsuri.

sailing sabani race

The skies went from blue to grey and, back again, throughout the event.

sabani boats at sea, racing

Even though we were in Kin Bay, the boats were rocking and rolling.

2 sailing sabani boats, race

Everybody is required to wear life jackets.

Even the dog, in the back of that second sabani boat, is equipped with one.

sabani racing, child

There was a little guy on Spring vacation from grade school, in this boat.

He'll have some stories to tell his friends when he goes back to school.

sabani at sea, racing

We were sailing around and things seemed a bit monotonous for a minute or two.

All of a sudden, all hell broke loose, because a boat capsized.

bailing capsized sabani boat

My boat driver was on a serious mission.

He gunned the engine and almost threw everyone on his boat, over the side-rails.

Well, these sabani people, ain't exactly rookies so, I wasn't worried.

Sometimes, they dump the boats over, just for practice.

They had the boat turned back up and bailed out, in just a few minutes.

sabani sailing race

Everything turned out alright and, my two biggest fears, never happened.

#1.  I didn't want to see anybody, we were supposed to rescue, whacked in the head with a propeller.

#2. They didn't run out of hamburgers at the festival before I arrived.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Views of the Sailing Sabani Boats in Kin Bay

sabani sailboat, yellow

The 1st sailing sabani race of 2015 was held today.

It's a blast, capturing these events with a digital camera, bouncing around on the ocean.

Out of the seven hundred and, something images, taken this morning, here are a few GIFs.

There were only five boats in the competition and, I hope, I got them all.

sabani boats racing

If I had a choice, I'd rather be shooting my camera with my feet planted on some earth.

Riding a safety/escort boat, I was out at sea, looking towards the shore.

close-up, sailing sabani boat, paddles

With a combination of sails and paddles, these boats move quickly.

So, every once in awhile the safety boat dude,  guns his engines real fast.

And, the cameraman cusses, as he almost gets thrown overboard.

sabani boats rcinng, Kin Bay
It got me thinking.  There must be an easier way to get these photos.

Like, couldn't they rent one of those Goodyear blimps ?

More About Sailing Sabani Boats:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

7 GIFs of Birds in or Near Water

Photos Taken March 2015 in Kin Town



In numerical order as downloaded from the camera, here they come.

Painted Snipe , Spotted Greenshank, birds

The bird in lower left of the frame arrived on the scene as, I was shooting the snipe.

It appears to be a Spotted Greenshank (Tringa guttifer) but, I could be mistaken.

It upset the male, Painted Snipe and, he would soon take off.

female and male Painted Snipes, preening

From left to right, we have a female and male Painted Snipe, preening.

Black-winged Stilt, Painted Snipe

The red legged birds are Black-winged Stilts.

They kept popping in and out of the frames as, I was photographing the Snipes.

Grey-tailed Tattler

This rascal, appears to be a Grey-tailed Tattler.

The bird is not, standing in the water.  It kept its feet on dry land.

The Latin name for this specimen: Heteroscelus brevipes

Common Greenshank, bird

The rain started coming down while shooting this scene.

The bird was blinking its eyes but, didn't seem to mind getting wet.

It is a Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) and, is a wading bird by nature.

Tringa nebularia, rain

This is the same bird as in the previous photo, shot from a different angle.

water bird, Common Greenshank

The Greenshank was the easiest bird to approach with the camera.

Either it was a photogenic or, just didn't feel like flying in the rain.

A little shower, like this, doesn't bother me, too much.

It cleans the air and, makes things smell a lot better.

It also, makes for some interesting colors, shadows, light and, reflections.

Do you ever shoot your cameras in the rain ?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Birds in Water: Motion GIFs

Black-winged Stilts



They are called Himantopus himantopus by scientists.

Migratory visitors to the Ryukyu Islands, they sure brighten things up on a rainy day.

Black-winged Stilt, bird

A little cloud burst opened, while I was out shooting the cameras.

Rather than, run for cover (like some sane person) I decided to see what the birds would do.

Himantopus himantopus, feeding, rain, water

Just in case, you were wondering what they call these birds in French, I got it for you:

Echasse blanche

Learn more about the species at ARKive

Thursday, March 19, 2015

10 Images of Osprey Birds in Flight

Over Kin Dam in Okinawa Japan



These photos were taken over a two hour period this morning.

The Pentax K3 and 300mm lens were used, along with a tripod.

bird, Osprey in flight

It was 9:33AM when the first subject appeared.

Sea Hawk, flying

When they fly over water, they are looking for fish.

Osprey searching for food

Catching them with the sun lighting up their eyes can be a challenge.

Osprey, wings spread

They eat fish from the ocean or, fresh water.

Ospreys are also known as Sea Hawks.

Pandion haliaetus, flying

Pandion haliaetus is their scientific name.

flying osprey, looking at camera

These birds are the only raptors with white bellies.

Sea Hawk in flight

The white head and brown mask over the eyes makes identification of  this bird, easy.

flying osprey, bird

Ospreys voluntarily, close their nostrils when they dive for fish in the water.

sea hawk flying

These  birds a third eyelid which is transparent.

This membrane can be closed when under water, serving as goggles, while they catch their prey.

Learn More About Ospreys at Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Entertained by a Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle

fence, Buzzard Eagle, flying

A good cure for a St. Patrick's Day hangover was discovered today.

Buzzard Eagle, flight

This bird of prey used a fence at the dam as a perch and lookout.

bird, eagle, flying

It kept launching from the fence to catch meals of insects.

motion, gif, bird, flying

After it munched on a meal, the bird would return to the fence.

On a nice day, a person could sit and watch this activity for hours.

It all took place at the Kin Dam.

So, if anybody is wondering where to find me, for the rest of this week look for this fence.

The plan is, to go back and get some more dam therapy !