Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Endangered Species Images: The Yellow Pond Turtle


Active at Night and When It's Raining

This reptile was out running on the road as I was hurrying to find shelter from the rain.

Yesterday some sudden squalls drenched me and the dog when we were miles from home.

Knowing anyone driving in the storm, wouldn't notice a turtle on the highway, I rescued it.

The plastic bag I carry in my pocket (just in case somebody poops) was the perfect size.

Plenty of times, I come across turtles which have been crushed, on my morning hikes.

Not Really a Turtle Expert

At home, some research had to be done to help identify this critter.

From past experience, I knew a photo of the turtle's underside would come in handy.

Counting the black spots on this character's belly reminded me, I've seen this before.

That specimen was running around on a sunny day in a plowed field.

Some images were uploaded to iNaturalist and, I reported sighting a Yellow Pond Turtle.

Some experts over there confirmed my observation by giving it a Research Grade.

After being such a good model, I thought the turtle deserved some sort of reward.

So, I released it in some natural environment, distant from that dangerous road.

Far enough away that it probably won't have to breed with any immediate family members!

Just in case you didn't know the difference between amphibians and reptiles.

Wordless Wednesday: Wet Dog Walking Home in Rain

dog, Okinawa, rain, walking, Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Ryukyu Women Wearing White Robes

culture, Japan, Kouri-jima, island, Okinawa, robes, rituals, noro, women

What Should We Call Them?

They are a special sort of people, performing important rituals in the Ryukyu Islands.

Pictured above, are five of these ladies on the island of Kouri-Jima, yesterday morning.

Coronavirus has canceled many cultural events on the islands this year but, not this one.

It's obvious, watching these gals, they are praying so, it's some sort of religious event.

There are questions, to be asked, just to satisfy my curiosity and maybe, other folk's, too.

It's such a solemn-looking ceremony, I can't just say, "Hey Lady, what's going on?"

Another Island - More Women in White Robes

Afternoon provided an opportunity to photograph more ladies wearing those white outfits.

Back on the main island of Okinawa, in the village of Ogimi, similar ceremonies took place.

culture, Japan, Okinawa, Ogimi, prayer, beach, rituals, Noro, women, robes

 Many times, I've attended gatherings like this, and the question arises.

Are the gals in the white robes, Kaminchu, Noro, or Yuta?

Priestesses, of some sort, I guess you could call them. I'm sorta a shy individual.

Whenever I want to ask one of them something, I try to be polite and respectful.

"Nene, Can I ask you what that thing is, you're wearing in your hair?" 

To me, they are special people so, I call them Nenes.

Noro or Nuru, would be the terminology a local would consider these women to be.

From Wikipedia:

"Noro (祝女, sometimes 神女 or 巫女) (Okinawanヌール nuuru[1]) are priestesses of the Ryukyuan religion at Utaki. They have existed since at least the beginning of the Gusuku Period (late 12th century) and continue to perform rituals even today. They are distinct from yuta [ja] (psychics), but are classified as kaminchu ("godly people")."

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

A Second Visit to Neo Park in Nago Okinawa Japan

birds, Grey crowned crane, Okinawa, zoo

Bird Show Is a Must See

On the first visit to this attraction, I forgot all about the bird show advertised on TV.

So, a week later, the second trip to Neo Park was made.

At the ticket counter, the gal told me 11:00 and 14:30 were the showtimes.

With an hour to kill, I wandered around and spotted this brilliantly colored bird.

After returning home, I found out this bird is an endangered species.

More about the Gray crowned crane at National Geographic.

birds, Neo Park, Nago, Okinawa, show

Four or five different birds were displayed, flying from one handler to another.

They fly low, so close to the audience, I thought someone might get hit in the head.

Now, I know why they insisted I sit down on a bench to take photos.

It was so hot and humid (that day) one raptor refused to cooperate and stayed in a tree!

Someday, I'll go back and get better photos, when the light is right and it's cooler outside.

It's best to check the Neo Park website before planning a trip up there.

It closed for two days due to the typhoon but, Google Maps wasn't notified.

Also, Neo Park has an Instagram Photo Contest you may want to check out.

The website may be switched to the English language for information.

Obon in Okinawa Is Here Now Without the Eisa

This is the first year (I can think of) that Eisa got canceled during Obon.

So, I blew a wad of money to get a children's book, to take home.

book, children's, Eisa, dance, Okinawa, Obon

Inside, you'll discover it has English, Japanese, and Uchinaguchi (Okinawan dialect).

But, my favorite part is this:

book, dance, Eisa, Obon, Okinawa

Open some of the pages (wide) and the Eisa characters pop-up in your house!

If, you can't find the book at a local gift shop, Google It.


Well, I have things to do. Happy September and stay safe during this typhoon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Wordless Wednesday: Best Count Birds Before They Hatch

birds, humor, sparrows, flowers, Okinawa, Wordless-Wednesday

Return of the Pacific Golden Plover to Okinawa, Japan

Early This Year

These birds are usually winter visitors to the island. Like November through April.

The year 2020 has pulled a few surprises so, maybe this is just another one.

birds, migratory, Okinawa, Pluvialis fulva, Munaguro

The scientific name for these birds is Pluvialis fulva.

In Japan, they're called Munaguro (ムナグロ).

More about these birds in this previous post.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Bird Photo: Common Greenshank: Tringa nebularia

birds, Cornell, Japan, Marsh Sandpiper, Okinawa

Aoashishigi (アオアシシギ) in Japan

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Sigma 50-500 at 500MM

Exposure: f/11  1/250   ISO 100

Location: Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time: AUG 19 2020 7:59 AM

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Smiling Moon, Scarecrow and Surprises in Kin Town

It Started Around 5 AM Today

Going out the door for my morning stroll I noticed the moon in clear skies.

astronomy, moon, Okinawa, smile

It was interesting enough for me to set up the tripod before sunrise and my usual destination.

The image (during editing) was tilted a few degrees, to straighten the smile a bit.

scarecrow, fields, Kin, Japan, Okinawa

A few hours later and miles from home, I noticed this scarecrow in a field.

The rascal was doing a fairly good job. There were no birds in sight.

About 8 AM I Was Hot and Thirsty

Knowing there's a shaded area and vending machines at Nature Mirai, that's where I went.

Normally, I stop at a 100 Yen drink machine closer to the residential area.

A few bottles of cold water and a can of coffee, get tossed into the backpack.

The darn machine wouldn't operate for some reason so, I traveled without water.

ice cream, machines, Kin, Nature Mirai, Okinawa, vending

Water was found in another vending machine and, while drinking I noticed this.

Just to the left of a coffee vending machine is this Seventeen Ice Cream machine!

Half a bottle of water was enough for me. The dog got to drink the rest.

Green tea, ice cream, Kin, Okinawa, vending

Green tea ice cream in a cone seemed appropriate for breakfast. It's healthy I think.

The stuff ain't cheap. It's 160 Yen for one skinny little ice cream cone. That's over a dollar!

Hey, it's miles away from civilization. A place where people camp and go kayaking.

Blueberry Cheesecake, ice cream, Kin Town, Okinawa, Nature Mirai

My Japanese language skills aren't near perfect but, I figured something out.

The language on the machine (Japanese) told me this was Blueberry Cheesecake.

Who's gonna complain after I spent two or three bucks on ice cream for breakfast?

After munching the ice cream cones down, I stockpiled my backpack with bottled water.

It would be after 11 AM by the time I got home.

A bit of research led me to the website of the makers of this scrumptious ice cream.

Before everyone on the island starts asking for directions to Nature Mirai, look here.

Last Surprise

That ice cream got me thinking the 18,000 steps I took wouldn't be enough exercise for today.

count, steps, iPhone

So, the dog and went for another few thousand steps tonight to burn some extra calories.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Animation: Couple of Eurasian Tree Sparrows

In a Thornless Crown of Thorns

A white building across the street from my porch serves as the background.

Late afternoon sun provides the lighting and makes the red flowers stand out.

birds, Eurasian Tree Sparrows, flowers, Japan, Okinawa

When it's steamy hot outdoors, I can sit in my kitchen and wait for these birds to show up.

The camera is mounted on a tripod and I do some rapid firing to capture the images.

The Cornell Lab, All About Birds, can tell you more about these sparrows.

The bright red flowers are natives of Madagascar where they're sort of endangered.

That's because of losing the natural habitat, tropical jungles. They grow well here.

Learn more about Thornless Crown of Thorn plants at World of Succulents.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Banana Spider Captures Cicada: Animation

Death to the Noisy Al Qaeda Bug

Early this morning (about 5 AM) I headed out with the camera. It would rain later today.

The plan was, to walk the dog, shoot some bird photos, and get home before 9 AM.

It's unbelievably hot these days, in Okinawa; like August arrived early.

A couple of bird photos were captured but, these bug images turned out to be my favorite.

These bugs, I like to call Al Qaeda, start screaming as the weather gets hot and muggy.

Some folks like the critters, I suppose. I wish spiders would eat them all.

If you like, learn more about these Cicada at Japan Today.

Joro Spider (Nephila clavata) or Banana Spiders may be seen throughout Asia.

LOL, today I learned they call this a Whore Spider in Japanese mythology!

Check out my source: Spider Identifications

Monday, June 8, 2020

Bird Animation from DEC 2019

animation, bird, Grey-faced Buzzard, Okinawa, photography, wildlife, migratory

They're Gone But Will Return in Autumn

Grey-faced Buzzards (Butastur indicus) AKA Sashiba, in Japan are migratory visitors.

They visit Okinawa from late October until March each year.

Going through my image files, I found this batch and decided to post an animation.

This character frequented my neighborhood within 500 meters of my house, all winter.

Since migratory birds are gone, I walk somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 steps daily.

When the weather turns cold again, I'll be looking forward to seeing my Sashiba friend!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Social Distancing: Don't Stand So Close To Me

Keep Your Distance

Before 8 this morning this photo was taken and it would be a good two hours before I got home.

Along the way, I had lots of time to think of a title but, it wasn't easy.

With that Coronavirus thing going around, everybody seems to be in a panic.

So, I got the idea, to look on YouTube and see if I could find a tune for this image.

How's this sound?

Friday, May 22, 2020

Fast Food Funnies: A Silly Sign to Take Serious

Coronavirus Has Changed Things

Most restaurants have been losing business because of spacing requirements in Japan.

The law says customers must maintain 2 meters distance when out socializing.

Lots of places closed and are taking extended vacations, staying home. Hah!

Smart business managers have figured out ways to keep serving their loyal customers.

All restaurants should be doing this. Serve takeout meals or, DELIVER to the customers.

Just let them know. It takes room to prepare YOUR FREAKIN TACOS!

This bit of humor courtesy of King Tacos in Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Flower Photo and Facts: African Lily

African Lily, flower, facts, aphrodisiac, Okinawa, library, garden

Exotic Plant on Okinawa

Where this specimen was spotted will come later. Taking the photo during the rainy season was
challenging but, nothing like the fun to be had researching this purple beauty.

10 Flower Facts

  • AKA Lily of the Nile Agapanthusafricanus (アガパンサスアフリカス) is the Japanese name
  • Plants grow fine in southern-facing gardens or planters
  • They are attractive to bees, birds, and butterflies
  • Deer and rabbits won't disturb, destroy or, eat these plants
  • Flowers grow on tall stalks which favor facing the sun
  • The plants resist wind and salty air
  • This plant has been used to treat colds, coughs, chest pain, heart problems, and paralysis
  • Flowers are believed to protect the wearer from thunderstorms
  • Some women believe the African Lily boosts strength and fertility
  • In Africa, the plant is considered an aphrodisiac

See the African Lily in the parking lot at Kin Public Library.

Learn more about this flower at the links used for research:

Friday, May 8, 2020

Supermoon MAY 2020 Sorta Modified

Weather Didn't Cooperate

Cloudy skies, wind, and some freakish humidity ruined this month's moon shots.

Here's a photo I managed to create on the 7th of May 2020, the date of the full moon.

astronomy, full-moon, moon, Okinawa, Japan, May 2020

The photo was taken shortly after 3 AM as the moon was setting in the west.

For viewers, who know about the "Rabbit in the Moon" the image has been rotated.

astronomy, full-moon, moon, super-moon, Okinawa

For some reason, the rabbit turns upside down as the moon sets in the morning.

End of the Supermoon and Twisted Rabbit Story.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Black-crowned Night Heron Photo of the Week

Early in the Morning

It took a few days of waking up before 4 AM to walk to where this character could be seen.

Sunday, I captured a photo of one flying in a white sky on a day it would rain.

Monday, the image would show you where birds poop comes from.

Yesterday, I stood in one location for two hours and not one Night Heron showed up.

Today, at a little past 7 AM this Heron AKA Goisagi (ゴイサギ) flew overhead.

The position the photo was taken from was near the entrance to Kin Blue Beach.

Learn more about the Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) at All About Birds.