Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) Flying in Kin Town

 Some Fast Moving Birds

Not sure if they go by kilometers or miles per hour, all I know is they are speed demons.

These characters don't survive on a diet of fish. They eat bugs, crabs, and even little chicks.

Somewhere in California, one of these Terns lived to be over 20 years old.

Learn more about these birds at Cornell All About Birds.

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.