Friday, December 24, 2021

Okinawa - Months of the Year Memories in Photos

 Who Needs a Calendar?

Today, I randomly selected photos from each month of the year for publishing.

Next, I fooled around with different calendar-making tools found on the internet.

And, that's what convinced me, I DON'T WANNA MAKE ANY DAMN CALENDARS!

Someone else might enjoy making calendars from my photos so, here ya go.

FEB: Trail in Mountains of Ogimi

MAR: Grey Heron in Kin Town

MAY: They Flew Together in Kin Town

JUN: Teru Teru Bozu: Seen anywhere in Japan

JUL: Ie Island from Motobu

AUG: Cinnamon Bittern in Kin Town

SEP: Eastern Spot-billed Duck in Kin Town

NOV: Grey-faced Buzzard in Kin Town

Words for Calendar Makers

Those who may be ambitious enough to create calendars may download these photos.

The images are copyrighted and saved at internet resolution but, may be printed.

For your personal use only. Do not try to profit from someone else's photography.

Print and hang your calendar or, give them away for free to friends and relatives.

Curious About Locations?

Links below each photo should give an idea of where these photos were taken.

They'll give an idea of locations on Google Maps.

Have a safe and healthy Holiday Season. Hopefully, next year will be more enjoyable!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Last Full Moon of the Year 2021

 When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie

 Fairly busy with end-of-the-month and year chores, This will be a short blog.

This photo was taken at 6:29 PM from the roof of my house tonight DEC 19, 2021.

Tomorrow morning there won't be time in my schedule for shooting the moon setting.

This rising moon reminded me of an old tune, I had to do a search to find for you.


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

A November Worth Forgetting

 Good Riddance NOV 2021

One of those months I missed out on half of and don't want to remember the other half.

One of the best parts was the change in weather.  The heat and humidity of summer departed.

It got so chilly outdoors I actually wore socks on a few of my morning walks.

Partial Lunar Eclipse

This event with the moon was advertised as something last seen hundreds of years ago.

So moon gazers were alerted and told when and where to be positioned in Japan for viewing.

About a week prior, a wicked chest cold snuck up on me.  I'd have to fix myself.

Not that I don't trust Japan's doctors.  I just hate going to hospitals and clinics.

Especially, since that Coronavirus thing came along, I don't wanna be around sick people.

To avoid getting a PCR test (where they shove a stick up your nose) I stayed at home.

Chest colds usually go away in about a week. So, I drank lots of water and rested.

This cold didn't seem to be going away but, I wasn't interested in seeing any doctors.

So, I went and talked to the lady in the drug store.  She recommended some cold medicine.

By this time it was the 19th of the month. The partial lunar eclipse would be tonight.

Google Translate would tell me all about this Japanese medicine.

It told me what the dosage was and mentioned it may cause drowsiness.

Don't operate any machinery.  Uh-Oh my camera is like machinery. 

With the big lens, tripod, and gimbal holding the camera, the contraption weighs about 15 KG.

So the first dose of medicine, I just took a little sip.  Maybe, half of a normal dose.

Instead of walking to some faraway location, I climbed up on the roof of my house.

Probably an hour and a half before moonrise I was on the roof waiting.

Once the camera is set up, I usually do some stretching and exercises.  But not tonight.

When you're coughing up globs of stuff the size of softballs, it's best to take it easy.

When out on a moon shoot I never sit down.  Tonight I sat down on the stairway, waiting.

It was cold and windy on that rooftop.  It even looked like it might start raining.

A golden-colored sliver of moonshine appeared. Fast-moving clouds sometimes blocked the view.

At 6:39 PM this photo was taken.  A few more shots were captured and, it was time to go home.

Almost an hour passed and the tripod was folded, when this scene appeared.

Quickly, I got set up again and captured the full moon, partially covered by clouds.

The following morning at 5:37 my clearest photo of the NOV 2021 Full Moon was taken.

Note: As the moon sets the rabbit turns upside down.

Back to Cold Medicine

That stuff really works.  The reason you shouldn't operate machinery:


Depending on which translation service you use, you will get different interpretations.

Like, "It contains herbal ingredients" or "codeine" or "other prescription drugs."

Some of the Japanese OTC Cold Medicines (when abused) cause serious problems.

Taking those three bottles (sips) over a period of two weeks cured me.

But, some folks who use drugs for thrills, end up differently.

Now We Have Omicron

Another thing that came along during this miserable month was Omicron.

The world hasn't quite yet decided IF WE SHOULD PANIC.

Hopefully, we won't go through extended periods of coronavirus restrictions.

Not sure about you but, I think this November was one worth forgetting!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

OCT 2021 Full Moon Appeared Over Okinawa

 Breaking News

It didn't peek through the clouds on schedule. The full moon was supposed to happen last night.

However, the big orange ball appeared in the sky briefly, at 7:01 PM.

Standing on the roof of my house, I got a quick shot before clouds covered it again. Amen.

This Ain't the Moon!

 Update on Volcano Eruptions

Uncooperative weather has canceled my full moon photography for October.

Mount Aso, in Kyushu, Japan blew its top and sent us these floating rocks.

Another one (underseas) at the Ogasawara Islands (near Iwo Jima) sent plenty more!

Many of our beaches are covered with pumice stones.

The ocean tides delivered volcanic pumice stones to beaches throughout the Okinawa islands.

Have you ever used a pumice stone to grind down callouses on your feet?

Well, I had to kick off the flip-flops and walk on the stuff, to see what it feels like.

This isn't some thirst trap; it's to give you a sense of scale. Ladies, GET BACK!

Here's what a size 12 left foot looks like in pumice stones on the beach.

The lightweight stones didn't fall out of the sky, where they might hit us on the heads.

They were delivered here by the sea.  Kyushu is over an hour's flight time from here.

What appears to be black sand in the lower part of this photo, is volcanic pumice.

We discovered this treasure at Uza Beach on the northern tip of Okinawa island.

A bag was filled with stones, to show the wife the floating rocks TV news was broadcasting.

Gardening with Pumice

Back at home, I did some research and learned about other uses for pumice stones.

We just might have to return to that beach and fill buckets with pumice stones.

Until last night, I never heard about using pumice stones in planters and gardens.

They call them soil amendments and, you can even throw the stuff into compost piles!

Decisions, decisions, buy garden pumice online or, go to the beach and get some FREE?

Don't Panic

Friends, relatives, people around the globe don't worry about us in Okinawa, Japan.

The volcanic eruption at Mount Aso is no big deal. We're all fine.

If you need some stuff to worry about, I'll show you volcanoes going off around the world.

The map shows volcanoes blowing their tops in RED!

Screenshot courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.  Visit them HERE.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Coronavirus Couldn't Stop the Harvest Moon!

 5 Quick Photos

There's plenty to complain about these days, mostly politics and disease.

It's not good, sitting around the house moaning and groaning.  So, I get out and shoot the moon.

September 20 at 7 PM the moon was 97% full and bright golden in color.

The next morning I arise at 3 AM to check on the setting moon.

Several coffees later, I'm headed out the door.  That's the setting moon behind the house.

The photo was taken at 4:55 AM and I'm going down towards the beach.

It's 5:57 AM on the 21st of September when this photo was composed.

Standing on the seawall at Kin Port, I'm facing Ishikawa, Uruma, Okinawa, Japan.

The evening of the 21st it seemed like the moon would never appear.

Clouds rolled in and blocked out any chance of star or moon gazing.

Actually, I gave up and went to bed.

Shortly before 11 PM, something told me to look out the back door.

The moon was peeking through the clouds, high in the sky above my house.

It was 11:05 PM when this photograph was taken. Back to bed, the old guy went.

At 6:15 on September 22, 2021, another big, bright, golden moon could be seen.

Notice: The rabbit in the moon, turned upside down!

That's all I've got to complain about.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

August 2021 Comes to an End

 The Blog Has Been Waiting

We've been extremely busy in Okinawa doing things like Social Distancing er, People Avoidance.

Coronavirus has the whole world doing things a little bit differently. Will it ever end?

Most mornings I'm out of the house with the cameras way before sunrise. 

The idea is to get some nature photos, upper body exercise, and 10,000 steps done prior to noon.

The sun can be brutal on this island during the summer months.  It'll tan your hide.

Fridays I get to leave town and do some traveling. 

For those who haven't seen me in a while, here's a peek at my foot.

The lighting (in the sky) was horrible at this attraction so, I pointed my lens towards the ground.

This is a place, I call, the Big Bird Tower in Hedo.

A discovery made, at the parking area below the Big Bird, was this Okinawa Tree Lizard.

For the past four Fridays, I've been back shooting this lizard and some companion critters.

A Parting Shot

The weather towards the end of the month had me a bit worried. Would we see the full moon?

It was the weekend of Obon. Okinawan spirits return to their family homes.

On the final evening, they return to the heavens, under the light of the full moon.

The sky was cloudy. It was windy. From the roof of my house a quick snap of the shutter.

Minutes later there was no moon to be seen. End of August Report 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Owls Can't Move Their Eyes Like We Do

 Here's A Closeup Look 

This Northern Boobook (Ninox japonica) is an owl photographed in Okinawa, Japan.

The Japanese would call it (アオバズク) Aobazuku. 

It's a medium-sized owl that's a subspecies of the Brown Hawk Owl.

Notice it has a round-shaped head without any ear-tufts sticking out of it.

Bright yellow eyes, some folks think are comical (not me), and yellow talons are noticeable.

Other identifying marks are the dark brown feathers with brown and white streaks upfront.

The bird also has a distinctive black beak.

Hang on for the Eyeball Part!

It took a while for me to get proof from National Geographic that owls can't move their eyes.

They have to swivel their heads around because their eyeballs aren't in sockets like ours.

Here's an animation, made from several photos, of the bird looking around for prey.

It was the morning before a typhoon so, things are kind of misty and windy.

These birds are found in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

They hang out in wooded areas and forests up to 1700 meters in elevation.

The bird is a raptor that catches insects in flight and that's not all they eat.

They've been known to grab smaller birds, lizards, and bats.

See more about this Northern Boobook at:

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Chasing the Cinnamon Bittern of Kin Town

 Okinawa's Rainy Season Ended

Heat and humidity have me getting up and out with the camera before sunup.

My air-conditioned room is usually about 30% humid.  Outdoors it's over 90% after sunrise.

Each morning I hike to an area where two of these birds hang out.

Getting into position before 6:30 gives me time to stretch, exercise, and drink coffee.

Birds aren't on any kind of schedule. They might appear anytime between 7 and 9 AM.

They really don't come just to pose for the camera. They stretch and wiggle around a bit.

It doesn't do much good to cuss and talk to them but, I do anyway.

And, I get this look like, "Is there a problem Mister?"

Nobody wants pictures of stupid-looking birds so, I move on.

This Cinnamon Bittern had a better attitude and a terrific background.

The time was 7:19 AM and the hike home would be over before ten.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The Black-crowned Night Heron in Flight

 Just A Second

Here are three photos of this bird taken at 6:55 AM today.

My camera was mounted on a tripod and equipped with a 300 MM lens.

Getting ready to hike farther down the road, I folded the tripod before the bird appeared.

It's a fast mover. I was on auto-focus and used the tripod as a monopod.

In less time than it takes to let out a good sneeze, the bird disappeared.

End of Story

Thursday, May 27, 2021

May 2021 Supermoon Over Okinawa

 Cloudy Skies Didn't Stop the Moon from Showing

They just made it a bit challenging for photographers and moon viewers.

Here are 4 photos depicting this month's Full Moon, an eclipse, and the Supermoon setting.

It was 8:39 PM on May 26th when this eclipse photo was taken.

It would be 9:59 PM before an almost cloudless image of the moon could be captured.

At 4:56 AM on May 27th the moon shined brightly setting over Kin Bay.

At 5:29 AM a parting shot was taken of the moon before it disappeared again.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Supermoon APR 2021 Over Okinawa

 Some Call It a Pink Moon

It wasn't exactly pink but, we're glad it made an appearance.

To catch the moon rising over the ocean, we spent a few hours on the east coast of the island.

Heavy clouds interfered with that plan but gave the rising moon some decorative colors.

It was 7:22 PM when this scene was captured.

More dense weather rolled in and the decision was made to leave the wind and beach behind.

Back Home the Moon Made Another Appearance

On the roof of my house, this scene was composed at 8:54 PM.

Too tired to process the day's photos, this old man went to bed.

The plan was to wake up early and hike to somewhere the moon could be seen setting.

The Morning After

By the time I reached the destination where the moon could be captured setting I groaned.

A thick wall of clouds, off to the west, made it impossible to see the setting moon.

All of a sudden I looked towards the Kin powerplant and there it was.

No longer a Full Moon but, a smokestack covered the part that was missing!

End of story.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Strange Birds Spotted in Kin Town

Helmeted Guineafowl

These birds are natives of Africa but, some are domesticated in locations around the globe.

How and when these characters arrived in Kin Town, Okinawa is a mystery.

For about a week, I've been tracking them down and observing their behavior.

Early morning and late afternoons they may be seen in different parts of town.

On a morning walk with the dog and no big camera handy, we first saw the birds.

Thanks to iPhone 7 and a curious dog this scene was quickly composed.

The mutt is normally afraid of his own shadow but, wanted to see what all the racket was about.

The birds, when they saw him coming, squawked, gobbled, honked, and squealed.

They ran around like a couple of lunatics and as the dog got close, flew a short distance away.

When he approached again, they escaped into the forest nearby.

Getting an Identification

Luckily, a young man was leaving his house and saw me taking shots with the cellphone.

He grabbed his phone and began zooming in on the dog and birds, too.

Asking him if he knew what the birds were, he didn't know. First time for both of us.

He walked back to his front door and showed the photos to somebody.

When he returned he said, they were Horohoro tori.

At home, I did some internet research and found out the birds were Helmeted Guineafowl.

It Was Time for a Real Camera and Big Lens

It didn't take long to figure out, Mr. Canine couldn't be with me as I was photographing birds.

As long as they would squawk and run away, he'd chase them, just for fun.

A little kitten, could raise its back, and be ready to scratch, and the dog would get scared.

But, something runs, and he'll chase!

Hunting without the dog and carrying the Pentax, tripod, and 560 MM lens, worked.

A few things learned about these birds leads me to belive they are alright.

A local, described the meat as tasty. And some on Facebook claim the taste as, gamy.

"Horohoro" in Japanese means, a gurgling bird sound.

The critters eat just about anything, including ticks!

To learn more about Helmeted Guineafowl visit eBird and, you can listen to their sounds.

The only way these birds could have arrived in Kin Town, is somebody brought them here.

The closest zoos are miles away so, I don't think they are escapees.

There is a place in Japan raising Helmeted Guineafowl on Yoron Island.

That's more than a few miles away so, it's unlikely the birds flew here. Maybe, they were pets.

Somebody got tired of them and didn't want to eat them, and turned them loose.

They Also Do Crazy Stuff

On another non-camera walk with the dog, I was in an area the birds aren't normally seen.

On a sidestreet overlooking the ocean, not far from a restaurant, the Guineafowl appeared.

The restaurant's chef was ready to chase the birds away with a broom.

My unleashed canine spotted the birds and ran towards them, chasiing them away.

The chef had noticed a bird, looking at its reflection on the side of a black car.

The creature saw another male bird, looking back at him, and began scratching the car door!

This photo was taken with the iPhone, zoomed and in a rush to shoot before the dog ran it off.

Are there any birds like this in your neck of the woods?