Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A New Site

Due to some technical problem, my account has been turned down and caused the temporary disappearance of  both of my blogs. I decided, however, to migrate to a new site, merging both photography and artworks altogether. 

Please visit my new site here ayuwat.blogspot.com

As for my email address, please contact me through the new address 

I'm terribly sorry for the inconvenience and 
thank you for your continuing support.

Friday, February 17, 2012

In The River

Few weeks ago as I was walking along the Spa Beach, I spotted an eclipse male Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) feeding along the shoreline. Its eyes seemed to be infected and the eyelids were swollen. I took a few snapshots before it flew out towards the sea. The next day, I found the same bird feeding in the small river near my dorm along with an Eastern Great and Little Egret. It seemed to be very healthy and active despite its swollen eyelids. This time it wasn't as wary as when I saw it at the beach and I could take photos of it easily from the bridge.

Eclipse male Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
It was feeding in the shallow area, chasing schools of fish around in circles attracting the Little and Great Egret to come and take the opportunities. I was quite amazed how it could still manage to catch the fish even with those infected eyes. It was quite entertaining watching it feeding in the river. Even though it didn't care much about my existence because I was sitting very still, whenever someone came walking by, it swam out towards the sea but always came back within a few minutes. I could identify it as an eclipse male because it already showed a few breeding feathers on its flanks.

Diving Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)

Non-breeding Eastern Great Egret (Casmerodius modesta) and Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Apart from the 3 species, there was a small number of Black-headed Gulls (Larus ridibundus) swimming in the river. While flock of approximately 700 birds was also seen flying around and resting in the sea near Spa Beach as well. Normally I don't feel like taking photos of these gulls anymore, but the reflection on the water surface was just so pretty that I couldn't help but taking photos of them swimming around and also while some of them were landing. I just love the shutter speeds that I got. Even with ISO200, I could get the shutter speed as fast as 1/2000sec! I love the light in Japan!

Non-breeding Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
Part of the c. 700 flock of Black-headed Gulls
Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Male Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Recently there has been a flock of about 70 Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) residing near my dorm. Few weeks ago when I took these photos, most of them still had black head. Yesterday, I saw the flock again and was surprised to find how many birds have moulted into breeding plumage with smart whitish head. I've never taken any decent shot of the cormorants in breeding plumage before. Maybe I would have to try taking their photos soon. Hopefully they will come closer to the shore some day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

White Beppu

I haven't been to Mt. Tsurumi since last year's February. Exactly one year has passed and I finally went up there again with two of my friends to take photos of the snowy Beppu on last Thursday. The night before that we saw a minor blizzard hitting the city, so we planned to go up on the mountain on the next morning in hope of seeing some spectacular wintery landscape, and so we did. The scenery at the top of the mountain was just mind blowing. Everything was white. I kept telling my friends how it reminded me of Hokkaido. There were many other groups of photographers as well. Most of them were old people with some really nice cameras. I saw exactly 0 bird but it didn't matter since I was too busy taking photos of the gorgeous landscape. Here I share some of the shots that I took and hope that all of you will enjoy!

A view from the top of Mt. Tsurumi

The clouds moved really fast and the light would change almost every minute.

Some photos of the shrine near the cable car station

It almost looked as if the flowers are blooming!

Below is a panoramic view of the area behind the cable car station
The only bird that I could photograph on that day was surprisingly a female White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos namiyei) that was found feeding in the park near the lower cable car station after I came down from the mountain top. I first heard its call coming from a distance. I later accidentally flushed the bird and it flew out to a nearby tree, but it was too difficult to get a decent shot as it was extremely shy. The only acceptable shot that I got is the one below. You can't even see its whole body. Hope I can get a better shot in the future.
Female White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos namiyei)