Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Life In The River

Still a post with old photos from the last few days of November. After finishing the siskins in Beppu Park, I always walked down to Oyukaeri River in Asami 3 Chou-me to photograph the Brown Dipper. Some day the dipper was so shy and I just couldn't get any slight shot of it, but for some, it became relatively much easier. At times when the dipper didn't come out easily for me to get photos, I killed my time by shooting other common objects like wagtails that were feeding in the same river. There were 3 species of wagtails, Japanese, Grey and White. The number of the Japanese Wagtail seemed to be the highest, then Grey and White Wagtail. However, the tamest was the Grey Wagtail which has yellow feathers up to its throat. If often came walking around 2 or 3 metres away in front of me. I really wish the dipper were as tame as this.

Non-breeding Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

The most interesting one was this Motacilla alba alboides, a subspecies of White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) which is not so common here in Japan. Although I have seen this subspecies several times in Thailand during winter, I've never seen it in Japan before. The nominate race of White Wagtail in Japan is the subspecies M.a.lugens which has much more white on the head and neck. M.a.alboides interestingly looks much more like the local Japanese Wagtail (M. grandis).

Brown Dipper (Cinclus pallasii)
And of course, there are other birds other than the wagtails. A female Common Kingfisher was another regular visitor to the place where I waited for the dipper. Although I couldn't get any closer than 20 metres or so, I was quite satisfied with the birdscape shot I've got. A few Common Sandpipers were also walking along the river, as well as a small flock of Common Teals on the upper stream. I finally got some shots of the Brown Dipper in good light and out in the open, but a shame it was a bit too far away. I think I'll continue working on the dipper again in spring cos it's gotten really difficult for me to sit motionlessly on the river bank waiting for this plain little brown bird for hours in freezing temperature.

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