Thursday 14 November 2013

Grey and Purple

Setting aside Great White Egret which is sometimes considered ardea, there are only two herons in the genus in Japan, Grey and Purple. In Kansai Grey is very common and can be found almost anywhere on ponds, rivers or lakes, including Kyoto city centre where any park with a pond could host a Grey and it'll always be found along the two main rivers. Purple is rare in Kansai and can't be expected when visiting the region, a November immature on the Yodo River in Osaka city is the only one I've seen here.

                                  Breeding bird near the Uji River, Kyoto in February.

                        A post-breeding September adult in the Imperial Palace Park, Kyoto city.

While Purple is rare in Kansai, it is common in the southern islands. The following birds were photographed in the Yaeyama Islands, they are the common heron on Iriomote and Ishigaki.

A breeding adult on Ishigaki. This is the first time I've seen a heron eat a snake, after first removing the head.

                                                The same beautifully marked breeding adult.
                   Another breeding adult, this a less strikingly marked individual, on Iriomote.

This immature had evidently been caught by something unseen in the grass. It struggled pulling back violently at first but gradually sinking lower and lower until prone with just the arch of its back visible, the tugs getting fewer and weaker. This took place over at least an hour before it suddenly escaped and staggered to its feet. The whole head and neck were completely bedraggled and the bird exhausted. After a further hour it was dusk and I left, the bird which had only moved away a couple of metres still seemed to be exhausted and recovering from the ordeal. 

No comments:

Post a Comment