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Category Archives: Wildlife Photography

Today we were off to Inokashira Park. We arrived at the train station before the rush hour.

I took a few shots from just outside the Musashino Station while I was waiting for my wife to get Google Maps up and running so we could find the park.

What can I say. My wife likes cats.

When we arrived at the park we walked across this bridge. We didn’t get very far before we became entranced by the antics of the ducks in the pond. It also helped that there were some nice reflection shots in the water.

The view down the pond from the bridge.

After watching the birds we continued our journey around the pond. I particularly like to photograph fall landpools (reflections) and there were a lot of them in the pond.

We continued to see wildlife as we walked around the pond.

Mid morning we passed the Blue Sky Cafe. As soon and my wife found out that they had donuts shaped like cats we had to stop.

There were quite a few people out in boats enjoying the beautiful fall day. On a weekend it is probably packed.

As we were nearing the end of our visit we noticed, what appeared to be, a class trip visiting the park and the kids seemed to be having fun. There were also adults out exercising.

We spent some time visiting the Inokashira Benzaiten a small Buddhist Temple in the park.

A few last shots of the pond before we headed back to the train station.

Just outside the park there was a small shopping street which attracted Linda.

One last shot from outside the train station.

We caught the subway over to Yushima Tenmangu Shrine.

The Shrine was not very big.

There was a small Japanese garden associated with the shrine. A family had dressed their little girl up in a traditional costume so I took a photo of her.

What we really came to see was the Chrysanthemum Exhibit that was taking place at the Shrine. It was Chrysanthemum season and there were exhibits all over Tokyo. This was by far the best exhibit we found.

After finishing at the Shrine we noticed there was a large park area not too far away. It was called Ueno Onshi Park and is noted for its lotus plants in Shinobazu Pond. In the fall the lotus plant were not all that impressive. It was getting late so we only manged to walk around a small portion of the park. It is a park that includes zoos and museums so it requires more than a an hours time to really experience it.

One of my hobbies is photographing wildlife and there was plenty of wildlife to photograph in the Pond.

As we were leaving the park we noticed this young man dressed in his school uniform walking along the street. In Japan young kids are trained at an early age to navigate the Tokyo train system and you can frequently see them walking alone on the streets and in the stations.

It was getting late so we started looking for a place to eat and the train station to take us back to our hotel.

 

 

I have to say, after visiting this park, if I only had time to visit one park in Tokyo this would be the one I would visit.

Today we are headed for Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa. It took about an hour from our hotel taking several trains to get to the park.

More photos from the day can can be found on my website.

When we arrived we came out of the Tachikawa Station on the second level on what appeared to be a raised pedestrian roundabout one level above the street. We had see something like this in Tokyo and it seems to be quite efficient and eliminates the problem with pedestrians having to cross traffic when navigating a major intersection. We decided to stop at McDonald’s and get some coffee. It was one of the few places that was open early in the morning. We had a good view of the roundabout and the monorail station.

Japan is so very clean but I hadn’t seen that many people out cleaning the streets. On this morning, within about 15 minutes. Three people went by dusting the railings and sweeping the sidewalk.There was a taxi stand near the train station and I was admiring the immaculate taxies and how the drivers were out polishing them and how they assisted passengers. This was in stark contrast to our arrival home when we had to open the taxi doors and find a place to put our bags. The taxi was filthy and looked terrible. Americans don’t seem to have any pride in their work.

We decided to walk around a bit. Actually we were trying to find the park but were lost. We walked past this large bike parking ramp at the train station. We also ran across these policemen directing traffic and an intersection near the train station.

After wandering around a bit we ended up back at the pedestrian roundabout and decided to follow the monorail line out toward the park.

I noticed this artwork on one of the buildings.

In Tokyo the pedestrian walk signs don’t use numbers to tell you how long you have to cross the street they use the little lines on each side of the symbol in indicate waiting and walking time. In this case there will be a short wait before we can go.

As we neared the park it appeared that some type of outdoor recreational event was being held. Tents were being setup, camper vans were on display and the scouts had a demonstration area setup.

There were also food trucks that were being setup for the day.

The promenade leading to the Park was beautiful.

It was still early but it was a Sunday and there were a lot of people heading for the park. It was also a beautiful fall day.

As we entered the park we encountered Ginkgo Avenue. The Ginkgo trees were just starting to turn yellow.

This was the first of several wedding parties that we encountered in the park.

Here are several views of Showa Kinen Park Fountain.

I’m not sure what was going on here. There was a large open area displaying many figures made of large branches. Some of them were designed for kids to play on.

There were many kids in the park and probably as many dogs.

An interesting piece of artwork.

After walking for a while we encountered a large lake. There were a variety of ducks in the lake.

We encountered a Segway tour getting instructions. When they saw me taking their picture the lost their concentration and I thought they were going to have an accident.


It was early in the day and there were already a large number of boats out on the lake.

This little girl was working on here scooter skills while the family was setting up a picnic nearby.

Even though it was early November, there were a lot of flowers blooming in the park.

We encountered a large open area where sports were being played and folks looked like they were camping for the day. There was a huge field of flowers surrounding the open area.

We stopped on a bench and had lunch and people watched.

Our next stop in the park was the Japanese Garden and within that the Bonsai Garden where they had an amazing collection of bonsai trees.

We then continued on to main Japanese Garden. While the fall colors were not at their peak the were still beautiful.

We were about halfway in our walk around the park when we found a small rural farming village. Komorebi Village is a replica Japanese agricultural village from the early Showa period and you can see different things there, depending on the season. Since we were there in the fall the harvest season was represented. The village has a working windmill.

Continuing on we encountered a large area geared toward children. There was a place to eat and purchase trinkets.

This area was called Clowd Ocean and consisted on a number of bouncy domes that kids could jump on.

A climbing area where there were a large number of nets.

A number of cement dragons  and other creatures that kids could climb on.

A large slide that was very popular and the kids and adults were having a great time on it.

Another slide.

I’m not sure what this was. Kids were climbing on these hills and in the summer the far end has an area that sprays water that kids can run through.

While we were watching the kids this wedding party walked through the area. What was strange was that the bride was holding a cat that was also all dressed up.

The park also has a large Barbecue Garden. This is the only place in the park where visitors can barbecue or use fire, and is a great place to casually enjoy cooking in the great outdoors. Most people in Tokyo live in small apartments and don’t have room for a barbecue. No problem, you can show up empty-handed—no ingredients, no equipment, nothing!  You can rent everything and buy platters of meat, seafood, vegetables and noodles.  Pets are also allowed and the ground rents out chairs and tables, too. There is a large common area where you can clean everything up.

 

At this point we were on our way back to the entrance of the park. There were plenty of people getting their picture taken. I also took advantage of the opportunity.

There were a lot of dogs in the park. A couple of young women were trying to get their dressed up dogs to pose for photos. It took a while but they finally did.

There were a  lot of dogs in the park, many of them dressed up in clothes. It was strange, but a lot of dogs were being wheeled around in baby carriages or strollers. In fact, more dogs than kids were in baby carriages. There must be some regulation that animals have to be in carriers on public transportation because I noticed people putting their pets in cardboard carrying cases as they were leaving the park.

It was getting late in the afternoon when we were leaving the park. There was some nice light on the trees.

As I mentioned at the top of the blog there seemed to be an outdoor activities fair going on just outside the park.

The Scouts were in the process of taking down their display as we walked past.

The had a large number of hiking sticks available to try out and were providing demonstrations on their proper use.

Bikes were available for kids to try their skills.

How to chop wood was being demonstrated.

There were a variety of tents for people to look at and try out.

I captured this fellow running loose in the park.

On the way back to Tachikawa we encountered this singing group along the main street.

The police were still working hard at the intersection where we found them early in the morning.

We noticed a British restaurant called the HUB when we were walking around earlier in the day. Fish and chips sounded good so we went back for a bite to eat before returning to Shinjuku. The place was just opening when we arrived. Many places allow smoking in restaurants so we ate fast since the smoking area was starting to fill up. We were chastised by our son and his girlfriend for going to such a shady place. We couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Nevertheless the fish and chips was good

It was almost dark when we departed the Tachikawa Train Station on our way back to Shinjuku.

When we arrived in Shinjuku we wandered around the station looking at the lights before heading back to our hotel.

 

 

 

It was below zero last week when my wife and I drove over to Red Wing, Minnesota. During the winter months Bald Eagles and Bald Eagle watchers gather in Covill Park. On this particular day there were probably 50 or 60 of them sitting in the trees. Unfortunately there was not a lot of activity. A couple of them were looking for fish but without much luck. At one point a train came by and sounded its horn. That got about 20 of them to take off all at once. Of course that was when I was sitting in the car trying to keep warm.

 

This winter I’ve had a flock of about 35 Wild Turkeys hanging around the farm. They usually turn up at the house around 9:30 in the morning. If we are not too active they come right up to the house.

I’ve had a few Northern Cardinals show up at the feeder. They usually turn up when it is snowing out.

 

I had been trying to capture shots of Black-capped chickadees in mid flight. Unfortunately it was snowing heavily and was too dark to get good crisp shots. What I ended up with is what I call Chickadee abstracts.

This is first chance I’ve had to look at my trail cam since deer hunting season. I’ve seen at least three of the bucks that were around prior to deer hunting. There are also quite a few doe’s around.

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Since mid fall I’ve had quite a few Wild Turkeys around. When we first saw them there 20 turkeys in the flock. The last couple of weeks we have counted 35 in the flock. Several times a week they show up at the house around 9:30am then walk around the house before heading for the neighbors cornfield.

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This is the first fox that I’ve seen in quite a while.

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The White-tailed Deer rut is on and I’ve been seeing a lot of deer wandering around the yard. Yesterday, I watched for over an hour as a the bucks and does ran across the yard.

 

I’ve been getting quite a few photos on my trail cam recently. Most of the activity relates to the White-tailed Deer rut that is going on now. A few shots to does running past the camera followed by a buck. Some nice shots of a very large buck that has been hanging around.

Some nice shots of the bucks including a couple of them fighting.

 

Early in the fall I had quite a few shots of Coyotes but they seemed to have dissapeared.

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My wife and I drove up to Crex Meadows to observe the fall migration of the Greater Sandhill Cranes. About 40 thousand of them pass through Crex each fall. When we arrived at Crex we drove our normal route looking for wildlife. The fall colors were just about done but sill very nice.

 

On our drive we encountered a family of Trumpeter Swans feeding right next to the road. They seemed unconcerned when I exited the car to take their photograph. Our our return drive we found them on an old Beaver house.

 

After driving around the flowages we decided to drive some the back roads south east of Grantsburg. During the day the cranes leave the flowage and fly out to the fields to feed. You can usually spot where they are feeding by following the flying cranes. Most of the crops had not been harvested because of the rain. Those fields that had been harvested were covered with mud. The farmers must have had an interesting time trying to drive equipment in the mud.

 

We then drove back to Grantsburg to check into our motel and grab an early dinner before heading back out to the flowages. Not all of the cranes leave the flowages for the day. This one was feeding along the road. About an hour and a half before sunset the cranes start the evening flight from the fields to their rousts for the evening. The sound of them returning is something to hear. There were a large number of Trumpeter Swans resting peacefully in the nesting areas. Once the cranes started returning they caused such a disturbance that the swans started making their own  racket.

 

 

As the crane flight slowed down we decided to head back to town and try and get a few sunset photos along the way.