Showing posts with label cormorant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cormorant. Show all posts

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Birds along the Yamaguchi Coast


This past Spring while walking the Chugoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage I took a walk along the Japan Sea coast of Yamaguchi,  It's a particularly fine stretch of coast with azure seas, outcroppings and cliffs, small islands and a lot of small fishing villages. Here are some of the birds I saw. The first is a heron. Sagi in Japanese, maybe its a Grey heron, maybe a Great Blue......


Lots of cormorants. I am guessing that they are Temmink's Cormorants, the most common kind, known as Umi-u in Japanese, though there are some other species which visit during migration. The difference among the onbes in the photo may be due to age and gender.


Lots of Kites, Black-eared Kite being the common species here. Known as Tombi in Japanese.


More cormorants.


This is, I believe, a Blue Rock Thrush, but I have no idea what it is called in Japanese.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Japanese Cormorant


The Japanese Cormorant, Phalacrocorax capillatus,  known as Umui in Japanese, is also known as Temmincks Cormorant.


It can be found from Taiwan, across Korea and Japan, and as far north as Eastern Russia.


It has been domesticated by the Japanese to use in fishing. Known as Ukai, it can still be seen at many places across Japan.


The only piece of poetry I remember from my schooldays begins.... "the Common Cormorant, or Shag, lays eggs inside a paper bag. The reason you will see, no doubt, is to keep the lightning out...."


Thursday, March 17, 2011



This is the draincover for Miyoshi, a town in the mountains of Hiroshima, and upstream from us on the Gonokawa river. It depicts cormorants as ukai, the traditional method of river fishing using trained cormorants is still practised here in the summer.


I don't have any photos of the ukai, but I hope to see it later this year. I do have a few photos of wild cormorants though, this one was along the moat of Okayama castle.


In front of a house a few meters away from where I took the draincover photo I did find this rice-straw model of what I believe is a cormorant sitting on top of a turtle.


Miyoshi is not particularly famous, but like a lot of places off the beaten track it is possible to spend a day or two there and find enough to see. Miyoshi dolls are still produced here, made of clay, and there is a nice free museum with a big display and its alos possible to visit workshops where they are made.


Miyoshi also has a connection with the Chushingura, the story of the 47 Ronin. The wife of the Lord who was avenged by the ronin came from Miyoshi and after they committed ritual suicide she spent the rest of her life caring for the families of the 47. At her burial place in Miyoshi are statues of her and the 47 ronin as well as a cherry tree reputedly planted by the leader of the 47.

Previous posts on Miyoshi, mostly about the shrines, can be found here