カワセミ kawasemi—kingfisher

Yuko spotted a kingfisher yesterday.

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It was a flash of blue that caught her eye as the little bird skimmed low over the water, its wings glinting with a metallic sheen in the winter sunlight. Unfortunately she didn’t manage to catch it in flight.

We were out for a Saturday afternoon walk that brought us around 3 km north from our house to near the Yamato river, and the southern border of Osaka city. Most of this walk was along narrow residential streets in the Amami district of Matsubara city.

Crossing the Nishiyoke River we discovered a park adjoining the municipal water-treatment plant. When the plant was constructed, some land at the margins was set aside as an amenity. It’s called the 今池水みらいセンター ”Imaike Water Future Centre”.

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Unpromising as it sounds, the little stream that wends its way through the park is treated outflow from the plant. But the presence of something as beautiful as the kingfisher shows that it has become a valuable habitat for wildlife.

There was also an egret fishing in the stream. Check out the bright yellow feet.

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Uncomfortable with our attentions, the egret took off and flew away downstream.

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The roof of the water treatment plant is open to the public. There is a rooftop park up there, and probably great views over the Yamato River to the Osaka skyline. But there was a “no dogs” sign at the entrance, so we couldn’t go there this time.

Yuko captured a “family portrait” using the mirror at the back of the lift.

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One thing that surprised me about Japan – when I arrived here last March, all the grass was brown. There was no green grass. Then in summer, with the onset of the rainy season, all the grassy areas turned to a lush and verdant green. Now, as you can see in the photos, it’s all brown again after the winter. This is a little hard to get used to, because in Ireland the grass stays green all year round.

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Note on the word of the day:

カワセミ kawasemi means kingfisher. As I wrote in an earlier post, セミ semi means cicada, the insect whose sound fills the hot summer days in Japan (just as the frogs fill the nights with their call). 川 kawa is the Japanese word for river. So the Japanese name for the kingfisher means “river cicada”.

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