28 August 2015


The place to go during summer, when most birds are quiet, is Terugasaki in Oiso.
White-bellied green pigeons fly all the way from mountain to visit the rock pool at Terugasaki to drink sea water.  It's beautiful when the sun shines on them!  



24 August 2015


Yatsugatake area had always been our family's summer holiday destination. So it was lovely to spend holidays there this summer.

August is not the best season to watch birds even in mountain.  All the birds had stopped singing and some like cuckoo must have already left the area.   But we could still enjoy stonechat families.



We hiked around Utsukushimori area and enjoyed lots of flowers and butterflies... and a soft serve ice cream!

ゴイシジミ(Taraka Hamada



19 August 2015



Let me introduce Puffin twin recently joined our juggling ball gang!  Atlantic (left) and Horned (right).  


The Pacific puffins love kayak coming from Aleutian Islands and the Atlantic guys prefer currach from Ireland and Scotland.


17 August 2015

Reduction Lino Gannets

I tackled another reduction lino print. This time, of gannets on Bass Rock.

Seabird Drawing CourseでスケッチしたBass Rockのシロカツオドリをリノリウム版画のリダクション法で作ってみた。白い紙に5色のせている。

What I love about reduction linocut is that I can discard the block without hesitation. Once finished, it has no use.  It's good for our tiny apartment.

There is a charm about the prints lying next to each other, just like the Campbell's Soup Cans by Andy Warhol.



I joined a summer workshop for children's book illustrators at the Itabashi Art Museum again. It started from the 28th July, two days after I came back from Alaska, and I must admit that I was tired even before it started.
This year we had Klaas Verplancke, an illustrator from Belgium.  And it was really a fulfilling week!

We had many many assignments during the week and this was the first one, metamorphoses, to combine two or three things which are completely different from each other.
It was really a difficult week for me because I normally don't draw or make story from memory and imagination.  I realised that I always work inductive from what I see out there to find a concept but not deductive from a certain idea in my brain to play out from it.  
It was a good exercise for me!

It was good to have lots of limitations on making image, colour pallet, technique and time.

Klaas also told us a quote from Picasso, which was very interesting especially after the fuss about the Olympic logo. 
 "To copy others is necessary, but to copy oneself is pathetic."
In some way, we all need to get inspirations from something and develop from there.  It's not good at all, of course, to completely copy someone.  But this reminded me that it's as bad to keep multiplying what I produce and make no progress.  

12 August 2015

Back in Anchorage

We flew back to Anchorage a day earlier and did more birdwatching on the mainland Alaska. It was scheduled that way in case the flight from the island didn't fly due to bad weather.  But it gave us opportunity to see more bird species, too.


American Robin at Hill Side Park. (コマツグミ)

We had a nice birding time at Potter Marsh and observed another bald eagle's nest.

On the last evening, we again found ourselves at Westchester Lagoon. 
Red-necked grebes were breeding in the lake. 

Belted kingfisher (アメリカヤマセミ)
One of us spotted this belted kingfisher perching at the far side of the lake.  It was too far away but I sketched it as a memento.  

I believe this was a lesser yellowlegs. But I didn't care much about what the species was because its silhouette against the dazzling water surface was just beautiful.  It was a perfect ending for a great birding tour.  

5 August 2015

21 o'clock, time to go out again!

It was still bright well over for two hours after the guided tour finished around half eight to nine. Almost everyone was out looking for more birds.

But not me on this day.  I stayed in my cosy warm room and painted this from the window.  It was 23:00.

The other day though I went out, too, in the late evening.  
There was a red-necked phalarope circling round and round in a little bond near the accommodation.  



Nootka Lupine(ハウチワマメ属)

Lapland longspur or Lapland bunting on wild celery. The flowers were in full bloom, even the monkshood.
“What is the difference, Potter, between monkshood and wolfsbane?"
I am glad that I didn't touch it! The guide told us that it could poison you merely by touching it and lead you to death! 

アカアシミツユビカモメ(Red-legged Kittiwake)
The guide told us that it's been bad years for kittiwakes and the breeding number has been decreasing.  As a result there was no red-legged pair breeding on the cliff this year.  But there were several of them flying and resting as well as bathing in a lake.    

Semipalmated Plover and mare's tails(ミズカキチドリとスギナモ)

Northern Fur Seal(キタオットセイ)


4 August 2015


My favorite place in the St. Paul Island was the least auklet's colony. They nest in crevices of big rocks along the shore.  Around three o'clock, they come out to stand on the rocks. I could have watched them for hours and hours.



The most abundant species of seabird on the island must have been the thick-billed murre. Some common murres were found among them. The thick-billed one has a white line on its beak and common dose not have it. But more obviously, body colour is different. Thick-billed is a dark chocolate and the common is the milk chocolate, the guide told us.

Murres were still incubating their eggs. It is quite late compared to the seabird colony in Scotland, where common murres or guillemots chicks were already hatched or even left the cliff two weeks before.

Beautiful greenish blue egg taken presumably a fox.  

3 August 2015

Seabird Paradise

St. Paul Island is a dream-like place for Japanese birdwatchers because seabirds photos' captions in famous Japanese bird guidebooks all say that pictures were taken from the island. And indeed, we could see the close up, beautiful breeding plumage puffins and auklets just like the guidebook photos.


Although the Horned puffin looks very similar to its Atlantic cousin, I realised that horned is much bigger, in fact six to eight cm difference in total length and whopping 230 gram difference in weight.


Tufted Puffin is even bigger!

Tufted puffin and the common murre or guillemot.  Why on earth even the bird names are different in American English from British English!