Best sunset in 2011

Since I still have not shown my photos in CostaRica, I picked some photos. Today's theme is best sunset in first half of 2011. I took these photos on the terrace of the hotel in Carara national park where was my final destination in CostaRica.
On this day, weather was not good all day long. but, late afternoon, sun started to shine from the edge of clouds.

Then its light dyed the roof and wall of the hotel.

it made appear the rainbow in the sky where it rained a few minutes before.

Also it dyed cloud into scarlet.

After sun set in Nicoya peninsula, the sky showed spectacular show like aurora.

The color of the sky was changing every moment,

color of the see was changing as well

Finally, it ended spectacular show in the silence.

Remaining sunset was also beautiful.

This show was seen only in a few moment, but I was moved by nature art.
And, without doubt, it was my best sunset in the first half of 2011 (probably the best in 2011).


Hiking? Animal watching??

前回の日記にも書きましたが、、現地には三日しかいませんでした (^^;
As I wrote in previous column, I stayed in Banff for only three days. However, since I was walking around outside from 6:00am to 9:00pm every day, I could see more kind of wildlife than I expected and enjoy magnificent view of Canadian Rockies.

グリズリー、エルク、ミュールジカ or オジロジカ、ビックホーンシープ、コヨーテ、シラガマーモット、アメリカナキウサギ、リス4種(ヒメシマリス、コロンビアジリス、シマリス、アカリス)、ウサギの一種、ネズミの仲間、オオカミ?。まぁ、、オオカミについては、バンフから空港に向かう車から、それらしい姿を目撃しただけなので微妙ですが。。
At first, I am listing name of mammals I saw during my stay.
Grizzly bear, Elk, Mule deer or White-tailed deer, Big horn sheep, Coyote, Hoary marmot, Pica, four species of squirrel (Least Chipmunk, Columbia Ground Squirrel, Chipmunk, Red squirrel), a kind of rabbit, some kinds of mouse, wolf ?. Regarding wolf, I just glance at Husky like big dog in the suburb of Banff from the car. so it is suspicious.

When I looked out side of the room in the first morning, I found squirrel was climbing up and down the trunk of the tree. After taking photo, I confirmed it was red squirrel which I did not see during last visit.

Since they live in the town, it seems they are not too cautious about human. So that I could see them in short distance for some time.

After breakfast, I headed for Lake Louise and enjoyed hiking around the lake. As you can see, color of the water is something like painted. This color is specific to the lake whose source of water is glacier. I don't explain detail, but I heard the color of lake varies depending on the volume of water from melted glacier.

On this day, I walked on the hiking trail which leads to Lake Agnes and Little Beehive. The first view point I reached was Lake Mirror. The big mountain in left hand side is a peak which is called 'Big Beehive'.

さて、、このミラー湖、NZにある同名の湖のような趣向があると思っていたのですが、、、何もありませんでした (^^; ちょっと残念。。 どんな趣向かは、、↓のリンクを開いてみてください
Since the name of the lake is 'mirror', I expected there was something special in this lake like a lake in NZ. But I did not find anything unfortunately ;-(     Please open below link to see what is special in the lake in NZ.


After then I kept on walking on the trail. Since it was very popular trail, it was neither rough nor steep. So I enjoyed beautiful scenery.

This is one of my favorite. This completely match with my image on Canadian Rockies.

Then I reached Lake Agnes.

By walking around the lake, I found many alpine plants were blooming.

In the scree slope where is filled with blooming alpine plants, I saw Hoary marmot.

Since he or she was sunbathing at that time, sometimes it put its head on the rock. How cute was it!

My first impression was 'relatively small animal'. But they were bigger. Actually they were much bigger than house cat.

During waking on sunny slope, I found Columbia Ground Squirrel which I often saw during last visit. I often saw them to stand on the ground to look around.

ただ、、ハイカーが餌をしょっちゅう与えているせいか、、警戒心は0! 写真を撮る分には楽でいいのですが、、人が餌をやっているのは感心しませんね。
After some more walk, I reached Little Beehive. There, many Chipmunks were waiting!! And they were not cautious for people at all!! I assume this is because many hikers feed them. So it was easy to take photo,,, but I don't link people feed wild animals.

Anyway, scenery from Little Beehive was awesome.

Then I found Least Chipmunk was walking around between the gap of rocks. I heard four kinds of squirrel inhabits in Canadian Rockies and saw all of them in a day!!
By the way, I personally prefer Least Chipmunk to others.

Then, I walked down the mountain by taking another route,,,,

But, the day had not ended yet!!!!! I saw a lot of animals after then.



Summer in Canadian Rockies

目的は、、雄大な景色もさることながら、今回の旅行の大きな目的はロッキーに棲む動物達を見ること! 現地(バンフ)でフルフルに動けたのは3日間だけでしたが、期待以上に色々と見れて楽しめました!

I took a short trip to Canadian Rockies by combining national holidays and paid holidays. This is may second time to visit there. Objective of this trip is to see wild animals in Rockies as good as enjoying scenery. Thought I was in Banff for only 3 full days, I could see many kind of wild animals!!
I will talk about detail afterward. Today, I am putting several photos.

トップバッターはグリズリー。こちらは2、3才の子熊。可愛いですね~ 写真を撮った時、お母さん熊と一緒にノンビリと食べ物を探していました
First photo is cubs of Grizzly bear. How cute are they? When I saw them, they were eating something with their mom.

こちらはシラガマーモット。ちょっと体は大きいですが、、こちらも中々可愛らしいですね~ 初日に歩いたハイキングコースでは、、短時間の間に5匹も見れました♪
This is Hoary marmot. Their body were little bigger, but they looked cute too. When I went hiking on first day, I saw five of them in short time.

こちらは、、ヒメシマリス。とにかく小さて動きが早い! 似たような柄で少しからだの大きなリスもいるのですが、どちらも可愛いです♪ 体の大きな種類も写真は沢山撮っているので、後で紹介します
Least Chipmunk. They were very small and moved very quickly. In Canadian Rockies, another squirrel whose pattern is similar inhabits, but body is larger. Since I also took many photos of them, I will show afterward.

Big horn sheep. Male has impressive cured big horn which looks cool.

Pup of big horn sheep. Very very cute!!!

Male of Elk. They had significantly big body and antler and were very impressive.

Of course, I enjoyed seeing beautiful scenery in Rockies.

And also enjoyed watching flower of many kinds of alpine plants. I heard this year was cooler than usual and timing of blooming was also delayed. Fortunately for this delay, I could see beautiful yellow orchid 'Yellow lady slipper'. How lucky :D



Cool down in the river

Yesterday, I spent most of time to check and re-size photos I took in CostaRica. So only 2500 photos now remain to be checked!! Below is a link to new albums.


そして今日も晴れ!!って事で、今日は三重南部の川に行ってきました♪ ほんとは和歌山南部の川に行く予定だったのですが、、寝坊してしまったので仕方なく・・・と言うのがホントのところです(笑)
In this morning, weather was fine!! So I drove to the river in southern part of Mie prefecture. Initially I planned to go the river in southern part of Wakayama pref. Since I woke up too late, I was obliged to go Mie.. Today, I saw many Lizard goby. In the late afternoon, I saw many of males started to skirmish each other.

ほんとはオイカワの婚姻色を・・・と思っていたのですが、、今日行った場所では婚姻色どころかオイカワ自体すら見れませんでした(泣) 家の近所を流れる、あまり綺麗でない川なら幾らでもいるんですけどね。。。
I wanted to see freshwater minnow to show mating color, since now is the mid of mating season. But, I could not see single freshwater minnow...
I know many of them are living in the river near to my house which is not so clean and I don't want to snorkel.

When male of Lizard goby are fighting, they change body color more colorful. Usually they are sober colored, but their body color becomes worth seeing.

By the way, there are several dam in lower reaches of this river. So all Lizard goby in this area is same species. Kii peninsula has big mountains and rivers, but not a small number of river have dam in the mid.. So if I snorkel in such river, I cannot find any other kind of lizard goby whose juvenile grow up in the sea.

Female of the lizard goby. On the green carpet, it looks beautiful ;-).

I also saw Red spotted masu trout. From this side, it looks normal,,,

But another side is quite different. There is no eye!! Also shape of mouth is strange.. Not sure whether this is malformed or attacked by other animals. I was simply impressed this fish grew up this size in spite of many challenges.

今日は写真をあまり撮っていないので、、最後にカジカガエルの写真を貼り付けておきます♪ 自然光で撮った方がよかったかな?
As an end of today's photo, I am putting 'Kajika Frog'. It seems I should have taken photos without flash..


Rausu: Orca and...

目的は、、、、シャチを見ること!!! ず~っと見たいみたいと思いつつ、、見れずにいた動物です。 去年まで全然知らなかったのですが、、知床半島と国後島に挟まれている根室海峡ではシャチを含め鯨類が結構な確立で見られるのです。そんな訳で去年の夏から4回ほど訪れていたのでした。(シャチだけが目的と言うわけではないですが)

Last weekend, I had a short trip to Rausu in Shiretoko peninsula. Main purpose is to see Orca which I have dreamed to see them in nature for a long time!! Last year, I knew that many whales can be seen in Nemuro Channel which locates between Shiretoko peninsula and Kunashiri island. That is one of the reason why I have been there for 4 times since last summer.

And, I finally succeeded to see wild Orca!!!

The group were shy and did not play with us, but I could see them in very short distance. How wonderful!!

Group of Orca and background is Kunashiri island. Since they live with family, they usually seen in group.

愛想の良いグループも結構多いらしく、、一度見つけるとシャチの方からず~っと船に併走して泳いでくれたり、、ジャンプしてくれたりするとの事でした。数日前もそんな群れに遭遇したそうで、、「また来ないとあかんな~」と早くも新たな課題を見つけました (^^;
I heard that there are many friendly groups. If we found such group, they keep on swimming along with ship for a long time, and they sometimes jump. So I came to have another wish to see friendly Orca!

土曜日(7/2)は海もベタ凪、おまけに青空が広がり、、更にシャチ以外にも動物も沢山!!で祭り状態でした♪ こちらはミンククジラ。
On Saturday (Jul 2), see was calm with blue sky and with plenty kind of animals other than Orca.
For example, minke whale.

This whale was more friendly than the one I saw last year. Since this whale frequently showed its back, I could take some photos. But, to say honestly, I was so satisfied to see and take photo of Orca, that I did not concentrate so much to take photo at this time ;-)

その他、ツチクジラを見かけたり、、更にはオットセイの赤ちゃんまで見てしまいました! この時はシャチがいる現場に急行していた時だったので、証拠写真を数枚撮っただけでしたが、、可愛い~~かったです♪  そうそう、、、野生のキタオットセイを見たのはこの時が初めてでした (^^;
In addition, I saw Baird's Beaked Whale and young Northern Fur seal!! Since the ship hurried to the place where Orca was seen, I took only a few photos. He (or she?) was very cute in deed. Also this was my first encounter with Northern Fur seal.

Also I saw several Dall's porpoise. Since their body color looks like Orca, I wanted to take good shot of them. However, they swam fast and did not show their body on the surface, it was very hard to take photo.

When I found they show their back and tried to find them in Camera's finder, it was too late (i.e. their body is already under the water.)

This is the view from see surface. You can find head in the right hand side of the photo.

There were a lot of see birds. Below is Northern Fulmar. I could see white colored morph too.

And some short-tailed Shearwater which enormous number of them visit Nemuro channel in the spring.

そして、、ウトウの姿も。。。ちょっと遠いですね (^^; でも数はそこそこいたようです
And Rhinoceros Auklet. I could not see it in short distance, but found some.

When I took a boat, fog covered Rausu town and sea.

Then fog was getting cleared on and on,,,

知床連山も綺麗に拝む事ができました♪ 夏場の羅臼は霧が発生しがちで気温もあまり上がらないので、、羅臼から知床連山を見れてちょっと得した気分でした
Then, I could see Shiretoko ranges. I felt somehow lucky, since this side of peninsula often have fog in the summer and it makes temperature always lower than other side.

Cliff in the west coast of Kunashiri island.

Here is a view of Shiretoko peninsula from ship.


After taking a boat, I drove along with coast to search for brown bear. (but, could not find them)

On Sunday, I took a boat again to expect more whales. such as Orca, sperm whale. But there were less animals on this day..


I saw some Dall's porpoise. But number was not so much as Saturday.. Since they are wild animals, it was also expected (but I felt little bit disappointed..)
On the other hand, I saw Fork-tailed storm-petrel which I did not see in Saturday. So it seemed some change was made to see.

Short-tailed Shearwater I saw on Sunday.

Northern Fulmar on Sunday.

Then I went to Memanbetsu airport to take a flight to Shin-chitose. When I crossed a mountain pass (Shiretoko pass), I found a  Ezo red fox on the road.

What does he (she?) have in the mouse??

After relaxing on the road, the fox walked to somewhere.

Here is a view of Shiretoko pass on Sunday. Even though it is fogy in Rausu, weather of another side of Shiretoko peninsula beyond the pass often be fine.

こちらはウトロから女満別に向かう途中で立ち寄ったオシンコシンの滝。去年は滝近くの駐車場が工事中で立ち寄れなかったので、急いでいたものの寄り道してしまいました♪ いや~想像以上に大きな滝でした!
Here is Oshinkoshin waterfall which I saw on the way to Memanbetsu airport. It was much bigger waterfall than I expected.

と言うわけで、、駆け足だったものの念願のシャチをついに見ることが出来て充実した週末旅行となりました♪ 因みに・・・事情により今回はシマフクロウを見ることが出来ませんでした。

The trip was very short, but I could see Orca and it was very good. Since I could not see Blakiston's fish owl, I want to see them in the next trip!