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Sunny Sunday

JAPAN | Sunday, 22 September 2019 | Views [86]

Sunday at the beach, Shimoji-jima

Sunday at the beach, Shimoji-jima

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES.  The rain has stopped, the wind has died down and the sky has patches of blue.  Typhoon Tapah left behind some scattered palm fronds, more rubbish along the high-tide line and empty store shelves.  One Family Mart, our go-to convenience store, had no bakery products and another was fresh out of — heaven forbid — Coke Zero!  And Big Macs were 86ed at McDonald’s.  They must have run out of“special sauce.” 


      Whistling Green Pigeon

We joined Sunday’s early-risers across the re-opened Ibaru bridge to Ibaru-jima and Shimoji-jima.  While families staked claims on the wind-swept footprint-free beaches, we searched the mudflats and mangroves for birds.  When the incoming tide covered the flats we moved our vigil to the Botanic Gardens back on “mainland” Miyako.  We were immediately rewarded with a pair of Whistling Green Pigeons, high on Connie’s most-wanted list.



Knowing that we won’t likely be passing this way again we decided to visit Ikema, a small island on the eastern tip of Miyako.  After crossing the bridge we stopped at Obi-iwa, a.k.a. Shimojima Monolith.  As the story goes, a typhoon in 1771 tossed many huge rocks ashore.  Most were later used for the construction material but 40 foot high Obi-iwa remains in place guarded by a faded red torii gate.  That typhoon makes Tapah look like a summer shower by comparison.


White-winged terns


               Female Blue Rock Thrush                                  


                                  Gray-streaked Flycatcher

Our map shows a small lake (large pond?) in the center of Ikema, where various wading birds have been reported.  Our sat-nav didn’t show any access roads but we followed a puddled track on foot to a viewing platform.  We startled several waders that turned out to be green sandpipers and saw our first terns, specifically white-winged terns.  For some reason Miyako has been surprisingly bereft of gulls, terns and even cormorants.  Strange.



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