It's fascinating watching birds Slurping Sweet Nectar of the Fatsia Japonica. This shrub is also known as the glossy-leaf fatsia paper plant or Japanese Aralia. It is a species of flowering plant in the family Araliaceae and is native to Central and Southern Japan, including Taiwan and Korea. It is an evergreen shrub that grows 1-3 meters or about 3ft to 10ft tall, with stout, sparsely branched stems. The Warbling White Eye or Mejiro, a Japanese White-Eye passerine bird, is petite and very agile and is about 10 cm (4) inches in length and weighs about 10-12grams. I give them the nickname "Little Ninja" due to their agility, speed, and lightning faster senses; I swear they know in milliseconds if you are glancing at them, so it takes an experienced birding photographer to capture an image of them, or you might get lucky, but probably only once. No, this bird takes skill and nohow to photograph such as most wildlife does. I have been a pro photographer and birder for over 30 years, and I have spotted about 7000 of the world's bird species in my sighting log books that I have carried to every continent and over a hundred nations. But for years now, I have enjoyed my lovely family and the fruits of scouting and touring birding in Japan, so birds I used to know in Latin and English I now know their names in only Japanese. This year, due to social distancing, I have been going over my birding books and relearning names in English because I have been making simple mistakes when identifying birds while on my Hokkaido photo tour and other birding photo tours in Japan and abroad. Just last winter, while leading my annual wildlife adventure in Hokkaido, I had one client who is recently retired and has been birding for five years a newbie, commented that I was more of a photographer than a birder. Oh, her words cut like a knife going in my back, but I shook it off fast and learned the lesson she had to teach me, and I thank her for the lesson.
It is now December, and in central Japan, it is late Autumn or Early Winter, and birding in central Japan is beautiful. And just yesterday, I photographed this Warbling White Eye slurping the sweet nectar of the Fatsia Japonica from my kitchen window, in Niigata Japan. I used a Nikon D850, lens Sigma 120-300 mm Sport with a x2 teleconverter giving me 600mm. My camera's settings were ISO 6400 f/11 1/500s, and I had the Optical Stabilizer (OS) on, giving me the advantage of using a slower shutter speed. I would have preferred a faster shutter speed, double or preferably triple, but with the birds feasting on the nectar inside this dense shrub where light is low, I was already pushing the ISO, in my opinion. I am still enjoying my career with DSLR's and I will for a few more years until, hopefully, Nikon gets their act together, because while testing the Nikon Z7 ll, I notice a lag in the viewfinder, and the battery life sucks. I even took Sony for a test drive, knowing that Nikon uses their sensors, but they are a video game maker, and their menu is like a video game, confusing as hell to learn, and they have issues with their viewfinders too. But in truth, I am from the old school of photography, and I am a manual shooter most of the time except when photographing wildlife; then I am on aperture priority, which I prefer over shutter priority, and I set my ISO manually.
2020 with social distancing is a difficult year for many of us, and this will be the first year in as long as I can remember I will not visit Hokkaido and my cottage there or running my annual winter wonderland cross country Hokkaido photo tour expedition. And my family will not be enjoying the holidays with our family in Tokyo. I remembered just four years ago; friends and colleagues thought I had lost a screw in my head for opening a satellite office and home in Niigata, on the Oceanfront, about 15 minutes walk to the beach, far away from the sparkling lights and commercial camera scene of Tokyo, Kanagawa the Kanto region Japan. But in all honesty, I am delighted the concierges of the Zen Meditation forest's across Japan guided us to Niigata, especially with a beach to swim in the summer, healthy and freshly picked grown vegetables, rice and other healthy foods, clean water, lots of wildlife. And I am located in the middle of one of the busiest birding migration routes in Asia. And just a short hike away are mountains and many Kofun Mounds sites to explore and a Buddhist monastery, all gifts I believe from the concierges of the Zen Meditation forest's, and as I pass, I tip my hat to them every day and give thanks.