Atori Bird Mt. Finch

Been watching these Mt. Finches the past couple of weeks.   They flock together, split up, land, take off and make an even bigger flock dancing in waves across the sky.


The Mt. Finch is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae.  It has also known as the Brambling.

花鶏  The kanji is “flower bird”

学名:Fringilla montifringilla

The scientific name “fringilla” means Finch.


Coal Tit Higara

Coal Tit       日雀      ヒガラ

学名:Periparus ater (Linnaeus 1758)

Parus ater. “dusky-black tit” –

The genus name, Parus, is the Latin for “tit”.

The specific ater is Latin for “dull black”.

Photo Danjo Garan November 29, 2019

This little acrobat hopped and leaped from branch to bough spinning my camera eye into dizzyness.  It danced around this Cherry tree and then entered the green maze of the Cedar behind it.

Its distinctive feature is its cute little tuft of tiny feathers on its crest.

日本では亜種ヒガラ(学名:Periparus ater insularis)が北海道、本州、四国、九州 に周年生息する I believe this is the subspecies that I photographed in the garan area.

Yamagara Varied Tit Cute Bird

This is a Varied Tit in a Japanese Yew tree.  He is gorging on the yummy red fruits.  They are also edible for people, but don’t eat the seeds!


学名:Parus varius             Poecile varius


The varied tit (Sittiparus varius) is a perching bird from the tit family, Paridae. It occurs in eastern Asia in Japan, Korea, and locally in northeastern China and extreme southeastern Russia (southern Kurile Islands ).

The varied tit was described by the Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob and the German ornithologist Hermann Schlegel in 1845 and given the binomial name Parus varius.

The genus name, Parus, is the Latin for “tit”.

tit‘ was an Old English word for something small. (100’s of years before it became slang for boobs)

What a lovely colorful bird.  It’s all over the mountains of Japan if you are patient enough to stop and let it come to you (or near you).

Varied Tits utter a nasal call like “Nee, nee”, “Tsweee”, etc. Their song sounds like “Tsoo-tsoo-bee, tsoo-tsoo-bee” with the accent on the third syllable. However, the vocalization varies considerably from one subspecies to another.

Bird Research News Volume 2 No. 12   2005 12 14

©Japan Bird Research Association

Sumiyoshi 1-29-9, Fuchu, Tokyo, Japan

Akebono-so Swertia bimaculata

Akebonoso  アケボノソウ 曙草

Doesn’t seem to have a common name in English. (It’s native to Japan and China)

I’ve seen this on the Women’s path and the Choishi Michi this week.


Not many flowers this autumn so really enjoying this little jewel.

Small, delicate and easy to miss!


One source says it’s named Akebono-so (“plant of dawn”) because the black spots on the flower resemble a starry sky at dawn.


Here is the Akebonoso just before the flowers start to bloom.

The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).

Gender nuetral


Japanese Oak Silkmoth It’s GIANT

ヤママユ  山繭    山繭蛾 Japanese Oak Silkmoth

学名: Antheraea yamamai

Coming home after a little stargazing…Hey! What’s that?



Wow! That’s a big moth!


And beautiful!


It’s about 7 inches (17 cm) wingtip to wingtip.

And it’s kinda furry?!


Sorry for the poor poor quality of the photo. I was trying to capture the translucent window on the wings. It truly is like a window. I wonder if it’s like fake eyes to fool predators into thinking it’s bigger than it already is…



Grape!? Kudzu or Kuzu Vine

クズ  葛    Japanese Arrowroot

The name is derived from the Japanese name for the plant East Asian arrowroot (Pueraria montana var. lobata), クズ or (kuzu)


Smells just like Fanta Grape soda!

科名:Peuraria lobata                      mame pea leguminosae

This sweet smelling flower blooms from late summer well into Autumn.

Japanese Arrowroot is a vine like plant with tree leaflets and big roundish leaves.


The flower itself has lovely bright reds and yellows, the reds sometimes being almost purple.

It has quite a few different uses which I will add soon!


Fir Tree Koyasan “Six Trees” Momi

モミ    Fir tree

科名:Abies firma

The Fir Tree is one of Koyasan’s “Six Trees” (Rokuboku)


In Japan the Fir tree is cultivated and harvested from the wild. It is  important in the timber industry. (It is often used as paper pulp.)

One easy way to identify this Fir tree is the “V” at the end of the leaves.

特徴的な点は葉っぱの先端が”V”字 に見える。

I’ve yet to try them, but apparently the seeds can be roasted and eaten. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to taste test this year.




This shows the bark of the Fir tree at about five feet above ground.

Beninaginata Red Mushroom!

ベニナギナタ タケ Benaginata  Red Naginata!  (mushroom)

The “Naginata is a traditional Japanese weapon.


It is also a traditional martial art practiced by many in Japan.


Pictured is a wooden naginata used for practice.  An actual naginata would be metal and capable of cutting out charging horses legs.



科名:Clavulinopsis miyabeana

The Japanese common name is “beninaginata”, roughly meaning “red naginata” 薙刀.

It’s quite a chore to collect enough to even make it a side dish,but as an accent to a salad it’s great.





The vivid red color is unique even if the flavor is mild to nearly nonexistent.

I found these near some Kōyamaki 高野槙, Hinoki 檜(Japanese cypress), and Red pine trees.

It’s color fades fairly quickly as it ages past ripeness.



Clavulinopsis is a genus of coral fungi in the Clavariaceae family.

The genus was first described scientifically by Casper van Overeem in 1923.

Casper van Overeem (1 October 1893 – 27 February 1927) was a Dutch mycologist.

van Overeem C. (1923). “Beiträge zur Pilzflora von Niederländisch Indien”. Bulletin du Jardin botanique de Buitenzorg (in German). 3 (3): 247–96.