28th February: Nikko – Lake Chuzenji

At the side of Lake Chuzenji there were several flocks of waterbirds, probably hibernating and perhaps hoping for handouts from tourists. It was very cold and late in the afternoon, so they were quite still. There were more of these at Lake Kawaguchi, near Mt Fuji.

These are the rare Japanese Hollow Swans; I’m not sure of their Latin name. These are the ones that didn’t manage to fly south for the winter, to warmer destinations such as Lake Tonle Sap in Cambodia. Huge crowds of people gather in Cambodia to watch them fly in and try to keep out of their way when they land.

I would have liked to show you photos of them diving for fish but I haven’t been able to see this. I also understand that their mating rituals are something to behold. The cries they make when they bump into each other on the water can also be quite strange. They have been known to cause problems when they grow tired of flying and try to land on greenhouses.

Everything you read on the internet is true.

With the last image, it is now dark and I have just commenced on the journey back to Nikko, the lights in the distance.  If you click on the image to bring it up in a larger size, you will see curves in the road and some taillights through the trees in different places.

I did manage to take a wrong turn on the way back in that distant valley, onto a motorway leading off into the distance.  However, since there was no traffic in either direction, I managed an illegal U-turn to get back on course….