Saturday, February 11, 2012

Scout week is for the birds

Years ago, I began quilting a dragon runner for the bureau in my entry way. Then we moved and the bureau went into storage. The new place has a large coffee table and the "Dragon year" was coming so I thought it might be a good time to finish this runner. Do you think I could find it? It is a complete mystery how anything can hide in a place this small! I found a second panel which has now been re-homed but it took some time to find this creature lurking in a box where it had been shoved to make room for guests.

I had quilted with gold thread around the pattern and at last I began to quilt the waves in the background. I was travelling a long way by train today to meet up with Scouts for a bit of nature study. I should have been able to finish during the train ride ... however ... In the "Silver seats" which are reserved for handicapped, and aged passengers, all but two of the eight seats were taken up by young people (reading, texting, and sleeping). I sat and pulled out my work expecting an hour of progress. The very next stop, two elderly ladies got on. One sat beside me and none of the younger passengers moved. Finally I got up and gave my seat to the other lady. Well, they were probably within a year of my own age but I was in my Scout uniform so I thought I should be setting the example. Next stop, an old man with a cane entered. So much for the example. I am amazed how those young people can manage to sleep, (eyes shut so as not to see those standing), but still jump up and exit when their station arrives.

I took the long way home so the waves are almost done but they could have used that hour trip. I will have to add a border as my coffee table is a lot bigger than the bureau of the earlier plan.

On the wall between my house and the neighbor, I have made a feeder by pounding nails up through a board. Two sides slide down over the wall and I can place apples or oranges on those nails each winter for the birds.

This Mejiro or Japanese White-eye seemed to be saying, "You are going so far to see birds? Whats the matter with right here?"

The group I met in Ueno was made up of Scouts and Cubs and parents from a combination of Tokyo units. We walked up through the park looking at trees, then back down to the pond to check out the birds. There are requirements for identifying "wild animals" in your area but unlike the states where you might see squirrels rabbits, coons, skunks, deer and all kinds of wildlife, in Tokyo, your best bet is birds and the best time is winter when the visiting flocks are in town.

The group was HUGE. I'm glad there are so many kids interested in developing their observation skills. There were at least 30 boys and parents and siblings and leaders doubled the size of the group.

I gave each boy a printout of what we might expect to see and told them how to use the clues to identify the birds. We saw over 20 varieties. The city has not cut back the lotus plants so they were a bit harder to see among the plants. Still, ten was the goal so we did well.

Here is an Eurasian Wigeon.

This was a very aggressive male Shoveler. He was chasing every other male out of the area.

All the while the female scooped up bread crumbs tossed by visitors.

Surprise visit by a turtle. Checking out the sun.

And this immature Black-headed Gull is fetching a ride on a swan boat.

In the trees above the bird-watchers are the people-watchers. There were quite a few bird-watching groups in the area. Many had telescopes and let the kids have a peek. I have a camera with a very good telephoto lens but it is not digital. I have been toying with the idea of getting a digital that can use those lenses. Other than the price, the size and weight are enough to make me wonder if I would use it enough to make it worth buying. Today was a day I wished I had it.

Too bad I didn't get a picture of the real "wild life" ... all those boys! This was a fun way to end Scout week and a group I didn't mind speaking in front of.


  1. That dragon panel is really georgous! I have the opposite problem losing things in this apartment because it is too big. I should have been with you today, I have a lot of trouble identifying birds here. I know the Mejiro, Karasu, Mandarin Duck and the Azure Winged Magpie and that's about it!

  2. how wonderful to have a big turn out for your outing...hopefully they will also learn manners and how to act on a train!! Your pannel looks great xx

  3. I do love that panel, mine is still hanging on my sewing room door waiting for me to get inspired and decide how to turn it into a quilt for Guitar Hero the quilting on yours!

  4. Your pictures reminded me of our visit to Ueno and then the Yanaka cemetery. We saw a very large crow-type bird flying and then sitting in a tray with a polystyrene takeaway tray of food that he had acquired from somewhere.
    I am shocked about those youngsters in the silver seats, I thought manners were better than that in Japan! Not amongst the young I guess. I wonder why nobody said anything.
    Love the dragon by the way.

  5. Julie your dragon panel is stunning. I love the brilliant blue against the red. I know that Japan has always respected their older people so it's disappointing to hear of the behavior of those young folks. I loved the swan boats - haven't seen those before. :) blessings, marlene

  6. Beautiful work you're doing on that panel. I know how it is to search and search for something and still not find it. I read somewhere that when you're putting something away for safekeeping, you'll always remember where it was, not where it is. So true! What a lovely day you had with your boy scouts. It looks like the weather must be nice there this time of year.

  7. Love your dragon piece and perfect timing for finishing.
    Looks like a wonderful place for bird viewing and love the shape of the boats.


  8. Beautiful dragon. Sorry to read that the kids in Japan have picked up on the "me first" syndrome, which is a popular behavior even by adults here in the US. I always look forward to your posting of pictures from your outings in Tokyo. Soon the ornamental fruit trees should start to bloom there. Here in N.CA the trees are opening up, which reminds me of areas of Tokyo that I would cycle through.

  9. I am so pleased you have found your dragon. I often wonder why we hide our work so well! The quilting is looking great.
    What a lovely bird to have visiting your feeder. Lovely idea.
    Sounds like your scout group is full of energy!

  10. I love your dragon quilt. It is going to be quite beautiful! Your bird photos looked great! I know how frustrating it can be when a bird is out of range of your lens.

  11. Wonderful bird photos! The Mejira is so pretty. I love birds and it is interesting to see ones you have there that we would never see here. Your dragon table runner is spectacular, as is all your work. It will be lovely when done.

  12. I love the baptist fan quilting on your runner. And outings with Scouts are the best!