Spring Preview, 2021 (Part 2)

Hello again, readers. As promised, we’re back with the second part of this year’s spring preview. In this segment, we’ll talk briefly of what to see and do in May, when the snow thaws and the flowers begin to bloom.

The flower most identified with early spring in Kamikochi is the anemone. These flowering plants from the buttercup family Ranunculaceae may look modest individually, but they create a striking impression when the bloom en masse in thick blankets of white. Together with the fecund scent of flourishing plant life in the air, they form an essential part of early spring ambience.

Two other hallmarks of early spring are the “new green” leaves appearing on tree branches and the bold color of the Azusa River in the wake of the melting snow:

Last week, we mentioned spring being a good time for bird watching and introduced the Eurasian wren. This week, we’d like to introduce the grey wagtail:

The reason that this charming fellow is called the grey wagtail and not the yellow wagtail (a related species) is that the former has less yellow on its underside than the latter.

And, speaking of wagtails…

The Motacilla grandis has the English language soubriquet of “Japanese wagtail.”

If you’re new to birdwatching, one hot tip from the Five Sense staff is to look for birds by riversides where there are fewer trees to obstruct your view. As mentioned last week, the lack of dense leaves in early spring also makes it easier to see birds on branches.

One final piece of early spring advice before we wrap this segment up is that you should remember to wear a hat. UV levels are generally very high in the Northern Japan Alps, so a brimmed hat and some sunscreen will help you avoid sunburn.

That’s all for this week. Thanks as always to the people at Five Sense for maintaining the excellent Japanese language blog on which our blog is largely based.

And thanks also to our devoted corps of readers who’ve stuck with us through thick and thin. Join us again next time for more coverage of the upcoming 2021 spring season.

Sources of Information:

Nature Guide: Five Sense, Kamikochi blog: https://fivesense.guide/blog/column/29721/