Hen Harrier

Oe Reclaimed Land Area

One of the lesser-known reclaimed land areas around Isahaya Bay is Oe. This site is actually one of my favourites for photography, as there are usually no other people around and the backgrounds can be very nice if the angle is right. It is also good both at early morning and late afternoon, as you can position yourself to take advantage of different light directionality. Oe has a number of small canals that have natural banks lined with reeds. In the middle there is also a medium-sized lake, while along one edge flows the Honmyo River. This wetland area therefore plays host to many waterfowl and passerine species in winter, and they in turn attract different kinds of raptors such as Eurasian Kestrel, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Northern Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon, Black-eared Kite, Osprey and Eastern Marsh Harrier. But Oe is most famous for its Hen Harriers, which can be viewed and photographed up close and personal here and seem to frequent this location more than others in the area. Passerines have to watch out from below as well as above, as the reeds are also home to Japanese Weasel. This afternoon the light was soft as a thin wall of cloud masked the sun most of the time – challenging conditions for my 7D (and more suited to the 1DX I hope to have in the next month or so!). Despite the dreary conditions, there was plenty of action on hand and I did my best to document it.