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#171 Ecosystem Changes Observed in Okinawa in 2021 Part-3

#171 Ecosystem Changes Observed in Okinawa in 2021 Part-3
As I discussed in the 170th article in this series, the space in the Ryukyu Islands has improved to 2.0 in 2013 and 3.5 in 2019, based on standard where the Space Mate, which is the EM hado ceramic plate, is set to 1. This number increased to 5.0 in 2020 and 10.0 to 11.0 in 2021, and the number of plant viruses has drastically decreased, with the Ryukyu Islands approaching paradise.

In the previous articles, I have introduced cases of stray birds, and this article supplements this, as well as giving an example of wild Irukanda, mucuna macrocarpa, that have been seen everywhere. There has been information about the discovery of the stork on Yagaji Island for several years, and the storks have already become established on Yagaji Island..

Over the last few years, Irukanda blooming in clusters have become ubiquitous. It seems like a long time ago when people said that the Irukanda were but shabby looking small clusters and were more like phantoms. Compared to previous years jade vines in the city are also blooming beautifully, as if they are a different variety.

Last year, typhoons only grazed Okinawa, so spring flowers and produce are breaking records. This situation has never happened in the past seventy years since I first aspired to a career in agriculture. 

(The following articles are provided by the Okinawa Times. All rights reserved.)

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Okinawa Times, Saturday, April 9, 2022

Spring migrations, the islands are becoming more lively

Far Eastern Curlew and Peregrine Falcons fly to Tarama Village

 


(Right) Far Eastern Curlew that flew to Tarama Island on March 20.

(Left) Peregrine Falcon spreading its wings on a dead tree in Tarama Village on March 12

(Both photos by Kuniko Haneji)


On March 20, Kunio Haneji, 73, a farmer in Shiokawa Tarama Village, found and photographed the largest of the sandpiper family in Japan, a far eastern curlew. On the 12th, he also photographed a young peregrine falcon.   Mr. Haneji is pleased that the island is becoming more lively with birds during the spring migration season.

The far Eastern curlew is about 60 cm long and has a 110 cm windspan. It’s distinguished by its long, curved beak. The peregrine falcon has a black speckled pattern from breast to belly and a pale beak, which is a characteristic of young birds. 

Mr. Haneji, a bird lover, said, “I enjoy seeing wild birds on the beach and in the fields.”

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Okinawa Times, Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Storks Fly to Yagaji Island

Birds that brings happiness flew in
 


A stork was spotted on Yagaji Island on March 13 (photographed by Sadao Ikeda)

A stork was seen flying near Yagaji Clinic in Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture, at around 9:40 am on March 13. Sadao Ikeda, 59, a resident of Nakijin Village, took the photograph. 

Mr. Ikeda was riding in a car with his friend when he noticed the bird and stopped to photograph it. He said, “I had been hoping to see this bird someday since it is said to bring happiness, so I was very lucky and happy to do so. I will treasure the photo I took.” 

(Yu Tome, News Department of Northern region)
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Okinawa Times, Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Forest wagtail observed in Ishigaki City

First time to be observed in March
 


Forest wagtail looking for food near a sugarcane field in Ishigaki City on March 18.
(Photo by Masahito Kobayashi)


On March 18, the forest wagtail, which rarely flies to the prefecture as a migratory bird, was sighted in Ishigaki City. Mr. Masahiro Kobayashi, 47, of SeaBeans, a field guide service in Ishigaki Island, took this photo. He said, “In the fall every year a small number of these birds migrate to Ishigaki in, but this is the first time I have seen them in March. At first, I took a picture on the ground along a sugarcane field, thinking that it was a yellow wagtail. However, when I checked the image later, I discovered that it was a forest wagtail.” 

Forest wagtails breed in Russia, China, and the Korean Peninsula, and overwinter in Southeast Asia, from eastern India to Java and Borneo Island. The Japanese name, Iwami Sekirei, comes from the fact that the bird was first sighted in Iwami Town, Tottori Prefecture.

(Text edited by Seicho Chinen)
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Okinawa Times, Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Spring in Nago, Mucuna Macrocarpa, Irukanda in bloom

Free guide at Todoroki Waterfall Park  

 




Mr. Satoshi Shimabukuro, the manager of Todoroki Water Park, invites visitors to the park in front of the Irukanda flowers on March 24, at the park in Sukuta, Nago City

Irukanda, Mucuna macrocarpa (Fabaceae), a large vine characterized by its three pairs of leaves, is in bloom in Todoroki Waterfall Park in Sukuta, Nago City. The Irukanda vines are stretched on a tall tree of 7 to 8 meters with blooming, delighting visitors. The flowers are about 7 cm in length with stamens approximately 5 cm long protruding out from between the petals. The flowers are attached to the inflorescence in clusters 30 to 40 cm long. The vines also have many buds about 2 cm long. The vines are about 10 cm thick, and several of them are entwined at the base to form a rope.

According to Mr. Satoshi Shimabukuro, the manager of the park, the vines have been in bloom since early February and currently have about 100 bunches hanging from them.

The park offers free guided tours to the forest on weekdays, during which group visitors can touch the Irukanda. Guided tours are available for the first three groups of ten or more people, and reservations are required. The park is open from 9 am to 6 pm. For more information, please call the park at 0980-43-9299.

(Reported by Manabu Tamaki)
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Okinawa Times, Friday, March 25, 2022

Now is the best time to see the phantom flower Irukanda 

At each walking courses at Daisekirinzan in Kunigami Village



Visitors looking up at the Irukanda flower, Mucuna macrocarpa (front), called “nature’s chandelier” on March 21 at the Daisekirinzan in Kunigami Village.

The leguminous plant Irukanda, Mucuna macrocarpa, is now at its best at Daisekirinzan in Ginama, Kunigami Village, Okinawa Prefecture. According to Mr. Kise, chief planner of the facility, there are considerably more flowers blooming this year than usual, and purple flowers clusters can be seen in various spots at Daisekirinzan.
According to Mr. Kise, Irukanda grows wild in the mountains of Yanbaru and other areas rich in nature and is not easily seen. The flowers are called the “phantom flower” or “nature’s chandelier.”
The flowers are expected to be blooming until mid-April. Visitors can enjoy the flowers along the Banyan Tree Forest Course as well as the Barrier-Free Course. Until April 17, each visitor will receive a postcard with a design of Irukanda flowers.
Mr. Kise said, “Probably this is the most it’s ever bloomed. I want everyone to enjoy the beautiful flowers while fully enjoying the great outdoors.”
Kei Miyazato, 49, a visitor from Naha City, said, “I come here almost every year to see the Irukanda flowers, and I have never seen so many of them in bloom. They are fascinating and really spectacular.” His wife, Yuna, 49, was also pleased to see the flowers in full bloom.
Admission is 1,200 yen for those 15 years old and over, 900 yen for those 65 years old and over, and 550 yen for children ages 4-14.

 (Goro Nishikura, News Department of Northern Region)
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Okinawa Times, Friday, March 11, 2022

“Phantom flowers” blooming in the shade

Irukanda blooms in clusters in Izena Village 




Dark purple Irukanda flowers blooming in a dimly lit spot in Nakata-ku, Izena Village on May 5.

Irukanda, Mucuna macrocarpa, also known as the “phantom flower,” are in bloom in Izena Village, Okinawa Prefecture. Irukanda is a leguminous family and blooms in moist, shady places.  
A colony of Irukanda with vines growing out of it can be seen near a well on the south side of Nakata Village. Although not seen in sunny places, many dark purple flowers reminiscent of large bunches of grapes are blooming in a dimly lit secluded area.

After flowering, they produce pods of beans about 30 cm long. The fragrance of the flowers is very unique and is said to be “like exhaust gas.” 

(Reported by Yasushi Higa)
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Okinawa Times, Saturday, March 19, 2022

Vibrant Jade vine

Flowers at their very best at Mr. Matusda’s house in Yomitan Village



Mr. Masatsugu Matsuda, who has been raising jade vines for eleven years, in Takashiho, Yomitan Village on March 14th. 

The bright emerald green Jade vine (Fabaceae) at the home of Masatsugu Matsuda, 71, in Takashiho, Yomitan village, is in full bloom. Jade vine, also dubbed the “mysterious flower” because of its color and appearance, is said to be in full bloom until the end of March and will be at its best until early April. Visitors from all over the prefecture visit Mr. Matsuda’s house near the ruins of Zakimi Castle to catch a glimpse of the flowers. 

Mr. Matsuda began growing the Jade vine eleven years ago by raising one plant grown on pressed trees, and now the tree produces more than 1,600 clusters of flowers. He has been taking great care in growing them, adjusting the position of the clusters of flowers so that each of them is at its best, and lighting them up at night.

On the 14th, visitors from Onna Village, Okinawa City, and other places came to see the flowers, enjoying them and commenting, “It’s so magical and beautiful…. It’s amazing that they grew from a single tree.”

 “Flowers respond to the amount of love you put into them,” Mr. Matsuda happily commented. “It has an indescribably beautiful color found in no other flower and is also quite mysterious looking and lovely at night.”

(Tokiura Nakamura, News Department of Middle part of region)


 
(April 22, 2022)
Courtesy of Ecopure

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