Brown-eared bulbuls and flowers

The brown-eared bulbul and flowers! Well, more precisely, I should say cherry blossoms. Over the last few months, I’ve been wanting to do more bird spotting, but many things have gotten in the way. But enough is enough, and I decided to do something about it. And as we are in the hanami season, it was a perfect time.

I grabbed my Fujifilm X-T3 and put the 100-400 mm lens on it. Suginami Ward’s Zenpukuji River Green Space was my target for the day. It is famous for its cherry blossoms and I thought I would find some birds there.

Well, one bird was there. It dominated the park. The brown-eared bulbul was its name. There was only one problem. They were high, up in the cherry blossom trees. With the flowers in full bloom, I had a big job ahead of me.

The bulbuls were hard to spot because the flowers gave them good cover. So it was a matter of listening for them to identify their rough location. Once I got that, I started looking for branches that moved. Then I could raise the camera to get a closer look. It worked out well.

Brown-eared bulbul information

  • Basic description: It is a medium-sized bulbul native to east Asia. They can be up to 28 cm (11 in) in length.  They are greyish-brown with brown cheeks (hence the “brown ears”) and a long tail. Though they prefer forested areas, they have adapted to urban and rural environments. They have noisy squeaking calls.
  • Scientific name: Hypsipetes amaurotis.
  • Habitat: They are all over Tokyo.

What other birds were at Zenpukuji River Green Space?

  • Crows
  • Pigeons
  • Rose-Ringed Parakeet (only one)

My camera settings for Brown-eared bulbuls in trees

  • Drive mode: Continuous
  • Focus: single-point focusing.
  • ISO: auto setting with default at 400 and maximum limited to 800.

Wrapping up

I thought it would be difficult to photograph the Brown-eared bulbuls. But, once I had a strategy to locate them, it was easy. Then it was just a game of patience until they or I moved into a position where I could get a photograph.

One thing was surprising. There were few birds of varying types in the park. The Brown-eared bulbuls were dominant. Have they pushed the others out? I’m not sure why. If you do, let me know.

Please leave your comments and questions below. I’d love to hear from you. And if you have any interesting tidbits of information about the bulbuls, please post that too.

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