August 22, 2008

Japanese Serow – Prefectural Animal of Nagano

To avoid the mid-day heat last month, I explored a trail that runs along a ridge at the base of the highlands above Chino, Nagano. The level trail is cut into the steep rocky slope just a dozen or so meters above the roads and houses, shaded by a heavy, mixed forest, with frequent spaces providing nice views of the valley and the Yatsugatake mountain range beyond.

Last Monday, having just arrived from Tokyo and needing to walk from the train station about thirty minutes to where I teach, I decided to take the trail again-- my third time. To my surprise, I came upon what at first I thought to be a deer-- but it was black. I then noted its terrier-like bearded head and small spike-like horns-- a mountain goat!

I took about ten photos-- none very good, sad to say, as I wasn't very close. It curiously watched me the whole time, even enduring when I unwittingly and repeatedly used the flash (it was heavily shaded where we stood). I later learned that such a sighting is quite rare, especially so close to the city. Locals even suggested I contact the local newspaper.

It looked very healthy and strong-- and moved powerfully and gracefully up the hill when I tried to get a bit closer. It looked a lot stronger and more powerful than the photos and descriptions I have found on line. The site that I felt gave the best description is here.

1 comment:

Jayman said...

Little cameras are much if you use them, this is a good stab and twist moment used to great timing and control, many people freeze up and the moment is gone, sounds like the goat had one of those moments and you were able to do your magic moments, papers are usually glad to have stuff like this, and if it needs to be relocated it would be a noble thing.

Post a Comment