Slow Down! – Let’s Protect The Okinawa Rail

The Okinawa rail is a flightless bird only found in the northern part of Okinawa. It is a protected species and declared a living natural monument. It is currently listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an endangered species.  In 2012 populations of this endemic bird were estimated at 1500 by the Environment Ministry.

okinawa rail

The Okinawan rail -

The rail is often found feeding on the side of the road. It feeds on worms, snails, and insects.

Okinawa rail posing ( Hypotaenidia okinawae)

Okinawa rail posing ( Hypotaenidia okinawae)

When defending its territory, the rail will become aggressive and flare its wings.

Angry Bird- Okinawa rail

Angry Bird- Okinawa rail


Okinawa rail awareness signs are posted along the main roads in northern Okinawa for their protection.

Okinawa rail awareness signs are posted

Okinawa rail awareness signs

The speed limit is only 40km/h so watch your speed for the protection of the wildlife. The rails are often seen feeding on the side of the road.

40km/h speed sign

Posted speed limit is 40km/h

I have observed these birds crossing the road on many occasions. They have no problems crossing when people are driving the speed limit. Speeding decreases your reaction time so slow down and pay attention to all crossing wildlife.

Okinawa rail crossing the road

Okinawa rail crossing the road


An Okinawa rail that was killed by a speeding motor vehicle on Route 2 in northern Okinawa.

okinawa rail - road kill

okinawa rail – road kill

Let’s protect the wildlife of Okinawa, Japan.

Have a great day!

Light & Motion – The ultimate flashlight for wildlife photographers.

I have been using the Light & Motion Sola underwater lights for over two years now. I take them on all my adventures to include scuba diving, river trekking, caving and nature photography trips. These lights provide constant beautiful lighting and are extremely reliable, which is why they are the perfect light for me.

Below is a photograph of me using Light & Motion lights in the field. I am the Japan contributor for the Meet Your Neighbours field studio project. Photographing the animal on white isolates the subject without any distractions. The animals are handled with care and then released back into the environment without harm. The images are used for conversation awareness and educational purposes.
A photograph of me documenting the endangered species of the ryukyu islands

Photograph courtesy of  Gary Hughes          assistant – Shannon Fox

The Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica) is an endangered species found in Northern Okinawa. This turtle is decreasing in numbers due to poaching, deforestation and road kill. The turtle is high valued in the pet trade market and needs to be protected.

Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtle, Ryukyu Leaf Turtle ( Geoemyda japonica Fan, 1931 )

Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtle           MYN field studio

I recently purchased the Light & Motion Sola compact tray with the extension kit and one GoBe 700 wide light. I have been using this setup with the Canon 70D to document the wildlife in Okinawa. The flexible Loc-line arms are an awesome advantage. They are easy to move while having full control over the constant lighting.   

Using the Light & Motion field setup

Light & Motion field setup                         Photograph courtesy of Ross Gallardy

A photograph of a Ryukyu kajika frog in northern Okinawa using the Light & Motion field setup

okinawa frog

Ryukyu Kajika frog ( Buergeria japonica )

The Light & Motion Sola 600 has a built in feature most people do not take advantage of. The light has a red light function which allows the user to get close to land and marine subjects without disturbing them. This red light is very effective and I highly recommend using it.

Underwater setup with sola 600

My underwater rig with the Light & Motion Sola 600  - Ikelite housing and strobes

The Light & Motion Nightsea Sola light can also be used on land. I am always searching for animals that fluoresce in the Yanbaru forest in northern Okinawa. You never know what you will find!

Light & Motion Sola Nightsea Blue light - Riukiaria falcifera

Light & Motion Sola Nightsea Blue light    Millipede – Riukiaria falcifera

If you would like to know more about the Light & Motion Sola series visit.

Have a great day!