Sunday, December 30, 2012

Semipalmated Plover, North America's Chidori

 The Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)  is a winter visitor here on the Gulf Coast of Florida. 
Audubon Society data link

Many years ago when I was stationed in Japan I heard a koto musician play a piece called "Chidori," which means plover in Japanese.  The story behind this haunting music is of  a Samurai walking his guardpost on a castle dawn he sees a lone plover on the shore and feels a kinship with the bird....sharing the beautiful dawn with the "chidori."  Having seen my share of dawns from guard posts in Asia, I have always remembered the music, the emotion and the memories...every time I see this shorebird.

The "chidori" is a cultural icon in Japan, it is found in traditional music, art, poetry and even contemporary comics and on t-shirts.
 Koto "Chidori no kyoku"
Click on the above link and hear "Chidori."

Here's a famous woodblock print (nishiki-e) from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  "Two plovers, waves and a full moon," by Utagawa Hiroshige I, from the Edo Period (late 1830's).

Beautiful Japanese calligraphy, "Chidori." 
a Haiku poem

"A plover on the shore
No grasses, no trees
his rainy night"

(Yosa Buson)  1716-1784
When nature becomes part of our lives and culture, we become a part of longer just observers.


  1. Hi Steve,

    Many thanks for the great comments on my blog! I'm new to the Nature Blog Network and I am enjoying finding all these great websites - including yours!


  2. Pretty bird and interesting story

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