15 January 2007

Ural Owl and other stuff

A Ural Owl at Onuma this afternoon. This is presumably the same photogenic individual from last year although it seems to have moved hole at New Year. It was a bit tricky getting this pic as it was in the forest (not by the road as with the last hole) and there were lots of branches and twigs in the way. I fired off lots of shots and this was one of the clearest. It was cold and snowing which didn't help. Winter finally hit south Hokkaido this week with subzero temperatures and lots of snow. Omuma is almost completely frozen (some folks were ice-fishing).

The only ice-free part is next to the railway where the flock of 60 or so Whooper Swans gather each winter. Swans are usually elegant graceful creatures but not today. They are fed daily by an old lady and this is a photo of their feeding frenzy.

Like Vultures scrabbling round the bloody still twitching corpse of a Cape Buffalo. Lots of Mallard with them as well a few Tufted Duck, Coot and Little Grebe. Common Buzzard and White Tailed Eagle were also around. In the forest there were the usual small common woodland birds including this Nuthatch.

At Kamiso the river was pretty quiet. Most of the Ducks seem to have gone south (although there were still quite a few Goosander and Scaup/Goldeneye were common out at sea). 7 species of Gull were resting at the rivermouth and 4 species of Grebe were offshore.

Birding has been pretty quiet the last 10 or so days in Hakodate. The car was temporarily unavailable and the wintry weather didn't motivate me to go anywhere other than just walking up and down the small river near my flat. I manged to get some fairly good stuff with nothing more than my old cheap 'n' nasty 10x25s in my pocket. 2 Night Heron yesterday were the pick and in the last week or so I've also seen Thayers Gull, Brambling, Hawfinch,Daurian Redstart, Brown Dipper, Coal, Great and Varied Tits, Nuthatch, Pochard, Goldeneye, Goosander, Grey Heron, Dusky Thrush, Peregrine and Sparrowhawk plus all the commoner stuff.

Bad week for Liverpool and England's winter tour just gets worse and worse.

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