I can see Hakodateyama (Mt Hkodate) from my balcony. A wide forest clad mountain that is the first landfall for many of the summer migrants to Hokkaido. And this week is the start of the best 2 weeks birding every year. And I'm been almost immobile from backache and can't go to the mountain even though I have a few days off work at the moment. I was able to gingerly go out for a short time today. The cherry blossoms were starting to open. They look nice I admit but after 7 or 8 springs in Japan I place them in the 'another overrated thing about Japan' file.
So I'm missing all those birds passing through. The river near my apartment usually has a few migrants too (in fact I've seen some pretty good birds there over the last 3 or 4 years) and today there were 2 female Red Flanked Blutails. Not a great pic but better than I'd been expecting yesterday when I could hardly move.
Some little brown birds flitting around the bushes turned out to be the 2 commonest migrants, Black Faced Bunting and Japanese Bush Warbler. No more interesting Warblers or Flycatchers unfortunately. A singing Japnese White-eye was the most notable species of the afternoon (I don't see them in town much although they're abundant on the mountain).
Other stuff around included Dusky Thrush, Barn Swallow and more Red Cheeked Starling and Bull Headed Shrike. I at least got a shot of a male Starling. Shame it isn't a very good one though.
It looks like they have a solid relationship. The local pair of Bull Headed Shrike were also out taking the air. They like perching atop bushes in photogenic poses. They also like flying off just as I get within range.
Here are some shots of the commoner stuff.
A Common Teal, a Black Backed Wagtail and a Brown Eared Bulbul.