26 April 2007

More spring arrivals

Not a great pic but a Japanese Bush Warbler flitting around on the path at the foot of Hakodateyama this morning. Lots of them present this morning. An abundant summer visitor and their song is probably the most familiar sound of a Japanese summer (well apart from workmen banging away at some pointless construction project of course). The vegetation has grown a lot since I was last in the forest and soon I won't be able to see this skulking species.

The deluge of summmer migrants hasn't quite arrived. Lots of Black Faced Bunting and Japanese White-eye in the forest. 1 Whites Thrush and several Pale Thrush showed briefly and there was 1 Japanese Grey Thrush singing somewhere up on the moutainside. Other notable species included Rustic Bunting, Red Flanked Bluetail as well as the resident Woodpeckers, Tits, Nuthatches etc. This view of a female Great Spotted Woodpecker's behind was sadly the best pic of the day.

Not much in town the last few days. A Black Faced Bunting was singing this morning near my flat and the first Red Cheeked Starlings arrived a couple of days ago. The males are a beautiful bird. Here's a crappy pic of a female hiding behind a branch.

There should hopefully be plenty of oppurtunities to photograph this species as they're very common in town (they nest along the river). Ditto Bullheaded Shrike.

And to finish off a lousy record shot of a male Black Faced Bunting.

Next week is a big public holiday in Japan (Golden week). This usually co-incides with the cherry blossoms in Hakodate (the locals go nuts over these) and the peak migration fortnight begins at the same time. All this and an exciting end to the football season.

Around April 25th down the years:

Busiest birding time of the year begins.

1983 (last week of April) Penwortham. A male Redstart, Black tailed Godwits, Grey Plover, Ruff, Red Breasted Merganser and Greenshank.

1984 (last week of April) Penwortham. Long Eared and Little Owls and Whimbrel.

1986 (last week April) Penwortham. Stock Dove, Winchat, Whimbrel. All of these 3 years had lots of Corn Bunting, Willow Tit, Tree Sparrow and Grey Partridge.......

1987 (April 27) Mere Sands Wood. Ruddy Duck, Little Ringed Plover, Sedge Warbler and Redpoll.

1995 (April 28) Penwortham. Big flocks of Common and Arctic Terns, lots Wheatears and Yellow wagtail, Sand Martin.

1996 (April 24) Penwortham. Black Tailed Godwit and Whimbrel, Sedge Warbler.

1996 (April 28) Haweswater. Great views of the Golden Eagles. Me and an old friend hiked up the side of the valley and watched them soaring for about an hour. An idyllic spring day. Got stoned on that hillside and had a pint in the village pub afterwards. Seems like a lifetime ago. Both of us were in crappy temorary jobs and had arrived back in Lancashire to stay with our parents. A bit embarassing in our mid 20's. At least life was simple. I haven't seen any Golden Eagles since.

2003 (last week April) Hakodate. Redpoll, Crossbill, Pacific Swift, Harlequin Duck, Grey Headed Woodpecker.

2004 (last week April) Hakodate. Short Tailed Bush Warbler, Crossbill, Rhinoceros Auklet, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Blue and White and Narcissus Flycatchers.

2005 (last week April) Hakodate. More of the above plus Ashy Minivet, Wryneck,Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, Rustic Bunting.........

2006 (last week April) Hakodate. More migrants as per usual ..........Japanese Robin being the most interesting. Elsewhere Hazel Grouse at Onuma (23rd) Black Winged Stilt at Hakodate and Kentish Plover at Asabu (30th).

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