6 May 2007

Cherry blossoms and back pains Part 2

The cherry blossoms continue to bloom and my back continues to ache a bit less every day. Bird of the week was a WRYNECK on the river near my flat. Very briefly seen and no photo I'm sorry to say. A few other bits and pieces in Hakodate included a female Brown Thrush, lots of Japanese White-eye, Black Faced Bunting and Japanese Bush Warbler and a male Wigeon on the river today. My wife saw a male Blue and White Flycatcher in the park yesterday whilst I was working. I saw my first ORIENTAL GREAT REED WARBLER of the year this afternoon too.

Here's a male Red Cheeked Starling.

And some Japanese White-eyes feeding on the cherry blossom.

Not a vintage week for birds or bird photos but I'll blame my back for that. But my I'm feeling somewhat better and tomorrow I'm going up Mt Hakodate. I'm showing some visiting birders around. I hope there are lots of migrants for them to see.

We went to Onuma briefly yesterday afternoon and got stuck in a traffic jam heading north out of Hakodate! This is almost unknown in south Hokkaido. Mind you it was the end of Golden Week. Lots in the forest at Onuma. Singing Eastern Crowned Warbler, Blue and White Flycatcher, Japanese Grey and Japanese Brown Thrush plus all the usual paridae and Woodpeckers. Here's an aggressively photoshopped female Black Woodpecker.

And some more cherry blossoms. They were starting to blow off the trees today.

Around May 6th down the years:

1984 (May 6) There were 'hundreds' of Common/Arctic Terns at Penwortham.

1985 (May 6) Another heavy Tern passage at Penwortham.

1986 (May 5) Black Tern, Ruddy Duck and Sedge Warbler at Martonmere.

1987 (May 5) My first ever Night Heron at Redscar near Preston.

1988 (May 7) Whitley Bay. Sandwich Tern, Shag and Purple Sandpiper.

1995 (May 5) Little Tern and Sedge Warbler at Penwortham.

1999 (May 7) Ringed Plover, Whimbrel and '7 possible Little Gull'. What was I smoking that day not to ID a group of seven gulls?

2000 (May 1). My first ever trip up Mt Hakodate. Varied Tit and Long Tailed Rosefinch were among the many common species that were lifers that day.

2003 (May 4 and 7) Hakodate. Siberian Blue Robin, Eye Browed Thrush, Rhinoceros Auklet, Narcissus Flycatcher, Grey Tailed Tattler and lots of other migrants.

2004 (May 1-4) Tobishima and Yamagata/Akita ken. My only 'real' heavy birding in Japan. Tobishima is a vagrant hotspot and we got some rarities. Best was Northern Wheatear (ok it's very rare in Japan), Red Throated Pipit, Hoopoe, my first ever Japanese Robin, Japanese Murrelet, Grey Headed Lapwing and lots and lots of the commoner migrants moving north.

2005 (May 2) Hakodate. Grey Bunting was the best amongst many species of migrant.

2006 (May 3). Yakumo. Wryneck, Mongolian Plover, Gadwall, White Winged Scoter, Slavonian Grebe, Red Throated Diver.

The first 2 weeks of May are usually my favourite birding time of the year. The Terns, waders and passerines at Penwortham, the deluge of migrants at Hakodate, the singing Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps in Munich.........it's a great time to be alive. It's also the end of the footy season of course. Mercifully I don't have to fret about a major tournament for England (and it's looking like I may not in 2008 either).

And what about Liverpool!?!? Whooo-hooo!!Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Jose you arrogant former lackey of General facistismo whatever his name was.

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