16 May 2007
A Grey Tailed Tattler at Kamiso this morning.
Spring gathers pace in Hokkaido. A warm hazy spring day saw us get up very early and go up Mt Hakodate. Lots of common stuff around but no big falls of migrants alas. Most noticeable since last visit were the numbers of Narcissus Flycatcher. They were everywhere. Singing species included Siberian Blue and Japanese Robins, Oriental Cuckoo, Brown and Japanese Thrush, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Narcissus and Blue and White Flycatchers plus loads and loads of Black Faced Bunting and Japanese Bush Warblers. Non singing stuff included Red Flanked Bluetail and Pale Thrush. There were some unidentified things of course. A Pipit flew over without calling (or it could even have been a Yellow Wagtail as it was a very brief view and still quite dark) and god knows what the groups of finches were.
All the common resident species were around including this Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker.
We headed east to check for the Red Necked Pharalopes but they still hadn't arrived. Pelagic Cormorant, Brent Goose and Red Breasted Merganser were offshore but not much else. At Kamiso lingering winter species included Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Goosander. Grey Tailed Tattler were everywhere.
We headed out to Onuma in the afternoon. Many of the same singing species as Mt Hakodate were here. Some new birds for my 2007 list were Asian Brown Flycatcher and Japanese Green Pigeon (which has the weirdest call I've heard in Japan. It sounds like the Clangers from the 70's. Kind of.) The forest is becoming more overgrown and we heard lots of stuff but couldn't find it (like Black Woodpecker). Narcissus Flycatcher was abundant here too.
This is proving to be a bit of a bogey species as far as getting a dcent pic is concerned as is Mandarin Duck.
The Marsh Tits and Nuthatches are still ultra tame and easy to photograph.
Some depth of field issues with the Nuthatch pic (some parts are in focus and some aren't).
I'm already thinking about which lens I should buy next. 400 or 500mm? Do I need/can I even afford image stabilization? Canon? Sigma? Tamron? Tokina? New or second-hand?
So 2 more big games in the footy season (or 3 if you count England's must-win game in Estonia). 2006/7 was not really a vintage season although it will be a great one if Liverpool can beat Milan again. After that game we're going on a 5 night trip to east Hokkaido (we bought a tent and some camping gear today). We went last year in spring and autumn. Cranes, Eagles, Fish Owls, Bears and lots of other goodies.