6 June 2007
I watched and photographed a pair of Ruddy Kingfishers at the nesthole today. Just off the road that skirts around the lake at Onuma. Quite a gathering. About a dozen or so photographers with an astonishingly large and expensive set of lenses. I actually digiscoped these images and my set-up looked pathetically small compared to some of the monsters perched on the various tripods assembled. The birds were very co-operative although any nesthole action was too quick for my digiscoping set-up (the birds were too far away for my cheap 300mm lens to get any decent shots). It was difficult to get a shot of them together. This was the best I managed.
It's been raining and thundering all day but I could get the Kingfisher shots in a small 2 hour rainless window. The forest around Onuma now is a mosquito infested riot of jungle-like green. Less than 2 months ago it was devoid of any leaves at all and had snow on the ground!
It was strange to do digiscoping again. Compact cameras have improved since I bought my set-up. More megapixels, faster shutter speeds etc. My humble 4mp one has fallen a bit of a way behind but there's no way I can update it after splashing out on the DSLR. Still, I'm reasonably pleased with today's photos even if the mosquitoes were pretty aggressive.
I was concentrating on the Kingfishers at Onuma but there were also Japanese Grosbeak, Treecreeper, Narcissus Flycatcher, Sand Martin, Brown Thrush and the usual common stuff around. The weather was great up until yesterday but I was a little birded out after the east Hokkaido trip. Only common stuff around my apartment including Oriental Great Reed Warbler.
These are very common summer visitors and can be heard noisily singing from pretty much any scrubby area near water. On the crappy river that flows through town near my flat there are 6 or 7 territories and they are abundant over at Yunokawa.
A Black Kite at Kamiso last Sunday. Not much else here........except more Oriental Great Reed Warbler of course.
So it's Estonia v England tonight. I'll probably watch it live on my PC (delayed transmission only on satellite TV here). It's morbidly fascinating watching just how bad England have been the last couple of years. Such a collection of highly paid superstars playing like a team of hungover Sunday morning park footballers who have only just been introduced to each other.
Around June 6th down the years:
1983 (June 5th) Ribble at Penwortham. 3 immature Little Gull flying upstream.
1989 (June 10th). Ribble at Penwortham again. Start of a really hot spell. Typical summer stuff included Cuckoo, Sand Martin, Common Tern, 3 singing Corn Bunting, Yellow Wagtail, Partridge.
2003 (June 4th) Japanese Green Pigeon and Arctic Warbler at Mt Hakodate were 2 species that brought up my 100 on my first yearlist in Hakodate. The next day at Yunokawa there was singing Black Browed Reed Warbler amongst other stuff.
2004 (June 9th) A barely glimpsed lifer at Yunokawa. Grays Grasshopper Warbler. Surely one of the most difficult birds to see in Japan.
2006 (June 5th) A very late second summer Glaucous Gull at Kamiso.