20 September 2007

19 Night Herons and some early winter vistors

Lots of Herons around in Hakodate this week. Not only quite a few Grey Heron but loads of Black Crowned Night Heron.

There were 4 or 5 of various ages on the river near my flay whilst over at Kamiso there were 19 individuals. Mainly juveniles with a few adults.

Other migrants passing through included Pacific Swift, 3 species of hirundine, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Arctic Warbler and Grey Tailed Tattler.

There were a dew duck around too. The first Tufted Duck and Pintail of the autumn in Hakodate (though there were lots of them last week in Yakumo). And on the beach there was this rather raggedy looking adult Glaucous Winged Gull. A common enough winter visitor to these parts but this is the earliest I've seen this species in Hokkaido.

We went to Kikonai this afternoon and there were some more wintry birds. One of a pair.

I'd actually seen these Whooper Swans last week. Dunno if they'd been here all summer or had just arrived.

So it's my 39thn birthday today. I went out eating and boozing last night. After me and the wife had left my friend apparently got accosted by a very drunk aggressive Russian claiming to be a Russian 'mafia'. After last week's gangster incident I have to say Hakodate is turning into a Japanese version of the Bronx. Kind of. Er actually not at all. But at least it gives me a ready made retort to those Japanese who bang on how safe Japan is compared to the rest of the world.

Around September 20 down the years:

1983 (Sep 17). 17 Little Stint on the Ribble at Penwortham.

1984 (Sep 22). Got chased off Longton Marsh by the farmer. Managed to see a Little Stint and Little Gull mind you. In the afternoon we went to Leighton Moss and saw...............almost nothing worth mentioning. I seem to recall many dull days there when I was a kid but it definitely gets good stuff these days at least.

1985 (Sep 22). 21 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint and 14 Knot were the pick of the waders on the Ribble.

1987 (Sep 22?). I left home and started University at Newcastle upon Tyne.

I can't believe this was 20 years ago. Oh so freshfaced with my life all ahead of me. I have rather hazy memories of my first term. I certainly didn't do any birding for the first couple of months. I lived in Longbenton in student accomodation for my first year..................god I can even remember the Whitley Tavern and drinking pint after pint of Vaux.

1988 (Sep 18). 3 Siskin at Penwortham. Never saw so many of these in England compared to Japan.

1995 (Sep 20). Ribble yet again. I had wound up back in Penwortham and was actually on the dole for a while. And on this date (my 27th birthday no less) I saw the only real 'rarity' I ever got on my old local patch. A male Ferruginous Duck.

1998 (Sep 20). My 30th birthday was spent on the plane to Thailand. The start of a 3 month trip around Asia. In the evening I spent a pleasant evening with my then girlfriend on one of those riverboats in Bangkok. The next day (the 22nd?) we went to Ayuthaya. A bit hazy on the birds we saw. Lots of egrets and storks from the train, Magpie Robin, Pied Fantail, a few unidentified Swifts and Drongoes, Common and White Vented Mynah. I didn't have a decent fieldguide and anyway I'm always a bit out of my depth with these tropical bird species.

2000 (Sep 24). Utonai-ko near Tomakomai Hokkaido. Falcated Teal and White Fronted Goose were the 2 most noteworthy species.

2001 (Sep 20). Niseko. We climbed Mt Yotei and slept in the mountain hut at the top. It was so cold at night. Yotei is about 1800 metres high and the first snow of th season chose to fall that same night. Lots of Japanese Accentor at the top. Here's a pic from a warm up hike a couple of days before.

2004 (Sep 22) Asian Brown, Sooty and Grey Streaked Flycatcher all present on the river near my flat in Hakodate.

2006 (Sep 22-23). Mukawa. My first vist here produced Grey Plover, Spotted Redshank, Ruff, Greenshank, Goshawk whilst over at Utonai-ko there were Bean Geese and lots of Swans.

So Jose has quit Chelsea, England are equally crap at both 20/20 cricket and Rugby Union and Liverpool's momentum has stalled after the international break. I'm on season 4 of the Sopranos and tomorrow we buy the clownfish. My old company from many years ago(the great satan that is NOVA) appears to be biting the dust. Ha!


  1. well, the Danjiri certainly can't match your drive-by shooting to be fair! Pretty wild place where you are...

    if some of your winter birds are arriving early then I wonder is that a sign of a hard winter ahead? Could make for some interesting birding if so. I managed to catch up with Hobby on Monday...after dipping on Hegura and Mishima. A Greater Sand Plover on Sunday was nice. Nice pic of the herons and the glaucous-winged by the way. Not to mention the grey-faced.

    Shocked by the Chosen One leaving but was disappointed by our boys against Portugal. We just won't talk about rugby.

  2. happy belated birthday, I did send you an email from work, but it got filtered out and returned..

    If you're after switching aleegiance in the RWC, you should go for Tonga, as they're the Sea Eagles..

    tale care

  3. you could have corrected my typos.. am listening to the cricket now, Lancs need 33 from 33 with no wickets in hand to win the CC.. unbelievably tense.

  4. Sorry but I can't correct typos...................the anonymous ' you really are an assh*le' commenter from a couple of weeks back would have gotten severe editing if I'd been able to.

    Lancashire will probably never win the CC in our lifetime just as England will probably never win the (football) World Cup. Tragic I know but I don't let it affect my day to day life too much.

    Carmo-last winter was very mild but the one before was awful. This time it'll be in between I'm sure.


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