24 October 2007

Another long walk

After a week of crappy cloudy, windy and rainy weather the sun came out again and I did the same walk as last week. The birds were largely the same en route to Mt Hakodate. I counted EIGHT Night Herons.

Rustic Buntings and a couple of male Daurian Redstart were other things of interest on the river. Not much around in the previous seven days. Arctic Warbler and a female Merlin being the best.

Mt Hakodate was still looking very autumnal.

And here's a view of the cape.

Like I said many of last week's birds (including the Grey Bunting) were still around with a couple of new arrivals. There were several Long Tailed Rosefinch and best of all an immature male Mugimaki Flycatcher. A Flycatcher with a noticeable orangey breast. A regular but scarce passage visitor to Japan, it was a lifer for me and probably the bird of the year so far. Shame I couldn't get a picture. I ID'ed it thru my pocket binoculars and then got the camera for a record shot (it was too far away for a decent shot) but off it went and I never saw it again. So here's some shots of a big toadstool and some weird triffid/flytrap type thing.

At Kamiso yesterday the duck numbers had increased markedly since my last visit.

Nothing special species-wise..........a few Scaup offshore and the first Pochard of the autumn.

Around October 24 down the years:

1983 (Oct 22). A seawatch off Freshfield produced Great Skua and later on at Marshside there were the usual waders including 2000 Red Knot. The Great Skua was well well offshore I recall. Many years later I saw them about 10 cm from my face as they divebombed me and a friend on Orkney. Later that month (Oct 30) walking down the Ribble at Penwortham I sas Black Tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank and a flock of 120 Dunlin. Nothing special about the latter but that regular winter flock of Dunlin disappeared a couple of years later.........

1992 (Oct 24). From 1991-late 1994 there are hardly any entries in my birding logbook. I was in London and not doing any birding. On this date I was back in Preston for a visit and walked down the river. Nothing of any interest except 2 Kingfishers.........the only ones I ever saw on my old local patch.

2000 (Oct 22). I climbed Mt Yotei in Niseko.

I used to smoke back then. It wasn't such a hard climb although it was pretty icy at the top I recall. The problem was we ran out of daylight on the descent and had to walk on the steep forest trail in the dark. I should never have smoked that celebratory joint at the top. I got my first ever Red Flanked Bluetail on the way down. About 30 minutes before sundown and still halfway up the mountain.

2004 (Oct 20). Mt Hakodate again. Lots of migrants..........Goshawk, Eye Browed Thrush, Red Flanked Bluetail and Japanese Robin being the pick.

2006 (Oct 22-25). We visited Shiretoko with my parents. Not much birding but I had my best Japanese nature experience.

One of five Brown Bears we saw fishing in the river. A hastily handheld digiscoping shot.............but not so bad considering. For more details click here.

So last week was a nightmare sports-wise. England aren't going to qualify for Euro 2008 (if I don't believe Israel can do it then maybe they'll go and surprise me), the rugby was predictably disappointing and I'm beginning to despair of Benitez. Dodgy or borderline refereeing was a feature in England/Liverpool games last week although Liverpool got the benefit at least............but I have to say I'm a bit jaded as far as sport goes. I don't even know if I can be arsed taping Liverpool's game in Turkey tonight.


  1. congrats on the Mugimaki...cracking birds. STUNNING shot of the night heron in flight. Went to Osaka-jo before work this morning and saw a few Daurian Redstarts but that was it. The ducks are arriving now and saw my first Scaup of the season last Sunday. Fingers crossed for the 'pool tonight.

  2. Yup......................hopefully they can get a result. I couldn't stand the shame if they go to the UEFA cup!


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