25 November 2007

Blessed are the Cheesemakers

One of a group of 4 Brent Goose in Hakodate this morning. Very mild weather after last week's snow, sleet and freezing temperatures. I met up with Franck today, a French birder/photographer from Grenoble living in Date (about 2 or 3 hours north of here). He's a technician in a cheese factory (hence the title of the thread and see later for more). An interesting companion for the day, he has worked in various countries including Uzbekistan and has wound up here in Hokkaido.

I took him to see the Thayers Gull (which hung around just long enough for Franck to get a shot) and the Harlequin Duck/Brent Geese near Mt Hakodate. The Geese in particular were highly photogenic today.

Not much else on view. Here's a crappy shot of a Harlequin Duck and a close up of a scruffy Slaty Backed Gull with an apparent black eye.

We then headed up to Onuma and at that point Franck very generously lent me his 100-400 IS L lens...............not just for this afternoon but until March. All the pictures below were taken with this lens. Franck was using the Canon 500mm F4, a real monster of a lens.

The Varied Tit had joined the tame paridae and Nuthatch group.

It really is a nice lens (if a touch heavy). My 70-300 IS USM lens is very nice too of course (and I'll continue to use that as my everyday 'walkaround' lens) but the big white L lens is in a different league altogether. It gives me a nice 3 month 'free trial' to see if it's worth splashing the cash in the future.

2 White Tailed Eagle flapped over the trees before I could take a picture, the woods were full of Jay, Siskin and Dusky Thrush, there were Coot and flocks of Goosander on the lake, a few groups of Whooper Swan scattered about, a female Yellow Throated Bunting and the usual common woodland stuff including this Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker.

Oh and Marsh Tits of course.

So thanks again Franck for the wonderfully generous loan of the lens. I'm looking forward to using it this winter. Oooh. It's almost made me forget about the football. Which I won't be mentioning again anyway.

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