6 November 2007

Common stuff and some Himalayan memories

A Black Kite and Eurasian Jay, both near Hakodate in the last week.

A bit quiet birding wise the last week or so in Hakodate. A lot of the commoner stuff around. Lots of Jays everywhere, flocks of Rustic Buntings, flocks of paridae with Nuthatch, Treecreeper and the common Woodpeckers mixed in, Dusky Thrush and Daurian Redstart newly arrived for the winter, a few Common Buzzard flying south, 10 species of the commoner ducks and 5 species of the commoner Gulls at Kamiso and a few things still flitting around in the bushes proving very difficult to photograph. Like this Red Flanked Bluetail and Japanese Bush Warbler.

Outside town has been equally quiet. A dozen or so Great White Egret at Onuma, a few Harlequin Duck near Menagawa.

And that's about it. I have some photos of maggoty salmon corpses and a few small blurry Treecreepers which I'll leave on my hard drive.

Around November 6 down the years

Not a lot happening in my birding logbook in November.

1998 (1st week Nov). I went trekking in the Anapurna region of Nepal.Here's a crappy scanned pic of a fading photo. It doesn't do the scenery justice.

Sunrise over one of the peaks in the Anapurna sanctuary. It took me 5 days to hike there from Pokhara. I went with a fitness instructor from Amsterdam and a German whose hobby was marathon running. I was overweight and a chain smoker. Still made it to the top. Birds seen on the trek included White Breasted Kingfisher, Egyptian Vulture, Treepie, Yellow Cheeked Tit, Whistling Thrush, Plumbeous Redstart, White capped river Chat, Alpine Chough, Tickells Flycatcher, Robin Accentor, Yellow Billed Blue Magpie, White spotted Fantail, Brown Dipper and lots of Bulbuls, Babblers, warblers and other stuff I couldn't ID. I was always so knackered it was difficult to check every bird.

Naturally I cut a dashing figure on the trails. I forget now how hard it was. Since the trek followed a river valley up over 4000 metres into the mountains it involved constant ups and downs as the trail crossed the main river's tributaries. At any one time either my knees or lungs were at breaking point. The best time was the late afternoon when I was booked into whatever lodge I ended up at, drinking hot tea, eating chapattis with cheese omlettes and smoking dope (which grew everywhere along the trail) before climbing into my sleeping bag before the next day's exhaustion. If only I'd been fitter...........

This was 9 years ago now. I don't know whether the civil war or commercialization has changed the trekking experience much buy I'd love to go back to the Himalaya. This was my second time.............I hope it won't be my last. Chomorong (sp?) was my favourite place on the trail. Amazingly the lodge there had a hot shower and a western bog. One day, one day.

2005 (Nov 8) a male American Wigeon at Kamiso was one of the few rarities I've managed to find myself. Actually it's not that rare but still pretty good for Hakodate.

2006 (Nov 5) again at Kamiso. 3 Great White Egret followed by a White Fronted Goose on the 8th.

So Liverpool have an important game tonight. I hope this doesn't lead to meltdown for the 2007/8 season.

I enjoyed the Arsenal/Man U game on Saturday. Living well away from any having to listem to real life Man U fans I've ceased hating Man Utd. I actually wanted them to win. Worrying.

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