6 December 2007

Kingfishers in the snow

Winter 2007/8 is here to stay.

The snow arrived a couple of days ago........a foot or more dumped on Hakodate. I haven't done much birding except trying (with limited success) to get a decent Kingfisher pic with the 400mm lens. Difficult in the poor light with snow streaking across confusing the autofocus. It fishes on the river 3 or 4 minutes walk away.I went to the river (complete with heavy insulated snow boots so I could stand in the snow) on 4 separate occasions in the last 3 days.

The bird in question isn't exactly shy either. It perches motionless, striking nice poses. I tried to get some shoots of it diving but I just wasn't quick enough (and it was too dark anyway). A couple of times the snow stopping briefly and the clouds thinning out temporarily co-incided with the bird being present but alas it wasn't as close as the pics above.

Nothing else exciting on the river. The Brown Dipper flies up and down and stops occasionally to sing its' strange warbling song (Dippers seem to have a strange talent for ventriloquism), a few Hawfinch and Dusky Thrush, the usual male Daurian Redstart, a cold and miserable Grey Heron, the last Black Backed wagtails and Oriental Greenfinches fleeing the snows of Hokkaido, a lone Grey Starling, a few of the commoner Ducks.

This was the local park yesterday........I got caught in a small blizzard. At least i had the park to myself. A couple of days ago (before the snow came) there were some pretty good birds in the park including this species. These shots were with the 70-300 lens.

A Common Redpoll, one of 4 feeding on pinecones. This was only the second time I'd seen this species in Japan, I haven't seen that many in the UK either. I'd noticed a few Finches zipping around in town the last few days with slightly odd calls....I suppose they must have been these. Also in the park were a small flock of Rustic Bunting (check the crappy picture below), lots of Coal Tit, a few Great Tit and Varied Tit, Hawfinch and Dusky Thrush.

So winter is well and truly here. Much colder than the UK and loads more snow......at least we usually get a white christmas.

Songs on my ipod recently have included 'bodysnatchers' by Radiohead (a band I'd never really given much time to but I like this song), 'vessel in vain' by Smog (the song from 'dead man's shoes'), 'peasant army' by the Redskins and 'sunrise', an old New Order song. I'm looking forward to seeing that new movie about Ian Curtis.......


  1. like the kingfisher shots.
    all you need now is some sun with the snow

  2. don't diss your shots...some superb shots of the kingfisher and great shot of the Redpoll. it appears that Hokkaido is having a bumper winter regarding Redpoll numbers this year. I've only seen 2 here, and that was in a park somewhere in Nemuro in Feb 06. Hopefully they'll come down my way.

    Off to Mie prefecture tonight to twitch lesser whitethroat. There was a yellow-browed warbler in Osaka-jo today, but I didn't see it. That's a mega for this concrete jungle...

    hope the snow doesn't impede your birding this winter...

  3. Hi dad........the sun came today but the Kingfisher didn't! I took some shots of Crows.......don't know if they'll make it on the blog or not.

    Hi Carmo........I saw on the internet a Lesser Whitethroat was trapped by a ringer near Hakodate a few years ago. I haven't seen one for 20 years. I saw a Warbler today (just a Jap Bush I think) flitting around in the snow. I was fairly pleased with the Kfisher shots........perhaps I'm expecting just to merely point the L lens and perfect shots will follow!


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