3 January 2008

Stellers Sea Eagles

An adult Stellers Sea Eagle at Yakumo this afternoon. These photos were taken from the roadside along the Yurappu River where every year Stellers and White Tailed Eagles spend the winter. And it is indeed a wintry place.......

The Eagles perch on riverside trees (or on rocks sometimes) and occasionally flap down to pick up a rotting Salmon carcass. Actually I was surprised to see quite a few live Salmon still swimming around in the shallows.

It can be rather difficult to get a good shot of the Eagles, simply because they fly off as soon as you get out of the car. There aren't many safe places to stop either as snow ploughs dump snow at the side of the road and also the icy road is full of bends and curves full of aggressive Japanese drivers. Well they seem aggressive when you're trying to go slowly checking for Eagles and they're right up your a*se.

We got lucky with this bird. I had about 2 minutes to fire off some shots with the car window open. The engine was running, the light was crap, it was snowing slightly and my wife was drumming her fingers on the steering wheel trying to get me to hurry up. Canon EF 100-400L IS USM I salute you.

I did of course get out of the car to try and get some flight shots but these weren't so successful. This was the best of a bad bunch. A White Tailed Eagle.

Of course blue sky would have helped. The perched Eagle pictures above needed almost no photoshopping at all apart from resizing for the web. This photo hasn't been photoshopped either............unfortunately Photoshop CS3 doesn't have an defatty filter.

We stopped at Onuma both ways to try and get a decent pic of the Ural Owl but it was nowhere to be found. Hope we didn't spook it yesterday...it was very confiding last year. The forest was again full of birds even if Onuma was even more wintry than Yakumo. 4 species of Woodpecker (including Black and Greyheaded), flocks of Brambling and Rosy Finch (the latter seems to be more common than usual this winter) and several Jay as well as the usual c common stuff. In Onuma village there was a very restless flock of about 30 or 40 Japanese Waxwing........here's a crappy heavily cropped record shot.

Hopefully there will soon be some flocks of Waxwing in Hakodate and I can get some decent pics.

We had a brief look at the flock of tame Whooper Swans which seems to be growing daily...........some appeared to be displaying.

If the Swans were full of New Year joy the small group of Geese looked as miserable as a bird can possibly look.

There was another Bean Goose somewhere but 2 of the 4 Whitefronts seem to have headed south to escape the cold.

Just before going out this morning I watched Liverpool v Wigan. A toothless display by Liverpool..........I mean c'mon.........TITUS BRAMBLE.

So gently back to work tomorrow...............and my diet is finally underway. Soba noodles for lunch, diet soup for dinner. And no beer anymore (except on Saturday nights and other 'special' occasions). Roll on Saturday night then.

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