23 March 2008

Spring, homecomings and bye bye lens?

It's been an odd kind of a week. Very very mild springlike weather plus last minute preparations for my visit back to England. Nothing much happening on the birding front although the owner of the 100-400 lens I've been using over the winter will be shortly reclaiming it, on Tuesday perhaps. A bit of a wrench to let it go (and the photo quality on this blog will no doubt suffer, from average back down to fairly poor no doubt) but it's been great using it these last 4 months so merci beaucoup to Franck.

The Crossbills are still popping up around town and the last 'keepers' from the lens are likely to be these birds photographed today and yesterday.

I haven't left town all week. Furthest I got was Kamiso where this Pelagic Cormorant was fishing in the harbour.

This is the smaller and less common of the 2 local species of Cormorant.

The 2 Mute Swan were still present, this is fairly rare in Japan (though these are no doubt part of a small feral population found in Hokkaido).

The common Ducks and Gulls a are all still present. Here's a portrait of Black Tailed Gull, the commonest summer Gull.

Here's a yawning adult Glaucous Winged Gull on the river near my flat. A common winter vistor across the region.

The commonest resident Gull is the Slaty Backed Gull. At least this one is doing something interesting, eating a freshwater crab near my flat again. Shame the first pic is out of focus.

The right wing propaganda buses were out in force again today. I wonder what life is like is a Japanese rightwinger's home. You can imagine it.......

"What shall we do today dear? It's a beautiful spring day. A walk in the park perhaps followed by a spot of lunch? A round of golf maybe? A visit to see the grandchildren? Nah. Let's drive around town in the black bus annoying the whole city blaring out crappy military style music and mouthing off racist slogans that wouldn't be tolerated in any other civilised country. Ok! Sounds like a plan!"

Here's some shots of little Japanesey things that would warm the cockles of their little pure Japanese hearts.

I walked down to Mt Hakodate last week and took a look in the forest. It's eaxctly a year since I got the camera and one of the first places I went after I got it was the feeding station at the bottom of the hill. For some reason the active feeders weren't even close to the hide (unlike last year)....these were 2 of the better shots I could manage. A Great Spotted and a Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker.

Not much else in the forest, certainly no spring visitors. A male Bullheaded Shrike has been the only migrant I've seen so far. Other stuff around has included Redpoll, Kingfisher, the aforenmentioned Crossbills, lots of Hawfinch and Dusky Thrush, Brent Goose, 2 species of Cormorant, a Blue Rock Thrush, 7 species of Gull and a dozen or so species of Duck, a few Brambling, Jay, 5 species of Tit, Nuthatch, Wren and Black Backed Wagtail.......here's a Dusky Thrush and an overexposed pair of Brent Goose.

So an interesting 12 months with my first DSLR. I got some ok shots, especially with the 100-400 but also with the shorter 70-300. It'll be back to that one until at least the autumn.

Unless something dramatic appears in front of the camera on my short walk tommorrow my next post should be from England. It's been a long time since I've been back. I'm prepared to be shocked by prices, lots of semi-awkward conversations with people I haven't seen in ages and ages, delighted by decent bread and Indian food and am really looking forward to going to my old local patch with a scope and camera. I'm dreading the long uncomfortable journey, though we at least have 24 hours in Tokyo on Wednesday/Thursday at the beginning of the trip.

So Liverpool have FIVE huge games coming up and I'll be in England for 3 of them. I have a sneaking feeling they'll finish the season extremely strongly. Exactly how strongly and to what end we'll have to wait and see. But please god at least let's not lose to Man U again.


Mascherano is an idiot, Steve Bennet is a moron, Ronaldo is a smarmy w*nker, Kuyt is useless and football I hate you.


  1. That Dusky Thrush is a gem of a bird. I wish we had more thrush species in Europe. Today I was watching a Song Thrush for a while in our garden. That's quite a rare visitor to our garden. A wonderful bird once you give it more than just a short glance.

    Maybe you find someone else that will lend you the 100-400L for some time. Or maybe you can get a used one sometime.

  2. Some 'ok' shots? You have always a great picture to post, I wish my pics were close to that! ;)

  3. If you have an opinion poll to ask your blog readers whether you should buy a new and better lens in place of the one you have to return to your friend, I will say 'yes' to buying a new one.


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