21 April 2008

Spring springs

Cherry buds and a male Crossbill near my flat.

Very springlike weather in South Hokkaido these last few days and the cherry blossoms have almost started to open. The local populace go nuts over these, it's obsessively reported on the TV (!) and everyone tries to havve picnics under the cherry blossoms when they fully bloom. In Hokkaido the picnic typically consists of 'Genghis Khan', a tough chewy mutton and cabbage barbecue type dish. I usually pass on this but can hack the beer at least.

A female Red Flanked Bluetail and male Black Backed Wagtail, 2 of the many species starting to pass through town now that spring has kicked in. Other stuff around has included Wryneck, Swallow, Japanese Thrush, Siberian Stonechat, Brambling, lots of Black Faced Bunting, Japanese Skylark.........and Teal of course.

We went out to Shikabe yesterday. Not so many birds but the locals were bringing in the catch of scallops. Those little seaweed festooned traps were full of the big shelled and really rather tasty shellfish. Bit smelly mind you. Harlequin Duck were the main bird of interest, here's a female......

We then headed back to Onuma. The usual woodland stuff was about. A male Long Tailed Rosefinch was too far away for a decent shot and the Ural Owl was very very late in the day with my lens wide open and ISO up to 1600.

The feeding log had a four legged visitor.

I've gotten a little tired of the posting the same old Onuma views so here a couple of slightly different ones. Not a mountain in sight........

Still a few Crossbills dotted around town, one of my favourite birds.

So the cherry blossoms will be out fully in 2 or 3 days. Actually one was already open this afternoon as you can see below.

The above pic and the one at the top of the page were both taken with the camera on my snazzy new cellphone.

I'll hopefully get up Mt Hakodate on Wednesday, the warm weather should be bringing in lots of migrants. Plus I need the exercise too. All this after getting up at 3.45am to watch Liverpool v Chelsea. 2-0 to Liverpool I think. Gerard and Hyppia to score. 30 yard screamer from Gerard and towering header from a setpiece by the ageing Finn.

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