15 June 2008

Summer in the Ricefields

Nice summer weather this week (and a big earthquake yesterday too, not serious up here but it lasted a long time). There's not much in the way of new birds to see from mid June to mid August, the summer breeders are all busy singing and feeding their young. Siberian Stonechats and Black Browed Reed Warblers are my 2 favourites, so lots of pics of these.

Last Wednesday we went up to Yakumo. Lots of common stuff here. Here's some of a diving Osprey. A bit far offshore and I lost track of it as it dived. The mountain in the background of the first shot is Mt Yotei up in Niseko.

Here's another view of Yotei from a bit further south.

Black Browed Reed Warblers were very common here too.

There were also a few Grays Grasshopper Warblers singing in the bushes but they were impossible to see. Other stuff included Sand Martin, Japanese Thrush, Common Cuckoo, lots of Grey Heron and several Reed Buntings. Yellow Breasted Bunting was apparently here a few days before but I couldn't find it.

This Great White Egret was the most noteworthy other species.

This afternoon we were driving around the ricefields in Ono. We were looking for the Oriental Pratincole from last week but the only waders around were Little Ringed Plover. Lots of Stonechat though.....

Here are some views of Mt Komagadake from various locations all over the Oshima area......

We stopped off at Onuma to try for the Ruddy Kingfishers again but we only had a very brief view before they disappeared off into the forest.....

Last Autumn I saw loads and loads of Night Herons in and around Hakodate. Now I think I've found where they nest in the summer. I've seen a few adult birds around Ono, standing around in the ricefields.

Nervous things, they fly off as soon as you even look at them out of an open car window.......

Here are some more of the common birds around the last week. Chestnut Eared Bunting, Japanese Skylark, Black Faced Bunting and Black Kite.

Not much going on near my flat. Bullheaded Shrikes, Red Cheeked Starlings and Asian House Martin are all breeding (and they'll be the only birds to photograph in July probably). Here's one of the big hairy caterpillars that are everywhere this time of year.....

So Euro 2008 has produced some pretty good games by all accounts. I tried to watch some of the juicier early evening games last week (Germany v Croatia, Portugal v Czech Republic) but they weren't on regular TV here. I guess now would be the time England would have been making their excuses for a dire opening round. It's painful England aren't there but it would have been just as painful if they had been......if that makes sense.

I entered a photo contest in March. It was run by Kitamura Camera. I only won a tiny prize (not even cash, I have to go and pick up my 'present' next weekend) but this pic of a Long Tailed Tit I took in January will be in a national photographic magazine in July. Woohoo!

Wonder what I'll get as my prize? A cloth to clean my lens perhaps? A memory card maybe? The tension is killing me.......


  1. Great captures as usual.
    Fabulous landscape shots

  2. Yeah, I drove out to Niseko last Thursday and that was the first time I ever remember being able to see Youtei-zan from Mori. Amazing weather...

  3. lucky you hehehe and nice shot of the osprey with the mountain background :)


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