15 March 2009

Spring is in the air

Some Brent Geese and Harlequin Duck near Hakodate dock last week. Spring is in the air in south Hokkaido. Despite this I slipped on a rogue bit of ice under a light feathering of snow the other day, my first slip of the winter. I got a nasty bang on my elbow and pulled some muscle in my abdomen. This was before I went drinking, rather embarrassingly.

Anyway, the buds are appearing on the trees and last week's neo-arctic weather in northeast Hokkaido is but a distant memory.

The Crossbills are still around.

I like the way they tip their heads towards me. Sometimes I don't even notice them close to me, then they look down and wink at me and fly off before I get my camera on them.

A lot of Crows have taken up residence in the park where I watch the crossbills and at least 1 pair of the ultra aggressive Large Billed Crows will probably nest there. I swear those things had a vendetta against me last summer. Last spring the local council destroyed a Carrion Crow's nest in the same park (an absurd piece of comedy actually, it took SIX men to do it, typical Japanese government waste and inefficiency). They'll have to send in a SWAT team for the more aggressive Large Billed Crows. Soon I'll be too sacred to risk any crossbill shots.........

Other stuff in Hakodate this week has included Hawfinch, Brambling, Redpoll, Long Tailed Rosefinch, Bullfinch, Great, Coal and Varied Tits, Goldcrest, Common Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Daurian Redstart, Grey Heron, Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk.

Over at Onuma the Whooper Swans seemed to have upped and left. The lake was still mainly frozen though.

And the usual tame species were as tame as ever....

If you have time to kill you can check my other blog for more pics. You may need a lot of time actually. My homepage has been extremely slow to load recently, so much that I'm thinking of changing it completely. Ditch iweb and use Rapidweaver? I think I just might. The blog part anyway.......iweb is a bit of a dog of an application and much as I like most Mac stuff they made a mess of this one. Apart from the slow loading pages there are lots of bugs in it too.

This afternoon (Sunday) the Crossbills had moved on downstream to near the beach. I took lots and lots of shots which I'll put on my new blog rather than here. The new blog is here and the crossbills shots are here.

The crossbills where so close that I got crossbill crap on my camera. Honestly, I did. Here's a picture.

It was very windy but I got some OK shots but there are a lot of them to sort out so here's a male Bullfinch from near my apartment also this afternoon.

I checked some of the other Hokkaido blogs linked on the right and whilst we were in east Hokkaido we missed Canvasback, Rough Legged Buzzard and Surf Scoter. To be honest we didn't do too much actual birdwatching per se. And I'm not really into listing (except my local list maybe) but..........sh*t we should have paid attention a bit more perhaps.

So Liverpool trounced Real Madrid. I only watched the last 30 minutes but 4-0 is a pretty impressive result and unbelievably they continued in the same vein against Man U last night. If only we'd won those games against Stoke, Hull etc.........

The imminent arrival of milder springlike weather coupled with the end of the financial year has seen the usual legions of otherwise unemployable men doing pointless construction jobs across town. Actually only a few of them seem to be doing anything, the rest stand around smoking, waving red sticks, blowing whistles or talking into cellphones. And it's all very noisy as well as pointless. I've just done my annual tax returns and have just seen where all my tax from last year has been spent on.

I was woken up this morning by an idiot with a loudspeaker. A member of the Japanese Communist Party (as minor here as it is everywhere else these days) was stood outside my apartment building bellowing out some crap about something or other. 10 minutes he went on for and then he and his cronies moved on to another street corner to annoy some other poor folk on Sunday morning. I'm all in favour of free speech but this moron should have just shut the f**k up. Japan is a de facto one party state run by corrupt bufoonish men of retirement age. Shouting outside my window on a Sunday morning(when I had a hangover too I might add) isn't going to change that.

My wife got a new job, full-time for 3 years. Whilst this is great news financially (my god we may even be able to save some money at last) it will curtail any midweek birding trips to Onuma, Yakumo etc. I'm a useless loser who never took a driving test you see (I intend to get one, no really, just a little later when I, errr have the, errr time like you know).


  1. Yeah long live Liverpool hahaha and can save trip to Borneo next time ok !

  2. Hey I'd love to go to Borneo it's high on the list of places I want to go before I get too old......

  3. Just now I experienced a server error when I tried to reach your new blog.

    I love the fox shot. Great timing and composition


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