31 January 2010

Lots of good stuff to end the month........

Two of today's star birds, a drake Long Tailed Duck at Oshamanbe and a Mountain Hawk Eagle tucking into some salmon at Yakumo.

The latter is a scarce bird in Hokkaido and is only the second one I've ever seen. It has very thick powerful talons and it looks like it doesn't take s**t from anyone. The local Crows left it well alone (something they don't need to do with the bigger Stellers and White Tailed Eagles). The above photo was taken with a 1.4 teleconverter as was this video.........

This video was cropped and downsized, for the full HD version go here.

I still haven't quite got the hang of liveview, this video with DSLR lark is tricky to master as is editing it on the PC.

To be honest the jury is still out on the 7D/100-400L combo when used with a teleconverter and I took it off, these shots below are without.

It was by the side of the road and attracted several folk with large expensive lenses. We spent part of the afternoon with 'dotetin' (blog linked on the right) and although the Hawk Eagle was the top bird on show today the usual stuff was still around. Not many BIFs today...........here is an adult Stellers Sea Eagle in a tree instead.

As you can see we finally had some decent weather, after a whole month with only a couple of half days with blue skies.

I got several blurry out of focus shots of Crested Kingfisher, other stuff upstream included White Tailed Eagle, Jay, Brown Dipper, Japanese Wagtail, Goldeneye, Whooper Swan and Goosander.

Lots of Rooks around today. Near Onuma, just outside Yakumo and this one in a supermarket car park in Hakodate.

Rooks are a scarce winter visitor in northern Japan.

After Yakumo we headed up to Oshamanbe and the Long Tailed Ducks (well 3 of them) were in the harbour.

Other ducks in the harbour included several Wigeon. One of the drakes had a green crescent on its head, was this a hybrid with an American Wigeon? I didn't get a decent shot of it, it looked just like a regular Wigeon otherwise............

Lots of Goldeneye and Scaup..........

Lots of Glaucous and Glaucous Winged Gulls around, here's an adult Glaucous Gull.

The weather took a turn for the worse and sleet turned to snow on the drive home. The forecast for next week is very bad, well below zero all week and more snow so we got really lucky this morning........

I got drunk and fell asleep on the sofa watching Liverpool v Bolton last night. i'll stay up late tonight to watch the Man U v Arsenal game. A tough one to decide who I want to win, I dislike them both.............but I'd rather a northern team with a few English players won tonight's game. Having said that I'll despair if Man U win the league again (god that means I hope Chelsea do it).



  1. WOW, awesome photos! I love the long tailed duck and the mountain Hawk Eagle is a cool looking bird.

  2. Wow yes, you got a lot of good stuff! Man, the hawk are just gorgeous as well as the eagle and the long-tailed ducks. The latter are slowly coming back over here... They were on the coastline yesterday, flocks of them!!! We also tried to spot eagle but only a surprising gyr falcon played with us!

  3. The tarsi on that Hawk Eagle look like tree trunks, I can see why crows dont mess with it. Jealous of your Long -tails, we dont seem to get many nowadays. Cheers

  4. Man, love that young Mountain Hawk-eagle. I've only had fleeting encounters but agree that it's a cool raptor. Your photos are very clear but I don't like using teleconvertors. I fell for the Nikon 300mm f4 with a TC last year and regret it.(the TC worth 50000y alone) I saw a distant White-tail a week ago and that's about it for Niigata although there are reports of a single adult Steller about in Niigata from last Wednesday. Would love the variety you have in Hakodate.

  5. Hi Russell, I very rarely use it. I taped the contacts so it tries to AF and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It doesn't AF often enough to make it worthwhile IMHO. For live-view though the AF works reasonably well and for video, when IQ is not so important, it's fine.

    I only think I've used it 2 or 3 times since I bought it but as I do more video it'll be worth it. BTW it's a Kenko one , only cost about ¥16000.

    I thought yours would be OK with a F4 lens?

  6. OMG, now it's time for me to be *real* jealous about your pics!
    How did you get that close to the hawk-eagle!!??
    These images are just incredible!

    Not to mention about the Long-tailed Duck!
    I've only seen a young female once several years ago, when it accidentally popped up in one of the northernmost inland freshwater lake in Thailand. All Thai birders were like is that for real!? hahaha

  7. Hi Unravel, the Hawk Eagle was near the road. It wasn't so shy, Stellers and White Taileds fly off as son as they see a human face in these situations but this Hawk Eagle didn't seem to mind.........

    You'll see lots of Long Tailed Ducks when you come to Hokkaido.


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