26 February 2010

A quiet end to winter

A quartet of Harlequin Ducks in Hakodate yesterday. They were displaying and this group of males (the one on the end is a young one) were harrying a group of females off camera.

It was a mild sunny day and I walked down to Irifune port to check out the Brent Geese.

Like I said it was mild, warm even. Actually it felt like the start of spring. About 13 degrees!!!! Only 2 or 3 weeks ago it had been highs of minus 9 in the day and so cold my fillings hurt. The town is slowly thawing, last night the snow on the rooftops was dripping down onto the road and lying atop the ice meaning it was crazily slippery. Now it is raining, hopefully it'll wash the snow away........

I took some more handheld video of the Brent Geese.........they may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.

This is one where they meet a Gull and scatter and then one steps over a rope. Will the excitement ever end?

This is one where I messed up the settings. I have a registered user setting (C3) for the best video but I forgot to change it for this one alas.

I couldn't be a**ed lugging a tripod down there (it's quite a long walk) so I had to rest the camera on walls or anything handy.

Lots of Red Breasted Merganser offshore, also Wigeon, Scaup, Pelagic Cormorant and several Red Necked Grebe too. This is common in late winter/early spring, hope some come a bit closer inshore this year............

Not much in town, just the usual common stuff that has been around all winter such as Hawfinch.

I don't know why early 2010 has been so poor for small birds in south Hokkaido. The first 6 or 7 weeks of the year were very very cold and there was a lot of snow. Did this disrupt bird movements? Did they winter further south? December 2009 was very very mild, were the birds still up north or to the west and got caught out by the sudden drastic change in weather? Did most of them perish? Or they just avoiding me because they know I got a new camera in the autumn?

I'm still holding out for some Crossbills but have officially given up on the Waxwings. 

Hopefully the mild weather may result in some interesting stuff heading back to the north from balmy Honshu......



  1. Those Harlequins are in a class of their own.
    Nice videos.

  2. Hahaha your last reason for fewer birds this year is so funny. But those Brent Geese are still good though!

  3. Some lovely photographs still. It's been quiet here for birds too. I got a new 300 f4 lens last September so it must be a combination of your 7D and my lens. I also call it my wet weather lens. I've used it in two countries but it's nearly always rainy or snowy. I'll be taking it out looking for the local Steller's tomorrow. Forecast rain.

  4. Hi,
    Nice to see some harlequin ducks so close isn't it.. You are going back to spring and we are getting winter finally!! The snow arrived yesterday and we have quite some...
    I love when you say that you did not see too much in town and presented us with a nice picture of hawfinch... This really makes me smile ;-) And the picture is really nice...
    You got a pretty good birding day, congrats. I guess you were happy.

  5. Oh it's raining here again(and again and again) in Kyushu too, Russell. I really hate this kind of never-ending typhoon weather of the south.

  6. Those Harlequins just blow me away. Like you I hope March is better than the last two months.


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