27 November 2010

2010 Best of #1

Stellers Sea Eagle

Stellers Sea Eagle

I'm bored and housebound for the second time this year. I've herniated a disc in my lower spine and can't walk any distance, dunno why or how exactly but years of poor posture and latterly hunching over a computer and also carrying 2.5Kg of camera gear over my shoulder several times a week for the last 3 of those years probably haven't helped.  So whilst I sit here listening to the construction noise outside cursing sciatica, noisy men with hardhats and life in general I've sorted out some photos from the first part of the year.

Stellers Sea Eagle

January 2010 was a good month in Yakumo for both species of Sea Eagle and I got some OK BIF shots compared to previous years................thanks to the 7D for that.

The above two are Stellers Sea Eagles and the following two are White Tailed Eagles.


White Tailed Eagle

Here's one in a tree.

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It was a good winter for eagles, much better than the previous one due to the large numbers of salmon.

In amongst the Sea Eagles this Mountain Hawk Eagle at the end of the month was a nice find..........

This individual attracted quite a kot of attention. We found it and another photographer stopped, looked and thought it was just a Black Kite (!). He was about to drive off when I told him what it was. This is quite a scarce bird in Hokkaido and was only the second one I'd ever seen. Unlike the other eagles this one was not harassed by crows, looking at those talons I can see why.

Mountain Hawk Eagle

The Long Tailed Ducks provided nice photo opps at Oshamanbe.

Long Tailed Duck

As did the local Brent Geese in Hakodate..............

Brent Goose

Small birds were thin on the ground in what proved to be a very cold winter. I did manage to get some nice shots of Daurian Redstart at last though.........

Daurian Redstart

There were no Waxwings at all in early 2010 and also no winter finches. Not a single Crossbill, Asian Rosy Finch or even Siskins or Redpolls. Only Hawfinches............


The tame Tits and Nuthatches at Onuma were around for the third winter running.

Eurasian Nuthatch

Varied Tit

The slow winter for passerines was compensated for by some great birding in the local harbours in Hakodate in March and early April. Both Black Throated and Red Throated Divers were around.

Black Throated Diver

Red Throated Diver

And lots and lots of Black Necked Grebes too..........coming into summer plumage too.

Black Necked Grebe

Black Necked Grebe

And quite a few Red Necked Grebes also put in an appearance...........

Red Necked Grebe

And how cute are Ancient Murrelets?

Ancient Murrelet

Spring began with a nice scarcity right near my apartment with this Hoopoe..........


Plus the returning Night Herons on the local river.

Black Crowned Night Heron

Common migrants in the bushes in town included Red Flanked Bluetail and Eastern Crowned Warbler, both birds I seem incapable of taking a decent shot of...........

Red Flanked Bluetail.

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And waders on the local beaches included Whimbrel..........


Overshoot migrants included this Intermediate Egret at Onuma.

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The usual colourful summer migrants arrived, my fave has to be the Narcissus Flycatcher, an abundant summer visitor to Onuma.

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Nearer home the Red Cheeked Starlings looked great in among the cherry blossoms.

Red Cheeked Starling

Red Cheeked Starling

The Oriental Reed Warblers returned in mid May to set up shop along the river...........

Oriental Reed Warbler

And at the same time the Siberian Stonechats were arriving in the padis.............

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Part 2 to follow soon.................unless my back miraculously heals in the next few days and I can get out and take some new photos.

Thanks for clicking this link.......



  1. Each shot better than the last, Stu. Too bad about about your back! Sounds terrfically painful. :-(

  2. Stu, those image are stunning, all great. My favorite is the Red Cheeked Starlings in the white flowers. I hope you get better !

  3. Wow! What a powerful post. All wonderful. I went birding today and found very little. Nice to come home to this feast. Get better soon.

  4. Nice compilation here!
    My favourite would be the Chestnut-cheeked Starling. This year you've got soooo many great photos of them.

  5. Top dollar pics of some good lookimg birds there Stu, or should that be top yen pics?
    Iceland gull looks like it might well stick around a while in this cold weather if your still intending coming over.




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