30 May 2011

Another weekend away in May

Despite cold, foggy weather I think we can say summer is almost here. The grasslands at Yakumo and Oshamanbe are full of birds and Siberian Stonechat are probably the commonest, these shots were at Yakumo on te way back from a night at Lake Toya.

The most dramatic bird is Lathams Snipe, which has an amazing display flight, they are everywhere in this area in early summer.

The Black Browed Reed Warblers have arrived, they get bolder as June progresses and sing from exposed perches, for now they are skulking. Other birds around were Oriental and Common Cuckoo, Long Tailed Rosefinch, Black Faced and Chestnut Eared Bunting, Japanese Bush Warbler, Oriental Reed Warbler, Skylark, Brown Thrush, Wryneck, Bullheaded Shrike and several of these.........

A crappy record shot of an Eastern Marsh Harrier in the early morning gloom on Sunday.

We stayed Sunday night in Lake Toya.

We often stay here, it's about 100 miles from Hakodate and is a well known hot spring resort. It is suffering a bit now though, not many visitors (other east Asians are understandably chickening out of coming to Japan after the quakes/tsunamis/nuclear meltdown) and the hotel we stayed at was basically half price and only about 10% full.

There were a few birds around, this Grey Headed Woodpecker and Nuthatch were in the trees at one of the lakeside campsites.

Other birds included Eastern CrownedWarbler, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Egret, Mandarin Duck, Oriental Cuckoo, Russet Sparrow, Goosander, Tufted Duck, Common Sandpiper, Red Cheeked Starling, Narcissus Flycatcher and yet more Lathams Snipe. I checked out the coast a little too, the only wader was 1 Grey Tailed Tattler at Oshamanbe. There were a few Brent Geese offshore at Yakumo (the latest I've ever seen), a couple of Pintail too and a few Scaup remained at Oshamanbe.

I watched the Champions League final, a bit of an anticlimax, I didn't expect it to be so one-sided...............

Thanks for clicking this link......



  1. Nice list of birds there. Lake Toya looks and sounds my sort of place Stu, especially with the chickening out tourists - just like Egypt in January, just Brits and Germans left - great.

  2. Looks like a great weekend. I stayed near there in Feb. 1985 - but the snow was chest-high and I didn't get many pics. Sorry to hear that businesses still badly affected by absent tourists.

  3. A great feast of species. Niigata is very quiet in comparison. Some great shots.


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