13 July 2011

Swinhoes Egret

A Kentish Plover on a beach near Esashi last Sunday, it seemed to be part of a family of 3. I wasn't even aware these bred on the local beaches............

It has turned hot and the temperature reached 30 for the first time this year this week. I had a cold last week and still have nerve pain in my right leg so i haven't really been motivated to do much, it's easier to just lounge around in front of a fan.

Last Sunday was the only time I did any birding since my last post and in hindsight I'm glad I made the effort. This egret at Kikonai had me excited for a minute or two. It seemed to have a yellow bill so I thought it may have been a Swinhoes Egret (a very rare bird that appears fairly regularly in Hokkaido, there was apparently one in Yakumo in May). They look similar to Little Egrets but have bigger plumes, shorter legs and a shorter thicker yellow bill.

No good photos at all recently, these are heavily cropped record shots.

But I thought this was probably just a Little Egret with a slightly paler than normal bill. Little Egrets don't breed in Hokkaido but are regular visitors (I've seen several already this year).

Still it was nice to be excited for a few minutes at least.............I've put an ID query up on birdforum with some more crappy photos which should settle it, I'm beginning to have doubts now, after Ayuwat's comment below I'm beginning to think it may not just be a Little Egret.


Well according to more knowledgeable folk than me it IS a Swinhoes Egret.

Other birds around last Sunday in Asabu, Eshashi and Kikonai included Little and Common  Cuckoo, Pacific Swift, Chestnut Eared Bunting, Black Browed and Oriental Reed Warblers,  Wryneck and lots of Ospreys everywhere. This one was near Yunokawa at the end of the day.

This one was at Kamiiso, I still haven't managed a decent diving shot.........

The first waders will be passing through in 3 or 4 weeks, until then it's just a case of biding my time in the summer humidity, at least the England v India series starts next week............

Thanks for clicking this link



  1. Wow the egret got me excited too! The legs seem shorter than normal Little Egret. Not 100% sure but I think it's a Chinese(Swinhoe's) Egret :-D

  2. Eh really? I'll check all my shots in detail tomorrow.........

  3. Hi Stu and Ayuwat;

    I'd go for Swinhoe's Egret on this one - dagger-shaped bill and fine head plumes... often I think they're a purer white than, say, Little Egret.

    Well done - worth leaving the armchair and fan behind !


  4. Hi John and Ayuwat, well it does indeed seem to be a Swinhoes, I should trust my first instinct a little more............

  5. The Swinhoes Egret was a nice find Stu. i must admit I would maybe not have looked twice at the bird over because Littles are now so common.

  6. Wow! Great work. The first photo shows strange proportions for a regular egret but I wouldn't have noticed. (The legs really look short to me)So many egrets in Niigata that I rarely look even once. Maybe I should. Good work also with the plover and the action shots of the osprey. Much more creative than sitting in front of the fan. Summer has its surprises. Russell

  7. Great post, the plover is very nice...love those litlle fellow!

  8. Congrats on the Swinhoe's Egret!
    Lovely shots of the Osprey.


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