19 September 2011

Grey Skies and grey seas

3 species from the latest Tomakomai pelagic trip. Sooty Shearwater, Streaked Shearwater and Common Tern (the east Asian subspecies).

As you can see it was very dark, a really grey wet day which wasn't so good for photographs. I struggle getting the birds in focus on a moving boat anyway and the terrible light made it even worse.

This Sooty Shearwater was nice to see up close and provided the day's nicest photos.

Streaked Shearwaters were very common.........

And there were also several flocks of Common Tern.

The terns were being harried by several Arctic Skua but they were too fast for me to capture any shots. Bird of the day was an Aleutian Tern which appeared momentarily in the gloom. Other folk saw some Japanese Murrelet but I missed them. There were also Red Necked Pharalope, a distant Laysan Albatross and a few migrating passerines on their way south (warblers and flycatchers mainly).

Back onshore Tomakomai's Magpies were everywhere (even seen from our hotel window). A Little Stint (rare over here) was reported from the harbour where the boat had departed from but we couldn't locate it, only Red Necked Stints (hell they look identical anyway). We spent a pleasant afternoon at Mukawa with some of the birders from Hokkaido University. Wood Sandpiper, Long Toed Stint, Spotted Redshank and Common Snipe were around (the latter being new to my Japanese list).

On Saturday morning I'd tried the ricefields in Ono looking for waders but the rain defeated me. I did disturb a couple of Snipe which may well have Common Snipe but it was nice for better birders than me to confirm the ID.

On the way back home we stopped briefly at Yakumo. the first Wigeon of the autumn, a lone drake, was calling from the middle of the river and I disturbed a Japanese Green Pigeon on the beach but there wasn't much else except for a lot of crows.......

I think that's a Giant Sea Turtle? At first I thought it was a cow(!), the pecked out eyes I'd mistaken for nostrils.........

Anyway, yuk.

I hooked up the wife's laptop to the internet at the hotel and watched the Tottenham v Liverpool game. I went to bed after the second red card/3rd Spurs goal. Oh dear.

September 2011...............wow what awful awful weather.........

By the way Blogger seems to be having some problems with the images, if you click on the images they may appear in a 'light box' style, this is beyond my control. On older posts it may be impossible to click on the photos to enlarge them. Hopefully this bug will be sorted out soon.

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  1. Liverpool : hopeless !

    Still, some decent birds seen on your pelagic. Always hard to focus - the autofocus goes to the waves, I find.

  2. I've never seen any species of shearwater before. The Sooty really posed for you well!

  3. Beautiful post Stu. I did nto know you had so many shearwater species. here the weather starts to be nasty also, getting nice wind storms from the southwest... In a way it's coll as many rare species have been popping up these last days ;-)

  4. Great pics of the sooty Stu. Must have been nice to see that one so close.

  5. Thanks for the comments.

    According to the weather forecast ANOTHER typhoon is hitting S Japan now and will move northwards later this week. It'll be much less dangerous up here but will still dump lots of rain..

  6. Nice shearwater photos despite the gloom. Actually makes for a nice atmosphere.


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