30 June 2011


There has been a feeding frenzy in the bushes along the river as the young Red Cheeked Starlings have all now left their nests, they were everywhere.

Every year they raid someone's cherry tree. These females must have been stealing from someone's garden.

Sometimes the young didn't know what to do with the cherries.........

The adults had cherry stains on their fronts.........

I tried to get some interesting shots but failed as most of the feeding was being done in the middle of the bushes.

They often perch on the tops of bushes at least..............

The Red Cheeked Starlings leaving the nests is pretty much the last thing to photograph for a while (unless something unusual pops up) and it is a nice way to end the first half of any calendar year.

The lone Siberian Stonechat and Chestnut Eared Bunting were still singing, the Oriental Reed Warblers too. In about a week or so they'll stop and the baby Starlings will be strong enough to fend for themselves and that species will no longer pose for the camera.

Lots of baby Great Tits around recently too.

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28 June 2011

On this day (June 28th).........

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June 28th 2009.

A lousy heavily cropped record shot of a genuine rarity here in Japan, a Gull Billed Tern. This was taken at Yakumo and I believe is/was only the second ever record in Hokkaido. 2 years earlier I had seen a Caspian Tern at Asabu which I'm told was the first ever in Hokkaido, shame I have no photographic evidence of that one.

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26 June 2011

A fishy post

One of many fishing Ospreys today, this one was at Yakumo. Shame I clipped the end of its wing off.

They really are adept fishers, every time they dived they got a fish. I didn't get any decent diving shots though.............

Most of the common stuff was still around but not as much singing and displaying, slow times are just around the corner.

The main focus in July will probably be the Japanese Green Pigeons. WE spent an hour or so at the regular spot, they briefly came down to the beach but the only shots I could get were rather distant BIFs.

The day ended at Kamiiso. There were only 3 Harlequins, either the male perished or maybe his moult finished and he flew off. Here's a pic of 2 females and also a female Goosander.

I think I now know the place where the Pharalopes were last week, unfortunately they seem to have gone. There was a family of Little Ringed Plover nearby however.........

I watched England's multinational 20-20 game last night (well I gave up after England's pathetic innings) and I also saw the movie 'Priest' which was very very silly indeed.

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24 June 2011

Slow time a comin'

A quiet week birdwise in Hakodate, the Red Cheeked Starlings have left the nest and were the main focus of the last few days, in a week or so there won't be much happening in Hakodate until the waders pass through in another 6 or 7 weeks time.

The Starlings were everywhere. These are all males.

This is a common summer visitor to Hokkaido but it has a very restricted range, Hokkaido is probably the only place where it is common.

There were a few fledgelings hanging around waiting to be fed.

Both males and females were on hand.

The birding is very predictable in town this time of year, I saw all the 20 or so species one would expect to find with the exception of Night Heron, hopefully a few young ones will appear on the river in July.

Here is a very scruffy Bullheaded Shrike that was hunting in the bushes along the river.

Not much else to report. Annoyingly noisy neighbours, I hope the little brat upstairs gets given some tranquilizers soon (or at least a playstation). I watched 'Fire in Babylon' which was rather interesting. Otherwise...........nothing much really.

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19 June 2011


A Black Browed Reed Warbler at Sawara this afternoon. We were in the area checking for Japanese Green Pigeon, I saw a few in the sky and heard a few in the trees but they didn't come down to the sea.

A bit of a boring week. Great weather but it just wasn't happening anywhere birdwise.

I don't think I've ever seen as many Skylarks as I did today.

The Harlequin Ducks are still at Kamiiso, they were quite tame late yesterday afternoon but unfortunately the light wasn't so great.

We went back today but they were sleeping on the opposite bank. There were also 10 or so Goosander, a lone Black Headed Gull and 4 Osprey, the latter species were well offshore though.

There have been 2 Red Necked Pharalopes around for a couple of weeks somewhere locally, some folk have taken nice pics of them. I don't know where they are though, if anyone knows please tell me.............

Not much in town last week either, a singing Chestnut Eared Bunting and male Stonechat on the river near my apartment being the most interesting (a flyover Mallard was also a surprise). Not many photo opps, here are some scrapings from the barrel.........

A family moved in to the apartment upstairs. They are very very noisy, they have a small child that runs and jumps around like a chimp on crystal meth.

Am listening to the 3rd Test, very relaxing end to an uneventful week in smalltown Japan.

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13 June 2011

Another Sunday in the grasslands

We were up in the grasslands at Oshamanbe and Yakumo again yesterday, they really are wonderful places at this time of year.

I'd targeted 3 species to get a decent photo of (all 3 lacking from the 'album'. Wryneck, Long Tailed Rosefinch and Eastern Marsh Harrier. I saw the former in the distance only and didn't see a single harrier all day. I did get a nice-ish Rosefinch shot out of the car window, it even perched in front of a nice background for me too as you can see above.

Lots of birds singing. The above is an Oriental Cuckoo, there were also Common Cuckoo, all the common warblers (including loads of Black Browed Reed Warbler, they really seem common this year and also lots of Grays Grasshopper Warbler). The Lathams Snipes are still perching on roadside lights.

Another very common summer visitor today was Pacific Swift, they were everywhere..........

Other birds today included a Hobby at Oshamanbe, Osprey, Great Egret, Common Reed and Chestnut Eared Buntings, Narcissus Flycatcher (at Onuma), Black Crowned Night Heron (in Ono in the morning and evening) and lots and lots and lots of Siberian Stonechat which are very tame in mid June just before the young leave the nests.

It was rather warm yesterday, I got sunburn............

If you are bored (at home or better still at work) try game number 1941 on Freecell. It's f***ing impossible (there is a solution but I'm yet to find it).

No sport at the weekend to watch/listen to. That wasn't so good.

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