28 February 2012

So that was February...........

I sent an hour or so this morning watching a Great Egret and Grey Heron on the river near my apartment. There was another very heavy snowfall on Sunday night/Monday morning, it's really difficult to go anywhere, the snow is several feet deep and many of the places I visit or short cuts I use are buried.

I think there are 2 egrets, one a little more upstream than the other. Today's shots are the 'upstream' one.

Actually it's quite well camouflaged.........

The Heron wasn't doing much.

Other stuff around the last couple of days have been 3 Red Breasted Merganser among the commoner ducks, Peregrine, several Daurian Redstart, Long Tailed Rosefinch and significantly fewer Dusky Thrush.

February 2012, the snowiest month of my life so far. C'mon, let's have a thaw. Soon please.

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26 February 2012

Will it ever stop f*****g snowing?

A Jay at Onuma this afternoon, as you can see it was snowing and there was a ridiculous amount of deep deep snow at Onuma meaning it was difficult to do anything between the blizzards.

The dead tree where we feed the Nuthatches is basically buried, they were still around however.

And the Ural Owl was still in its hole, showing a bit more body today.

Other birds included lots of Rook with a few Daurian Jackdaw thrown in, Pintail, Whooper Swan, Goosander, Smew, the common tits and woodpeckers and lots of Dusky Thrush.

Among all the Duskys was this individual.

A hastily grabbed and heavily cropped shot of a Naumanns Thrush, a recent split from Dusky Thrush and a lifer...............

It's still snowing outside, February 2012 has been a nightmare weather-wise.

The people who live above my apartment are absolutely doing my head in. They are so noisy, all they seem to do is stomp about and slam doors and windows all day. There are only 2 of them: a youngish mother and her son who appears to be about 8. They probably aren't bad people but my god I'm starting to hate them. Every night they bang about for hours, what the hell are they doing? We tried a nice letter to them but now I just bang on the ceiling. Sometimes that works. I would move out but the expense and hassle are too much. For now.

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25 February 2012

On this day (February 25th)

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February 25th 2009.

Normally Hawfinches are very very shy and difficult to approach but 3 years this one in Goryokaku Park let me get close enough to pretty much fill the frame. It didn't mind getting its beak dirty either.

Most years Hawfinch is a common winter visitor but this winter there have hardly been any.

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24 February 2012

The merest hint of spring

A Temincks Cormorant and Glaucous Winged Gull at Menagawa this afternoon, note that they are both in breeding plumage, it must be spring.

Well it has got above freezing this last week but there was another heavy snowfall yesterday.

There were lots of Glaucous Winged Gull on the coast.

I wanted to show Franck (a French birder who used to live in south Hokkaido) the Pine Bunting and Rough Legged Buzzards but we couldn't find either, maybe the snow drove them south. We did however see a couple of Mountain Hawk Eagles high in the sky.........

Here is one with a Black Kite..........

Other stuff included Peregrine, Common Buzzard, White Tailed Eagle, Brent Goose, Harlequin Duck, Whooper Swan and the usual common winter species. At Onuma we tried to find a Naumanns Thrush which Franck had photographed yesterday, no luck there. The Pintail was still present as were the Smew (11 now) as well as Goosander and Goldeneye but no chance of decent photos, the Smew were too far away and the Pintail was too close.............

The Ural Owl was dozing in its hole.

Not much in town last week, there were individual Grey Heron and Great Egret on the river.

And lots of Dusky Thrush still...........

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21 February 2012

Where are all the birds?

A Grey Heron from Onuma last Sunday, there are one or 2 tiny ice free patches at Onuma (a result of the temperature climbing above zero occasionally) and the Heron was standing in one.

There was a larger open area where the Whooper Swans and Mallards gather. In among them were several Tufted Duck and a lone male Pintail.

There were 7 Smew and 1 Goosander further away but nothing else, here's a Red Squirrel instead.

The last couple of days in Hakodate have been pretty birdless, the Red Breasted Merganser was still around as was the Sparrowhawk, the Ducky Thrush and the single Hawfinch but not much else. It's been a strange winter: very mild at first and then an extremely cold snap followed by the heaviest snow in the region for a long long time. I'm guessing the odd weather may have disrupted migration somewhat. I've given up on the Waxwings, I hope we get some winter finches in town soon.

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19 February 2012

A Sunday in Onuma

The weather has relented a little, we could actually leave Hakodate this afternoon. The snow was piled up head high on the sides of the road but we've only had light snow this week, the main roads were clear. It was still overcast though and only common birds were around but it was a relief to get out of town for the first time in ages (actually only just 2 weeks but it felt longer).

The tame tits and nuthatches in Onuma all appeared to have survived the cold spell.

It was nice to get some shots of them in the snow, shame the light wasn't great.

In the group there are 2 Nuthatches and 2 Varied Tits, one individual of each species is very tame and the other is more wary.

There are also at least 2 Eastern Great Tits, these are much shyer.

And there are 4 or so Marsh Tits. Or rather Marsh and Willow Tits. Most of them have glossy caps and short stubby bills, this one doesn't seem to. Is it a Willow Tit? I have to say I never really check. Perhaps I should do.

Not much else in the forest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, lots of Dusky Thrush, a distant Black Woodpecker calling, several Jay, a single Hawfinch.

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17 February 2012

Dusky Thrushes

I could take my first bird photos for almost 2 weeks today, a large flock of 100 or so Dusky Thrush was feeding on the berries in the trees on a street in the middle of town.

This is a common winter visitor but they didn't arrive in any numbers until a couple of weeks ago when the weather turned nasty. I was hoping to see some vagrants with them, a Naumanns Thrush of Fieldfare perhaps but nothing doing there.

I hope they leave some food for any late Waxwings...........

A Sparrowhawk was around and spooked the thrushes several times. I was spooked too by the arrival of 2 burly men in suits. They flashed their police badges (the thrushes were across from the main Police HQ in Hakodate) and told me I had to move for 'security' reasons (I was standing in a car park used by the police apparently). I wish I could say 'oh go and catch some real criminals you corrupt incompetent idiots' but I don't know the Japanese for that so I just tutted under my breath and moved like they asked. In retrospect I'm glad my Japanese is limited sometimes...........

Nothing much else around, here's some kind of weasel a couple of days ago down the river........

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