31 July 2012

Too hot to do much

Not a very good picture but this heavy crop is one of a flock of White Throated Needletails at Yakumo on Sunday. They were with lots of Sand Martin and will be heading south soon.

Not  much else around. Great Crested Grebe offshore, Grays Grasshopper Warblers still singing in the bushes and all the common stuff feeding their young,

It's been very hot recently, not much going on. Too hot to go outside. Hot enough to wish I had an airconditioner.

After getting up to watch the opening ceremony I tried watching a bit of the actual Olympics but all that seems to be on here is judo...................the coverage here is a bit one eyed and you'd think Japan is the only nation competing.. I would say it is the same in most countries though.

Whatever, I haven't watched the Olympics in 20 years............still I managed to crack how to watch the coverage from the UK online. Shame all the interesting stuff will be on in the middle of the night.

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22 July 2012

A lazy Sunday in July

An Osprey and Black Browed Reed Warbler at Yakumo today.

It's that very quiet time of year, not much around anywhere. A pair of Great Crested Grebe in full summer plumage offshore at Yakumo was a surprise and the Grey Wagtails have appeared on the local river as they always do at this time of year (they have already bred further upstream).

Some of the Black Browed Reed Warblers were still singing but most were feeding their young, difficult to get a shot of this.

They must have nested in a patch of long grass next to a pile of old stinking fishing nets. Yuk.

There are 3 or 4 pairs in this small area of wasteland near the rivermouth. The young birds eventually popped out to take a look at the world on a dullish Sunday afternoon in July.

I spent a couple of hours hoping the Ospreys would do something interesting. They didn't.

My god England's bowlers are being ground into the dust by South Africa. Errrr........I thought we were supposed to be good these days?

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15 July 2012

The annual lull.........

Well it's that time of year again. Mid July heralds a month or so of very quiet birding, most of the summer stuff has stopped singing and now I'm just waiting for the waders to start passing through in mid August.

The 2 staples at this time of year are the fishing Ospreys at various locales and the Japanese Green Pigeons at Shikabe. I had no luck with the Osprey pics last Wednesday at Yakumo (despite there being four of them fishing at the rivermouth) and headed out to Shikabe this afternoon on a dark grey afternoon more in hope than expectation. Recently every time I've been there have been fishermen standing on the rocks where they come down to drink but today I had the beach all to myself........

The light was terrible and I couldn't get that close to them but I managed to get a few shots of what is one of my favourite local species.

It was a bit dark for BIF shots.........

Not much else around here but I was surprised when 2 Grey Tailed Tattlers flew overhead heading north.............what's their story? Pretty late to be heading north to breed........

At Onuma earlier I spent a couple of hours getting bitten by mosquitoes.

If the above pigeons seem exotic to UK birders the Little Grebes and Moorhens at Onuma are reassuringly familiar. The latter is much scarcer (and shyer) than it is in the UK.

Nothing much in Hakodate the last few days, just common stuff like this Brown Eared Bulbul.

No sport on TV or the internet this weekend...........thank god for beer.

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11 July 2012

A trip to the middle

A Siberian Rubythroat at the top pf a mountain in Tomamu this morning. There were loads of them singing near the top, a bit of a surprise as I'd always thought of them as a coastal grassland species.

We'd got up early and taken the ski-lift up to the top as my wife wanted to get above the mist and take some photos of it............this is the view (taken with my 100-400!).

It was the second ski-lift we'd been up on this short trip to central Hokkaido.

The previous 2 days we'd been camping near Asahikawa, my wife wanted to go the zoo.

The weather was terrible, heavy rain and grey skies all the time (at least it wasn't cold). We went up Kurodake in Daisetsuzan, a well known high altitude birding area. The mist and drizzle meant no photographs and we couldn't hike up to the top as the trails were too slippery. I had 3 target species to photograph (or at least see): Pine Grosbeak, Nutcracker and Japanese Accentor. I didn't connect with any of them. I did see a few things in the gloom..............Sooty Flycatcher, lots of singing Red Flanked Bluetail, Wren, Bullfinch.............I'll go back there in better weather for sure.

Other stuff on the trip included Little Cuckoo, Siberian Blue and Japanese Robin, Osprey and Hobby.

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