30 June 2012

Halftime again........


A lazy midsummer week 2012 is 50% over............

The Red Cheeked Starlings have fledged..........


The young are everywhere.........inside the bushes..........






and also on top................



The adults were busy bringing them food........




Nothing much else around: Barn Swallow, Asian House Martin, Oriental Reed Warbler and the usual common residents...............


Thanks for clicking this link.......
人気ブログランキングへ

25 June 2012

Gone fishin'



One of many Black Browed Reed Warblers at Yakumo yesterday.


I was trying to get some Osprey shots.........


I wanted to get some shots of them fishing, this was the best sequence I could manage. It was quite far out and these are heavy crops, it was also before the sun came out from behind the mist.........


It stayed in the water for a few seconds............



....................before emerging with a fish.



I also saw a Black Kite dive and catch a fish and (surprisingly) a Grey Heron which plunged into the waves offshore and flew off with a huge fish (the gulls followed it and made it drop the fish though).

It wasn't only the birds fishing..........


This Red Fox at Onuma this afternoon was bringing food to its cubs, the same ones we photographed several weeks ago.

The cubs are one month older and not as cute anymore.........




Bird of the week was a surprise Oystercatcher on the beach at Kamiiso. Other stuff around included Scaup, Pochard and Falcated Duck at Yakumo, more Ospreys at Kamiiso and a Grays Grasshopper Warbler at Shikabe which stayed in view for about 3 whole seconds (that's 2.5 seconds longer than any GGW I've seen before).

I stayed up to watch England lose on penalties to Italy. It would have been embarrassing if we'd gone through after being second best for almost the whole game but still.............that's now 6 times out of 7 we've lost on penalty shootouts. I knew we'd lose the shootout as soon as it started.

But Euro 2012 was better for England than I'd expected............plus at least now it means no more 3.45am rises to watch England blunder through games with 30% possession.


Thanks for clicking this link.......
人気ブログランキングへ

18 June 2012

Back after a break




An Oriental Reed Warbler at Kikonai this morning.

I've had a lazy last couple of weeks, to be honest for various reasons I was a little tired of birding and photography and although I visited all the regular places in the last 2 weeks with camera on hand I was very halfhearted and unmotivated..........the grey skies didn't help, no new lens materialized this spring as I'd hoped and my slowing 4 year old computer now makes photo processing a real chore...........so I just though f**k it and I enjoyed a few lie-ins and afternoon naps instead. We all go through periods of being fed up and p***ed off with the world so I won't bore you with the boring details.

This female Bullheaded Shrike was at Sawara this afternoon.


We were in the area to look for Japanese Green Pigeon at Shikabe, we did see some but they weren't coming down to the rocks for a drink. This individual was in the forest gloom at Onuma.


Onuma now belongs to the mosquitoes.

At Kikonai there were lots of Oriental Reed Warblers.



Other stuff around in the last couple of weeks included Whooper Swan at Kikonai today, a late Grey Tailed Tattler up until yesterday at Kamiiso, the first Little Cuckoo of the year at Moheji and lots of Grays Grasshopper Warbler at Shikabe, Yakumo and Oshanambe. Eastern Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Intermediate Egret, Great Egret, Night Heron, the common woodpeckers and summer migrants at Onuma, Russet Sparrow in Hakodate, Harlequin Duck plus a few other late winter ducks hither and thither, the usual grassland stuff at Oshamanbe...........

I caught England v France on Japanese TV but had to follow the Sweden game on a very intermittent online feed (what happened to these online feeds? They used to be much better quality).............I was so pessimistic about England's chances I didn't fork out for the ¥3000 or so to subscribe to the satellite channel showing all games live.

The Ukraine game isn't on regular TV (but if we finish 2nd in the group then that quarterfinal is being shown at least) so I'll be up at 4am getting frustrated at England(s inability to keep the ball and my inability to find a decent online feed...........anyway it is weird to see England not being absolutely awful in a tournament for a change, even if the stupid f**king picture freezes every 30 seconds or so.

Before it started I though we'd have 1 or maybe 2 points going into the final game needing a win to go through (and probably relying on a favour in the other game)..................so my expectations have already been exceeded. Oh and what a header by Caroll..............

Thanks for clicking this link.......
人気ブログランキングへ

9 June 2012

On this day (June 9th)............

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

June 9th 2008.

A Ruddy Kingfisher at Onuma 4 years ago today. They were always a bit far off to capture with a 400mm lens, this heavy crop was the best I could manage. After 3 consecutive summers with this species in Onuma from 2006-8 I haven't seen any since this pair bred...............

Thanks for clicking this link.......



人気ブログランキングへ

6 June 2012

Back to normal




At the end of our long trip around Hokkaido we stopped off at Yakumo on Monday afternoon, a place nearby home where we often go...................

Reassuringly the Black Browed Reed Warblers and Siberian Stonechats were both showing very well.



Other stuff included late Scaup and Pintail, we were only there for half an hour or so before arriving home exhausted in Hakodate.




I've been too busy/lazy/birded out to go out since we got back.................that may change come the weekend.

The 3rd Test plus the start of Euro 2012............nice.

Thanks for clicking this link.......
人気ブログランキングへ

5 June 2012

Round Hokkaido Trip






We just got back from a big trip around Hokkaido, a bit of a tough one with some very chilly nights in the tent and lots of driving for my poor wife.

The first day we drove up to central Hokkaido and camped in a small town called Pippu just outside Asahikawa. En route we stopped at Mukawa which was rather disappointing: there were no waders at all and the only noteworthy species was a lone Glaucous Gull. Near the campsite were the usual common forest birds but nothing especially interesting and the next morning we headed up to Monbestsu on the Ohotsk coast. The birdlife got more interesting as we hit the coast. The first Siberian Rubythroats, Lathams Snipe and White Tailed Eagles appeared but nothing posed for the camera and in the afternoon we reached Lake Kucharo-ko where we camped for the next 2 nights.

There was a very skittish small wader flock here, Grey Tailed Tattler and Common Sandpiper mainly but also this Terek Sandpiper.


Other birds here included more Rubythroats, Grey Heron, Great Egret, Common Tern, Eastern Crowned Warbler, some unidentified thrushes, Long Tailed Tit, several species of common woodpecker and lots of Russet Sparrow such as this female watching me eat breakfast one morning.


White Tailed Eagle were also in the area.


The north part of Hokkaido seems pretty good for birds: there are lots of grasslands, marshes and lakes. We stopped at one headland and it had a huge colony of Sand Martin whilst and Eastern Marsh Harrier hunted on the beach below. Siberian Rubythroat were a common sight and were often singing on wires next to the road.


On Sarobetsu there were lots of Yellow Wagtails next to the road but they were very shy and flew away before I could get closer.


Grey Tailed Tattler were everywhere on the coast.



By Japanese standards the area is very remote with hardly anyone living there.



On the third morning we discovered a grassland just near where we were staying.


Lots of Rubythroats here but this is a very shy species and I found it difficult to photograph. With a bit more time and local knowledge (and maybe a better longer lens) I'm sure it's possible to get some nice shots but this is a typical view.


I got my only lifer of the trip here: a Middendorffs Warbler flitting around under the boardwalk. Yellow Wagtail were also present at the same site and it looks like a good place to visit next time I'm in the area.

Other species in north Hokkaido included Gadwall, Shoveler, Scaup, Red Breasted Merganser, Wigeon, Pintail, Harlequin Duck, Whooper Swan, Whimbrel,  Black Headed and Glaucous Gulls, Reed and Chestnut Eared Buntings, Common Buzzard and other stuff which was everywhere on the trip like Common and Oriental Cuckoo, Black Browed Reed Warbler, Black Faced Bunting, Siberian Stonechat, Japanese Green Pigeon etc.

We also visited the northernmost point of Japan: Soya Misaki. I was expecting a dramatic windswept cape but what we got was just a car park next to the sea.

After north Hokkaido we headed eastwards but the fog set in around Abashiri where we stayed one night. Just before it got foggy I'd seen several White Tailed Eagles sitting on dead trees on the beaches but we didn't stop.............the next day the fog lingered. Here's an eagle in the mist near Tofutsu-ko........


Next stop was Notsuke, we spent a couple of days here. This was the best place birding-wise of the trip.

There were lots of eagles here but they weer rather jumpy, not like I remember from previous visits. Most of them were young birds and some of them looked very raggedy.




All I could get were BIF shots.

There were various waders around. I couldn't find any Common Redshank (there were loads here on my first visit 6 years ago, where have they all gone?) but I did see Mongolian Plover, Grey Tailed Tattler, Oystercatcher and lots of Ruddy Turnstone. Lathams Snipe were everywhere.




Siberian Rubythroat were common but as elsewhere difficult to approach even from a car.


Long Tailed Rosefinch were also common by the roadside.



Common Reed Bunting were, well, common.


Still plenty of wildfowl around including this distant Falcated Teal.


Several pairs of Japanese Crane were displaying far out in the lagoon...........




Notsuke is a bit of a bleak place.



We stopped off at Furen-ko but had to abort a walk into the forest when we saw bear footprints on the boardwalk. A worried looking man came up behind us and went to check to see if the bear was still around. All he had was a pair of binoculars (no gun, not even bear spray). He returned unharmed later. Nossapu was the next stop: the easternmost point of Japan and it was extremely windy. White Tailed Eagle were here.


Not much on the sea, it was too windy to check anyway. Black Scoter, a couple of divers, Rhinoceros Auklet and lots of cormorants (no Red Faced that I could find alas). An old shipwreck sits on the cape here, it gets smaller every time we come.


We had planned to stay at Kiratappu the last night but I'd made a mistake and the campsite wasn't open yet. It was even windier here anyway, the tent would have blown away I'm sure. Kushiro was a couple of hours drive away so we sent a night in a cheap business hotel there.

After this the birding dried up as we headed back south. I saw Arctic Warbler near our hotel in Minamifurano and this baby fox was roadside near Biratori...........


We spent the final night of the trip at Toya, I was surprised to see a Grey Tailed Tattler on the lake shore and at Oshamanbe I heard my first Grays Grasshopper Warbler of the year...........

A bit disappointed with some of the photos, perhaps I was expecting too much on a whistle stop tour like this.

Thanks for clicking this link.......
人気ブログランキングへ
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...