13 January 2014

Minus 19 plus 2 Falcons.


I got up at 5am today and it was one of the coldest mornings I can remember for a long long time.........





I wanted to show Tomohiro the Gyrfalcon. We got there in brilliant morning light, perfect for photography despite the fierce wind and freezing temperatures (minus 19 according to the car). Only one problem..............no Gyrfalcon.

There was a female Peregrine though. the background is not a public toilet by the way.

Judging by the red on the stomach it has just fed................




It was so windy she had difficulty holding on. Especially when having a scratch..............



Tomohiro had to go home and I returned  later with my wife and after another long wait the Gyrfalcon appeared. I got out of the car to take this photo.............


It was here my battery gave out and I had to go back to the car to get a fresh one. It was so cold (and I had forgotten my gloves too) that I jogged back to the car.................and fell in a sprawling mess in the snow. My lens was OK but my dodgy left knee is throbbing with pain as I type this. I think only one person saw this...............

The Gyrfalcon was pretty active today and was pursuing Slaty Backed Gulls but I couldn't get any action shots at all.

Just ones of it on the ground. At least it was standing in this one..............


And it looks quite cute here...............



But most of my shots looked like this...............



Other raptors around today included Goshawk and White Tailed Eagle. Ther have been a Rough Legged Buzzard and Short Eared Owls around at the same location as the falcons but we couldn't see any. The Gyrfalcon apparently killed and ate a Short Eared Owl last week.................

LOADS of snow yesterday meant no birding and last night saw bitterly cold weather hit south Hokkaido. My apartment is freezing cold too, I think the door needs to be fixed (or replaced). the room where I do my photos is always showing a temperature of only 6 or 7......................and I have an electric heater going. The living room is an oasis of warmth so I'll head back there now..............

Thanks to Kato-san and Koizumi-san for their kind help today, the latter driving us around in his big car over the sand dunes and letting me get those last 3 shots. Thanks also to Tomohiro who gave me a lift in the morning but got unlucky with the Gyr............

Thanks for clicking this link.......
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13 comments:

  1. So cold but heaven for birding. You're so lucky to have that Gyr Falcon hanging around so reliably. Great shots too. I'm back in Japan but to fragile to go out with a maximum in Niigata of 1c after experiencing 42 last week. Maybe I'm missing something special out there!

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    1. Hi Russell, so it was 61 degrees colder than Australia here! My god...............

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  2. Amazing. Can't believe a peg let you get that close, even allowing for the 500mm. Superb shots - the Gyr too.

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    1. Hi Phil, the Peregrine shots were from a car window...........

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  3. They really are beautiful shots - don't know which is better of the two species! We've had 43C today, and no cool change till Friday evening, by which time I'll be out of the country.

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  4. Replies
    1. Hope you have a good time.........

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    2. Thanks. Hopefully there will be some photos and stories to share.

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  5. So jealous of the Gyrfalcon! It looks super tame. Also really great shots of the Peregrine Falcon.

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    1. Hi Ayuwat, yes the Gyrfalcon is a photographer's dream. Just a shame the place it's in is spectacularly cold and windy........

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  6. Two incredibly special birds, and some wonderful images, thanks for this brilliant post

    Dave

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    1. Thanks Dave, yes it was great they were in the same place.......

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