18 July 2014

North Hokkaido Trip 2014 #1


We just got back from a trip up north.................






First up we stopped in Daisetsuzan, a mountainous national park in the middle of Hokkaido.

We hiked up Kurodake (well we hiked from the cable car station to the peak). I haven't done any hiking for ages and it was much tougher than I expected. I was hoping to see various high altitude species and also to photograph them. I did see Spotted Nutcracker and Japanese Accentor (2 species I have no decent photos of at all) but only from a distance. My main target was Pine Grosbeak but I didn't see any.

The forest was full of birds: Red Flanked Bluetail were everywhere and there were also Bullfinch and Winter Wren. The trail was very narrow, rocky and steep and after a while I gave up carrying the camera and pit it in my backpack. I had to concentrate where to put my feet for a start.

Above the treeline theer were lots of singing Siberian Rubythroats. One was right next to the trail and must have had a nest nearby. This (and the top one) were taken with the 100-400, no way could I drag the 500 up a mountain.


Unfortnately it was on very narrow part of the trail that formed a kind of bottleneck, I was lucky to get a handful of shots in between the dozens of hikers passing by. Then it started raining and we headed back down, my knees protesting all the way.

The next 3 days were spent camping on the Ohotsk Coast in the north of Hokkaido. Our campsite was near a small cape and it was pretty good for birds here too. The rubythroats were the star attraction here too...............

These pics were taken just after sunrise.....................



This individual was on a bush right in front of our tent one morning.................


When it skulked it was much harder to photograph. This is at ISO 1600, wide open on the 500 and with a S/S of 1/640 handheld.


Also around the campsite were Grays Grasshopper Warbler (one of which sang all night just a few metres away from our tent), Japanese Green Pigeon, Pacific Swift, White Throated Needletail, Grey Wagtail. Siberian Stonechat, Olive Backed Pipit, Asian Brown Flycatcher and Russet Sparrow.

I took a lot of photos, more to come in the next few days.................

10 comments:

  1. These are beautiful little birds adn your shots are fantastic with wonderful light

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment Margaret..........

      Delete
  2. Stunning little birds. If only....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember Bill Oddie describing them as 'Cosmic Mind F***ers"

      Delete
  3. It certainly is stunning, and looks like vocal as well! A lovely series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment, it does have a nice song too.........

      Delete
  4. Beautiful pictures, Stu. The difficult conditions didn't hinder you at all. Good to keep the 400 zoom and the quality is top shelf. Are you still using the 7D? If so, it truly is a remarkable camera. I'd love to see a ruby throat and you are gifted at getting them posing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Russell. Yes I still use the 7D, it's almost 5 years old now. The 100-400 is now my walkabout lens although my wife uses it quite a lot now................

      Delete
  5. Great to see Rubythroat on the breeding grounds, singing away !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi John, yes north Hokkaido is a prime spot for them during breeding season..............

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...