13 March 2016

Black and White Sunday



Sometimes it really is a case of black or white.............


It was a grey blizzardy/sleety/rainy late winter's day and we headed north past Yakumo.

One of the ports had a flock of Black Scoter in the corner, one of my favourite winter species.


There was a bitterly cold wind and intermittent heavy snow, it was also very dark. The scoters were sheltering from the wind.

The drake is a great looking bird, there were 6 of them with only 1 female.







They are generally a bird of the open sea but often visit ports in late winter/early spring.





They looked a bit tired...................



Another bird that is common at this time of year is Glaucous Gull. There were loads of them on the beaches and in the ports. They look extra white at this time of year, a nice contrast against the scoters...........




Other stuff around today included Asian Rosy Finch near Shikabe, 2 small flocks of White Fronted Goose flying north, a couple of White Tailed Eagle still at Yakumo, 2 Daurian Jackdaw near Oshamanbe, Black Necked Grebe, Great Crested Grebe (some in summer plumage and displaying), Pelagic Cormorant. Long Tailed Duck, Smew, Goshawk and Great Egret.

8 comments:

  1. Great coverage of the Black Scoters. We get three species of scooter in the Great Lakes in winter, Black Scoter being by far the rarest.

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    1. They are strictly saltwater species in Japan and we only get 2 regularly: White Winged (or Velevet or Stenjegers, I lose track of whatever it is called these days) are scarce in south Hokkaido but Black Scoters are very common at this time of year............

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    2. Hi again Stuart: In is only in fairly recent memory that they have been so abundant on the Great Lakes. It was the arrival of the zebra mussel, an abundant source of food for them, that triggered their regular winter occupation.

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    3. Interesting, didn't know that.............

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  2. The male scoter does look nice and you managed some great close-ups. It was cold here but the light is hinting at spring. I saw kestrels mating along the shinano and black-headed gulls are beginning to change into breeding mode.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Russell. Kestrels are a bit scarce up here, I'm lucky if I see one a year........

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  3. The Glaucous Gulls are looking impressive, only records here in HK are of first-year birds

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    Replies
    1. Considering how far south Hokkaido is (Hakodate is on a similar latitude to northern Italy I think) I'm amazed how common they are compared to (say) England which is much further north.........

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