31 December 2016

A lifer to end the year.................

A heavily cropped and backlit photo but a lifer nevertheless................

There were 2 Baikal Teal at Onuma.

Last year there was a Ring Necked Duck and some Falcated Duck with the Mallards and Whooper Swans and this year this species made a surprise appearance. As far as I know it is a pretty scarce bird in Hokkaido (though more common in southern Japan).

They stayed well out of range and I was shooting into the sun.

Other birds present included Coot, Little Grebe, Pintail, Smew and Goldeneye.

And this lone gull, it seems to be here every winter................is it just a Vega Gull or is it something rarer? The extensive blotchy markings and pale mantle make me think of American Herring Gull (which would be another lifer).................but it's probably just a Vega Gull. Still, odd to see this species so far inland.

In case anyone can offer an opinion on its ID, here are a couple of shots showing its wing pattern...........

So tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of this blog. I started on January 1st 2007. A lot of stuff has happened in the world since then but my life hasn't changed so much, I still live in the same place and do the same work as I was doing 10 years ago.

When I started I only had a cheap compact camera and cheap scope but in March of that year I got my first DSLR and in November 2007 I got my first decent lens. I'm now on my 3rd camera body and have a bigger, heavier and much more expensive lens. I shudder to think how much I've spent on what is, after all,  only a hobby.

I've replaced my PC twice and the car twice in those 10 years but only visited my home country England 3 times (and domestically I never travel much outside Hokkaido either).

Thank you to all those who visit this blog and leave comments, both past and present. I wonder what the next 10 years will bring?


  1. Congratulations on your beautiful blog, Stu. You grew so quickly as a photographer and birder. When I was much younger people told me not to spend too much on my hobby, so I spent the next 20 years standing in the wilderness with a cheap lens. When I look at my photos from back then, I wonder what they could have been. Even if we don't make money from it, Is it really a hobby?

    1. Hi Russell, thanks for the comment. You have been here from the start so thanks again for that. I wish I'd started a bit earlier but to be honest decent quality bird photography only became realistic for the masses when the first consumer DSLRs were released which was probably only a couple of years before I started this blog. I would never have gotten interested in it during the film era.

      I do make tiny amounts of money from bird photos (requests from magazines, journals, fieldguides etc and once I won a national photo contest). Over the last 10 years I've maybe made enough to pay for one new camera body and some accessories.......

  2. A lifer! A good way to end the year Stu. Good luck with the next ten years and if your photos are as good as they usually are, we are in for a treat.

    Happy New Year.

  3. A handsome duck indeed! Congratulations on your ten years of blogging. It has certainly provided a good deal of enjoyment to me, and I suspect many others also. I will look forward to more great features in 2017. All the best to you and your wife for 2017.

  4. It is interesting to look back. 10 years is a long time to Blog, and I enjoy especially what birders in other parts of the world are seeing and doing. Congratulations on the Baikal Teal. I saw one when we were in Japan, thanks to a non-English speaking, but very helpful Japanese birder!

    1. Thanks Sonja, yes 10 years is a long time, hope I'm not getting too repetitive............but thanks for taking the time to visit as often as you do.


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