27 February 2017

26 February 2017

Everything turned out rosy

We spent a couple of hours this afternoon looking for some Asian Rosy Finches to the east of Onuma................and we eventually found some.

25 February 2017

24 February 2017

On this day (February 24th).....................

February 24th 2014.

A Stellers Sea Eagle on the drift ice off Rausu 3 years ago today.

We had a wonderful day on the boat and I took a lot of photos, you can see them here. Like the cranes at Akan it is a tad contrived (the boat crew toss fish out onto the ice for the eagles to come close) but still a great experience.

I heard the last 2 winters (which have been very mild) didn't see so much drift ice and these boat trips haven't been able to go out much (or even at all)...............we were lucky in 2014.

22 February 2017

On this day (February 22nd)......................

February 22nd 2014.

A White-tailed Eagle amongst the Cranes at Akan Crane Centre 3 years ago today.

This location, a place where a large flock of Japanese Crane overwinter and are fed by a farmer, is a very well known place for bird photographers visiting Hokkaido in winter: when we were there there were probably more big white lenses than big white birds and I heard it was even more crowded in subsequent years. The staff at the Crane Centre throw out food for the cranes and the eagles swoop down to pilfer some. A bit contrived but still great fun, if you can brave the crowds.

Due to worries about bird influenza I heard this place is closed to visitors this winter. Actually there are plans to close it (or at least scale it back) long term as a) the Cranes are no longer in need of such protection and b) such a concentration of individuals could be catastrophic if there was a major disease outbreak. So you may not be able to witness such scenes anymore.

21 February 2017

Winter bites back......................

A Buff-bellied Pipit in Shizunai a couple of days ago.

We just got back from a short trip that was somewhat spoiled by the weather........................

19 February 2017

On this day (February19th)...................

February 10th 2014.

The Sawara Gyrfalcon 3 years ago today. It was posing nicely on some driftwood.

Although it looks like a nice day it was absolutely freezing and there was a bitterly cold north wind blowing in off the sea. The windchill was brutal. I was only out of the car about 20 or 30 minutes but I'd stupidly forgotten my gloves. My hands were exposed all the time as I was holding the camera up.

When I got back to the car and my hands warmed up again I was surprised to be in intense pain for the next 2 or 3 minutes as the blood returned to my fingertips..............the initial stages of frostbite I guess.

17 February 2017

Still in the cherry trees

A male Bullfinch on Thursday. Still small groups of them are snacking on the cherry blossom buds around town though none as photogenically as last week.

Also in the big park near my flat were a flock of 20 or so Hawfinch, a lone Redpoll, some Coal Tit, Dusky Thrush and a single Nuthatch.

We're away for 2 or 3 nights over the weekend, hopefully some new birds to post about next week.

16 February 2017

15 February 2017

13 February 2017

The beginning of the end

A White-tailed Eagle near Yakumo today. The eagles have started dispersing, there were only a few around on the river today. There were some scattered around on the coast, they are starting to move north. The beginning of the end of the 2016/17 eagle season down here in SW Hokkaido.............

11 February 2017

Still gorging on the sakura

I took a walk this afternoon and the Bullfinches had relocated a little downstream.............

10 February 2017

On this day (February 10th)............

February 10th 2014.

A male Common Crossbill in Hakodate 3 years ago today. There was a big invasion of this species in late winter/early spring that year: they were everywhere in town.

I see them pretty much every year but I've only witnessed 2 big invasions in the time I've been doing this blog: in 2009 and in 2014. I wonder what 2017 will bring?

9 February 2017

6 February 2017

A crappy Monday in February

Absolutely horrible weather today. Heavy wet sticky snow with very poor visibility and terrible driving conditions.

5 February 2017

4 February 2017

A few small surprises

A male Bullheaded Shrike and an immature Black Crowned Night Heron near my flat this afternoon......

3 February 2017

A blue thief

A male Blue Rock Thrush in one of the local fishing ports a couple of days ago................

2 February 2017

1 February 2017

In the park shadows.............

We were in one of the local parks this morning. It was rather dark, the park is full of trees and is difficult to photograph birds sometimes.

This female Sparrowhawk was a nice find, looks like it was eating a Brown-eared Bulbul............................shane about the poor light.
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