31 March 2018
The last few days have been very quiet in town. Not much around: a few common ducks like Goosander (above) but not much else. No Bullfinch or Crossbills near my apartment, only a couple of Dusky Thrush and lots of Oriental Greenfinch.
The snow has almost all gone though and hopefully soon the spring birds will appear............
30 March 2018
29 March 2018
28 March 2018
27 March 2018
26 March 2018
25 March 2018
24 March 2018
March 24th 2014.
A female Crossbill in one of the local parks 4 years ago today. Part of a huge invasion that year: they were everywhere. Usually I ran into them them when I was out and about with the 100-400. This time I was able to photograph them with my 500mm lens......................
23 March 2018
Yesterday we went to a park in the east of town. Usually the park is full of birds at this time of year but it was very quiet this time. Maybe they'd all gone south (or perished) because of the nasty winter?
A Great Egret was there but not much else. A flock of 30 or so Common Crossbill was in the treetops for a few minutes before disappearing. a skein of White-fronted Geese flew overhead and I heard a lone Grey-headed Woodpecker.
March 23rd 2015.
2 White-fronted Geese in Hakodate 3 years ago today. Large numbers of this species passed through south Hokkaido that March and I saw them in many places. These were practically in a factory car park
Labels: White Fronted Goose
22 March 2018
21 March 2018
20 March 2018
19 March 2018
March 19th 2015.
A Red-necked Grebe in the local park 3 years ago today.
This is the only time I've seen it inland in south Hokkaido, they are usually fairly common offshore in spring and occasionally visit the fishing ports too..................
Labels: Red Necked Grebe
18 March 2018
17 March 2018
Hardly any birds in town the last 10 days or so. Some birds have started appearing from the south: Oriental Greenfinches, White Wagtails and Black-tailed Gulls in breeding plumage (above).
Last week I saw just 1 Hawfinch and 1 Brown Dipper plus a brief flyover group of waxwings. This week saw even slimmer pickings: 1 male Daurian Redstart only. At Kamiiso the grebes weren't present but there were the usual ducks and gulls as well as 4 Great Egret.
The snow is melting fast. Spring is here, almost.
Labels: Black Tailed Gull
16 March 2018
15 March 2018
March 15th 2015.
A male Merlin just outside Hakodate 3 years ago today. This is an annual winter visitor in small numbers but the usual sighting of one usually only lasts a couple of seconds as it flashes across the road and disappears into the fields.
14 March 2018
13 March 2018
12 March 2018
11 March 2018
A White-tailed Eagle north of town today. There were quite a few of them still around (although all the Stellers seem to have departed). The weather has been milder the last few days, the main roads are clear in Hakodate and we can even see a bit of pavement (sidewalk) here and there too.............
Spring can't be far away. At long last. It's been a brutal winter in Hakodate.................
Labels: White Tailed Eagle
9 March 2018
7 March 2018
6 March 2018
5 March 2018
4 March 2018
3 March 2018
March 3rd 2014.
The Gyrfalcon at Sawara 4 years ago today. It may look bright and warm, cosy even. but it was absolutely freezing with the wind coming off the sea................
Incidentally there is some evidence that this bird may not have been quite what it seemed. I was always surprised a) how tame it was b) its odd colouring and c) its damaged tail feathers. After seeing a picture on the internet about hybrid falcons and seeing how similar they were to this bird I voiced my concerns in a couple of places including here. There are some strong arguments made against it being a wild Gyrfalcon (mainly about the aforementioned tail and also the bird's moulting details) but....................see below.
It was suggested it may have been a hybrid Gyrfalcon/Saker falcon that had escaped from a falconer. I've tried emailing the Japanese Falconry Association for their opinion but got no reply. I did however contact a falconry group on facebook and encouragingly none of them thought it was a hybrid including several folk who keep/breed hybrids themselves. It was also put forward that the tail could have been damaged naturally due to its hunting style (the wings are undamaged) and its choice of habitat. Also such falcons are very valuable and are always ringed which this bird clearly isn't.
The colouring may indicate it is a rare genetic mutation that very occasionally occurs naturally. If it was a captive bird apparently it would be very valuable due to the colour. One Japanese falconer said that Gyrs are rarely kept in Japan because they are very vulnerable to disease because of the hot humid summers, Some of the falconers are kindly making further enquiries anyway ......................
Another one visited the same place a couple of years later (but only for a short time and I couldn't see it).............
A lot of Japanese birders saw and photographed it, including the author of a famous Japanese fieldguide. It was in numerous magazines.
I thought about unticking it but I haven't yet. Maybe we'll never know its true origin.
2 March 2018
March 2nd 2015.
A Goshawk near Oshamanbe 3 years ago today. This species is not especially rare but I don't photograph it much for some reason: just distant immatures against grey skies usually. This adult is probably the best shot I've managed.