Some spring Grebes

Black-necked Grebe

There were 7 Black-necked Grebes in one of the loacl ports this afternoon and some were well into their summer plumage……….

Black-necked Grebe
Black-necked Grebe

This is a common enough local species that I often photograph and they look great at this time of year. Also around were 2 Great-crested Grebe, 6 species of gull including Glaucous Gull and my first Little-ringed Plover of the year.

Coal Tit

Coal Tit

A cold windy Sunday today. Several inches of snow fell last night but has now mostly melted.

I couldn’t find any geese at Onuma but there were still plenty of Swans (both species) and ducks. These included newly arrived Mandarin Ducks which were displaying in small groups. There were quite a few Eagles around too: at least 9 White-tailed Eagles and 1 adult Steller’s Sea Eagle.

Small birds were again few and far between but there were a few Siskin and Dusky Thrush at Onuma and the above Coal Tit was in a park just outside town.



I saw my first Osprey of the year a few days ago. They typically arrive in the second half of March and are a common summer sight on the coasts, lakes and rivers of south Hokkaido. The above individual was diving in the port at Oshamanbe in late March 3 years ago, the closest I’ve ever been to an Osprey (the image is uncropped).



Now is the time to start thinking about spring rarities. Like the above Hoopoe in front of my apartment several years ago. I’ve seen 3 in Hakodate over the years (and also 2 in Onuma). This is quite a common bird in mainland Asia but is a much sought after spring visitor here………..

Spring Eagle

White-tailed Eagle

There were 2 White-tailed Eagles at Onuma and they caused much panic and consternation among the wildfowl…………….

In addition to the geese. ducks and swans there were Little Grebe, Black, Grey-headed and Great-spotted Woodpeckers, Siskin, Dusky Thrush, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron and Great Egret.

Hakodate was very quiet. Black-necked Grebe at Kamiiso, my first Osprey of the year at Moheji and a White-tailed Eagle at Shiriuchi were the only noteworthy species.

White-tailed Eagle

At least spring is well on its way……………

Quiet up north

Northern Pintail

Oshamanbe is the most northern location we regularly visist. It is particularly good at this time of year but on Sunday we had to endure sleet, hail, snow and rain. Not ideal for photography.

Birds around included Dunlin, Black and Stenjeger’s Scoters, White-tailed Eagle (only 1), Great Egret, Red-necked Grebe, lots of ducks including big flocks of Pintail (above), Whooper and Bewick’s Swans and White-fronted Geese,

The Glaucous and Glaucous-winged Gulls are coming into summer plumage now. Here’s one of the latter.

Glaucous-winged Gull

Spring Geese

Bean Goose

Lots of geese around this weekend: several hundred at Onuma. Mainly White-fronted Geese on Sunday and mainly Bean Geese (above) on Monday. They were very wary and stayed out in the middle of a big ice-free part of the lake. Not many photo opps……..

One thing I’ve been doing religiously with geese flocks over the years is check for rarities. Snow Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose and Cacckling Goose are the 3 possibilities. Until yesterday I’d always drawn blanks but look what I found…………..

Cackling Goose

3 Cackling Goose in among all the Pintails. A totally crappy record shot but my first lifer in over 18 months!

A White-tailed Eagle flushed the wildfowl and the 3 birds disappeared and I couldn’t relocate them. At least I got a record shot. Also in among the wildfowl were several Baikal Teal, also too far off for any pics sadly.