Golden Week 2019 #6


The Dunlin flock north of Yakumo were still around on Monday and in summer plumage too.


Not many waders around this Golden Week though: 1 Mongolian Plover, and several small flocks of Grey-tailed Tattler were the only passage shorebirds around and there were the breeders: Latham’s Snipe, Common Sandpiper and Little-ringed Plover.


Golden Week 2019 #4

Chestnut-cheeked Starling

In the fishing ports local fishermen leave the nets out to dry. I guess the nets contain rotting seafood and in early May some kind of fly lay their eggs in the stinking netting and when the insects emerge they are food for any birds in the area.

Chestnut-cheeked Starlings are common summer visitors and flocks of them were feasting on the flies………..

Chestnut-cheeked Starling
Chestnut-cheeked Starling

Golden Week 2019 #3

Intermediate Egret

Not a vintage Golden Week for birds. Despite fine weather and lots of time off and traveelling around SW Hokkaido I didn’t see anything particularly rare or unusual. Yakumo still had plenty of wildfowl on the 4th/6th including Garganey, Falcated Duck and White-fronted Geese and both species of Scoter were offshore at Oshamanbe. Other summer visitors to arrrive included Oriental Reed Warbler, Brown-headed Thrush and Oriental Cuckoo. On passage there were lots of Dusky Thrush and a nice male Rustic Bunting (at Yakumo) but not much else.

The above Intermediate Egret was at Yakumo. All 3 species of commoner egret weer evident across the region at the weekend: this is the scarcest of the 3.

Golden Week 2019 begins


An Osprey at Kikonai yesterday. Not much around: Pacific Swift, Common Sandpiper, Black-throated Diver and Great Egret being the most interesting. Inland the first Eastern-crowned Warbler of the year and a few common species were present but that’s all.

Nearer Hakodate there were a few ducks still around including Pintail, Shoveler, Scaup and Wigeon as well as Great-crested Grebe offshore. 5 species of gull included summer plumaged Black-headed………..

Black-headed Gulls

There were also 11 Brent Geese………….

Brent Geese

Beautiful spring weather as you can see but when the weather is so clear migrants just pass straight through.

In Yakumo/Oshamanbe yesterday there were 40 or so White-fronted Geese, Great and Little Egret, a dozen or so species of duck including at least 8 Garganey, Eastern Marsh Harrier, osprey, Buff-bellied Pipit, Little-ringed Plover, a lone Whimbrel, and 7 species of gull.



No birds around at all today. Well, 1 Barn Swallow and a few crows/sparrows/bulbuls. IT’s been raining all day so I thought the nasty weather may have grounded a few migrants but no……………

The above Wryneck was in one of the local parks around this time a couple of years ago. It is a reasonably regular migrant and there was a pair of very vocal ones which stuck around for a few days.

That time of year again

Caspian Tern

We’re coming up to Golden Week, a Japanese holiday in late April/early May.

n Hakodate it usually co-incides with the cherry blossoms in full bloom and is also the start of the 2-3 week spring migration peak.

The last 3 years have seen local rarities turn up during Golden Week at exactly the same spot in the west of town. The above Caspian Tern showed up 2 years ago. This is a very scarce bird in north Japan and only the second one I’ve seen here. There were loads in Hong Kong when I visited earlier this month.

Ditto Black-faced Spoonbill, which turned up here 3 years ago. 1 of only 3 I’ve seen in Japan.

Black-faced Spoonbill

It was accompanied by a Eurasian Spoonbill. 1 of only 4 I’ve seen in Japan.

Eurasian Spoonbill

And last year this Saunder’s Gull stayed about a week. 1 of only 4 I’ve seen in Japan.

Saunder’s Gull

I wonder what will turn up this year?

Eastern Marsh Harrier

Eastern Marsh Harrier

There were Eastern Marsh Harriers at several sites today. This is a summer visitor to south Hokkaido and a species that defies all my attempts to get a decent shot of it.

Other summer stuff around included Siberian Stonechat, Chestnut-cheeked Starling, Common Reed and Black-faced Buntings, Japanese Thrush, Japanese Bush Warbler and Little-ringed Plover.