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).
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.
At least spring is well on its way……………
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.
Offshore at Oshamanbe, and several other places, there are rafts of this species in winter and spring. Stenjeger’s Scoter, a split from the White-winged Scoter in America and Velvet Scoter in Europe.
Usually they are well offshore and never approach the ports but there were some of them right by the sea wall in the port at Oshamanbe on Sunday.
Whilst these photos are nothing special, they are easily the best I’ve managed of this species.
Other stuff around included Black-throated Diver, Falcated Duck, Red-necked and Great-crested Grebes (the latter coming into summer plumage), Glaucous and Glaucous-winged Gulls and the usual common stuff. Except small birds of course.
There were also some dolphins (or porpoises) at the edge of the port: must have been a lot of fish around.
In Oshamanbe the Dunlins sometimes rest on the concrete side of the ports. A bit odd to see them there.
Mind you I did see one on a picnic table in the mountains one time. Now that was odd.
I was surprised there were still some eagles around at Oshamanbe at the weekend: 4 White-taileds and 1 Steller’s.
I keep saying it but surely they’ll be gone next time.
As you can see Sunday was a beauriful spring day.
One of the most noticeable birds in late winter/early spring is Black Scoter. There are loads on the sea at this time of year and their eerie calls are very atmospheric. Sometimes they visit the local ports, like this male abover.
The flock of Dunlins in Oshamanbe were enjoying the spring sunshine…………..
Some were on the beach, some in the port…………
Now is the season for finding Eagles all over the place as they head north. These 2 White-tailed Eagles and the Steller’s below were all sitting around next to the river in the middle of Oshamanbe.
Thanks to Mike Kilburn for explaining to me the meaning of the word ‘Glaucous’……