A hot day in late May


It’s been a very very dry settled May which has meant lots of nice fine days but it’s been pretty poor for birding.

Migration season is just about over and a very slow one it was too. Today near town there were 2 Grey-tailed Tattler, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and 5 Goosander. There were several Ospreys fishing ofshore along the coast and at Kikonai there was a lone Whooper Swan as well as my first Common Cuckoo of the year.

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.

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.



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).

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……………

Still there……….

Steller’s Sea Eagle

The adult Steller’s Sea Eagle was still at Esan on Monday but it didn’t co-operate for any photos. The above subadult flew over, a different individual maybe passing through on its way north. The White-tailed Eagle below was one of at least 6 in the area…………

White-tailed Eagle

This surely must be my last eagle post of the winter……………