My only lifer of the trip was this male Lesser Scaup. I would never have noticed unless another birdwatcher (the only one I saw on the whole trip) told me there was one mixed in with the Greater Scaups and Pochards in one of the ports. Whoever you are, thank you!
At first it was resting but you can clearly see the different head shape and colour to the ubiquitous Greater Scaup.
Not a great pic but this bird caused quite a stir when it pitched up in Yakumo last month. A friend of ours found it out but didn’t know what it was so he sent me a photo. I got there a couple of days later and took some not-very-good pics.
This species is very rare in this part of the world, especially this far south and in summer. Not to mention it’s on the wrong side of the Pacific. In the UK it would have been instantly (and probably rightly) dismissed as an escape. But here…well maybe not. There are no big collections of exotic wildfowl in Japan and to be honest it is just as likely (or even more so ) to be a wild bird. Maybe it has wandered over to this side of the Pacific and wintered somewhere else in northeast Asia and then turned up in Yakumo. Who knows?
Anyway it stuck around for a couple of weeks with an equally lost-looking Greater White-fronted Goose and then seemingly disappeared again. Maybe we’ll never know its true origin. But I’m going to tick it…
We did the Ochiishi boat trip. It was pretty foggy but we saw plenty of birds. This Brunnich’s Guillemot posed nicely close to the boat.
The commonest alcids were Rhinoceros Auklets and Spectacled Guillemots and we also saw Ancient Murrelet, Northern Fulmar, Red-necked Pharalope and Sooty (or Short-tailed?) Shearwater.
I was hoping to get a shot of a Tufted Puffin. I’d seen one on this trip before but couldn’t get a photo. We didn’t see any this time but we did manage to see this Horned Puffin. Crappest of crappy pics but a lifer…
Saunders’s Gull is rare in Hokkaido, this was only the 5th time I’ve seen one (and the 3rd at Yakumo). 4 of them have been in the same fortnight over the years (the last week of April or the first week of May). And 4 of them have been immature birds like this one…
It was tiny and very easy to pick out due to it tern-like flight.