A break from Waxwings

Harlequin Duck

I headed up to Yakumo yesterday and was amazed to find virtually no Eagles. Only about 6 or so, they’ve eaten all the Salmon they could find and have gone. I was very surprised: in the 19 or so winters I’ve been going up there, this is by far the earliest they’ve dispersed.

Not much else around there either. On the way back one of the ports at least had a few common birds like the above Harlequin and this Great Crested Grebe.

Great Crested Grebe

Today we went east of town to the Hawk-Eagle spot and there were 2 of them. This is an immature.

Mountain Hawk-Eagle

Other stuff around included White-tailed Eagle, Black-legged Kittiwake, Black-necked grebe and Peregrine.

The Waxwings were still in town this morning and I saw some in Yakumo and Esan this weekend too.

A cold walk in a bleak spot

Harlequin Duck

Today we were in the Onuma area. At Sawara we took a walk on the grasslands: a cold bleak place with no birds except a few crows, kites and gulls. The location is famous for Gyyfalcons and other raptors as well as winter buntings. But not today.

A nearby port had a few ducks including half a dozen Harlequins. Also around were Red-necked, Great Crested and Black-necked Grebes, Pelagic Cormorant but not much else.

At Onuma all 5 species of woodpecker were present as well as Smew, Whooper Swan, Eurasian Siskin, Dusky Thrush and Eurasian Treecreeper.

Sleety Monday

Harlequin Duck

Really rotten weather today: sleet, rain and snow. I was with an old birding friend and we went to all the local spots over the weekend. A shame I was labouring under a nasty cold which combined with the aforementioned weather kind of scuppered any chances for nice photos. These Harlequin Ducks were taken in a brief 10 minute window when all precipitation stopped.

Harlequin Duck

Birds seen at the weekend included 8 species of gull with large numbers of Black-legged Kittiwakes heading south off the Pacific coast, the usual raptors including both species of eagle at Esan, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Peregrine, Brent Goose, Black Woopecker and Smew.

Harlequin BIF

Harlequin Duck

A Harlequin Duck in flight this sfternoon from a bitterly cold Pacific coast……………

I was showing Philip, an American birder living in Tokyo, the eagles in Yakumo. Unfortunately the weather up there was absolutely vile. Whiteout conditions and we even got stuck in the snow in an uncleared car park…………….and the only way we could dig the car out was with our tripod and monopod.

A few interesting birds about though including Great-crested Grebe, Black Woodpecker and the eagles of course, even if we could barely see them in the blizzards.