Apart from the geese it was a pretty quiet trip birdwise. The above Marsh Sandpiper was a surprise and we saw lots of raptors including my first Steller’s Sea Eagles of the winter. Winter ducks and gulls are returning to various locales, autumn will end in a couple of weeks.
Very hot weather returned this weekend, somewhat surprisingly. It was even hotter than the hot spell last month.
It was hard work looking for waders on the beaches in such hot weather but I did find this Marsh Sandpiper just outside Hakodate yesterday.
I saw loads of these in Hong Kong last spring but in Hokkaido they aren’t very numerous: I’ve seen them here maybe half a dozen times in all.
Not much else around………….just a couple of Grey-tailed Tattler and a small flock of Red-necked Stint.
At Yakumo today it was even hotter and there were more waders around: several Common Greenshank, a small flock of Whimbrel with a couple of Eastern Curlew. 3 or 4 Ruddy Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, several Common Sandpiper, flocks of Mongolian Plover and Red-necked Stint, a lone Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Terek Sandpiper and best of all a lone Temincks Stint, a lifer for me. Sadly only the lowest quality record shots survived the cull.
Other stuff around included lots of Great Egret, the first autumn flocks of Common Teal, Osprey, Peregrine, Pacific Swift and all 3 hirundine species and a singing Black-browed Reed Warbler (!).
There were 28 species of wader present last week in Mai Po.
3 of them were lifers for me: Greater Sand Plover, Nordmann’s Greenshank and Asian Dowitcher. The latter 2 are of course pretty rare and were my 2 target species for the trip. I could only get decent views of them through a scope and neither species came close enough to photograph.
Most of the common species of east Asian shorebirds were present. The above photo shows mainly Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew Sandpiper with a few Marsh Sandpiper and Common Redshank mixed in.
Curlew Sandpiper were especially common. I’ve only ever seen 3 lone individuals in Hokkaido but in Mai Po they were abundant. Some were in summer plumage as you can see.
It would have been even better if it had been sunnier and I’d had my big lens but the whole spectacle would have been worth witnessing even without a camera.
One of the commonest wader species at Mai Po was Marsh Sandpiper. This is a fairly scarce passage visitor in Hokkaido and I had only ever seen a handful of lone individuals before. But in Mai Po they were abundant.
The tide was pretty high and the birds came fairly close to the hide but at 400mm in very poor light the photos are not so good.
It was still a great experience watching flocks of them busily feed.