Another bird I usually see plenty of in winter is Hawfinch, They are common, even in the middle of town. This year is very slow however and I haven’t seen any in town since late autumn. Where have they all gone?

The above photo was taken in a local park a couple of years ago. This is generally a pretty shy species but occasionally some individuals, such as this one, show no fear………


Daurian Redstart

A Daurian Redstart near my apartment from quite a few years ago. Some winters there are many small birds in town but not this year. I haven’t seen this species since November (it is usually a common winter visitor) and there are no Waxwings, winter finches or buntings.

No car last few days so I was stuck in town. There were 6 species of duck on the river at the weekend as well as Coot, Grey Heron and Great Egret but the only passerines of note were a handful of Dusky Thrush, several Eastern Great Tit and a lone Varied Tit. It is pretty cold (although not unusually so) and very icy underfoot: not ideal for walking around Hakodate looking to find any small birds.

Hoping for a red and green invasion

Common Crossbill

So it’s 2019. 5 years ago there was a big invasion of Common Crossbill into Hakodate. They were everywhere. 20014 was a Crossbill year when the above photo was taken. 5 years before that in 2009 we had another big Crossbill invasion when the following pic was taken.

Common Crossbill

5 years before that there was another big invasion. I didn’t have a camera in 2004 though. So do they erupt at 5 year intervals? In all those years flocks appeared in the local parks in mid February. I hope this year will be a repeat. There are precious few small birds around so far this winter ……….

Here’s another one from 5 years ago.

Common Crossbill

They occur most years in smallish numbers, I suspect those may be resident birds moving around Hokkaido and the big flocks in invasion years may be from the Asian mainland. But I may be wrong.

All quiet in Hakodate

Japanese Waxwing

A Japanese Waxwing from Hakodate last year. In early 2018 there was a huge invasion of Waxwings (of both species) right in the middle of town. It lasted about 3 weeks. This year however it’s very quiet near my apartment: Great Egret, a few Dusky Thrush, Daurian Redstart, a handful of Goosander and a lone Long-tailed Rosefinch have been all I’ve been able to find this week………….maybe some Waxwings will show up soon.