First Eagle snap of the season

White-tailed Eagle

Not an especially good photo but my first Eagle pic from Yakumo of Winter 2019/20. This is the 12th (or is it 13th?) winter I’ve been photographing them.

There were about 10 White-tailed Eagles, all high in the sky. More than last week (I only saw 6). I didn’t see any Steller’s: hopefully, they’ll be arriving soon.

Yakumo was pretty quiet otherwise. A few Whooper Swans and Great Egrets, a lone Eastern Buzzard and Eurasian Sparrowhawk and a few gulls and ducks of various common species. The mountain tops had a light dusting of snow…………….

More Ospreys


Very hot and humid the last couple of weeks…………

I’ve been pretty lazy and not gone out much. Today there were Osprey just outside town and at Kikonai there were Common Kingfisher, all 3 hirundine species and Pacific Swift but not much else. At Kamiiso there were Japanese Green Pigeon, 2 Terek Sandpiper and several Goosander. Last week at Yakumo there were a few Wood Sandpiper but other wise it was pretty quiet.

Roll on Autumn.




The coast is suddenly full of juvenile Ospreys practising their diving techniques. The light was awful but I had a pleasant couple of hours watching them fail to land any fish……..


At least I got some nice angles…….


Other stuff around included a small flock of Red-necked Pharalope at Shikabe, a stray Pochard and Goldeneye at Kamiiso but not much else of any interest. From mid July birding does tend to grind to a halt.

Quiet time here


An Osprey west of town last week. Lots of them around the coast now including many fledged juveniles……….

Not much else around. a couple of Black-crowned Night Herons, a flyover Peregrine and a juvenile Grey Wagtail were on the river near my aprtment last week but otherwise very quiet indeed.

East Hokkaido 2019 #10

White-tailed Eagle

We headed up to Shiretoko to try for Pine Grosbeaks at the top of the pass there. The weather was pretty nasty on the way…….here are 2 oft seen roadside birds on the way up there……….

Latham’s Snipe

And on the way north we came across some White-throated Needletails………..

White-throated Needletail



The Ospreys are doing well. We saw them at many sites today…………….


2 youngsters were in the nest on the west coast and there seemed to be a couple of juvenile birds flying near Hakodate.

Other species around today included Wryneck and Lesser Cuckoo. A Black-headed Gull and female Goldeneye were near Hakodate, the last stragglers of winter.

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).