Emperor Goose

Emperor Goose

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…

2022 Summer Road Trip #16

Brunnich’s Guillemot

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.

Brunnich’s Guillemot

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…

Horned Puffin

An actual rarity

Richard’s Pipit

A crappy heavily cropped pic but a lifer: a Richard’s Pipit today. A rare passage visitor to Hokkaido and a very nice find. Shame I couldn’t get close as it was so jumpy.

I got up late and was out in the harsh midday sun so terrible light for photos. Apart from the above pipit not much else around anyway…

Siberian Meadow Bunting

Golden Week 2021 #8

Black Scoter

Most of the seaducks have left the ports and are either offshore or gone back north. There were a few Black Scoters close inshore and a few Stejneger’s always just out of camera range.

Stejneger’s Scoter
American Wigeon

Most interesting duck was the above American Wigeon (in terrible light) and a flock of Falcated Duck (also out of camera range).

East Hokkaido September Trip #8

Red-legged Kittiwake

A big typhoon hit east Hokkaido last week whilst we were there. It made us change our plans but on the day the typhoon hit I got messages that the typhoon had blown some pretty interesting seabirds into the port at Kiritappu (our original destination) so we braved the typhoon and headed down there…………….

Red-legged Kittiwake

2 birders, Neil and Richard, were already there and there were indeed lots of seabirds around. It was really windy, pretty dark and raining heavily.

Red-legged Kittiwakes are one of the most sought-after east Asian gulls and pretty soon one flew past and I got out of the car to brave the elements and managed to snap a few BIF record shots.

Red-legged Kittiwake

Yellow-browed Bunting

Yellow-browed Bunting

Not a great photo but a pretty scarce bird. I saw the above male Yellow-browed Bunting in one of the parks just outside town this morning. It was hopping unobtrusively around in the shade and I noticed it in the distance and though oh right just another Black-faced Bunting. I pointed my camera at it, noticed the head pattern and thought it was a Rustic Bunting at first but then the bird’s head caught the sun and I saw the yellow eyebrow……….

Difficult to get close to but I was very happy to see it: my 4th lifer of 2020.

Lesser White-fronted Goose

Lesser White-fronted Goose

A lifer from this afternoon: 3 Lesser White-fronted Geese to the north of town.

There were lots of geese flying around. They all seemed to be Greater White-fronted Geese. I fired off some shots but got a bit bored (I was waiting in vain for a Lapwing, a scarce bird here, to come close). Then 3 flew right over me against a blue sky and I thought it might make a nice pic. Whilst waiting for the aforementioned Lapwing I checked the day’s photos so far and then I noticed the 3 yellow eye-rings and the 3 cute pink stubby bills.