A very quiet last couple of weeks but I did get out briefly yesterday. There were several duck species around: the resident Spotbills and Goosander of course but also a lone Scaup, several Red-breasted Mergansers and this pair of very scruffy Harlequin Ducks. Not a bird I often see in summer: the latter 3 duck species are presumably non-breeding lingerers.
It wasn’t only geese in Mukawa…………….
Japanese Cranes have recently appeared in the area too and have been breeding for a while.
I was trying to get some Harlequin Duck BIF shots in one of the small ports. All heavy crops: they were a little shy.
Beautiful clear autumn weather the last few days and a clear change in some of the bird species. Harlequin Duck and Glaucous-winged Gulls gave reappeared on the coasts.
A flock of Whooper Swan were flying south yesterday as were lots of Eurasian Jay. Lots of common ducks on the rivers and Great Egrets are becoming more numerous. Northern Goshawk and Daurian Redstart were other noteworthy species near Esan.
Hakodate is pretty quiet: a flock of Rustic Bunting were in one of the local parks today and There are still some Night Herons on the river.
And the Esan area always seems to have a Peregrine…………..
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.
Today we went east of town to the Hawk-Eagle spot and there were 2 of them. This is an immature.
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.
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.
The Harlequin Ducks have been back for a couple of weeks now………….
There was a group of them east of town sunning themselves on the rocks.
Not much else around in the fine autumn weather: a Mountain Hawk Eagle was the most interesting…………
A lousy wet windy Monday, at least there were some Harlequin Ducks around east of town. Not much else: my first Skylarks of the year, the usual gulls and ducks and a lone White-tailed Eagle.
Some Harlequin Ducks taking flight in Sawara this morning. Not much on that stretch of coast: Black Scoter, Pelagic Cormorant, Glaucous and Glaucous-winged Gulls and several White-tailed Eagles being the only noteworthy species.
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.
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.
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.