A grey day out east

Steller’s Sea Eagle

We were east of town today under heavy grey skies. Not great for bird photos but there were lots of interesting birds around. 4 species of goose (a record for me in Japan!): in among the many skeins of White-fronted and Bean Goose heading north I found 3 Cackling Goose. There were also Brent Geese flocks feeding along the coast.

Lots of Common Crossbill around as well as White-tailed, Steller’s Sea and Mountain Hawk-Eagles (only singles of the latter 2), Harlequin Duck, Black-necked Grebe, Glaucous-winged Gull, Red-breasted Merganser and Asian Rosy Finch.

Shame about the dark gloomy skies.

Mountain Hawk-Eagle

Back!

Asian Rosy Finch

There was a flock of 7 Asian Rosy Finch east of town today but they flew off before I could get a decent picture.

The local Steller’s Sea Eagle has returned there…………….

Steller’s Sea Eagle

Annoyingly it stayed high up on the hillside and didn’t do anything all afternoon.

Several White-tailed Eagles and 2 Mountain Hawk-Eagles were around as well.

Mountain Hawk-Eagle

A break from Waxwings

Harlequin Duck

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.

Great Crested Grebe

Today we went east of town to the Hawk-Eagle spot and there were 2 of them. This is an immature.

Mountain Hawk-Eagle

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.

The day before

Mountain Hawk-Eagle

Yesterday I was east of town again and the Mountain Hawk-Eagles were showing very well again. The male (above) tried to catch flyby gulls several times but was unsuccessful.

Also around the area were Peregrine, White-tailed Eagle, Harlequin Duck, Blue Rock Thrush, lots of Red-breasted Merganser offshore and tens of thousands of gulls: lots of Kittiwakes and Common Gulls mainly.

Earlier in the day at Onuma we saw Smew, a pair of White-tailed Eagles eating a freshly killed Mallard, various resident species including Black Woodpecker and son on…………

Meet the Mountain-Hawk family

Mountain Hawk-Eagle

I went east today to check on the Kittiwakes again but they were mostly offshore. Luckily the Mountain Hawk-Eagles put on a good show. The above one is the male.

This is the female, as she nonchalantly nabbed a young Slaty-backed Gull out of the sky………

Mountain Hawk-Eagle

Could have been a great pic if I’d reacted a bit quicker, by the time I’d processed what was going on and got the camera up the chance had passed.

This is a juvenile bird, I guess a son/daughter of the above pair?

Mountain Hawk-Eagle

I was using the 1.4 teleconverter. Again , some of the better shots were a little mushy and most of the others were out of focus. It seems to work Ok at Yakumo where the eagles fly more at eye level often in very nice light but the shots of these birds in the sky leave me a bit underwhelmed. Maybe I should take the teleconverter off next time……