On the clifftop

Peregrine

One of the resident Peregrines out east today.

A quiet Monday: Eurasian Kestrel, Buff-bellied Pipit, Rustic Bunting were among the more interesting species but nothing especially noteworthy. No Waxwings or winter finches yet.

A few raptors were around.

Mountain Hawk-Eagle

I can’t get sharp BIFs pointing upwards at 700mm.

Several White-tailed Eagles were in the skies but I couldn’t find the local Steller’s anywhere.

Why do male Harlequins never come close like this female?

Harlequin Duck

A grey Christmas Eve

Mountain Hawk-Eagle

It was a dark cold christmas eve….

We were east of town checking on the Steller’s Sea Eagle which takes up residence there every winter. It was there but sat on a tree on the mountainside doing nothing. A Mountain Hawk-Eagle put in a brief appearance at least.

The port was quiet but this Pelagic Cormorant popped up close.

Pelagic Cormorant

We stayed at a hotel on a nearby cape…

Peregrine

A fruitless trip

White-tailed Eagle

We had a 3 day trip to the Mukawa area but it was very very flat for birds. A few White-tailed Eagles (like the one above) but no geese, hardly any winter gulls or ducks and no winter raptors except for a lone Merlin and Goshawk. neither of which posed for photos.

On the way back Yakumo was very quiet due to the lack of eagle food but there were a few eagles around at least.

Steller’s Sea Eagle

Stupid frickin’ twigs.

Mountain Hawk-Eagle

Some other small birds

Rustic Bunting

In among the Crossbills (and Redpolls) were other winter passerines……….

Bullfinch

Also around were Hawfinch, Brambling as well as various tits and woodpeckers, Eurasian Jay and Dusky Thrush.

Dusky Thrush

Several White-tailed and at least 3 (!) Steller’s Sea Eagles were in the Esan area in addition to Eastern Buzzard, Peregrine and 2 Mountain Hawk-Eagles too.

Mountain Hawk-Eagle

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…………