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.
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.
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…………
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………
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?
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……
There were 2 Mountain Hawk Eagles and 2 or 3 White-tailed Eagles east of town this afternoon…………
When one of the latter flew over, one of the former got a bit annoyed as you can see above.
The regular Steller’s Sea Eagle doesn’t seem to have arrived yet, hopefully it will come soon.
Other stuff around included Blue Rock Thrush, Harlequin Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Brent Goose, Great Egret, large numbers of Common Gull and Black-legged Kittiwake offshore and a briefly glimpsed flock of waxwing in town (no idea which species).
I waited a long time for a Mountain Hawk Eagle to flap over the ridge but eventually it came. Still pretty far off (and this photo is cropped quite a bit) but it was worth the wait. The light was much better than yesterday too.
This is an adult. The paler immature showed up too but that was even further away…………..
A first year Montain Hawk Eagle this afternoon above one of the ports east of town. Not great photos, heavy crops from 700mm. Every so often one or sometimes two appear over the ridge and flap lazily along the treeline.
There was an adult about too but that was even further away. This youngster was a bit frisky: it dive-bombed both a White-tailed and a Steller’s Sea Eagle…………