Saturday 16 November 2013


Continuing to group birds by name for convenience sake, rather than by accepted taxonomic order, we come to Oriental Honey Buzzard. This might be expected as a breeding species in the region but I've never seen any myself, however it is a common autumn migrant. There are good migration watch-points in and around the region (see in Japanese) but the buzzards are a broad front migrant and I often see them passing over the city during September. The top of Mt.Inari used to be a good location to see a variety of raptors, and other diurnal migrants, passing through. A number of birds would also roost there and they could be seen leaving but tree cover is more closed now and viewing is difficult.

Male on Mishima, May 2010.

Female on Mishima, May 2010.

Grey-faced Buzzard migrates through the area much as OHB and the above comments apply but it can also be found during the breeding season in hilly, forested parts of the region.

A migrant Grey-faced Buzzard leaving its roost at Takaragaiike, Kyoto city in early September.

While a common winter visitor in the Ryukyu Islands, a bird in Kyoto in mid-January is an exceptional record.

This Grey-faced on Yonaguni in early April could be a migrant or a wintering bird.

Eastern Buzzard is a common late autumn migrant and winter visitor. It can be found at Ogura and along the Uji/Yodo River. Several usually roost on the isolated hill at Yawata on the Keihan line just south of the city. It's common in all open country, especially in the north of the region, throughout winter.

Eastern Buzzard, Lake Biwa.

Two shots of toyoshimai, the Ogasawara race of Eastern Buzzard. 

Rough-legged Buzzard is fairly rare in Kansai though odd ones do occur irregularly on the Japan Sea coast. In 2008 an unprecedented invasion occurred and it was relatively common in the north of the region. Far more surprising three birds were at Ogura and two or three visited Yodo River in the centre of Osaka!

Rough-legged Buzzard, Ogura. January 2008.

Rough-leg, Ogura.

Upland Buzzard is rare but not unheard of in the region. The most reliable site in Japan is Yonaguni in the extreme south.

Three shots of Upland Buzzard on Yonaguni April 2013. That's a Grey-faced Buzzard alongside it in the final shot.

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