Monday 9 December 2013


Common Ringed Plover is scarce to rare in the region, they do occasionally turn up at Nanko Bird Sanctuary in Osaka and probably elsewhere. There's always the possibility that they aren't quite unusual enough to make the local news but I've only found one personally and that was just to the west of Kansai, in Shimane.

January 2009, Lake Shinji (Shimane). My one and only NRP.

Little Ringed Plover is a common summer visitor to Kansai and very common spring and autumn migrant. Wet fields, damp fields or even city centre car parks and building sites, it's the one of the most reliably found waders in the region.

A mid-April arrival at Ogura (Kyoto).

Post-breeding adult August 2013, Ogura (Kyoto).

Juvenile Mie, August 2011.

Semipalmated Plover is a major rarity in Japan, the bird below spent a winter near Nagoya.

The slight webbing isn't visible but the narrow white spur between lores and base of the upper mandible is the clearest indicator of its identity here. Other supportive features are the almost broken, narrow-centred breast band which is blacker than NRP (tundrae), and possibly the blacker forehead and paler coverts panel. 

A good view of the short, somewhat retrousse bill.

Semipalmated Plover early March 2007.

Long-billed Plover is another species common in Kansai but which can be less easy to find in other parts of the country. They breed and can be found year round on the Katsura River running through the western suburbs of Kyoto.

Long-billed Plover near the Uji River (Kyoto) 9 December 2012.

Long-billed Plovers on the Katsura River (Kyoto), note the unusually prominent white band behind the black forehead on the rear bird, 16 January 2011.

Adult with chick on the Katsura River (Kyoto), 24 April 2011.

Kentish Plovers become a common feature when I'm gulling on the lower Yamato River in Osaka during March. They remain common throughout summer in suitable breeding habitat.

This seems a late date for such a young bird, this was brought into focus with as there were as many newly arrived Sanderling as KPs on the beach, Mie 17 August 2011.

Three rather different-looking birds in a car park on Yonaguni 8 April 2013. The bird in the middle image in particular is very pale with a limited black forehead patch.

Lesser Sand Plover is common and easily found on passage at suitable coastal sites such as Nanko in Osaka and in Mie.

Adult Lesser Sand Plovers, Osaka 22 September 2007.

Juvenile Lesser Sand Plover, Osaka 22 September 2007.

Breeding plumage Lesser Sand Plovers, Yonaguni 8 April 2013.

Greater Sand Plovers are by no means rare but I normally only see one or two per migration season in Kansai.

Two Greater Sand Plovers together with the Lessers above. Unlike the Lessers these two show no sign of acquiring breeding plumage.

The final species in this posting, Oriental, won't be seen in Kansai and the following shots (8 April 2013) are of birds on Yonaguni, a famous location in Japan for the species.

Apparently this wasn't the best looking bird while I was on the island but it was certainly the best I saw. It's habit of walking under birders' cars could be frustrating if it were your own it sat under!

No apologies for more Oriental shots...

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