Sunday 29 December 2013


Eastern Crowned Warbler is the only widespread breeding phyllosc in Kansai. It can be found throughtout the forested hills in the region including those surrounding Kyoto city. Japanese Leaf Warbler also breeds in the region but at higher elevations, the centre of the Kii Peninsular is the only area they are likely to be found on a casual visit.

During migration Eastern Crowned can be found in city parks from late August. Arctic complex warblers are more common passing through the area from September through October mostly after Eastern Crowned have moved through but there is some overlap in September. Since the recent three-way split I've been looking out for autumn passage birds in city's parks and believe not only is there a single taxon involved but that they are Kamchatka Leaf rather than Japanese Leaf.

In spring I occasionally find a Sakhalin Leaf singing in trees along the Uji River in the Ogura area. This river attracts a wide range of migrants so perhaps it isn't surprising I've found them there but not elsewhere. There have been one or two Yellow-browed in Kyoto while I've been here but they're rare. They are quite common on Hegurajima however and I've seen many in Ishikawa on the Japan Sea coast.

Radde's and Dusky are both reasonably common on off-shore islands and can be found along the mainland coast but I've never found either in the Kyoto area.

Other phylloscs are rare to very rare in Japan, I've seen several Willow warblers on Hegura as well as a couple of migrant tristis Chiffchaffs there, plus a wintering Chiffchaff in Osaka. Wood Warbler also occurs on Hegura but I haven't been lucky enough to connect yet! Tickell's, or presumably Alpine Leaf, has occurred there too but it seems to be a spring specialist unlike the others. Greenish and Two-barred Greenish are also possible, as no doubt is Pale-legged but the latter is probably only identifiable when singing so it will be another spring speciality. Personally I've had two singing Pale-legged on Mishima but only un-tickable views of one of them. having said that I'm not sure what would constitute a tickable view as they're only identifiable by song, a ticking dilemma.

Not a phyllosc but convenient to include here, I found this Booted Warbler in Kyushu in December 2014. There had been three prior records in Japan, all in Sept/Oct on off-shore islands.

Four shots of a Siberian Chiffchaff wintering in Osaka, 2014/15.

Dusky Warbler are reasonably common on Hegurajima and I'd imagine also along the Japan Sea coast. This bird 7 October 2011.

Radde's Warbler on Hegurajima, 11 October 2011. Radde's seems to be considered much less common than Dusky but I think the imbalance might be overstated, in some Octobers I see as many Radde's. 

First autumn Radde's can be strikingly yellow below, this on Hegurajima, 14 October 2013. One of three I saw on the island during the week I was there.

A typical bright Yellow-brow on Hegurajima, 9 October 2009. They can be fairly common on the island and many must go undetected on the mainland.

A fairly bright bird with a very clear central crown stripe, again on Hegura, 8 October 2011.

A surprisingly grey-mantled bird for the date, 17 Ocober 2009. More surprising, the bill lacks an upper mandible!
Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, Hegura May 2014, the crown/mantle contrast is obvious here.
Eastern Crowned Warbler on Mishima (Yamaguchi), 1 May 2009.

Eastern Crowned Warbler on Mishima, Yamaguchi, 29 April 2009.

Eastern Crowned Warbler in less strong light, Mishima, 29 April 2009.

Scraping the bottom of the barrel image-wise just to complete the breeders, this is actually an Ijima's Warbler on Miyakejima, 17 May 2013. 

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