Saturday 21 December 2013


Wryneck is probably a more common wintering species than my sightings suggest, probably only 2-3 per winter around the city. It can be found in areas of bushes or young trees close to water, major rivers, lakes (including the park variety) or hill streams alongside a road where the combination provides more open habitat. Reedbeds with scattered bushes are a favourite with them. Birds are normally solitary, quiet and probably overlooked, though when there are two or three together they can be very vocal.

A wintering bird on a small mountain river on Mt.Katsuragi, Osaka.

Three woodpeckers can be seen in Kyoto, Japanese Pygmy is very common in parks and gardens as well as woodland, Great Spotted is common, especially in winter, on the surrounding hills and Japanese though less numerous can still be found on surrounding hills. Japanese used to breed in the Fushimi Inari Shrine precinct and on occasion visit city parks. Higher into the mountains away from the city White-backed is fairly common. In areas like Ashyu Forest to the north or Nara/Wakayama mountains to the south Great Spotted and White-backed seem comparable in number, and Japanese is far more easily seen in these areas.

For anyone interested in woodpeckers Hokkaido is the place for both variety and numbers.

Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker in the botanical gardens, Kyoto city, 7 March 2012.

Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker in the Imerial Palace Park, Kyoto city.

Two Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers in what I'd have thought was unusual habitat near Abashiri, Hokkaido 31 December 2012.

Another LSW in the same general area as the above birds.

Male White-backed Woodpecker, Woody Pal, Shiga. They're more often heard than seen in summer but once the leaves have fallen they're much easier, as long as snow allows access to the mountain tracks.

White-backed near Kawayu Onsen, Hokkaido 12 August 2012.
Male Great Spotted Woodpecker Abashiri, Hokkaido 15 August 2012.

Female Great Spotted Woodpecker, Abashiri 15 August 2012. 

Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wakatohanto 12 August 2012.

Juvenile male moulting to adult Abashiri 15 August 2012.

Female Japanese Woodpecker Mt.Misen, Wakayama 28 June 2013.

Grey-headed Woodpecker Abashiri, Hokkaido 14 August 2012.

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