Monday 13 January 2014

ficedula & cyanoptila

Narcissus Flycatcher is a common breeder in the more natural forests of the region's hills, though they can be difficult to find if not singing. During autumn migration many pass through the  larger parks, numbers peak in October. Mugimaki is sometimes seen in Kyoto and Osaka but it is irregular, I once saw a pair in Ashyu Forest in early summer. Yellow-rumped is rare here, the only time I saw it in Kyoto was at Fushimi Inari Shrine, and strangely, also a pair. Yellow-rumped and more often Mugimaki can be reasonably numerous on off-shore islands in spring but numbers vary from year to year. Mugimaki also occurs in autumn and I remember one year when Hegura was awash with them.

It seems both Red-throated and Taiga occur off-shore in autumn though I've only definitely seen Taiga. I don't know how many Red-throated might winter in Japan but I've seen three different birds in Osaka parks and another in a temple precinct in Kyoto. This suggests that Taiga is the commoner migrant but Red-throated is the rare over-wintering species.

Blue and White Flycatcher is another common breeder in the region and singing males are easy to see on exposed perches usually at the very tops of trees. In fact their song is one of the most pervading forest sounds of early summer. Though migrants aren't numerous in parks, seeing the odd one comes as no surprise.

There are good and bad years for Yellow-rumped on Mishima, this was one of half a dozen birds over Golden Week (May) 2010.

Female Yellow-rumped during the same period as the above male.

Male Narcissus , Mishima 30 April 2009.

2CY male, Mishima 2 May 2010.

Presumed 2CY female, Mishima 1 May 2009.

Presumed juvenile, Kyoto botanical gardens 27 September 2012.

Adult female, Kyoto botanical gardens 27 September 2012.

Two very blurred shots of Ryukyu Flycatcher, Iriomote 4 April 2013. This male was singing in a dark gully in deep forest on a rainy day, there wasn't much light to play with.

Male Mugimaki, Mishima 4 May 2009.

First winter male, Hegurajima 13 October 2011.

Female Mugimaki on Hegura, May 2014.

Red-breasted Flycatcher coming for a strategically placed photographer's worm in an Osaka park (I forget which one) 14 January 2007. 

As above.

First winter Red-breasted Flycatcher in a small nondescript park in central Osaka, 12 February 2012.

Most wintering Red-breasted Flycatchers seem to be first winters so a male like this (2014/15 in Hyogo) is a big draw with photographers.

Male Blue and White Flycatcher, May 2008. 

Possible intermedia Blue and White, Mishima (Yamaguchi) 1 May 2010. It was an eye-catching bird, the face and breast were strongly washed bluish.

The crown is a very light blue, the upperparts (mantle to uppertail coverts) and wing coverts are a pale greenish-blue. The bluish breast sides blend into greyish flanks.

Mishima 29 April 2015, a typical male Blue and White.

1CY male Blue and White missing its tail. Katsura River, Kyoto city 5 October 2010.

Female Blue and White, Hegurajima 13 October 2011. Almost like a giant Red-breasted Flycatcher in this view.

Another female, this with the typical upright stance and pale pear-shaped throat patch. Imperial Palace Park, Kyoto city 3 October 2013.

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