Red-billed Leiothrix was a long term bogey bird for me and to this day I haven't seen one around Kyoto city even though everyone else, even casual visitors, seems to have bumped into them at least once. However they do seem quite common in the central mountains of the Kii Peninsular which is where I took the following shots. Since finally getting the monkey off my back I've regularly seen them in central Kyoto prefecture too.
|Mt.Misen, June 2013.|
Presumably the race loochooensis on Iriomote, April 2013. I was surprised it was noticeably smaller in the field than the race japonicus I'm used to seeing in Kyoto.
Goldcrest can be found in conifers throughout the region including those around the city and often even in the Imperial Palace Park and the botanical gardens in the city centre.
I rarely see Wren in the city parks but they are fairly common around the city and more frequent further out in the hills.
Nuthatch is another bird that can be found in the region's forests but sightings are unpredictable, sometimes I see several at Ashyu for example and other times none. I've only ever seen two in Kyoto both sightings were at Fushimi Inari Shrine many years apart showing there is some movement. Treecreeper is another discreet bird of the region's hill forests, I've never seen one in Kyoto city and sightings further afield depend on luck though they seem more numerous in mountains of central Nara than the hills of northern Kyoto.
Early on a misty mountain morning in Nara, note the duller belly of amurensis compared to the white underparts of asiatica in Hokkaido.
White-cheeked Starling is common in the region and in winter huge numbers roost in city centres. Chestnut-cheeked is a common northward migrant in April and early May, I see many along the the Uji River in Kyoto, but they're very infrequent in autumn. The introduced Crested Myna breeds in the Osaka area but they seem nomadic. Beyond that starlings aren't to be expected here, I've found one wintering European in Kyoto which seems to have been a one-off and White-shouldered and Red-billed are irregular winter visitors in Kansai. Records of Red-billed seem to be increasing in recent years. Daurian is the rarest of the starlings, I've only seen one, a spring migrant on Mishima and I've never heard of one in Kansai.
|A male Chestnut-cheeked Starling with a White-shouldered on Tsushima, 4 May 2012.|
Common Starling is a common winter visitor to Kyushu, flocks of 50 aren't unusual.