Thursday 3 April 2014


The cherry blossom is almost in full bloom, spring is in the air and it's time for migrant snipe. I headed down to Ogura today as much to find likely spots to look for them as in hope to find many and as it turned out I did find a nice looking area but no snipe, well, three Common but they don't count.

A large area of reedbed at Ogura is harvested each winter then burnt off to promote spring growth. Last winter they cut a section normally left untouched and at its heart there's a great marshy stretch that looks as though it could pull in a number of wader species not just snipe so I have high hopes for this spring.

Though the snipe hunt was a bust a clump of nearby trees proved excellent for migrant thrushes. The strip of woodland that had grown up along the river over the last 20 years was clear-felled this winter, I suspect the exceptional floods last autumn created a problem with branches and even whole trees being swept downstream. The upshot is that instead of thrushes, and no doubt other migrants later in the season, melting away as I approach they are nicely concentrated and with patience will sit up. The flock consisted of about 40 Eyebrowed and a few each of Brown-headed and Pale while good numbers of Dusky were also flying up into the same trees from the nearby sports fields.

The Eyebrowed were the highlight, though they aren't unusual passing through the area, I don't normally get good views along the river. Brown-headed and Pale on the other hand are often more confiding. Which is why I spent all my time waiting for Eyebrowed to come out of the undergrowth and perch up. The above shots were the best I managed.

The rest of the trip was uneventful with fewer winter birds around but most summer stuff not in yet though I was surprised there were still lingering Rooks on the fields near the station.

I didn't try to get shots of Pale Thrush or Dusky Thrush so just for completeness I'll tack on a couple of old shots before giving the list of species seen.

Green Pheasant   1 plus 1 heard
Eastern Spot-billed Duck   2
Eurasian Teal   60-70
Tufted Duck   3
Grey Heron   8
Great White Egret   1
Little Egret   3
Great Cormorant   3-4
Eurasian Kestrel   1
Black Kite   2
Grey-headed Lapwing   3
Common Snipe   3
Green Sandpiper   1
Feral Rock Dove   c100
Oriental Turtle Dove   several
Common Kingfisher   1
Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker   1 heard
Bull-headed Shrike   7-10
Rook   10-15
Carrion Crow   common
Large-billed Crow   common
Barn Swallow   6
Skylark   many singing
Brown-eared Bulbul   very common
Japanese Bush Warbler   common
White-cheeked Starling   common
Eyebrowed Thrush   c40
Pale Thrush   3+
Brown-headed Thrush   2+
Dusky Thrush   common
Eurasian Tree Sparrow   common
White Wagtail   7
Japanese Wagtail   1
Oriental Greenfinch   several
Long-tailed Rosefinch   1 heard
Meadow Bunting   several
Rustic Bunting   3
Black-faced Bunting   10-15
Common Reed Bunting   1

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