Saturday 18 October 2014

A few early winter birds at Ogura

I didn't get down to Mukaijima station until 10am, a really lazy start, but my main target today was to check out the autumn White Wagtails. More of that later. Just outside the station, coffee in hand I found the first winter bird, a male Daurian Redstart.

Daurians are usually one of the first winter visitors to arrive and I expect to get my first between the 16th and 20th so this one's par. No soon had I left it than I noticed a distant Eurasian Kestrel across the fields cutting through a swarm of Red-rumped Swallows but much closer an accipiter was gliding between the high school and station. No doubt a Eurasian Sparrowhawk... but no, when I got the bins on it there was my first Northern Goshawk of the winter. It landed briefly on a pylon but three Large-billed Crows soon put it to flight again. Though against the sun, I managed a few poor shots as the Crows swooped at it and as I followed it there was suddenly a Northern Sparrowhawk along side. No sooner had it claimed my attention than an Eastern Buzzard drifted into the frame. I was thinking I may as well go home, it was hardly likely to get better than this! Raptor migration here is mainly in September when large numbers of Grey-faced Buzzards and Oriental Honey Buzzards pass through but October sees the arrival of species that can be anticipated throughout winter. Even if these individuals may be headed further south.

Textbook stuff, no doubt about this ID...

... and the perfect comparison.

My first local Eastern Buzzard of the season.

While none of these birds was much of a surprise a Rook most ceratinly was. I often get my first Rook on Hegurajima at about this time but it's normally much later before any filter down to Kyoto.

Carrion Crow, a year round bird out on the fields here. 

An adult Rook, by far the biggest surprise of the day.

Coming back to birds of prey, I was able to get much better views of the/a Kestrel later. Now that they breed in the area it's no surprise to see them at Ogura at this time of year, not that it was necessarily a local bird. While Black Kites are a fixture.

I always think that habitually hovering birds are continental migrants as the local birds almost always chase down birds Merlin-style. Note the single adult male feather in the tail as well as a little grey in the rump.

Black Kite is a bird that will always be cruising the fields at Ogura.

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