Wednesday 29 April 2015

Mishima; April 29

Golden Week is here at last. It's time to head out to an island and see loads of rare birds. That's the idea anyway, I'm not holding my breath.

What is it about Mishima? The first time I came here Sean Minns showed me round all the hotspots and the weather was great birdwise - our tent would have blown away if it weren't for the weight of our sodden sleeping bags, sodden everything, holding it down - there was stuff everywhere. Each subsequent visit the air pressure has been higher, the sky bluer and the wind ever more difficult to detect with a raised wet finger. Since my last visit I've Golden Week'ed on the Noto Penisular and Hegurajima (great birding on the cheap), Tsushima (boy did it rain) and the Yaeyama Islands (not all of them but Ishigaki, Iriomote and Yonaguni - talk about wind) and here I am back again. Blue sky, calm sea and no birds.

In the past I've always come down either by overnight bus or the train, neither of which allow you to get the first sailing out, but last night I drove down. I was able to get the first of the two ferry trips and fully enjoy trudging up and down this hilly island in the blazing sun. Lucky me. Just making the first boat seemed great at the time but now I'm out here not having had time to do a supermarket run I facing next to nothing to eat apart from an evening meal. It never rains, but it pours as they say. If only it would!

I saw pretty much nothing late morning and afternoon but finally had a stroke of good fortune. Nothing rare but tons of birds in just four or five trees. I couldn't count the Narcissus Flycatchers and Sakhalin Warblers, they were darting around on almost every branch, and there were single Blue and White Flycatcher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Eastern Crowned Warbler as well as a good few Great Tits and Japanese White-eyes too.

Blue and White Flycatcher. 

Asian Brown Flycatcher. 

Narcissus Flycatcher, try as I might I couldn't get an adult male. 

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler. 

Eastern Crowned Warbler.

A couple of minutes later I bumped into a scops owl - brilliant. I've only ever had, heard or heard of Oriental on the island so I presume that's what it was but my view was of a small stubby bird with round looking wings doing an incredible jinking glide through the thick understory along the slope below me. It obviously perched after just a few metres but flew again before I located it. Definitely bird of the day.

The others are listed below.

The forecast claims there'll be rain tonight... not much wind though. Fingers crossed there's more to report tomorrow.

Eastern Spot-billed Duck   6
Streaked Shearwater   c200 around a fishing boat on the crossing
Cattle Egret   1
Grey Heron   3
Great White Egret   6 including one albus
Intermediate Egret   8
Little Egret   4
cormorant sp   c10 probable Temminck's approaching the island
Osprey   3-4
Black Kite   very common, birds always overhead
Common Greenshank   1
Green Sandpiper   1 heard
Oriental Turtle Dove   twos and threes regularly
scops owl sp   1 presumed Oriental flushed twice at 17:30, this is the only species I hear here
Ashy Minivet   heard overhead quite often
Carrion Crow   3
Large-billed Crow   common
Great Tit   c5
Barn Swallow   fairly common over paddies
Asian House Martin   4
Long-tailed Tit   heard once
Skylark   1 heard
Japanese Bush Warbler   (only) 1 heard
Sakhalin Leaf Warbler   c25
Eastern Crowned Warbler   1 plus 2 heard
Japanese White-eye   fairly common
Wren   1 heard
Chestnut-cheeked Starling   1
Japanese Thrush   1
turdus sp   many heard or glimpsed
Siberian Rubythroat   2 heard
Red-flanked Bluetail   1
Blue Rock Thrush   1 heard
Asian Brown Flycatcher   1
Narcissus Flycatcher   c20
Blue and White Flycatcher   2
Tree Sparrow   fairly common in the 'town'
Grey Wagtail   1 plus 1 heard
Olive-backed Pipit   6
Buff-bellied Pipit   1 heard overhead getting off the ferry
Oriental Greenfinch   fairly common
Hawfinch   1
Japnanese Grosbeak   2 heard
Meadow Bunting   1 heard
Rustic Bunting   1
Black-faced Bunting   several heard


  1. The migrants haven't really started arriving in Hokkaido yet. By coincidence I got my first ever (Collared) Scops Owl today...................

    1. Congrats on the Scops Stuart, there were a lot of migrants here a couple of weeks ago it seems but weathers been great for stuff to move on... but not as far as Hokkaido.