Friday 9 October 2015

Kanazawa October 9

In the field at last! I just had a four-day trip to Ishikawa and starting with the final day, when I actually had a Japan tick, I'll quickly run through some of the highlights.

Yesterday's undoubted star bird was an Arctic Warbler; new in Japan for me. I was standing at the beginning of one of the paths through the park waiting for light to broaden sufficiently to start birding when the bird started calling about 30 metres away. An obvious case of when you see (or in this case hear) the real deal there's no doubt. All the previous possibles pale compared to how distinctive (relatively speaking) the actual bird is.

It called for about 30 seconds and towards the end of the sequence of calls two much closer Kamchatka Leaf Warblers started calling too. Fortunately I'd heard dozens of Kamchatka during the three previous days so my ear was well and truly in. After all fell silent again I played Arctic call on my iphone which drew an instant response from the bird in question, though the two Kamchatkas remained silent. The calling Arctic popped up into a taller bush giving brief views. The big disappointment was that at 30 metres in still dull light I couldn't make out any plumage features that might suggest I'd ever be able to recognise a silent bird should should I find one. After it dropped down I neither heard nor saw it again. But what a start to the day!

The only other good warbler of the day was a Radde's, again located by call, and despite giving numerous glimpses at down to two metres never came into the open except to flit from one tangled mass of low bushes to the next.

One species that was more cooperative in photographic terms was Lesser Cuckoo. There were at least two birds in the same small area as I'd seen one bird three days earlier. The first was a juvenile, the other a bit of a puzzle but presumably an advanced moult juvenile.

Juvenile Lesser Cuckoo, I'm not certain these shots are of the same bird.

When I first saw the other fly by I thought it was an adult but on seeing perched was left thinking it is a juvenile with advanced moult. I believe a 2CY bird would be indistinguishable from adult after have moulted in summer but stand to be corrected.

Going by this view I'd be fully expecting this to be an adult Lesser Cuckoo - at least in field conditions.

It turned out to be an interesting combination of greys and browns.


Presumed early moulting juvenile Lesser Cuckoo.

There were two female-type Blue and White Flycatchers coming down to bathe in a stream. These shots show a surprisingly greenish bird compared the normal brown appearance. I'm used to seeing fresh Narcissus looking very greenish and Blue and White do too but I've never noticed one quite as green looking as this. Perhaps the unusual angle of view makes the difference, looking down on the bird rather than upwards against the light.

A distinctly greenish female Blue and White Flycatcher. I'm not sure whether the whitish fringes to the inner webs of the tertials are an artifact or feature, the bird perched up for a couple of seconds before seeing me and dashing off into the woodland.

More expected here are Green Pheasant, they are quite common and not at all shy. Nevertheless these birds didn't come out into the open until 9am which was a little surprising.

On the non-bird front these crabs are common in wooded areas.

A common species here, this one was walking up the stone steps.

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