So on the morning of the 15th, after all the birds on Hegura the previous day, I had high hopes. Two Yellow-browed Warblers and a couple of Daurian Redstarts at the beginning of the track up to the lighthouse on the point did nothing to diminish them. However, though there were more birds than there had been a week ago there really wasn't anything to get excited about and the best bird I saw was a juvenile Japanese Sparrowhawk.
With a broad arm and small hand as well as a short tail I find the silhouette very distinctive; don't ask me why but it always reminds me of a butterfly.
Meadow Bunting is common at Rokkozaki, common just about everywhere in fact. So it's odd that of all the buntings you might expect to see just over the water on Hegurajima, this is possibly the least likely you'll come across. To my knowledge there were nine species of bunting on Hegura on the two days I visited this week, 10 if you consider Masked distinct from Black-faced. No sign of Meadow though.
Meadow becomes a widespread and frequently encountered bunting once off Hegurajima. They were very common at Rokkozaki.
After fruitlessly working the point for most of the morning I decided to head south to Kanazawa and Kenmin Kaihin Park. It's about 150km via Wajima which was the route I took and a bit of a long-shot but the weather suggested to me that birds would be leaving in droves with nothing coming in to replace them so I hoped there might be a chance of catching something lingering after the bring-'em-in weather two days earlier.
Coming into Wajima I was amazed to see a cruise ship docked! Totally incongruous and the last thing I'd have expected in this small, out-of-the-way port. I'd have been no more surprised (though a good deal more delighted) to see a Saker coming in-off.
A cruise ship in Wajima?! Anyone familliar with the port will recognise that brown fish processing building next to the Hegura ferry docking point.
What is it about Kanazawa and Lesser Cuckoos this week? Once at the park in Kanazawa it was obvious most birds had already left, if they'd ever arrived in numbers at all. But there was yet another Lesser Cuckoo for entertainment.
The question now seemed to be go home or return north and make another day trip to Hegura. I really didn't expect there to be much there but the island is capable of attracting just about anything even if the weather doesn't seem terribly conducive. So it was another overnight drive north and 9am ferry out to the island. The cruise ship had already left, someone must have informed the captain he'd docked in the wrong port.
Hegura was predictably quiet after all the birds earlier in the week. Almost all the common migrants were down in numbers, the buntings and Daurian Redstarts had all but cleared out. Only Hawfinch was up in numbers, they were everywhere. However Yellow-browed Warblers were still present, I counted 10, a Dusky could have been the same bird as two days ago but there was no sign of the Willow Warbler.
Red-throated Pipit numbers might have seemed to be up but that was possibly because I hadn't visited one of their favourite locations last time and there were seven present this trip. The same might be said of Buff-bellied, up to six from two last visit. Unlike some trips out there it wasn't a wrench to be leaving in the afternoon and judging by the number of birders heading to the harbour well before sailing time I wasn't alone in that thought.
Mandarin Duck 2
Streaked Shearwater common from the ferry
Black Kite 2
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1
Black-tailed Gull c150
Vega Gull 1
Oriental Turtle Dove 4
Large-billed Crow 1
Coal Tit several
Brown-eared Bulbul fairly common
Japanese Bush Warbler common, though mainly heard
Dusky Warbler 1
Yellow-browed Warbler 10
Pale Thrush 8
Siberian Rubythroat 2
Daurian Redstart 8
Stejneger's Stonechat 1
Blue Rock Thrush 1
Mugimaki Flycatcher 1 heard
Grey Wagtail 1
White Wagtail 2
Olive-backed Pipit 1
Red-throated Pipit 7
Buff-bellied Pipit 6
Brambling very common
Eurasian Siskin 1
Japanese Grosbeak c8
Pine Bunting 1
Chestnut-eared Bunting 2
Rustic Bunting c8
Elegant Bunting c40
Black-faced Bunting c5, the two seen well were both spodocephala, a male and female