Thursday 5 November 2015

Mie Nov 3 - the other birds

What a great place for birding this is. There's always somewhere else to check, it's impossible to even visit all the good spots in a day let alone give them adequate coverage. There's always a sense of anticipation. Of course on the day the two tropical seabirds I wrote about in the previous post stole the show, both are very rare in Japan with Red-footed Booby just creeping in as a summer visitor to the southernmost islands - I've only seen them around Io-to (Iwojima). However I never cease to wonder about what I must be missing in this area, whether it might be birds passing through, there can be a rapid turnover, or those that remain undiscovered because of the wealth of habitat. No two visits ever seem quite the same.

Admittedly I wasn't especially looking for waders this time but the difference in totals between this visit and four days earlier is notable. Take plovers for example, the first figure given is Friday, the second Tuesday :-

Grey-headed Lapwing   3 - 0
Northern Lapwing   50-60 - 0
Pacific Golden Plover   9 - 0
Grey Plover   2 - 39

Dunlin numbers were much higher this time (up by 100s), along with that Grey Plover increase, but most others were down and I only saw 14 species compared to 21 four days earlier. It wasn't just waders that differed markedly from the previous visit, there were no Greater Crested Terns this time (and I was definitely looking at the sea!) and on the fields there was a huge jump in the number of Buff-bellied Pipits - with a Red-throated thrown in for good measure! Rapid turnover, simply not connecting with the same birds or a combination of the two, it doesn't really matter from the birding experience perspective; I always feel I'm guaranteed a good day in the field whenever I come this terrific area... I wonder if I can get a job with the Mie board of tourism.

Buff-bellied Pipits were suddenly common.

Grey Plover, along with Dunlin, were the only waders to show a marked increase in numbers on this visit.

Birds of prey can be quite good here too, Though I never think of the area as having the potential for 10 species in a day which some Kansai locations certainly do have. A couple of Peregrines tumbling together was entertaining, there was a Kestrel but no Merlin as yet. An Eastern Buzzard was new this week. Ospreys and Black Kites are always common but both Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Northern Goshawk which we saw well last Friday weren't to be seen at all this week.

Eastern Buzzard.

Eurasian Kestrel with a cricket or some such insect.

The other raptor of interest was an immature Black Kite with an abraded tail creating on odd silhouette. I often see frazzled-looking, square- even round-tailed birds in late April or early May but not at this time of year and its mainly whitish head and foreparts (Black usually gets paler towards the vent) gave it a slightly immature Brahminy feel. Just a Black though.

List of birds recorded over the two days :-
Falcated Duck
Eurasian Wigeon
Eastern Spot-billed Duck
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Eurasian Teal
Common Pochard
Tufted Duck
Greater Scaup
Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Black-necked Grebe
Grey Heron
Great White Egret
Little Egret
Great (?) Frigatebird
Red-footed Booby
Great Cormorant
Eurasian Kestrel
Black Kite
Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Northern Goshawk
Eastern Buzzard
Common Coot
Eurasian Oystercatcher
Black-winged Stilt
Northern Lapwing
Grey-headed Lapwing
Pacific Golden Plover
Grey Plover
Kentish Plover
Common Snipe
Long-billed Dowitcher
Bar-tailed Godwit
Eurasian Curlew
Far Eastern Curlew
Common Greenshank
Green Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Ruddy Turnstone
Red-necked Stint
Black-tailed Gull
Common Gull   -   It's worth mentioning that there were none!
Vega Gull
Slaty-backed Gull
Taimyr Gull
Black-headed Gull
Greater Crested Tern
Feral Rock Dove
Oriental Turtle Dove
Common Kingfisher
Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker
Bull-headed Shrike
Carrion Crow
Large-billed Crow
Brown-eared Bulbul
Japanese Bush Warbler
White-cheeked Starling
Daurian Redstart
Blue Rock Thrush
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
White Wagtail
Japanese Wagtail
Red-throated Pipit
Buff-bellied Pipit
Oriental Greenfinch
Meadow Bunting
Reed Bunting

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