Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Red-breasted Flycatcher

I had a mid-morning drive through the hills into Hyogo today; very little traffic and quite pleasant in the winter sunshine. The aim was to see the returning male Red-breasted Flycatcher I first saw last January.

I've read discussions online as to the wisdom of feeding of rare visitors but it would seem this bird is definitely in favour. I don't think there can be any doubt this is the same individual given the unexpected location and the fact that red-breasted birds are quite rare in Japan, most birds here are first winters. This bird aside I've only ever seen first winters.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Chinese Penduline Tits and Red-billed Starlings

A quick drive round the fields on my final morning at Arasaki produced the usual birds; the two Whooper Swans in winter residence, a few Common Shelducks, many Dusky and Pale Thrushes and plenty of Russet Sparrows.

Large flocks of Russet Sparrows are a common sight on the wires.

Less often seen are Hawfinches and, surprisingly, Kestrel. They were far more common at Isahaya Bay.

The best encounter of the morning was a party of Red-billed Starlings with the Common and White-cheeked by the pig farm.

Common Starling.

The first two Red-billed Starlings were a surprise but as I walked into the pig farm I found many more. 

A single Commom (top) with Red-billed.

With some time left before having to start the long drive back to Kyoto I decided to have one last try for Penduline Tit. I'd heard them several times, both here and at Isahaya Bay but so far one brief flight view was all I'd managed. Fortunately conditions were very calm this morning and it didn't take long to find small groups flying this way and that across the reeds. about 40 birds was the biggest group I saw in flight but there were obviously a lot more birds present judging by the calls in both directions along the river.

They sometimes came quite close but were hidden, low in thick reeds. The only photographic opportunity was slightly further away where there was a break in the reeds and I could get these more distant shots.

On one of the occasions a party crashed into the reeds close by they flushed a Dusky Warbler! It flew up and called dropping back into the reeds four or five metres on but continued to call for a short time. I've no idea how many Duskys may winter in this part of Japan but this is my second at Arasaki, after one seen well with Sean Minns and Mark Carmody in 2008.

And one other bird along the river... spot the Hen Harrier.

The list of 119 species recorded during the week-long Kyushu trip:-

Whooper Swan
Common Shelduck
Mandarin Duck
Falcated Duck
Eurasian Wigeon
Eastern Spot-billed Duck
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Eurasian Teal
Common Pochard
Tufted Duck
Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Eurasian Spoonbill
Black-faced Spoonbill
Black-crowned Night Heron
Grey Heron
Great White Egret
Little Egret
Great Cormorant
Eurasian Kestrel
Black Kite
Eastern Marsh Harrier
Hen Harrier
Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Northern Goshawk
Eastern Water Rail
Ruddy-breasted Crake
Common Moorhen
Common Coot
Sandhill Crane
White-naped Crane
Common Crane
Hooded Crane
Eurasian Oystercatcher
Northern Lapwing
Grey plover
Long-billed Plover
Little Ringed Plover
Kentish Plover
Common Snipe
Eurasian Curlew
Common Greenshank
Green Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Black-tailed Gull
Common Gull
Vega Gull
Mongolian Gull
Slaty-backed Gull
Taimyr Gull
Black-headed Gull
Saunder's Gull
Caspian Tern
Rock Dove
Oriental Turtle Dove
Ural Owl
Long-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Common Kingfisher
Crested Kingfisher
Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Japanese Woodpecker
Ryukyu Minivet
Bull-headed Shrike
Daurian Jackdaw
Carrion Crow
Large-billed Crow
Eastern Great Tit
Varied Tit
Chinese Penduline Tit
Barn Swallow
Long-tailed Tit
Japanese Skylark
Zitting Cisticola
Brown-eared Bulbul
Japanese Bush Warbler
Dusky Warbler
Japanese White-eye
Eurasian Nuthatch
Red-billed Starling
White-cheeked Starling
Common Starling
Pale Thrush
Dusky Thrush
Red-flanked Buletail
Daurian Redstart
Blue Rock Thrush
Brown Dipper
Russet Sparrow
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Forest Wagtail
Eastern Yellow Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
White wagtail
Japanese Wagtail
Olive-backed Pipit
Red-throated Pipit
Buff-bellied Pipit
Oriental Greenfinch
Long-tailed Rosefinch
Japanese Grosbeak
Meadow Bunting
Chestnut-eared Bunting
Rustic Bunting
Elegant Bunting
Black-faced Bunting
Common Reed Bunting

Friday, 15 January 2016

cranes, spoonbills and a 'funny" Grey Heron

Black-faced Spoonbills are reasonably common on estuaries, ponds and ditches around the coast. I've seen flocks of over 20 birds in the past but this time I only saw a total of seven on the whole trip, though I confess I wasn't especially looking for them. These two were at Arasaki.

In Kansai both Black-faced and Eurasian Spoonbills are scarce but the latter is seen at least as often as Black-faced. However in Kyushu the vast majority of spoonbills are expected to be Black-faced so I was pleasantly surprised to find a confiding Eurasian in a roadside drainage channel at Arasaki on my first evening. The second evening it had been joined by two more and the following day the number had grown to an amazing eight; more than my Black-faced total!

Continuing with the long-legged theme I came across this interesting Grey Heron with a surprisingly brownish head and neck. Unfortunately I was blocking the single track road and had to move to allow a car to pass and by the time I circled the field the bird had gone so I don't know how extensive the odd colouration might be nor suggest a reason for it.

Still sticking with long legs I can't resist a few more crane shots, they're just such amazing birds.




and Sandhill.