Friday 29 April 2016

A few bits and pieces from the April trip

My three-day trip last week, taking in The Tsu city / Matsusaka (Mie), Hegurajima and adjacent coast (Ishikawa), and on the final day a morning at Kenmin Kaihin Park Kanazawa (Ishikawa) and evening near Yogo (Shiga), was great fun birding across such a wide range of habitats and a great success birdwise recording 131 species. Well above my usual week-long off-shore island totals at this time of year.

Mergansers and boats; an early morning fishing competition in Mie.
Mie provided a few spring arrivals such as Cattle Egret and Chestnut-cheeked Starling...



As well as the usual suspects, Chestnut-eared Bunting and Green Pheasant...


On Hegurajima Pale Thrushes are still quite common but I was surprised to find a Long-tailed Rosefinch. Most have already left and I'm more accustomed to finding the scarce Common Rosefinch at this time of year.

Along with Buff-bellied and Red-throated Pipits, I had two Olive-backed. The very fine flank streaking on the bird below suggests it could be yunnanensis. I've posted previously on two birds I believed were yunnanensis on Hegura.

The northern Ishikawa coast was a little disappointing but one spectacular sight was thousands of Black-tailed Gulls flying up wooded valleys onto fields in the process of being flooded prior to planting rice.

The following morning I was at Kenmin Kaihin Park in Kanazawa. There were lots of thrushes around, especially Japanese, Dusky and Pale. Even with very high ISO it was difficult to get a shot of this Brown-headed in the very early morning when thrushes still venture into the open.

Blue and White Flycatchers had been more common on Hegura, I only saw three here.

In the hills several newly arrived Oriental Cuckoos were singing but Copper Pheasants and Japanese Scops Owls had fallen silent, though the weather wasn't the best when I was there. It was probably still too early for Grey Nightjars and the other cuckoos, either that or the weather didn't encourage song.

There were a couple of Ashy Minivets in Kanazawa but they were quite common near Yogo, about 15 was the largest group I saw. Both places had lingering Rustic Buntings, it was a little surprising I didn't see any on Hegura though time on the island was brief.

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