After getting my first photographs of Copper Pheasant last week I was feeling pretty pleased. This week I've outdone myself getting another personal photographic first - Japanese Quail.
I usually come across the odd Quail on migration, Hegurajima in October and on Mishima in early May, both islands seem to produce quite a few. The seasonal bias will be down to my birding habits rather than the bird's migration pattern. Views are invariably sudden and unexpected with no chance to get the bins on them let alone the camera during their brief escape flight after being flushed. The only wintering bird I've seen was Kyushu. I have no idea whether these two birds will have wintered locally or are early migrants.
The weather was awful today, heavily overcast with continuous rain from about 9am on and by mid-afternoon I'd just about had enough; I'd seen very little. However I decided I'd have a crawl along the fields checking the edges for migrant snipe. Swinhoe's, Latham's and Pintail are all possible during April but the first of the month is the earliest I've ever had success so I wasn't too hopeful. After the tedious first kilometre my mood changed dramatically as I glimpsed two birds dashed into cover. I knew instantly what they were and back tracked to a wider spacing between the crops and hoped the birds would cross the gap. One of them did... success! Not the greatest shots but good enough for me.
The effect was far better than a good night's sleep, something I was lacking, and I was ready to keep going rain or no. Within five minutes I came across this male Garganey!
Just to round off; a couple of egrets (Great White and Little) coming into breeding condition. The weather forecast is better for tomorrow, I wonder if the birding will be...