Friday 27 May 2016

Pleske's Warblers and Short-tailed Shearwaters

My Final day out with Jack Krohn took us south down the Kii Peninsula, aiming to see Pleske's Warbler. The Warbler was easy enough but the big surprise was hundreds of Short-tailed Shearwaters streaming by. How often do you see hundreds of Short-tailed Shearwater and Pleske's Warbler without leaving dry land?

I've often suspected seawatching off the Kii Peninsula could be great in the right conditions but it's quite a trek to go on spec. Particularly as even, with the aid of google maps, it's difficult to know where the best watch point would be under different conditions. On top of that if there weren't seabirds moving there wouldn't be much chance of anything else in compensation.

On this occasion the forecast had predicted the same fine weather we'd experienced all week, so we were a bit concerned that the sky wasn't beginning to pale as we neared our destination. The hills are normally clearly shilouetted long before the sun rises. So it was disappointing but hardly surprising that when daylight did break the sky was heavily overcast. The strong onshore wind was a different matter.

We got great views of several Pleske's, there was even a hidden Oriental Reed Warbler singing from somewhere within the dense, dark copse and before heading for the hills I wanted a quick look at the sea. With that wind I was expecting shearwaters to be passing but I was taken aback, and delighted, to find that they were Short-tailed rather than the usual Streaked. Hundreds of them streaming by, the closest were just over the rocks but numbers increased with distance and far more were no more than specks arcing above the grey horizon.

And of course there were the Pleske's...

Other coastal birds we picked up were Jack's only Temminck's Cormorant of the trip and better views of Black Kite than we'd had so far.

Delayed by Shearwaters and breakfast we were a little late getting up into the hills, early morning activity was over and woodland species harder to find. The target was Siberian Blue Robin and though we eventually heard a couple we weren't any singing close to the road. The same could be said of Ruddy Kingfisher... but the same could always be said of Ruddy Kingfisher.

The commoner woodland birds were easier to find and Jack finally caught up with Eastern Crowned Warbler here. Coal and Varied Tits were everywhere and Red-billed Leiothrix even put in an appearance though these two birds seemed a subdued breeding pair rather than the typically encountered babbling flock.

The total list of species recorded with Jack:-
Copper Pheasant
Green Pheasant
Falcated Duck
Eurasian Wigeon
Eastern Spot-billed Duck
Northern Pintail
Common Pochard
Tufted Duck
Greater Scaup
Streaked Shearwater
Short-tailed Shearwater
Little Grebe
Oriental White Stork
Cattle Egret
Grey Heron
Great White Egret
Intermediate Egret
Little Egret
Pacific Reef Heron
Great Cormorant
Temminck's Cormorant
Black Kite
Grey-faced Buzzard
Common Moorhen
Common Coot
Eurasian Oystercatcher
Grey-headed Lapwing
Grey Plover
Little Ringed Plover
Kentish Plover
Lesser Sand Plover
Common Snipe
Bar-tailed Godwit
Far Eastern Curlew
Spotted Redshank
Common Greenshank
Wood Sandpiper
Grey-tailed Tattler
Terek Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Ruddy Turnstone
Great Knot (Jack only)
Red-necked Stint
Black-tailed Gull
Little Tern
Rock Dove
Oriental Turtle Dove
White-bellied Green Pigeon
Northern Hawk Cuckoo
Eurasian Cuckoo
Oriental Cuckoo
Lesser Cuckoo
Japanese Scops Owl
Oriental Scops Owl (me only)
Brown Hawk Owl
Grey Nightjar
Ruddy Kingfisher
Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker
White-backed Woodpecker
Japanese Woodpecker
Ashy Minivet
Bull-headed Shrike
Eurasian Jay
Carrion Crow
Large-billed Crow
Japanese Tit
Coal Tit
Varied Tit
Willow Tit
Barn Swallow
Asian House Martin
Red-rumped Swallow
Long-tailed Tit
Japanese Skylark
Zitting Cisticola
Brown-eared Bulbul
Japanese Bush Warbler
Pleske's Warbler
Oriental Reed Warbler
Eastern Crowned Warbler
Japanese White-eye
Eurasian (Winter) Wren
Eurasian Nuthatch
White-cheeked Starling
Japanese Thrush
Siberian Blue Robin
Blue Rock Thrush
Narcissus Flycatcher
Blue and White Flycatcher
Brown Dipper
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Grey Wagtail
White Wagtail
Japanese Wagtail
Oriental Greenfinch
Japanese Grosbeak
Meadow Bunting

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