Tuesday 7 June 2016

Hegura: a weekend in Ishikawa part 2

The sky is getting light by 3:30am nowadays and I had plenty of time for birding at Rokkozaki before deciding what to do with the final day of this once-to-be three day trip. There were six singing Kamchatka Leaf Warblers this morning, Pacific Swifts and Red-rumped Swallows were passing through clearly there were birds to be found and with the notion of a lazy Sunday having already gone by the board even Hegura might still be possible. If the ferry were running that is.

Still in two minds I arrived back in Wajima and went to check at the ferry office.The boat was going and I had enough time to reach a convenience store for a coffee before departure. What to do: be sensible and drive towards home or go to the island? I had a busy week coming up and I'd get home very late and with little sleep over the weekend. The coffee hadn't helped me make up my mind but I gravitated back to the ticket office anyway. Compared to yesterday there were few cars in the car park, there might not be many birders out there. There might be some good birds out there. There could be a mega out there... not to mention a Swinhoe's Petrel from the boat. Before common sense prevailed I went and bought a ticket, if the ferry was going then so was I.

I hadn't really expect a Swinhoe's Petrel from the ferry of course, so I wasn't disappointed. The Streaked Shearwaters were good though.





Once on the island it quickly became apparent the Kamchatka Leaf Warblers at Rokkozaki had been no more than a taste of what could be found on the island. There had to be something else out here.






The Kamchatka Leaf Warblers were very vocal and unlike in autumn so many singing birds meant identification was that much easier. I suppose it's slightly surprising then that Rokkozaki provided the only Arctic Warbler when there were so many more warblers out here on the island. Unsurprisingly, total numbers of birds were lower than they would have been during peak migration period, or even just a week earlier. One of only two birders I met was bemoaning the general lack of birds, however the variety of species was quite good.

I found:-
Cattle Egret 1
Great White Egret 1
Northern Hobby 1

Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1
Lesser Cuckoo 1
White-throated Needletail 1
Broad-billed Roller (I hate the name Dollarbird) 1


Red-rumped Swallow 3
Black-browed Reed Warbler 1
Dark-sided Flycatcher 1



Asian Brown Flycatcher 2

Eurasian Siskin 1
Hawfinch 1

There were plenty of presumed local breeders to sift through too, Japanese Bush Warblers were performing everywhere.


This Black-faced Bunting probably wanted to be Yellow-breasted, it couldn't quite pull off the breast band...

And so many Black Woodpigeons! I saw ones or twos regularly at the southern end, the biggest party was four, and heard a couple more at the northern end.

In fact, though numbers of most species were low, there were new birds at every turn and the species tally grew steadily. My 4.5 hours on the island passed all too quickly and I felt certain there was something really exciting on the island. I still am to be honest. Before going out I'd been concerned I might be totally wasting my time but now I'm sure if I'd been able to stay there and put in the time I'd have found something special.

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