Friday 30 September 2016

A not-so-hot Hegura

I got out to Hegura on September 27, my first visit in three months, the birding was good by Kyoto standards but not by those of the island. The best bird I saw was a first autumn Middendorff's Warbler; good but not photgraphable views.

Middendorff's is a funny bird, funny isn't quite the right word, you can see one in a week some years or 10 in a day another. This may be a reflection of how many are passing through but with such a skulker it could also be down to dumb luck. I tend to think if you see one, there must be a lot more of them there.

Eye-browed Thrush was very common, they are the earliest of the thrushes to pass through in big numbers each year. Buntings were common too but with the exception of one Rustic all were personata Black-faced.

Phyllocs were common and to my ear were Kamchatka Leaf, though on one occasion a Japanese Leaf called and another nearby responded. Expected flycatchers were present in low numbers; Grey-streaked (6), Dark-sided (1), Asian Brown (2), Narcissus (2) and Blue and White (3).

An island first for me was seeing the police out there. Not the regular police by the look of them, a gang of rather fit-looking guys maybe in their 30s, some kind of training exercise I suspect. And another first was a police helicopter landing on the island.

Back to birds though, or potential birds at least, after I left the island the weather charts have been showing consistent westerlies from deep in central Asia running into nasty rain bearing fronts across Japan or the Japan Sea. It would be nice to get out there again.

Kamchatka Leaf or Japanese Leaf? This one didn't call.

Grey-streaked Flycatcher.

Grey-streaked Flycatcher.

Dark-sided Flycatcher.

Dark-sided Flycatcher.

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