Dusky Thrushes are common in winter but normally there aren't so many good looking males this early in the season so the bird in the following images was a stand out.
But when it comes to early breeding plumage, this striking Great Cormorant takes the biscuit. There are thousands of Great Cormorants in this area but not one other bird showed even a smidgen of breeding plumage.
|The breeding plumage Great Cormorant again, here with a bird typical for this time of year.|
There were a couple of Pelagic Cormorants too. This is a common species in Japan but scarce in this area.
|Pelagic Cormorant and Great Cormorant.|
I'm not sure which is more surprising, that I saw three Temminck's Cormorants or that I've never seen them here before.
|Two Temminck's Cormorants.|
|The right hand of the two previous Temminck's.|
|Another Temminck's further along the beach.|
I don't see many Pacific Reef Egrets here either but this one was notable in that I first saw it in an 'inland' ditch. Admittedly only about 100 metres inland but that's enough for a bird I associate with coastal rocks.
|The Pacific Reef Egret after it moved downstream to a small harbour.|
|Then it was off to the sea, its inland adventure over.|
There were 10 Brent Geese on the sea just off one of the estuaries, this is a regular wintering species but only in these low numbers.
|Two of the Brent Geese in with an assortment of duck species. I always expect geese to stand out because of their size but the Brents aren't so much bigger than the larger duck species and the duller hatch-year birds blend in remarkably well.|
In the same flock were several Baikal Teal. This was another personal first for this stretch of coast.
|The two females here catch the eye more than the two males!|
|Two more males.|
|And yet another.|
Birds of prey featured well with Peregrine, Eastern Buzzard, Black Kite, Osprey, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Northern Goshawk and Eastern Marsh Harrier all putting in appearances. As well as this bird again...
|Our local Turkey Vulture on the look out for a seafood snack.|
Far far more expected, at least for anyone who doesn't know there's a lurking Turkey Vulture, is Eastern Buzzard. The Buzzard was trying out a bit of lurking of its own when I first noticed it but it soon moved to a typical perch. I think the lurking idea seems pretty good on the face of it but Buzzards have been making a success out of sitting on exposed perches so long, why fix it if it ain't broke?