Friday, 26 May 2017

Isabelline Wheatear plus odds and ends

I've already had exceptionally good views of Isabelline Wheatear in Japan and didn't immediately rush off when I first heard about this bird on the beach towards the southern end of Hegurajima Sunday. It was in the exact spot I saw my first wheatear species in Japan, a Desert, a few years ago. When I did roll up there was a small crowd who obviously had it in view so it didn't take any locating. But I was sorry to see the poor condition the bird seemed in. Poor in terms of plumage at least, it was actually very active and didn't suggest it was sick.

There was one knot of people who gave the impression they were happy to wait and let the bird come to them and a larger group that followed it's every move. Inevitably this meant from one end of the beach to the other and back again. I only spent a few minutes with the bird as I didn't think it was getting any peace and walked the length of the beach-side path slightly behind the crowd as I was already going that way and took the central track away from the beach repeat the pointless back and forth. I must say I was rather impressed with the group not pushing the bird, all the more so as they looked a younger crowd which bodes well I suppose.

So here are the best of a bad bunch of very messy Isabelline Wheatear shots. The plumage looks to have been contaminated by something but as the bird was very active it will hopefully be fine.

Not terribly pretty, I'm sure you'll agree. Compare with the autumn bird in Osaka five years ago...

Before sailing out to the island I saw and heard, especially heard, Japanese Martens crashing around in the trees and 'barking' at each other on the hill next to Wajima harbour. I've seen Marten there before but that morning there was definitely something out of the ordinary going on. I think there were at least three animals involved in the commotion that went on for about 40 minutes as they moved noisily around the hill top. The second time I saw one of them it seemed to have had enough and be on its way, crossing the road via over-arching branches which allowed me to get this shot.

Other shots were better exposed but were blurred because of low shutter speed, luckily it paused at this point allowing a sharper image, either blurred or substantially obscured behind foliage.

Coming back from the island the crossing was quite, much as usual, but a sudden raft of Streaked Shearwaters just off Wajima allowed me what are probably my best shots of this species.

Because the ferry hadn't run the day before I had time on the Noto Peninsula and ran into this unexpected Green Pheasant. Unexpected because I don't usually seem them in such an exposed position, walking along a berm between paddies, in the midday sun. The shots of Kentish Plover chicks were if anything even more of a surprise.

And for a trio of unexpected, this Japanese grass lizard was not only quite happy to share the concrete bench with me but didn't even mind when I pointed the camera at it... it's usually at that point they dash of at incredible speed.

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