Thursday, 15 June 2017

2017... how many new birds at the half way point (non-passerines)

Looking back at annual additions to my Japan list over the past 10 years shows some striking ups and downs. 2010 stands out as a miserable effort numerically with just Pied Wheatear and Ferruginous Flycatcher; both on Mishima. While 2014 provided a bumper crop with an amazing 21 new birds.

So how is 2017 faring? Well as we approach the half way stage not too well it has to be said, just the one new bird to date. Mind you Bonaparte's Gull isn't bad, plus it had all the the thrill of a self-find even though it wasn't.

I've realised this is going to be a long post with the number of images involved so I'll split it into two sections. Some of the images I've posted before but others are of birds that didn't fit into any post for one reason or another. I'll start with a couple of shots of that exciting Bonies.

A dinky Black-headed; well done the original finders.

Comparing underwings it suddenly becomes much easier.

Sticking with underwings and this time it's the Black-headed that's the odd man out. Three Saunder's Gulls with a Black-headed for comparison, Saunder's is a more southerly breeder and they acquire their black head (and depart) much earlier.

Still with gulls, this fantastic Thayer's was in its tenth winter on the beach in Tsu city.

Quite approachable on its own.

Here with Vega and Taimyr Gulls.

A better shot of Taimyr Gull.

And the final gull to make the cut is an interesting Vega. In 2013 Peter Adriaens wrote about a useful supportive feature helping to identify American Herring Gull in Europe, stating that European Herring Gulls rarely show an isolated grey mirror in the solid black of p9-10 whereas a larger percentage of American Herring Gulls do.
Here is an example of Vega Gull with the same feature. I'm uncertain what percentage of Vega show this feature because I haven't been looking for it, however it stood out on this bird so I'm guessing not many. Something to look out for in the future.

A clear example of a Vega with an isolated grey mirror on p10.

Moving away from gulls but still on the water this Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck hybrid was only the second I've come across.

Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck hybrid in a large flock of Greater Scaup.

There are plenty of long-legged white birds in Japan, these two species are the rarest of the bunch...

Chinese (Swinhoe's) Egret.

Black-faced Spoonbill.

I started the year in Kyushu, famous for its leggy wintering stuff...

White-naped Crane.

Common Crane.

Sandhill Crane.

Hooded Crane.

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