Wednesday 21 June 2017

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

I decided to split this six-month review into two sections to prevent it being overly long and this is effectively becomes the passerine section. If the non-passerines had a wintery feel, all the big stuff seems so long ago, then the passerine post is more up to date. Very up to date considering I saw the Fairy Pitta on June 20.

I already posted about the Pitta but I have so many shots of it I have to post a few more.

Another spectacular June bird, a 2CY Black-naped Oriole in Kanazawa.

The earliest bird to make it into my first half favourites was a Grey-backed Thrush. On the same day I had great views of a White's Thrush which isn't rare but can be difficult to get good views of, that bird was a bonus.

Grey-backed Thrush in an Osaka park.

White's Thrush in the same park.

Staying with thrushes, migrants can be difficult to get good views of but this Eyebrowed was great.

Flycatchers, warblers and buntings are always top of the list when it comes to less common species. I didn't see any Yellow-rumped Flycatchers this spring but I managed to catch up with a few of the commoner Mugimaki passing through. Dusky and Radde's are the most frequent of the scarce warblers and Tristram's, Yellow-browed and Black-faced spodocephala are the regular buntings that usually require a trip to one of the islands to see, to date Tristram's is the only one I sometimes see at coastal sites.

A 2CY male Mugimaki, apart from the hint of a white flare behind the eye the bird also had white flashes in the base of the tail.

Believe it or not this is a Dusky Warbler, I first got onto it by call and tracked it through the undergrowth. I like this shot because the upperparts (apart from the tail) look distinctly greenish and light shining from above appears to give it a bold crown stripe. 

Radde's Warbler a week earlier in the same clump of undergrowth. There can't be any doubts about the identity of this one.

Manchurian Bush Warbler may not be rare but its scarcity combined with secretive nature means I see far fewer than the two phylloscs. Larger males can be obvious when seen but females won't stand out on size alone and I wouldn't be surprised if I've overlooked some silent females assuming they were Japanese.

Female Tristram's Bunting, the males were more camera shy. When I first came to Japan I expected Tristram's and Yellow-browed to be on a numerical par as scarce migrants, because they were often mentioned in the same breath, but over the years Yellow-browed has proved far more difficult to see. However this spring both were fairly well represented on Hegurajima and matched my original expectations. I've seen a few Tristram's on the mainland, as many as three birds together, but I've yet to see a Yellow-browed away from islands.

Yellow-browed Bunting, for me at least this was a good year for this species.

Black-faced Bunting spodocephala. Another reasonably frequent bird off shore that I don't see on the mainland. 

Chestnut-flanked White-eye is maybe more frequent on islands further north (?), I seem to hear of fewer reports from islands off western Honshu.

I saw my first Tiger Shrike in Japan as recently as last summer. There were several on Hegurajima during my later visits this spring.

Finally I want to add two birds which in a sense are the antithesis of highlights in so much as they are so common that they don't make it into other posts. Both Oriental Greenfinch and Varied Tit are good looking birds that that suffer from being too common as far as making it onto this blog is concerned so now is as good an opportunity as they are going to get.

A bright male Oriental Greenfinch.

Varied Tit.

So, half way through 2017 and Bonaparte's Gull is the only new bird of the year. Fingers crossed there will be more on the way and that this year won't set an unwanted record of fewest new birds ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment