Tuesday 6 June 2017

Tiger Shrikes and Manchurian Bush Warblers

Late migrants were still pouring through Hegurajima last weekend (Sunday June 4th), Kamchatka Leaf Warblers were abundant, I had three Manchurian Bush Warblers and saw three or four Tiger Shrikes. There were at least five of the latter on the island. There were also several cuckoos around, both Common and Oriental. However many of the commoner Japanese spring migrants had all but dried up, I only saw one Asian Brown Flycatcher, there were no Blue and White or Narcissus and only locally breeding buntings remained.

The relatively large number of Tiger Shrikes was a surprise. I was delighted to actually see the first of them after hearing it in dense cover in the middle of the island. Later I heard a second towards the north end but only got a glimpse as it dived into cover. About 100 metres on I came across two more together but I couldn't tell if one of them had been the bird I'd just seen. These two birds offered better views and I was finally able to get a shot of one of them.

One of several Tiger Shrikes on the island.

Manchurian Bush Warbler isn't a rare bird in Japan (it winters in the extreme south of the country) but it's a scarce enough migrant to be noteworthy. I first heard one while walking along the coastal path but it was too far off to have any hope of seeing. Then later, again at the south end of the island, a more obliging bird was singing beside the centre path, another a little further into the thickets was responding to it's song.

Manchurian Bush Warbler.

It's interesting to compare those images with another borealis (same song) I saw on Yonaguni a few years ago on April 8th. The Yonaguni bird looks far warmer in colouration, perhaps two months could account for that difference, but also looks much heftier with a more powerful bill. Though there's significant difference in size between male and female both of these birds were in full song and so ought to be of comparable size I'd have thought. Incidentally I've only ever once heard cantaurians song, a bird on Mishima a few years ago that was impossible to see in dense secondary growth.

A powerful-looking borealis on Yonaguni a few years ago.

Another poor quality sound recording of call and song courtesy of my iPhone.

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