Monday 23 October 2017

Ashy Drongo and Black Woodpigeon

I'm falling behind on my Hegura posts; I spent two nights on Hegura the weekend before last, which as the first overnighter I've managed for three years but before I could post all about that visit I've been out on two one-day trips. I was due to stay on the island again but because of the impending typhoon the minshyuku had closed early to allow the owners to go on their planned trip to the mainland. This was a great pity. Obviously it's so much better to stay on the island as it eliminates the time pressure that comes with a day trip. And for me there's nothing better than sitting with a coffee as the first hint of light begins to throw the eastern clouds into relief, thinking about which spots to check first and what new birds the day could bring.

I've already posted on my personal highlight of the first trip, Pechora Pipit, but another personal second record for the island and one that almost got away was Ashy Drongo. As I was making my way to the return ferry someone told me there had been an Ashy Drongo at the south end an hour earlier so after dumping my pack at the harbour I dashed down there and could grab a couple of record shots before departure time.

Rather distant views of an Ashy Drongo. This is a first winter bird, though the images aren't good enough to see much detail, the white face patch of the adult is ghosted on a clearer view, the tail isn't fully grown and there's a very distinct moult contrast in the greater coverts.

I think I was lucky it was on view when I arrived as I only had a few minutes to spare before heading back for the ferry.

Three years ago and three days earlier in the month this Ashy Drongo was at the school...

To anyone who's visited Hegurajima, there's no mistaking where this is.

A much better view of the short-stayer three years ago.

October always brings returning winter visitors, finches, buntings, thrushes and Daurian Redstarts. Often there might be ones or twos one day then they'll be everywhere the next, only for numbers to dwindle until the next big arrival. Two of the most reliable, and obvious, October birds are Rook and Greater White-fronted Goose. There were 12 Rooks on the first visit then half a dozen the following two trips, all immatures. Greater White-fronts never stay long, the lack of suitable habitat soon persuades them to move on.

Immature Rook can look quite like Carrion Crow, a species I've never seen on Hegurajima.

Greater White-fronts in the harbour area.

While hunting for migrants on the island it's not unusual to come across Black Woodpigeons, though getting good views is a different matter altogether; I'm still waiting since I buying a camera. This time I came close and the following shot was the most unobstructed I'd managed to date. Then as failing light and driving rain forced me back to my minshyuku I found this second bird right outside my window! Because of poor light and shooting through glass the result isn't as good as I'd like but I'm slowly getting there.

Almost a clear shot of Black Woodpigeon.

A through-the-window shot, still not quite the standard I want yet.

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