Wednesday 25 August 2021

A few herons on Ishigaki

 A trip to Ishigaki last week with the foolish, misguided, never to be repeated (until next time) aim of seeing a Javan Pond Heron, not surprisingly focused more on wet fields than other habitats. Consequently, herons and passage waders featured strongly. 

The commonest herons/bitterns of interest to a Kansai resident would be Purple Heron, Cinnamon Bittern and Malayan Night Heron. The latter, more of a nocturnal woodland bird, was easily seen each day after packing up trawling the paddies in search of the already departed Javan Pond Heron.

Cinnamon Bitterns were frequently seen flying over fields... fields...

...or flying out of fields into trees. Well, they were just pretty common.
I saw two Grey Herons over four days, they were replaced by Purple in the usual habitats.

Immature Purple.
The same immature.

Another adult Purple Heron with an eye out for a meal; and finding one.

Malayan Night Herons were easily found at dawn and dusk, there were usually two together at this spot. 

This adult favoured an open lawn so the light was better for photography.


  1. Hi Neil - it’s Mark Curley here. I live in Tokyo and used to me on Kantori but dropped out. We have just come back from a week long trip to Ishigaki where we saw 1 summer plumaged Chinese Pond Heron and two winter/juv plumaged birds (or so I thought). From your blog and a couple of Japanese birders’ blogs it looks like there have been Javan PHs there recently too. Do you know how recently? We were watching the two juv/winter PHs yesterday at midday before heading to the airport..

    Thanks and regards/Mark Curley

  2. Hi Mark, a (the) Javan Pond Heron was relocated after about a week, but I'm not sure how long it was pinned down for. As far as I know it was not a juv/non-breeding bird as it was identifiable by mantle colouration. The bird was then relocated in December. I'm sure it must be the same bird as the first Japanese record was on Ishigaki last August. I can't imagine there are suddenly Javan Pond Herons turning up right and left, but only on one island.