Japan in Winter

To: birding-aus <>, Susan Myers <>, Ian Burrows <>, John Cantelo <>
Subject: Japan in Winter
From: Phil Gregory <>
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 15:43:06 +1000
Hi Folks,
Just a quick summary of a recent Japanese trip for anyone interested. Great birds and a wonderful place to travel, but the coldest I've ever been was at Cape Nosappu in Hokkaido!
Good birding
Phil Gregory
Japan in Winter February 6-19 2000
Narita, Tokyo 2 nights Feb 5 and Feb 18. Birding by the Holiday Inn:
Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Bull-headed Shrike, Black-backed Wagtail, Brown Thrush, Pale Thrush, Dusky Thrush, Red-flanked Bluetail, Brown-eared Bulbul, Rustic, Black-faced and Meadow Buntings, Japanese White-eye, Oriental Greenfinch.
Chino, Japanese Alps 2 nights Feb 6 and 7, deep snow:
Japanese Green Woodpecker, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Varied Tit, Willow Tit, Japanese Grosbeak, Long-tailed Rosefinch, Asian Rosy Finch, Japanese Wagtail. Dipped on Copper Pheasant.
Arasaki area, Kyushu 3 nights Feb 8, 9 and 10: Bitterly cold and quite windy.
Outstanding for wonderful views of the cranes, with 6 species seen in the same flock on our final morning: 1500 White-naped, about 7,000 Hooded, 4 or 5 Common Cranes, several hybrid Hooded x Common, a single Siberian White Crane (yay!), a single Demoiselle and a lone Sandhill Crane.
Black-faced Spoonbill 1, Eurasian Spoonbill 6, Eastern Marsh Harrier 1, Black-eared Kite (lineatus) common, Long-billed Plover 2, Green Pheasant 3, Japanese Quail 2, Crested Kingfisher 1 en route, Mountain Hawk-Eagle 1 en route, Brown Dipper 2 en route, White-bellied Green-Pigeon 4 en route, Buff-bellied Pipit, Pale Thrush, Dusky Thrush, Japanese Bush -Warbler, Chinese Penduline Tit 50, Daurian Jackdaw, Meadow, Chestnut-eared, Rustic, Reed and Black-faced Buntings, Japanese Grosbeak.
Yatsushiro area:
Saunder?s Gull 5, Black-tailed Gull 50, Grey-headed Lapwing 1, Asian House Martin 5. Dipped on Chinese Grey-Shrike.
Komatsu area 2 nights Feb 11 and 12, very cold: Biwa-ko and Katano Kamo-ike.
Bewick?s Swan, White-fronted and Bean Goose, Goosander and Red-b Merganser, UTV of Chinese Merganser in flight, seen better by others in the group- damn!
Baikal Teal 250, Falcated Duck 20, Smew, White-tailed Eagle 1, Long-billed Plover 1, Brown Thrush 1, White?s Thrush 4, Yellow-throated Bunting 2, White-cheeked Starling, Common Starling.
Lake Furen and Nemuro area, Hokkaido 4 nights Feb 13-16. Amazingly cold, waist deep snow and temps down to ?40 °C. One day lost due to a blizzard.
Steller?s Sea-Eagle 240 out on Lake Furen, hanging around fishing holes cut in the ice, but White-tailed Eagles and Black-eared Kites seemed to get all the leavings. Small numbers at other coastal sites, a magnificent, spectacular huge bird!
Blakiston?s Fish-Owl 2- male and female, calling together and giving great views. Yellow flags mounted along some of the road bridges are to make the owls fly higher and avoid impacts with cars which have been a serious source of mortality in the past.
Ural Owl 1, Crested Auklet 1, Ancient Murrelet 1, Least Auklet 7, Spectacled Guillemot 20, Common Guillemot 30. Rather distant views of the auks, pack ice keeping them well offshore, so BVD. Harlequin Duck wonderful views of males and females, Black Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Falcated Duck, Whooper Swan, Greater Scaup 2000, Canvasback 7 ( vagrant here), Glaucous-winged Gull, Slaty-backed Gull, Pelagic and Red-faced Cormorants and a single Temminck?s Cormorant.
Passerines very sparse but we saw 2 Great Grey-Shrike, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch and Eurasian Tree-Creeper, plus a flock of 60 Asian Rosy Finch at Kiritappu.

Akan Crane Centre near Kushiro 2 nights Feb 17-18:
Japanese Crane 150+, White-tailed Eagle 8, Eurasian Jay 1 of the distinctive brandtii race.
A final solo trip for me to the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo on Feb 19 got me my first wild Mandarin Ducks (as opposed to the feral population in Britain), plus a great bonus of a male Grey Bunting skulking in the undergrowth.
Total trip list was about 150 species, but with many of superb spectacular quality. A splendid Birdquest trip with 12 clients and myself and Mark van Beirs as the leaders. Average age of the clients was 68, with 3 over 80 years and most were well into their seventies. Hope for us all yet! Next year: Solitary Snipe, Ryukyu Minivet, Japanese Reed Bunting, Japanese Marsh Warbler, Copper Pheasant??

UTV = Untickable view
BVD= Better view desired

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