Swans and an Eagle.

Whooper Swan.

Visited Sakata, Niigata, on December 11 and again on the 19th. On both occassions I found numbers of Whooper Swans and encountered a single adult White-tailed Sea-eagle.

The Whooper Swans are spread over the Sakata wetlands but move out to the ricefields by mid-morning. The main viewing platform of the reserve is a good place to watch them fly towards you and head over to the rice fields.

White-tailed Sea-Eagle.

I got the above photo on December 11th. It was a lucky shot as I just picked up on the eagle fleeting alongside a ridge of trees on the northern side of the wetlands. I got this single shot just as it went through an open gap in the trees. Bad light though.

These photos were in the same area on the 19th. Light was better and I watched as it flew over farm lands and landed in a tree. Eagles are not common in Niigata so this is a highlight for any birder. Usually it is impossible to see them this close. All taken with a 300mm lens.