Arrivals and Departures

Bewick's Swan
(Tundra Swan)

Hyoko, Agano City, Niigata, Japan

October 6, 2018

Last night's local news was pretty exciting. They announced that the first swans arrived at Hyoko just before sunrise on Thursday. There were birders with tripods, scopes and cameras there to greet them. I wasn't there but, welcome back!

I went there today. There weren't so many and I saw some that looked pretty tired and hungry. I hope they will find food soon and fatten up before winter. It was a beautiful day with another typhoon approaching and I believe it got up to 30C. Strange to look at winter birds under brilliant warm sunshine.

I found a cross of winter birds and summer birds. A young cuckoo baffles me as well as some ducks. There are many brown ducks with different shaped heads and facial expressions. I fear, I'm a failed birder. I am often disconfident with my choice of words. Please help me, Stu.

Intermediate Egret

Grey Heron

Common Cuckoo


Perplexing Gadwell or Square-headed Pintails?





A week has passed since I went to Hyoko. It was very disappointing to find it has been closed since December because of Bird Flu. Bird Flu was found in Niigata at the end of November. I think it is just a precautionary. Many birds were out there, I just couldn't enter and maybe it is safer to stay away.

It is sad for the birds because I'm sure they miss the free handouts provided by visitors. I read that a lot of poultry had been destroyed. Let's hope it is no longer around.

Great White Egret

Tundra Swan

Rock Dove

Black-eared Kite

Hyoko with Billy

Bewick's Swan

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

October 17, 2015

Post Edit: Stu from Hakodate Birding correctly corrected me as identifying the swans in this post as Bewick's Swans. I had incorrectly labelled them as Whoopers. There are usually two species of swans at Hyoko in the winter; Whooper Swan and Bewick's Swan. As Whoopers seem to outnumber the Bewick's most years I usually assume that everything is a Whooper. Thanks for keeping me on my toes, Stu.

Billy and I enjoyed a few hours at Hyoko this morning. I'm keen to brainwash him about birds. The weather was beautiful and clear. I usually wait and visit Hyoko when it is grey and dull in the midst of winter. We found a few arrivals for winter and I enjoyed getting some portraits in nice light. We also saw one peregrine and a young goshawk which stirred up the ducks at the back of the lake.

Bewick's Swan

Tufted Duck

I took a number of similar portraits but I like looking at them. They are all different.

Spot-billed Duck

Northern Pintail


Shapes of Swans

Whooper Swan
Hyoko, Niigata, November 4, 2007
Pentax K10 + Pentax smc 400mm f5.6

Two common swan species found around Niigata in the cooler months. These photos are consecutive frames taken at Hyoko, Niigata. The Whooper looked so thin after its autumnal migration compared to the compact Tundra Swan below. 

Tundra (Bewick's) Swan
Hyoko, Niigata, November 4, 2007
Pentax K10 + Pentax smc 400mm f5.6