Some Golden Birds 2017

Narcissus Flycatcher

Junsai-ike, Niigata, Japan

May 4, 2017

Golden Week Holidays now. I went to Junsai-ike for a few hours yesterday and again today. 

Patience pays off with some flycatcher encounters. I also saw the below heron catch a massive fish but dropped it when an excited family approached it. 

It's supposed to rain tomorrow so I'll have to stay happy with these.

Grey Heron

Blue-and-white Flycatcher

May 3, 2017

Search for the Blue Blue-and-white Flycatcher

Cyanoptila cyanomelana cyanomelana

Junsai-ike, Niigata, Japan

April 23, 2016

**UPDATE** as of Friday, May 6, 2016. I asked Mr Honma about this and he seems to think it is a common variety of young adult Blue-and-white Flycatcher as seen in Niigata. Also known here in English as Japanese Flycatcher, or in Japanese as "Oruri".
I'm glad I got a number of pics of it and it was of interest. To be honest, I was curious but felt in my heart it is a typical specimen found here.

 May 3, 2016

I went to Junsai-ike today looking for this bird and I failed so here are left-over pics from last week.

I received an interesting observation from Matt Poll of Snowy Owl Lost that the above and below mentioned bird could possibly be a Zappey's Flycatcher. To be honest I had never heard of a Zappey's and just thought this to be a pre-adult Blue-and-white Flycatcher. The interesting features are the bluish throat and breast, unlike an adult male Blue-and-white Flycatcher which is predominantly black from the face to the chest. 

All of these photos have just been resized with no other editing other than converting them to web colour. The top pic has been intentionally saved in Adobe 1998 to keep the colours true. 

Today, I got to Junsai-ike just after 8am and stayed till noon. Just walking back-and-forth, where I'd seen this beauty last week. The photos here were taken on two separate visits last week, although I believe they are of the same bird.

I hope all of these edits shed some more light on what it truly is. Today I didn't see any male Blue-and-whites although I saw a female drop into the covers. There were buckets of warblers, Oriental Goldfinches and Pygmy Woodpeckers. The latter chased any similar sized birds and ruined my only chance at a male Narcissus Flycatcher.

Today was the first of a three-day-Golden-week-holiday. Tomorrow will rain but hopefully Mr Honma and I will put on our armour for Thursday. Will keep you posted.

Thank you for keeping me on my toes, Matt. I will be aware of possible Zappey's from now on!

Spring Flycatcher Time

Blue-and-white Flycatcher

Junsai-ike, Niigata, Japan

April 29, 2015

Here are some flycatcher pics from this morning's outing with Mr Honma to Junsai-ike. Today was the Showa holiday to kick off the Golden Week holidays. We didn't really see much else but I was happy to see these. There seemed to be a few of these flycatchers about the place but they are becoming more wary. 

Still, a good morning. Back to work for a couple of days then 5 big days off for the real Golden Week!


Japanese Green Pheasant

Shinano River, Niigata City, Japan

Last week

My plan to photograph all the gull species along the Shinano River was totally missed as summer has arrived and the best time for gulls here is March/April. I wanted to especially have a closer look at the Black-headed Gulls that pass through at that time. I think the numbers vary year to year. I will have to wait until next year to see them again.

Other news was seeing the peregrines mating on a building near the prefectural office back in March.  I didn’t think much of it to be honest as I’ve seen them doing it in before but nothing came of it. I think they practice birth control. 

I had a heavy heart when listening to Mr Honma talk with his friend about the peregrines at the prefectural office. They seem to be expecting great things from the falcons this summer but I heard that both of them found kestrel remains beneath the peregrine eyrie. I was alerted to this as it’s just about kilometre away that I have been watching kestrels raise young every summer since 2005. I have been visiting the cement factory a couple of times a week since early April but found everything was quiet there. Last Saturday afternoon had a small change when I found a single kestrel sitting atop a rusty tower. It stayed for just a minute before flying off up river and out of sight. I thought it may have just been a visit of nostalgia. 

The next morning was fine so I went back. Everything was again very quiet for about 15 minutes until a crow arrived at a nearby factory. The radars must have been switched on out of my view as suddenly a pair a kestrel fighters emerged from the cement factory and bravely warded the menace away. The fighters returned to their base flurrying their wings down and proclaiming that this is their territory. “Ye, be warned!”

Maybe signs of happy days ahead.

Black-headed Gull

Shinano River

End of April, 2014

Peregrine Falcon

Niigata Prefectural Office

Japanese Bumble Bee

Junsai-ike, Niigata

* UPDATED* A new bird for me. I was told, this thrush was called "Akihara".
I looked it up and found it was called, "Brown-headed Thrush" in English.
My pictures look different to my guides, however. >>
*Stu, from Hakodate Birding has identified it as an "Eyebrowed Thrush"
Thanks Stu!

Blue-and-white Flycatcher

Junsia-ike, Niigata

Eastern Crowned Leaf Warbler