Northern Goshawk

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

October, 2017

Almost every October I have found young goshawks around Fukushimagata with their eyes on the freshly arrived teal. This year a more mature bird has been on patrol.

There is usually one or two Eastern Marsh Harriers about the place as well and this one time I managed to see the two species interact. I think the goshawk is a female. Her body seems to be much bulkier than that of the harrier.

Eastern Marsh Harrier obscured by the Northern Goshawk with Eurasian Teal in the foreground.

Ducks and Hunters

Northern Goshawk

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

October 7, 2015
 The weather was beautiful today and I managed some time off work so I headed where I expected to find some action. This is an exciting time of the year as good numbers of waterfowl return to the wetlands. I visited Fukushimagata last Saturday and saw lots of ducks. Just a few days later and I saw lots and lots and lots of ducks. On both occassions I saw Goshawks and Peregrines but today also added Eastern Marsh Harrier to the raptor count. I also saw a lone swan flying high and calling. I'm sure the rest of its clan will arrive tomorrow!

Mostly Eurasian Teal

Eastern Marsh Harrier

Northern Goshawk

A Northern Pintail in there

Peregrine Falcon

A lone Swan. I guess a Whooper Swan

Accipiters a Plenty

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

November 30, 2014

Here are some of the results from my walk around Fukushimagata last Sunday. I've been thinking of buying a Nikon D7100 as my full-frame D800 is rarely close enough for the wetlands. Most of these pics are heavily cropped and I've already filled up my 2 terabyte computer hard-drive with photo files in just two years. I usually take RAW files as well but just went down the j-peg path with these...but I'm disappointed with the quality.

Apart from the photos it was a very warm day for that time of the year and birds of all kinds were a plenty.

Today is snowing heavily with a maximum forecast of 2 degrees Celsius so I'm inside doing my blog!

Japanese Green Pheasant

I disturbed 3 pheasants in the long grass under foot...first, one, then I took another step and two more burst out over the water....within two seconds the goshawk below appeared hot on their tails, just failing as they made it to the reeds on the other side of the water.
Northern Goshawk
Waterfowl at Fukushimagata
At first, I thought this largish raptor was a goshawk.
It attacked the large resident peregrine just before I got this shot but now I realise it's a sparrowhawk. Sparrowhawks are not so common in Niigata. 
Northern Goshawk

Adult goshawks are not so easy to get close to, but I saw at least three different ones within a couple of hours.

Eastern Marsh Harrier

lots of harriers too

Eastern Marsh Harrier
scanning over the water for unaware quary

Bean Goose


Buzzin' Raptors

Common Kingfisher

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

March 9, 2014

Been very quite here in Niigata the last few weeks. On March 1st, I walked around Toyanogata for about 5 hours and got a couple of poor pics of a Great Tit. 

This Saturday, the 8th, was fun for watching raptors buzzing about Fukushimagata. Unfortunately all were a bit out of reach of any decent pictures but I enjoyed seeing something in the sky almost all of the time. When I got there, I saw a goshawk land near some reeds and I stalked the long way around to get up close. Stupidly I was looking left when I stepped out, knowing my subject was to my right and sure enough I watched an adult goshawk disappear along the water bank and didn't get a shot. At that time I stood scratching my head and looked around to see several Eastern Marsh Harriers, a Peregrine Falcon, an Eastern Buzzard, some Black-eared Kites, and behind me, a White-tailed Sea-eagle all on the wing 360 degrees around me. All were too far but I waited for something to get close. I realised, however, that when I was watching a harrier come closer in front of me, the eagle doubled back and was very close, but into the sun just behind me. It was an afternoon like this. Very windy and the raptors were just hanging around. A twist of a tail and they were gone or would appear without warning.

I realised there were no geese and I only heard some Whooper Swans when I returned on Sunday. Sunday was quieter for the raptors but I found numerous kingfishers calling to each other and flying back and forth and disappearing into the reeds. I worry about this behaviour when I know the locals will set fire to the winter foliage soon. I was assured such fires have no effect on birds etc. People seem to know everything. 

I've been using My D800 with the new af-s 80-400mm VR but feel it's just been too short this year both in Australia and here. The D800 is a full-frame camera so I took out the D300 on Sunday. Wasn't happy with it either. I either have to get a bigger lens or just go smaller to mirrorless systems such as the V1. 

Last year I had a poster of a Nikkor 300mm 2.8 lens on my fridge with the price tag of 521000 yen. I spent my money on the new 80-400 instead. Now I wish I'd gotten the 300 2.8 but the price has increased by about $1500 to 651000. It's just a price increase without any update to the lens. Things are supposed to go up more next month too.

Maybe I should just spend money on a new pair of bowling shoes.

We had a minute's silence at work today for the three year anniversary of the March 11 earthquake. 

The bird observatory is being rebuilt

Random Shots

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

February 22, 2014 

Decided to go out for a big walk at Fukushimagata today. We're having a mild winter compared to normal years. The rest of Japan is copping it, but as you can see there is little snow here. It's usually the other way around. I still had to cover myself up. Most days have had a maximum of 3c but apart from some light snow squalls are pretty fine.

It was good to get out on my feet after being held up indoors at work. I actually felt that I wasn't seeing or photographing much but am pretty happy with my bag now that I've looked inside. 

My feet are killing me now.

Bean Geese

Numbers seem to be decreasing every year.

The regular peregrine I refer to as "the Peales"

Every now and then the birds of the water would stir up an flock and I'd just take random shots. Here I just caught an adult goshawk at the lower left. I didn't see when it was live. Just too many things going around.


Eastern Marsh Harrier

Black-eared Kite

I found a possible Eurasian Spoonbill in the collection once I downloaded my files. They are quite rare here.

Something stirred up these Lapwings behind me then I went around the corner and found the 'Peales' on the wing, as below.


It doesn't seem to mind the several photographers with big lenses on tripods pointing right at it every time I visit.
Even returning to where they are standing.

I thought this might be a Vega Gull but I have no idea really. Sadly I take a lot of pictures of gulls in Niigata but I remain gull-blind as to what they are.
Any advice is most welcome. Thank you!!