Above is a photo taken yesterday of a Japanese Golden Eagle in Niigata. I wish I was a kilometre closer but I'm happy to get this record shot. (I think it's identifiable?) I had heard they existed in a particular area five years ago and I've looked for them there once or twice a year without luck. This one appeared over a mountain ridge just twenty minutes after we arrived, circled upwards and floated away out of sight. We waited for another six hours without any further luck.
I've heard mixed reports on the status of Golden Eagles in Japan. Birders have told me that there are only about three hundred pairs nationally but a bird guide regards them as being "uncommon residents". What ever the case, they are not too common. (May be three or four pairs in Niigata). In Niigata, they are well away from human activity tending to be in near inaccessible mountain terrain.
Such a raptor head as myself, I'm always watching out for such subjects and have only had a few distant sightings beforehand: One many years ago in Tochigi Prefecture, one about three years in western Niigata (the only other distant pic of one in the rain) and another close, fleeting encounter in northern Niigata about four years ago.
(Curious about the Japanese name, Inu Washi, "Dog Eagle").
Thought it was worth posting as it may be another few years before I get yet another distant glimpse.