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?




The Happy Duck

Luke's Duck **UPDATED: Domestic Duck, Not Hybrid.

Identification by the Hybrid Group at

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

February 11, 2018

I usually overlook hybrids but have been trying to have a closer look because my friend Luke seems intrigued. I took these pics last Saturday.

When I first saw it, I thought it was a Mallard x Domestic Duck. It's head is larger than the typical Mallards' it hangs around.

Anyway, I usually search for the rare and dynamic, but if you study this individual, it's kinda cute and happy. So what's wrong with bit of a look?

What do you think of my trial watermark? Too big? Yeah, but I want it to look cool. Sometimes I've found my pics on other websites.

The Frozen Lake

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

February 11, 2018

After a long cold week with heavy snow, it was sunny yesterday morning so I went to Hyoko. It was treacherous walking between thick walls of ice. A kind lady showed her concern for me while I was standing on the slippery ice and she cleared a space for me next to her on up on a ledge of soft snow. We stood side-by-side for a while with our digital cameras with birds all around us. I think everyone should have a digital camera and stand by the side of a lake.

A Hybrid

Hybrid Ferruginous Duck + Common Pochard

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

January, 2018

It's been very cold the last few weeks and I haven't birded much. I get so tired of falling down. I've heard people have had frozen toilets and showers and taps for days and days. Really different to following the Australian Open Tennis.

These pics were taken earlier in the year in nicer light and conditions. I posted the pics of this hybrid on the Kantori page in Japan and the kind people there confirmed it was a hybrid Ferruginous + Pochard. My birding pal Luke thought of that but I ignored him as he's just starting out. He looks at the details like real birders. I am too abstract.

I just visited my blog for the first time in a while and discovered a number of kind comments. Thank you for that. I will try to brave the conditions and get newer and better shots.

This Whooper Swan gave this poor Common Pochard a hard time. We watched the pochard go under one last time and it didn't seem to come up again. Challenges the idea that swans are so graceful and beautiful.

Common Pochard with leg ring.

Eurasian Wigeon and what seems a borderline hybrid with an American Wigeon. I think it is just a wigeon with shine in its feathers. There have been a couple of American Wigeon the last few years at Hyoko but I'm yet to see them this year.

Little Grebe

Northern Pintail are so common here in the winter but don't you think they're worth a close look?

Little Grebe

Mallard in nice light

Eurasian Wigeon


Black-eared Kite

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

January 7, 2018

"Tombi" is a casual Japanese name for Black-eared Kite. "Tobi" is more usual.

I guess I have to look at these photos with 'the glass is half full' attitude.

The first 4 pics below are not cropped. Except for the wings.