Swifts and Terns

White-winged Tern

Sakata, Niigata, Japan

June 4, 2016

Had a scarce bird outing on Saturday and Sunday and found some scarce birds to match. I think these were White-winged Terns. At first I thought they were Black Terns but I think the contrasts are more likely to be White-wings. Both are scarce in Japan.

I also had some swifts that came overhead for a couple of minutes. It was quite gusty and challenging for the D7100 and AF-S 80-400mm to keep up. I was so frustrated with the buffer of the camera. Every time a bird was coming towards me I'd start firing when in range but the camera would freeze after 3 shots. I really need to convince my wife that I need a D500. On Sunday I went back with the D800 and found it was much better but I didn't get close enough for any decent shots.

There were two pods of terns on both days. The more common-usual, Little Terns and White-winged terns took turns in their groups to pass over the lake. The rarer bird seemed shyer and rarely came over close. 

Little Tern

Pacific Swift

Barn Swallow

First Buzzard


Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

September 2013

We've had a long summer this year in Niigata. The last real bird adventure for me was watching the Northern Goshawk fledglings back in June. It has been quiet ever since, so much Australian content has been added to this blog in that time.

I've been trying to find the signs of seasonal migrations but mostly I have just found the lingering signs of summer. I have been searching Fukushimagata, Sakata, Mt Yamamoto, and Junsai-ike the last few weeks and uploaded my findings now. Mostly all the images are summer.

This week has seen the biggest typhoon to hit Japan in ten years and the temperature is dramatically dropping so things should look different in the coming weeks. The buzzard I have posted here is from last Sunday morning and is a sign the cooler months are arriving. I have only seen them in summer high up in the mountains. I also saw a sprinkling of ducks with a dash of distant Bean Geese at Fukushimagta on Sunday.

In the dark hours of Tuesday morning I heard swans flying over my bed. It will be a long winter next.

Fukushimagata, Niigata

Tiny Tortoises



Sakata, Niigata

Giant Tadpoles


Junsai-ike, Niigata

Help needed to identify this chick, please?


Eastern Buzzard




Little Tern


The observatory at Fukushimagata is to be torn down over winter and rebuilt for spring.
Too bad everyone wants to use it at winter the most. I can see the top deck is already being dismantled.

White Wagtail with dragonfly





Too bad about the dirt spots on this one :(