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?




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

October Arrivals

Common Coot

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

October 21, 2017

Not so cold yet, but pretty dull. I'm happy to see all the new arrivals at Hyoko. Some Tundra Swans, but no Whoopers yet.

The usual assortment of common ducks have made their way from the continent in the north. There'll be many more to come in the weeks ahead. Hope they travel well with the typhoon coming our way.

I thought I'd lead off with a Common Coot. They're here for summer too, but I usually look past them. Quite a nice face really.

Common Pochard

Tufted Duck

Tufted Duck

Eurasian Wigeon


Tundra Swans

and below..


Black-headed Gull


Shinano River, Niigata, Japan

Some common Niigata birds for this time of year. I haven't been out much but I haven't completely forgotten about my birds.

After a long time of "no-sees" for Osprey I was delighted to have one fly right over my shoulder with a big fish. No camera so I just had to stand back and enjoy the moment.

Great Crested Grebe

Shinano River, Niigata, Japan

I was lucky I had the camera ready when he suddenly popped up!

Japanese Green Pheasant


Shinano River, Niigata, Japan


Toyanogata, Niigata, Japan

See the plastic crap they have to live with at the sides of the lake?

Oriental Turtle Dove

Toyanogata, Niigata, Japan


Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

January 24, 2015

Saturday was supposed to have poor weather but a sunny morning saw me grab my gear and head to Hyoko for the afternoon. I was only there for 80 minutes but I took about a thousand pics. 

It was very exciting for a raptor nut such as myself with peregrines stirring up the ducks farther over behind the trees you can see in the above landscape. 

It was so exciting I went back again yesterday and saw what I believe to be the same two Peregrines  from the day before, an adult and the below young one.

Lots of families take their children there to buy rice husks and feed the ducks and swans, hence there are many birds attracted to the place and it is a wonderful place for photographers.

Sunday was pretty dull but I'm pretty happy with the action shots for dim conditions with my new Nikon D7100. The landscape at the top was with my D800 and 25mm lens.

A young Peregrine Falcon

as it flew over on Saturday

At the back of Hyoko many wild ducks mostly Eurasian Teal and Mallard were stirred up by an adult Peregrine on Sunday, January 25.

Where's the falcon?

-If you look just above-right of the centre you can see the out-of-focus adult Peregrine moving left.

I could only see the falcon when it rose above the landscape!

If you go down from the "J" in Jenkins you can see a male Baikal Teal heading left.