Goshawk Family 2014


Northern Goshawk

Niigata City,  Japan

Newly fledged

June 28, 2014

This year Northern Goshawks raised three young in a park in Niigata City. I don't know which park. I was taken there blind-folded. (Not really, but I pretend)

The place has been kept quiet to avoid buckets of tripods and smokers from loitering beneath the nest but I heard the news has spread and there were indeed numerous cameras visiting every day.

I visited just twice so far; a 90 minute visit one morning a couple of weeks ago after I heard they'd fledged, then another for about an hour last Sunday afternoon.

I followed the progress of the nest via telephone; a 'friend who knows someone'. I've decided to stay away from pointing my lens at active nests as much as possible.

I hope they stay at the site next year.


These pics were with my Nikon D300. I sent my D800 off for service on June 7. More about that another time.



Adult and below





A present from an adult





I think it is the adult female on the left and the three young

June 5, 2014

Nikon D300 with AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm VR @1/80 of a second handheld

Adult female is an impressive raptor

Goshawks 2013


Northern Goshawk

Accipiter gentilis
newly fledged

Niigata City, Niigata, Japan

June 30, 2013



...And now, presenting, the new 2013, Niigata City, Northern Goshawks; Accipiter gentilis


This year I witnessed two nests. I only visited one nest briefly 3 times over a three month period (about once a month) and the second nest was just one brief observation at distance. There were two in the first and I thought possibly three in the second, but now, after looking at my pictures I think there were just two in the second as well. Still, both nests were successful. 



Wary and elusive adult













View of nest #2


Common Eurasian Kestrel

Common Eurasian Kestrel adult male

Falco tinnunculus

Niigata City, Niigata, Japan

May-June 2013


This has been the ninth season for me to watch the same pair of Common Kestrels raise a family in Niigata City. They have always been successful, and this year they raised 4!

One afternoon at the end of May, I saw the male return 3 times in 50 minutes with prey, all birds, most likely sparrows. I was worried as things quietened down for a bit. I only visited briefly two or three times a week and watched as they protected their territory against cats and crows. One afternoon the male was very upset while attacking a cat. I didn't see him for almost a week after that, but then suddenly the quiet period ended with new birds flapping their wings.

They mostly seem to prey on sparrows and swallows. 

I hope I will see a tenth season!



adult female




two young



Four fledglings





















The going of the trees



Niigata City is based on the Shinano River. The Shinano is the longest river in Japan. It has all the features of rivers of moderns cities. Shipping ports at the mouth, walkways/bike paths and gardens with cherry trees and beds of tulips, public toilets and bridges. 

Sadly, I noticed a big gap along the river just a couple of k's from the city centre. All the wild trees and shrubs have been cleared. I knew most of the birds to be found in the trees. A family of Azure-winged Magpies was resident all year - In the thick of the green in the summer and at the tree tops in the snow of winter. A week after the trees went I found them in a single tree in a river-side residence along with the local Grey Starlings. It is very quiet there now. Both the magpies and starlings have gone. 

Usually Durian Redstarts appeared in early March in the bushes just above the water and warblers came for the summer. I also found Common and Rough-leeged Buzzards in some of the trees in the winter. I don't know where the summer's dragonflies will come from. The ducks that hid behind the trees are now easily seen but nervous.