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

Juvenile



Perplexing Gadwell or Square-headed Pintails?

Mallard

(female)

Pintail?




Swarming Ducks

Northern Pintail

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

September 30, 2018


Well. It's that time of the year again. It's exciting to see so many ducks arrive at Fukushimagata. Many Pintail went overhead without landing but in front of me were thousands of Common or Eurasian Teal. I visited last Sunday too, but there was only one single teal then. How a week has changed things. Raptors were on the go, but I failed to get any decent shots. Two peregrines, three goshawks. I could see a spectacular adult goshawk sitting out in the middle of the water but it was way out of reach of my lens. When it moved, so did the ducks and I totally lost sight of the raptor in the crowd. Hopefully some exciting months ahead.

I only stayed a short while as a felt the wind building its power behind my back. I decided to get home before the typhoon got here. I feel sorry for all those birds that have travelled far only to arrive in time for a typhoon.





























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

BiFs for the New Year

Northern Pintail

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

January 5, 2018



After two years thinking about it, I finally got a Nikon D500. The pictures are noisier than the D800 but the AF is pretty amazing, and I can take millions of pictures in half a second. It seems. Thankfully I'm not paying $36 for a roll of Ektachrome.

I was interested in BiFs decades ago and it was such a big thing to get any decent shot. Like one every three months or so. I don't know if I have stated it before but I remember going to the Birds Australia library in the early 1990s and a kind man named David Eades photocopied several articles on how to do it. I think one was by the American photographer Brian Wheeler. I then got one of his books but can't find it anywhere. 

I learned about 3oo 2.8 lenses a but they were beyond me. I found a Pentax 400 f5.6 for $4500 aus but those who knew me suggested I shouldn't spend that on a hobby. Not to matter. I got one for half the price when I arrived in Tokyo. I can't understand why Australians have to pay so much more than everyone in other countries.

It's all point and shoot now. Easy to forget to concentrate. Can't blame the equipment any more.

I guess Nikon will announce the D500s next week with much less noise. 



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The iWants

Northern Goshawk

Adult

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

February 21, 2016

Sony RX100iii held up to a Nikon ED50 field scope

I didn't bring an adaptor!



I want a big new spotting scope. Either Zeiss, Swarovski, or Leica will do.  The above goshawk looked fantastic through my little scope but I imagined a nice, intimate portrait with snow and dead reeds would have been nice. Looking through my scope the breeze was blowing the reeds in and out of the way and the soft feathers on the hawk's chest were fluffed up. The goshawk was interested in the ducks on the water and its yellow eyes peered through the reeds, sometimes almost directly at us. 



Nikon D7100 with Nikkor AF-S 300F4


Black-eared Kite




I got ready with my D7100 and 300 f4 when it looked like flying anf it came right at me. I messed up though, the camera just got stuck on the background.





I lost focus after this shot and didn't regain it until it had almost passed me.



Rock Dove
 I only brought my little scope and D7100 with the Nikkor 300 f4. These photos show why I like that set up. I wasn't ready for the goshawk.

Anyway. It was a fruitful outing.
Northern Pintail

female

Northern Pintail

male

Common Pochard

Whooper Swan



Eurasian Teal

male