On the Move

Eastern Buzzard
looks young

Sakata, Niigata, Japan

September 19, 2018

I was lucky enough to have a few days off mid-week this week and the weather was much better than the previous weekend. Sunny and warm, but not too hot.

I went to Sakata yesterday and encountered a few raptors on the move: a pair of peregrines, one osprey, usual Black-eared Kites and my first encounter with an Eastern Buzzard for the coming cold months.  It was nice to see them as I think I'll miss seeing the raptor migration this year from Mt Yamamoto.

There are still lots of insects but I spared you from them. Many the same and others I'd have to identify. It might be a good exercise for me on a rainy day but I'm not in the mood today. I walked between rice fields and large numbers of green grasshoppers parted like the sea as I moved. Not good for the farmers I'd say.

I set my camera for j-pegs last week and forgot to reset it back to RAW and although my tired old computer found it easier to edit the files I'm not so excited by green/purple casting and a soapy finish to the images. 

Sorry, I've failed to put subheadings to my images. Maybe I will edit them sometime in the future. I have to attend to a needy, howling dog at the moment.

Duck for Christmas

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

December 27, 2017

It's nice to get some time off for winter. It seems to have been a long year. Being in Japan, Christmas Day was a work day but I took it off and headed to Hyoko. I found an adult Northern Goshawk hunting there then. Today I headed back with Luke and we found a young one doing the same. A number of raptors were about including Peregrine, Eurasian Buzzard, and milvus kites. Plenty of ducks included, Northern Pintail, Pochard, Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Wigeon, Tuft and various mixes. Of course Tundra and Whooper Swans for which the place is famous. Coot, cormorants, sparrows, egrets, a Grey Heron, Carrion Crows. 

My weather app predicted 1C as the high for the day and hard ice under foot cracked with my steps. Love it but I don't want to fall.

Northern Goshawk

Eurasian Teal

Peregrine Falcon

Sekiya Beach

Blue Rock Thrush


Sekiya Beach, Niigata, Sea of Japan, Japan

November 12, 2017

I rarely visit the seaside, but decided to try something new. It was dull in the morning with strong winds but it was refreshing and dramatic. I had an exciting encounter with a young peregrine that shot over my shoulder to take on a crow. The crow's mate decided it wasn't right and counter attacked and the falcon came back my way. Sadly, I had just reduced the shutter speed to photograph a Blue Rock Thrush. The shutter speed wasn't high enough for a peregrine at full speed so I only got some reluctant keepers. Motion blur around the face ruins them if you pixel peep.

The sun came out later and I enjoyed watching the waves but I struggled to get close to the male Blue Rock Thrush. It was I nice change from my usual spots so I'll have to give it another go sometime.

Peregrine Falcon

Blue Rock Thrush


Back to Birding

Peregrine Falcon

Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

September 18, 2017

It's been a while since I posted some birds on this blog. I rediscovered over the weekend that walking around and photographing birds makes me happy. I should do more of it. We all should.

Black-crowned Night Heron


Great Crested Grebe

Hyoko, Niigata, Japan

September 19, 2017

Common Kingfisher

Barn Swallow

Great White Egret  (above) framed by Eastern Cattle Egrets, except maybe the one on the right?

Oriental Turtle Dove

Great Crested Grebes in winter attire

Return of the Great Ice Eagle 2017


Niigata, Japan

January 29, 2017

I really love Mr Honma’s enthusiasm. Every winter we look for the Steller’s Sea-eagle and he is always so bright and hopeful. We set out at 6:30 in the dark and freezing cold and he is never bored with finding the same bird perched up high above us.

I realise now that many of the birds we find each winter are actually the same individuals, not just ‘a’ Steller’s Sea-Eagle, or ‘a’ Peregrine Falcon. I guess it is the same for the ducks and swans and so on. In recent years, there is always one American Wigeon, one Steller’s Sea-eagle, one Peale’s Falcon. (as I describe it)

Winter would be much colder and emptier without these now familiar treasures and I too, don’t want to take them for granted. 

Peregrine Falcon

Bean Goose

Whooper Swan

Steller's Sea-eagle