Friday 25 December 2015

Christmas with cranes, eagles and gulls

We landed in a winter wonderland today, Japan's northerly outpost of Hokkaido. After landing in Kushiro, there was only one thing for it - hit the busy harbour. In snowy conditions, it was a real contrast to the balmy weather yesterday down in Kyushu and there was also another big change in that the composition of gulls was completely different. Slaty-backed Gulls dominated, and alongside them there were a load of Glaucous-winged Gulls and Kamchatka Gulls as well as a couple of Glaucous Gulls (an adult and a juvenile). A few seaduck were about too, namely Goldeneyes and Scaup but with the odd Black Scoter thrown in. A very nice introduction...
adult Glaucous-winged Gull Kushiro, Hokkaido 25th December 2015

adult Slaty-backed Gulls (above two) Kushiro, Hokkaido 25th December 2015

Kamchatka Gulls (1st-winters and adult, above) Kushiro, Hokkaido 25th December 2015
After blasting away in the blizzard, it was time to head off to Akan where the Red-crowned Cranes were putting on their usual show in the sunshine. Seventy of them, pretty majestic and doing a bit of dancing between their more regular munching. Just one shot here, but hundreds taken and a few birds inevitably ringed too.
Red-crowned Cranes Akan, Hokkaido 25th December 2015
A couple of times a day, fish get thrown out and White-tailed Eagles take full advantage of this. With the crisp light and close views, half a dozen of these massive beasts almost eclipsed the performance of the cranes.

adult White-tailed Eagles Akan, Hokkaido 25th December 2015
So to sum it up, it was a pretty memorable way to spend Christmas day. Cold admittedly, and ended up having a great Japanese meal too to round proceedings off.

No comments:

Post a Comment