Saturday, 26 December 2015

more cranes and gulls (plus a White's Thrush) on Hokkaido today

Our first Hokkaido dawn was cold, minus fifteen to be precise. There's this place on the river just outside of Tsurui where you get the Red-crowned Cranes roosting up and then in the morning, hopefully with a load of mist, you pap them to get atmospheric shots. And so the dudes that we are, there was only one thing to do... join the many Japanese and do our thing.
Red-crowned Cranes Tsurui, Hokkaido 26th December 2015
And after we got our fill of the cranes (and a good bit of sashimi for breakfast), it was back to normal territory for us in Kushiro harbour. After yesterday's larid feast there, and with crisp light (albeit with a biting wind), it was rude not to get among the Slaty-backed Gulls and their friends. Just a few here, and worth noting the vastly differing mantle tones.

Slaty-backed Gulls Kushiro harbour, Hokkaido 26th December 2015 (top three adults, fourth down second-winter and above first-winter)
juvenile presumed hybrid Glaucous-winged x Glaucous Gull Kushiro harbour, Hokkaido 26th December 2015
After a couple of hours we headed back north and on to Lake Kussharo. The Whooper Swans were about, but the ice that you get later in the winter hadn't formed and it was all a bit of an anticlimax, having to watch little Japanese kids running around feeding them popcorn. Retiring to our accommodation earlier than planned, the day thankfully didn't quite end as planned when this Siberian beauty popped out next to us...
White's Thrush Lake Kussharo, Hokkaido 26th December 2015


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