The Great Goose Migration

A Handful of people from the Otaru Branch bird watchers took a trip visiting three different places. 5 People total in two cars headed out. Everyone was quite kind and friendly. The leader; Umeki-san was exceptional in taking the time to call me over to his spotting scope to show me new birds and look up the English names for me in his guidebook! We left at 9 am, and arrived by 11 am to the Ishikari River in the Funabacho area. We saw 7 species of birds there including a Great-spotted woodpecker, Great white egret, and a White-tailed sea eagle. The second spot was “Mckunbet’s” Wetland which is a place for viewing of a certain flower called “Mizubasho”, (Asian Skunk Cabbage – Lysichiton camtschatcensis). At the observation platform at the edge of the river here, we spotted several species of ducks- Mallard, Wigeon, and Teal. The main event so to speak was at Miyajimanuma Wetlands. Here we saw a handful of various birds, but mainly the arrival of 50,000- 60,000 Greater White-fronted geese around the hour of 6 pm. The geese came from several directions in non-stop, unending V-formations, as well as amazing long single lines. When they got close to the water, they would spin as if out of control, and dive in and find a spot on the lake. They showed up within the span of about 1 hour and 15 minutes! They filled the lake, having arrived to settle for the night; soon to head towards Eastern Siberia to breed.

Jeff 🙂

The Otaru group
Excursion #: 34

Place:

Ishikari River & Miyajimanuma Wetlands
Date:
4-21-2019
Time: 11:00-19:00
Weather:
Sunny, hot; cold, windy at night

Equipment:

1. Nikon D90
2. Bower 500mm Mirror lens F6.3 
3. Nikon D80 w/ multibattery pack 
4. Nikkor AF-S 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 G ED VR
5. Nikon “Monarch” 10×42 6°
eBird checklist w/map:

The 3 different spots we traveled to:

1. Funabacho landing; where the Makunbetsu meets the Ishikari River.

2. “Mckunbet’s” Wetland.

3. Miyajimanuma Wetlands (along the planked path to the river).


Day list of birds sighted:

  • Great Cormorant (ssp. sinensis) (3)
  • Black-eared Kite (ssp. lineatus) (8)
  • White-tailed Sea Eagle (2)
  • Great-spotted Woodpecker (ssp. japonicus) (1)
  • Oriental Greenfinch (6)
  • Eurasian Green-winged Teal Duck (1)*
  • Mallard Duck (6)
  • Eurasian Wigeon Duck (3)*
  • Large-billed Crow (ssp. japonensis) (10)
  • Japanese Tit (1)
  • Grey Heron (ssp. jouyi) (2)
  • Great White Egret (2)
  • Tundra Bean Goose (1)
  • Greater Canadian Goose (1)*
  • Greater White-fronted Goose (50,000+)
  • Black-faced Bunting (ssp. personata) (2)
  • Whooper Swan (6)
  • Northern Pintail Duck (100+)
  • Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker (ssp. seebohmi) (1)

*= sighted with help


NameLarge-billed Crow
Scientific NameCorvus macrorhynchos (ssp. japonensis)
Number Seen10
NameGrey Heron
Scientific NameArdea cinerea (ssp. jouyi)
Number Seen2
NameMallard Duck
Scientific NameAnas platyrhynchos
Number Seen6
NameJapanese Tit
Scientific NameParus minor
Number Seen1
NameJapanese Pygmy Woodpecker
Scientific NameYungipicus kizuki (ssp. seebohmi)
Number Seen1
NameGreat Cormorant
Scientific NamePhalacrocorax carbo (ssp. sinensis)
Number Seen3
NameGreat White Egret
Scientific NameArdea alba
Number Seen1
NameOriental Greenfinch
Scientific NameChloris sinica
Number Seen6
NameBlack-faced Bunting
Scientific NameEmberiza spodocephala (ssp. personata)
Number Seen2
NameBlack-eared Kite
Scientific NameMilvus migrans (ssp. lineatus)
Number Seen8
NameNorthern Pintail Duck
Scientific NameAnas acuta
Number Seen100+
NameWhite-tailed Sea Eagle
Scientific NameHaliaeetus albicilla
Number Seen2
NameEurasian Wigeon Duck*
Scientific NameMareca penelope
Number Seen3
NameEurasian Green-winged Teal Duck*
Scientific NameAnas crecca carolinensis
Number Seen1
NameWhooper Swan
Scientific NameCygnus cygnus
Number Seen6
NameGreat-spotted Woodpecker
Scientific NameDendrocopos major (ssp. japonicus)
Number Seen1
NameTundra Bean Goose
Scientific NameAnser serrirostris
Number Seen1
Name
Greater Canadian Goose
Scientific NameBranta canadensis
Number Seen1
NameGreater White-fronted Goose
Scientific NameAnser albifrons
Number Seen50,000+

Maruyama Bird Outing II

Enjoyed a lovely outing with the Wild Bird Society of Sapporo again. The gathering had grown a little larger, so they divided everyone into two groups; one following a little ways back. The route also changed a little this time. As well, I had a chance to talk with Dan about his event-full trip to Vietnam, and he offered helpful clues on what birds to keep a look out for on my trip to Onuma Park in May.

Jeff 🙂

Birder group “A”

Birder group “B”
Excursion #: 33

Place:

Maruyama Park, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Date:
4-14-2019
Time: 9:00-12:00
Weather:
Sunny, warm

Equipment:

1. Nikon D90
2. Bower 500mm Mirror lens F6.3 
3. Nikon D80 w/ multibattery pack 
4. Nikkor AF-S 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 G ED VR
5. Nikon “Monarch” 10×42 6°
eBird checklist w/map:


Day list of birds sighted:

  • Oriental Greenfinch (1)
  • Brown-eared Bulbul (ssp. stejnegeri) (7)
  • Large-billed Crow (ssp. japonensis) (5+)
  • Mandarin Duck (2)
  • Varied Tit (7+)
  • Goldcrest* (ssp. japonensis) (1)
  • Japanese Tit (2)
  • Rock Dove (2)
  • White Wagtail (ssp. lugens) (1)
  • Mallard Duck (2)
  • Marsh Tit (ssp. hensoni) (3+)
  • ** Siberian Chipmunk (1)

**=non-bird

*=saw, but need to see again for a more solid ID


NameMarsh Tit
Scientific NamePoecile palustris (ssp. hensoni)
Number Seen3+
Name Large-billed Crow
Scientific Name Convus macrorhynchos (ssp. japonensis)
Number Seen5+
Name Rock Dove
Scientific Name Columba livia
Number Seen2
NameMallard Duck
Scientific NameAnas platyrhynchos
Number Seen2
Mallard Ducks on island with Mandarin Ducks
NameJapanese Tit
Scientific NameParus minor
Number Seen2
NameBrown-eared Bulbul
Scientific NameHypsipetes amaurotis (ssp. stejnegeri)
Number Seen7+
NameVaried Tit
Scientific NameSittiparus varius
Number Seen7+
NameMandarin Duck
Scientific NameAix galericulata
Number Seen2
NameOriental Greenfinch
Scientific NameChloris sinica
Number Seen1
NameWhite Wagtail
Scientific NameMotacilla alba (ssp. lugens)
Number Seen1
NameGoldcrest*
Scientific NameRegulus regulus (ssp. japonensis)
Number Seen1

(Seen with Binoculars) copyrighted and with thanks to: Alpsdake

NameSiberian Chipmunk**
Scientific NameEutamias sibiricus
Number Seen1

Cape Shukutsu in overview

Took a late afternoon trip out to the cape before sunset. A little windy, but many gulls were out in great numbers. Only a handful of Cormorants were out to the rocks on the far left.

Jeff 🙂

Below is a gallery of photos of Cape Shukutsu, the Otaru Aquarium, the Hotel Neuschloss, and The neighborhood of Shukutsu, as well as Otaru behind the cape.

The fenced in overlook is one of my favorite cape spots

Todoiwa Island just in front of the fenced viewing spot; at least 400 meters out. Sea Lions are a protected species occupying the island there as well.


To the left of Cape Shukutsu and the aquarium. Cormorants hang out here too.

Old lighthouse on the top of the cape.


Fishing off Cape Shukutsu.

Shukutsu Port and Otaru City behind the next cape.


Otaru Aquarium. In the buildings you find all kinds of beautiful fish, jellyfish, turtles and other smaller sea life. One building has dolphin shows. Outside is a penguin show and tanks with walrus, sea otters, seals, sea lions, and polar bears.

A Seal after closing.

The hotel above the aquarium has an in-room “onsen” hot spring overlooking the ocean!

Excursion #: 32

Place:

Cape Shukutsu, Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan
Date:
4-13-2019
Time: 16:30-17:30
Weather:
Sunny, windy

Equipment:

1. Nikon D90 
2. Bower 500mm Mirror lens F6.3 
3. Nikon D80 w/ multibattery pack 
4. Nikkor AF-S 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 G ED VR
5. Nikon “Monarch” 10×42 6°
eBird checklist w/map:


Day list of birds sighted:

  • Japanese Cormorant (30+)
  • Slaty-backed Gull (100+)
  • Black-tailed Gull (50+)
  • Large-billed Crow (ssp. japonensis) (2)
  • Black-eared Kite (1)

NameJapanese Cormorant
Scientific NamePhalacrocorax capillatus
Number Seen30+
NameBlack-eared Kite
Scientific NameMilvus migrans (ssp. lineatus)
Number Seen1
NameSlaty-backed Gull
Scientific NameLarus schistisagus
Number Seen100+
Slaty-backed Gull (1st-winter)
Name Black-tailed Gull
Scientific NameLarus crassirostris
Number Seen50+
Black-tailed & Slaty-backed Gulls
Name Large-billed Crow
Scientific Name Convus macrorhynchos (ssp. japonensis)
Number Seen2