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just a little blog where I waffle on about my birding experiences here in Western Japan...
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One week is a long time in Birding

Posted Monday 22nd October 2007 at 06:18 by lostinjapan
Well it has been exactly one week since my last blog..and I have sinned...well birded.

The local patch proved quite fruitful last week with a couple of visits last week yielding a few goodies, the pick of the bunch being two new birds for Hiroshima Castle, a flyover Olive-backed Pipit and a long overdue Blue Rock Thrush hanging around the castle.

Other goodies at the castle in the last week, included Japanese Thrush, Short-tailed Bush Warbler, Middendorf's Grasshopper Warbler, Gray's Gropper, Brown and Narcissus Flycatchers, a couple of Bull-headed Shrike and the first Pale Thrush and Daurian Redstart of the autumn.

Today also gave up a beautiful male Siberian Rubythroat, and the first couple of Goldcrests of the autumn, as well as the first Little Grebes and Tufted Duck on the moat. Other birds around were 50+ Brown-eared Bulbuls shrieking away, a couple of skulking Pale Thrush, 2-3 Daurian Redstart, a Little Egret, Common Kingfisher and flyover Common Cormorant.

At nearby Shukkein Garden all I could rustle up were a couple of Brown Flycatchers, a Daurian Redstart and an Arctic Warbler.

On Saturday I went on a twitch..perhaps my last as i totally failed to see the bird in question, Amur Falcon.

Despite 8hours on the train and 6-7 hours slogging around the rice paddies south of Isahaya in Nagasaki Prefecture I failed to find either of the birds reported.

There were plenty of other rapotrs around, 5-6 Common Kestrel, 3-4 Eastern Marsh Harrier, 2 Merlin, 3-4 Osprey and 50+ Black(eared) Kite..but no sign of the target bird.

Rather bizarrely though I did find 1 or possibly 2 Chinese Bulbul, really a native of Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands, and only a handful of records for the main islands. I wonder if it was a wild bird, that had arrived on Westerlies along with the falcons or some sort of released cagebird.

Other highlights were few and far between, as the once great mudflats at Isahaya have now been covered in water or topsoil, making the area a shadow of it's former self.

I did manage single Black-winged Stilt, 2-3 Green Sandpiper, 6 Pacific Golden Plover, 2 Greenshank, 3 Common Snipe..but nothing like the 1000's of shorebirds that once congregated here..very sad. This place was destroyed as Saengangmeum is being destroyed in Korea, all in the name of progress.

On the passerine front, just Red-throated Pipit, Yellow Wagtail and Siberian Stonechat stood out among the commoner passerines, as well as the Black-billed Magpies on the way through Saga Prefecture.

Inthe early evening I was also lucky enough to watch a Racoon Dog hunting along the edge of a riverbank, trying to sneak up on unsuspecting duck or Moorhens and Coot.

A visit to the local Otagawa gull roost yesterday, showed a few Slaty-backed, Heuglin's and Mongolian Gull among the commoner Vegae and Black-tailed Gull. One gull stood out as being a probable Slaty x Glaucous hybrid, and another bird with all white wings , which is most likely a leucistic Vegae..weirdly it has pale bluish legs.
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