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Japan - February 2020 (1 Viewer)

foresttwitcher

Virtually unknown member
United Kingdom
Thanks Andrew, I know what you mean but I was lucky enough to see Japanese Bush Warbler close by shortly before the mystery bird so did have a bit of a comparison and the appearance and behaviour seemed noticeably different. But I'll never know now! Only to be expected and not a bad thing I suppose.

Chris, if you mean on Miyakejima the other potential targets were Izu Robin (which I did hear), Styan's Grasshopper Warbler, Ijima's Leaf Warbler (although I was almost certainly too early) & Japanese Scops Owl but of course I wasn't expecting to see all, most or even any. The team of three on the island also saw Chinese Bamboo Partridge. Better views of the Wood Pigeon and Thrush would also have been nice but I guess that makes me sound a bit greedy! There was also the outside possibility of Temminck's Cormorant & Japanese Murrelet from the ferry - the others on board did see some unidentified auks but I could not get onto them! No complaints really as it was a great side-trip and you can't see everything! If you mean in Japan as a whole then the list of misses is longer.:-O
 
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Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
Chris, if you mean on Miyakejima the other potential targets were Izu Robin (which I did hear), Styan's Grasshopper Warbler, Ijima's Leaf Warbler (although I was almost certainly too early) & Japanese Scops Owl but of course I wasn't expecting to see all, most or even any. The team of three on the island also saw Chinese Bamboo Partridge. Better views of the Wood Pigeon and Thrush would also have been nice but I guess that makes me sound a bit greedy! There was also the outside possibility of Temminck's Cormorant & Japanese Murrelet from the ferry - the others on board did see some unidentified auks but I could not get onto them! No complaints really as it was a great side-trip and you can't see everything! If you mean in Japan as a whole then the list of misses is longer.:-O

No, this is exactly what I meant Pete, many thanks! I agree, you should be more than happy with the results from the day!

Chris
 

MKinHK

Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
What a finale! Short-tailed Albatross is indeed a much desired target - and to get your first three albatrosses in a single trip would be mind-blowing. I still haven't done that trip - my wife is not a big fan of boat trips when I spend all my time outside staring at dots. One day.

A really enjoyable report Pete - whetting my appetite to go back!

Cheers
Mike
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
What a finale! Short-tailed Albatross is indeed a much desired target - and to get your first three albatrosses in a single trip would be mind-blowing. I still haven't done that trip - my wife is not a big fan of boat trips when I spend all my time outside staring at dots. One day.

A really enjoyable report Pete - whetting my appetite to go back!

Cheers
Mike

It IS mind-blowing, Mike. I was there at roughly the same time as Pete but my ferry trip was from Tokyo to Hokkaido. On the first day we had 600+ Laysan, 17 Short-tailed & 7 Black-footed Albatross plus a sea carpeted with Black-legged Kittiwake, c2000 shearwaters (mainly Short-tailed, some Streaked, a few Sooty & one Flesh-footed Shearwater), c30 Rhinoceros Auklet, c650 Pacific & 1 White-billed Diver and the following morning 2 Fork-tailed Petrel & Harlequin Ducks as we came into the harbour on Hokkaido. We also had an amazing seawatch on Hokkaido ....
 

foresttwitcher

Virtually unknown member
United Kingdom
Cheers Mike, to get that success with such magnificent birds was awesome. We did not get quite the numbers and species John had but it was a much shorter trip and for most of the peak time between islands there was always something to see and they were certainly not dots as most were seen close in to the boat. I highly recommend it!

John, have you done a trip report?
 

foresttwitcher

Virtually unknown member
United Kingdom
Thursday 27th February:

Last full day today and as I had kept it clear for a bit of flexibility around the ferry journey and possible cancellations I had no real plan. One option was for some more city park birding but one thing I had wanted to see since this trip first evolved was Fuji-san. No early start and it was a bright sunny day when I woke so decided to go with this as the odds looked good for a view. It would be the easiest but I really did not fancy one of the tourist trips with compulsory 'authentic' lunch and a stop at a mall on the way back to look at tat. I had identified one of the iconic viewpoints complete with lake and reflections but from where I was the journey would involve numerous trains and buses and I could foresee scope for mistakes and stress and I was beginning to feel a bit frazzled finding my way around on public transport with my lack of language skills. So I opted for the most simple route to a viewpoint: to the airport on the shuttle, Keisei line to Ueno, the old faithful Yamanote line to Tokyo station and Tokaido-Sanyo shinkansen to Shin-Fuji. Making sure I was seated on the correct side, from the train beyond Kanagawa I had great views of this stately peak but thought that photos through a window at bullet train speed may not turn out well so decided to wait. The mountain went out of view for a while and when I got out at Shin-Fuji the view from the platform was not the prettiest and clouds had just obscured the top - but at least I saw it!

Back to the hotel by the same route for a nice meal in the restaurant and a packing session for tomorrow.

Friday 28th February:

Relaxed start today, only a short bus journey for a mid morning Air France flight from Narita to Paris, a transfer in Charles de Gaulle and a short early evening hop back to Heathrow.

What a truly fantastic trip, including my most memorable birthday: excellent birds (and some nice mammals), a wonderful country and the nicest most helpful people.

I had a great time but I did not do my carbon foot-print any good at all. The total journey from home and back involved: 6 cars (including 2 taxis), 8 planes, 22 trains (including 2 monorails & 4 shinkansens), 11 buses (including 2 minibuses) & 3 boats!

The birding in winter is about quality and 'the experience' over quantity but I would thoroughly recommend it for the independent birder. But be warned the birds and culture can make it potentially addictive, so if you go be prepared to feel like you'll have to return.
 

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3Italianbirders

Well-known member
Italy
But be warned the birds and culture can make it potentially addictive, so if you go be prepared to feel like you'll have to return.

Thank you for sharing your fantastic trip, I had fun looking up all the unfamiliar species and daydreaming about seeing them one day... and thank you also for the warning about Japan being addictive: we'll bear that in mind! ;)
 

foresttwitcher

Virtually unknown member
United Kingdom
I'd be interested in reading it John if you were willing to share - by PM if you prefer.

Thanks for the comments 3Italianbirders, I'm glad you enjoyed the read.
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
A wonderful report Pete, one of the best I have read in a while! It really makes me want to go there, many thanks indeed!

Chris
 

foresttwitcher

Virtually unknown member
United Kingdom
Thanks for the kind words, Chris, you flatter me. I'm glad people are getting something out of it. I have to admit it was great going back through the memories again. Go for it when we can move about again, you won't regret it.
 

foresttwitcher

Virtually unknown member
United Kingdom
Correction: Due to being a bit of an idiot reading Google Maps my references to Takaokucho in post 93 should actually refer to Kawaguchi Bridge; the former is the name of the region.
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
Good to hear you made it to the Izu Islands, your trip to Miyakejima was pretty much the same route I took in early March 2018, with quite a few similarities in terms of birding.

My top tip for anyone waiting for dawn in the bus shelter is not to rush out up to the lake too quickly! After spending several hours scouring the woodland around the lake for Izu thrush, I finally saw one on the track right next to the bus shelter on my return to the road.

I also saw Northern Goshawk on a couple of occasions around the lake, plus a nice view of an Eastern Buzzard. My views of Japanese woodpigeon were equally unsatisfactory (both flying away) but Owston's Tit were much more obliging.

Did you get any pictures of the cormorant(s) on the lake? I think Japanese / Temmick's are more likely there, certainly the one I saw was that species.

I was leaving from the port on the east side of the island, and walked back along the road, heading off the main road to skirt the coast by the airport. Got my first Short-tailed Albatross from the shore in this area, plus Blue Rock Thrush on the coast and a flock of Dusky Thrushes on the airfield. My ferry crossing I have to say was outstanding - ST albatrosses were frequent together with Laysan and slightly smaller numbers of Black-footed, plus a few kittiwakes and an all too brief unidentifiable view of a large dark-rumped storm-petrel - Matsudaira's or Tristram's both possible.
 

foresttwitcher

Virtually unknown member
United Kingdom
Hi kb57, thanks for the feedback and thanks again for the tips you gave me in the planning stage.

It does sound like a very similar Izu experience and I can only echo what you say - particularly regarding the value of the approach road for sightings.

No photo of the Tairo-ike Cormorant unfortunately as it was very distant & I only have a smartphone as a camera. It certainly seems from e-bird that Temminck's is more likely but it wasn't on my radar at the lake as I had read that it's habitat preference was rocky coasts; hence I did not look at it closely assuming it would be Great. It seems like I may have missed out on another tick! Another reason to return, as if I needed it!
 

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