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seabirdwatching potential new ferry route between Eemshaven NL and Kristiansand NO (1 Viewer)

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
What are the best scheduled ferry services worldwide for pelagic birding? The only one I've taken that was especially notable was the now defunct Kushiro - Tokyo service, which was truly epic (3 species of albatross including 2,500 Laysan, 8 species of alcid, Fork-tailed Storm Petrel etc, plus many sea ducks, divers, Steller's Sea Eagle etc inshore. All for £80.

The ferry to the Ogasawara islands must be up there too, although not cheap. Alaska Marine Highway to Dutch Harbor?
Izu islands to Tokyo is pretty good - the 3 albatross species including lots of short-tailed, 1000s of streaked shearwater and a sadly unidentifiable dark-rumped storm-petrel when I did it. Not too expensive either if you don't mind roughing it a bit on the overnight outward leg.
 

MJB

Well-known member
What are the best scheduled ferry services worldwide for pelagic birding?
Those between North and South Island of New Zealand can accumulate lengthy sighting lists, but perhaps our Antipodean members can comment on seasonality and the effect of wind directions?MJB
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Izu islands to Tokyo is pretty good - the 3 albatross species including lots of short-tailed, 1000s of streaked shearwater and a sadly unidentifiable dark-rumped storm-petrel when I did it. Not too expensive either if you don't mind roughing it a bit on the overnight outward leg.
Oarai to Tomakomai is also very good, albeit probably not as good as the old Kushiro thread mentioned earlier. I had Short-tailed and Laysan Albatrosses, lots of skuas and a good selection of auks when doing it in December a couple of years ago.
 

HouseCrow

Well-known member
oops....I notice only now that this thread has been going on for a bit longer... Nice.
Scanning your posts I gather it is not very worthwile taking the ferry. I am spoiled with the 5 orso ferrytrips I took in Japan. I regret so much (as many of us do I believe) that I did not take a proper camera with me on my first trip on the Japan Sea. I did see Rhinoceros Auklet but it is only a memory....
Also the two return trips I took to the Izu Islands were a great experience but seabirds were scarce to very scarce the first time (end of may) and rather plentyful in the galeforce winds in march last year...resulting in no more than a few shots of -lucky me- at least all three Albatross species in the area.
I'll come back to the thread and reply properly if need be.

My march 2020 return trip between Tokyo and Hachijojima (departure 22.30, arrival 09.00) cost about 170 Euros for the return ticket 2nd class. I spent just about every waking hour outside (dry, sheltered from the heavy winds in between the two decks of the ship. The light was terrible to rotten due to the heavy gale winds.

I have not finished uploading my near rubbish photos yet.. but I did get to see these...which made me very happy.
Along with hundreds of Streaked Shearwater, an occasional skua and a few Kittiwake... I hope to find some more gems in my photos but sofar not much else has popped up)

cheers,
H
 
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pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
As several have mentioned, the various options out of Tokyo must be among the best or the outright best.

I took the Ogasawara ferry about 10 years ago in April and it was mind boggling. I was a more novice seabirder then but still photographed / ID’d a lot. Three albatross species, Bonin Petrel, Matsudaira’s SP, Japanese Murrelet, and just silly numbers of Streaked, Short-tailed, Sooty, and Wedge-tailed SW, Tristram’s SP, more alcids, Jaegers, etc. A probable Kermedec Petrel and some small B&W Shearwaters that were too distant to assign to Bannerman’s vs Bryan’s…
 

HouseCrow

Well-known member
Eemshaven-Kristiansand does appear not to be interesting for seabirding judging by what you all are saying. Thanks for that!

@pbjosh I am slowly working through my best seabird day sofar (Hachijojima - Tokyo | 8 march 2020); stormy weather but quite a few Laysan Albatross, 2 plumages of Short-tailed Albatross, 1 Black-footed, tons and tons of Streaked Shearwater and the occasional Pacific Fulmar and two very dark Storm-petrels (Matsudaira probably)
@pbjosh, march 2020 was not quite bad at all either. I had a very hard time getting proper photos (all dark weather, rain, heavy winds) and a novice DSLR photographer made for difficult shooting. I managed to get a few ok-enough shots. Shearwaters may have been the toughest. I have seen a few 1000 of Streaked by now, but I have yet to find a decent Wedge-tailed among them (one possible but none with certainty) I wonder how you do that!

Inaturalist records of 8 march 2020 Pacific between Hachijojima and Tokyo

cheers,
G
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Housecrow,

On the route to the Ogasawara Islands you go much further south than Hachijo-jima. The ferry was 25 hrs when I did it, leaving one day and spending the afternoon / evening in coldish waters S of Tokyo. Then you wake up near the Ogasawaras on day 2 in subtropical water. Suddenly the Streaked SW are gone, the majority of the Short-tailed/Sooty SW are gone, alcids are gone, etc. Instead you have Wedge-tailed SW lazily gliding by on calmer seas and a chance for Bryan‘s or Bannerman‘s SW.
 

HouseCrow

Well-known member
@pbjosh I would have loved to go further south but I did not expect much beyond Hachijojima, so thanks for the tip. I had planned to go to Kyushu and Ishigaki as I wanted to end my trip in warmer weather (also for butterflies and dragonflies).
Can I find your records somewhere? ebird or another recording site?
Did you see Sooty and Short-tailed in the northern part of that route? Ok....nice I have sofar only been able to decipher one possible Wedge-tailed (but all blurry images as the weather was so dismal)

It does not help that Streaked Shearwater also has a tail that is....wedge-shaped

cheers,
G
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Can I find your records somewhere? ebird or another recording site?
Did you see Sooty and Short-tailed in the northern part of that route? Ok....nice I have sofar only been able to decipher one possible Wedge-tailed (but all blurry images as the weather was so dismal)

I didn't have any Wedge-tailed in the northern, colder water, only in the subtropical area nearer to the Ogasawara islands. Given that it is an overnight ferry you spend an afternoon in cold water near Tokyo and then wake up in subtropical water, so I'm not sure where exactly they peter out there. The return journey is the same, an afternoon in subtropical water, then you wake up back in colder water as you get closer to Tokyo.

My lists are on eBird but as they are long lists they get flagged / hidden from output by eBird. I am not, personally, a fan of using the eBird pelagic protocol. I'd rather be looking at birds than starting/stopping lists every hour, tracking exact distance, and repeating the same birds in list after list when you have albatrosses and procellaria petrels following the boat, but that's a separate issue. I also wish eBird would flag lists as "not usable by science" but still leave them visible to the public. So much imperfect but useful information is suppressed!

I believe if I link the lists here you can see them all the same:


This was my first time doing solo pelagic birding and I was relatively green with regards to pelagic ID. The birds that I did ID were largely photographed and I still trust my ID's. At this point, though, I've got a LOT more pelagic experience and looking back at those lists, it hurts a bit to think about what some of my un-ID'd / un-photographed birds could have been and how many I could photograph and/or ID if I were to go now. Hopefully I'll re-do this route at some point!
 

HouseCrow

Well-known member
Thanks for that peek in your JP seabirding history. I have looked again at my alleged Wedge....I don't think there is enough detail to ID it to species level
see: Shearwaters and Petrels (Family Procellariidae) I think calling this Wedge-tailed is wishful thinking.

That is an impressive list you have there....You did get some back up of photos at least. Nice. The sloppy photos I have, help me a lot...and at least give some proof of having seen the three albatross species for example. Otherwise I can blame the bad weather and my beginner's skills at using a DSLR.

A trip I made on 4 june 2018 to Miyakejima did not deliver at all seabirdwise: I only recorded Streaked, and some flying fish...which was nice
Also a trip to Hegurajima in 2008 did give me among a few other species Rhinoceros Auklet just outside the harbour of Wajima but...no camera....

(Don't get me started on the strange system ebird is using for records.... What on earth is this for? Inaturalist and observado.org seem to be perfectly workable without strange and mostly artificial clumps of records in checklists....it is a complete mystery to me. And the one reason I am reluctant to use if more often.... )

I was planning to return to Japan in 2023 but...times are uncertain...

cheers,
G
 

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