Rice Fieilds Coast Lake And Reservoir On Our Japanese Adventure 29 January

A beautiful drake Falcated Duck in the pouring rain, oh for some sun.

After a good breakfast at our town hotel, Japanese Travel Lodge equivilant, clean, good shower but very small rooms, we headed out to find birds. A short drive took us to an area of rice fields where Charley had previously seen flocks of geese, not one on this occasion. We did find a smart drake America Wigeon on a river channel, always nice to find a rarity.

With pretty heavy rain falling, but no wind thankfully, we moved on to a small lake that was packed with ducks. Super close views of beautiful Falcated Duck amongst more familiar fare of Eurasian Wigeon, Teal, Northern Shoveler and some Eastern Spot-billed Ducks. Frustrating that it was raining so hard as our photos did not do justice to the beautiful plumages of the Falcated Ducks.

Eastern Blue Rock Thrush on the beach - a real stunner - and very different from ones in Spain.

These concrete sea-defences were a common site along the coast, and good for birds.

A short drive took us to the coast, our first birding by the seaside, and thankfully the rain stopped but it remained gloomy. The sea was choppy so made picking out birds tricky but we kept at it and realised that a lot of Black-throated Divers were off-shore, most we have seen anywhere, hundreds! A few Red-throated Divers too and Red-necked Grebes were also feeding off the rocky coast here. We also enjoyed three species of Cormorant, the familiar Great and then two new species Pelagic and Japanese Cormorants, the latter also known as Temminck’s Cormorant. Great selection of gulls on the rocky islands just off the coast too, Black-tailed Gulls and Slaty-backed Gulls were great to watch! On the beach we had super views of the Eastern race of Blue Rock Thrush very different from the ones we see in Europe.

This was a wonderful place to enjoy a lot of birds and we had some sunshine.

We then moved back inland to a wonderful lake, sheltered by trees with a great visitor centre overlooking the area. More importantly it was teaming with birds! Where to look first? Bewick’s Swans were perhaps the most obvious species but three Great White Egrets were fishing in the shallows here close to the centre and alongside them Tundra Bean Geese. Two Goshawk were in the trees on the left bank of the lake, like us watching the mass of birds, though with different intent. A Bull-headed Shrike posed in the weak sunshine in the reeds down to our right where more Tundra Bean Geese were loafing. On the far side of the lake at least forty Baikal Teal were on the calm water and on the bank, super views with the scopes but too far for photos of these beautiful birds.

Tundra Bean Goose on the lake in front of the visitor centre, through the glass window.

The staff at the centre gave us information on the location of a flock of European White-fronted Geese so we pop over and enjoyed great views of them feeding in stuble fields and amongst them at least three Common Snipe.

We enjoyed a late lunch at a diner, lots of choice here, and then set off birding again. A large reservoir was bleak and wind-swept but did provide a few birds, an Osprey was on a post and a gang of Black-necked Grebes were diving on the far side of the water. Good numbers of wildfowl were resting in a sheltered corner of the reservoir including some handsome Falcated Duck. We also saw our first Oriental Rooks of the trip in roadside fields.

In the evening we ate in a Japanese Pub, bit grim and smoky, but it was close to our hotel. We went to bed excited as the following day we were flying north to Hokkaido and our first chance of seeing our most wanted bird, Steller’s Sea Eagle.

Check back soon for more blogs about our birding adventures.

Black Grouse May 2016 6

March is a wonderful time to see the spectacle of Black Grouse in full display!

We have two spaces, due to a cancellation, on our five day Best of North Wales tour 21 -25 March 2020 based at a lovely hotel in Trefriw, Conwy Valley. Lots of birds, superb scenery, great food and lots of fun await you. Come and join us!

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips, please see our tours pages and if you have any questions at all please fire away here….


We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in beautiful places with you soon!

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