Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Oriental Turtle Dove

If you saw a turtle dove in the UK now, it would be a blessing since the British population has plummeted since the 70s. 

The Oriental turtle dove (Kijibatoキジバト) in Japan, on the other hand, are one of the most common birds. Some visit our garden every day and a pair even succeeded in breeding early spring! 

We found a nest on 15Feb2022

found this fellow on 31Feb2022

on 07March2022 

0n 11March2022, we found it fledged! It was on the ground near the nest during the day and went back up the tree where the nest was during the night. 

We spotted it in the morning of 16March2022 for the last time on the ground but it didn't come back to the same tree at night.

A few days later, we saw a fledgling drinking water in the garden, which could have been this one. Who knows?

Now in April, a pair seems to like the edge of our "NO MOW Zone" when the sun is out. Totally relaxed!

Sunday, 3 April 2022

Hokkaido V

 We had a storm over night and the sea was raging the next morning

and we found this poor fellow in a sheltered fishing harbour.

This Spectacled guillemot (Keimafuriケイマフリ) looked distressed and weak.  

Hope it will get some rest in the quiet harbour and go back out in the open water where it belongs soon.

Actually, we were not sure what bird it was because it was our first encounter with one! I asked my ornithologist friend (or my mentor, rather) to identify and he told me it probably was a young one which had been born last year as the adults should be in breeding plumage by now. 

We were excited on the spot and feel more excited after learning these facts.


a small group of Black scoters (Kurogamoクロガモ) was also sheltering in the harbour.


Slaty-backed gulls (Oosegurokamomeオオセグロカモメ) & Japanese cormorant (Umiuウミウ)

The rocky cliff facing the harbour is a Slaty-backed gulls' breeding site, we were told.

On another rock was full of Pelagic cormorants (Himeuヒメウ)

Are you sure you're going to lay eggs there?!

Sea otters were in their elements.

(To be honest, they looked like a floating log😁)

The Sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is a different species from the otters found on the coasts of the UK but live on the coasts of the northern Pacific. I've only seen ones kept in zoos so it was very exciting to see ones in wild!

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Hokkaido IV

The ground of the woodland was still covered with thick snow but we had chance to see woodland birds near feeders.

Jay (akesuカケス) - a subspecies found in Hokkaido has a very distinct cinnamon coloured head.


We had never seen so many Jays in one place! 

Nuthatch (Gojukaraゴジュウカラ) - a very white underparts compared with the ones we are familiar in Britain.

Great spotted woodpecker (Akageraアカゲラ)

Marsh tit (Hashibutogaraハシブトガラ)


Dusky thrush (Tsugumiツグミ) & Jay

 Japanese tit (Shijukaraシジュウカラ)

Long-tailed tit (Shimaenagaシマエナガ) - completely white face

Brown-eared bulbul (Hiyodoriヒヨドリ)

Carrion crow (Hashibosogarasuハシボソガラス)

Wren (Misosazaiミソサザイ)

All of a sudden, the little ones started to be agitated with alarm calls, and this is why: a beautiful Red fox (Kitsuneキツネ)

 The woodland looks bleak from outside but it surely is getting ready for spring!

Friday, 1 April 2022

Hokkaido III

Lake Furen and Shunkunitai sandbar

A board walk on the sandbar called Shunkunitai between Lake Furen and the Okhotsk Sea

Gulls, ducks, swans, cranes and eagles are thriving among the drift ice.

Black scoters (Kurogamoクロガモ) & Slaty-backed gulls (Oosegurokamomeオオセグロカモメ)(?)

a family of Whooper swans (Oohakuchoオオハクチョウ)
Steller's sea eagle (Oowashiオオワシ)
Red-crowned crane (Tanchoタンチョウ)
White-tailed eagle (Ojirowashiオジロワシ)

a male Red-breasted merganser (Umiaisaウミアイサ)(?)

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Hokkaido II

One of the main target birds was the Blakiston's fish owl (Shimafukuroシマフクロウ). This owl is the biggest owl species and endangered due to habitat loss, only found in the northeastern part of Asia - northeastern China, southeastern Siberia, Sakhalin and part of Hokkaido. In Hokkaido, the Wild Bird Society of Japan has been working hard to do conservation work and the number has been increasing, which is great news. It is controversial in a way because the information is not open to the public and there is no official place to visit and see them. If you want to see one, you would have to wander in the wild by yourself or visit one of the two non-official places - the one is a privately run Shiretoko observatory, the other an onsen ryokan (a traditional inn with a hot spring) in Yoroushi. We chose to stay in Yoroushi and had pleasure meeting one!

off he went with a fish in his beak, disappeared in the total darkness. 

It was ENORMOUS! The feathers were so beautiful. 

This inn and its hot spring complex is located alongside a river and has been feeding the owl pair for a long time. I couldn't find much information about the owls in the inn, which I thought was a shame. I know most of the guests were there to relax and enjoy their onsen experience, not knowing anything about the owl but if both the inn and the guests made a little bit of effort, there could be more chance for the owl to survive.

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Hokkaido I

After several stressful weeks, unable to decide whether we could travel to and back from Britain, we finally had to abandon the plan and decided to go on a short trip to the Eastern parts of Hokkaido instead.



Our first encounter with Red-crowned cranes (Tanchoタンチョウ)

three White-tailed eagles (Ojirowashiオジロワシ) & a Steller's sea eagle (Oowashiオオワシ)

Sika deer (Ezoshikaエゾシカ)

Red fox (Ezokitsuneエゾキツネ)


We came across some amazing wildlife there and would like to share some of it with you:)

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Feeding Frenzy

The unexpected heavy snowfall was a bit of blessing for me because if I put out little something for the birds in the garden, say, even an apple, it'd definitely attract common but lovely garden birds as feeding birds in gardens is not a popular practice in Japan. It is not just an apple from me though, of course!

the Guard of the Apple😄💂 - Brown-eared bulbul (Hiyodoriヒヨドリ)

what a flexible neck!

Dusky Thrush (Tsugumiツグミ)

I had thought a Dusky thrush would choose an apple but found out they prefer raisins - this one ignored a piece of apple on the ground and went for the raisins.

Don't worry, I cracked ice in the basin so that birds can have access to the water👍


Japanese white-eye (Mejiroメジロ)

This is actually a satsuma-shaped feeder 😁 a birthday present from my husband🎁

It has sometimes strawberry jam and at other times chopped-up apple cores in it.

Japanese tit (Shijukaraシジュウカラ) 

They are the same as the Great tit in Britain, who'd eat sunflower seeds, peanuts, dried mealworms and suet. Suet is almost impossible to get hold of in Japan, so, I make my own fat balls from beef fat, which is handed out free in supermarkets in Japan.

Oriental turtle dove (Kijitaboキジバト)

It was not the second day of Christmas🎄 but a pair often visit our garden for seeds.

Grey (White-cheeked) starling (Mukudoriムクドリ)

A starling came to our apples for a couple of days in a row before Christmas but we haven't seen any since then.

I'm hoping the snow will melt quickly so that birds and other wildlife can have a better chance to survive the winter.