Saturday, 25 February 2012


I got information about an Eastern Buzzard (formerly considered as subspecies japonicus of Common Buzzard) at Bungo-Toyooka (豊後豊岡) from Furuso-san earlier in January. So on January 24th, I visited the place where the buzzard was frequently seen, but failed to find any raptor. I later decided to walk to the port nearby to look for a Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) instead. I couldn't find it at first, so I walked to the river mouth and found a flock of about 15 Eurasian Wigeons resting on the sea wall along with a noisy Black-eared Kite. As I returned to the port, I could finally spot a small dot floating in the water, my first Black-necked Grebe of this winter.

Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

Note its brownish primaries

The bird was very wary at first and would stay only in the middle of the port. I waited for more than an hour for it come closer and it finally did. Even though the sun was a bit behind the bird, I was quite satisfied with the result. I'm not sure if it's a first winter bird or an adult bird in a very worn plumage, since it has lots of brownish feathers on its upperparts as well as flight feathers.

It mostly stayed in the middle of the port.

But it had to come closer to feed in the shallow area.

Beginning to dive

Other birds found around the port included a few female Red-breasted Mergansers, quite many Great Cormorants, an Osprey, a juvenile Peregrine Falcon and a lot of usual gulls including Black-headed, Black-tailed, Vega and taimyrensis. The gulls were staying close to the fishermen waiting for food. The juvenile Peregrine Falcon was a surprise since I didn't expect to see it around here. It appeared above my head so suddenly that I couldn't manage to get a decent shot of it.

Gulls waiting for food to be thrown from a fisherman

An immature Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo hanedae)

Black-eared Kite (Milvus lineatus)

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus japonensis)

On my way back to my dorm, I found a flock of 10 Great Crested Grebes floating in the sea near Spa Beach. This year, these grebes were especially numerous during late January to mid February. The number is gradually decreasing now. Hopefully some of them will still stick around in small ports until they completely finish their moult.

Great Crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus)

1 comment:

  1. Interesting variety of winter birds.... at least you've got some sunshine !