Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Last Lifer

Just a few days before I left Japan, I visited a place called Wajiro (和白), a famous birding site in the eastern part of Hakata Bay in Fukuoka. It's my second time visiting the place. As I arrived early in the morning, I felt a bit disappointed as the tide was quite high and there were not many birds in the bay. This place is famous for being one of the best places in Japan to see the Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus). I didn't expect to see it since the the tide was high and birds were really quiet. But as I was scanning through a flock of sleeping ducks far on the west side of the bay, I was amazed to see 2 oystercatchers resting along with 2 Far Eastern Curlews, 1 Eurasian Curlew and a Bar-tailed Godwit. It's my last Japanese lifer before I left the country.

My first view of the Eurasian Oystercatchers

Jumping on one leg!

They didn't seem to get along well.

I couldn't get much closer to the birds since the noisy Eurasian Curlew kept calling its alarm call and the oysterchatchers would wake up and become more aware of me when the curlew called. The oystercatcher's call is a loud, high pitched, single-note call. They constantly gave the call when they noticed me trying to approach them. As the time went by, the tide began to slowly go down revealing the mud flat where shorebirds come to feed. The oystercatchers became a bit more active and one of them often started a fight by chasing the other bird around.

With 2 Far Eastern Curlews and a Bar-tailed Godwit


Showing upperwing pattern

I stopped approaching them once I got the above shots and decided to wait for the birds to fully awake and start feeding. However, all the birds were flushed by an old guy who came jogging along the shore. The oystercatchers flew out and disappeared in the distance. I was really upset but gave it a try waiting for them to come back. In the end, no bird came back to the same area and I just had to leave the place.

A view of mudflat at Wajiro

Far Eastern Curlew showing its underwing coverts

Bar-tailed Godwit moulting into breeding plumage

A relatively short-billed Eurasian Curlew

Showing its distinct white rump

I just love the information boards along the footpath.

A quick sketch of the oystercatcher I made while watching them.


  1. Congratulations on your "lifer" - oystercatchers are very rare here in Hong Kong !

  2. Good lifer for you. Hard to believe as Oystercatchers seem so global.

  3. That's a nice sayonara present isn't it? Oystercatchers are cool anywhere! I haven't seen any in Japan.

  4. อยากเห็นตอนมันจับหอยมากกิน ว่ามันจะสมชื่อไหม คงแปลกพิลึก มีแต่ปาก จะเปิดยังไง