We arrived at Notsuke Hanto (Notsuke Peninsula) around 2:30PM and met up with Yann at the Nature Center at the tip of the peninsula. He was looking through his telescope then telling me to come and have a look. To my surprise, my first lifer was much easier than I thought, a pair of Spectacled Guillemot floating out in the sea. There were also lots of Pelagic Cormorants, Black Scaups as well as the eagles! We even found a place where they gathered in good number. Probably there was a dead animal in that area. Too bad they were all too far away and the weather was too damn cold. We later decided to drive back from the Nature Center and look for birds along the way out. Interestingly, there was a large flock of Sika Deer feeding in the open frozen inland sea. It was a strange scene to me as it gave a feeling of something like a Tundra safari.
|A quite obliging male Asian Rosy Finch|
|It was feeding on some kind of flower seeds.|
|Didn't know what this Red Fox was doing out on the ice.|
|A non-breeding male Pine Bunting!|
|Another shot of this rarity|
We stopped at a roadside parking lot to look for some sea ducks. Yann saw a group of Long-tailed Ducks earlier before we arrived but unfortunately they seemed to have disappeared. I had a nice look at a male White-winged Scoter though, a bird I've only seen once in Beppu and that was just an immature male. I later flushed 2 finches near the parking lot. I saw that one was a male Asian Rosy Finch, so I didn't give much attention to them both. After a while, I started to feel weird about one of the finches. I noticed that it had quite an unusually long tail, so I snapped some photos of it then zoomed in to see what it was. To my surprise, it looked like a male Pine Bunting, a rarity which I've never thought I'd be able to see. I wasn't quite sure since it was far away so I asked Yann to use his telescope to see if it's really a Pine Bunting and it really was! We later struggled to get closer to it and could at least get some record shots before the snow storm began to hit us and we just had to escape and headed further to Rausu.