After we spent some time photographing the cranes at Akan International Crane Center, we noticed that Sika Deer began to emerge from the forest edge, from small group of 3-4 until there were approximately 20 of them on the feeding ground. It was great just watching them walking around altogether among the elegant Red-crowned Cranes and Whooper Swans while White-tailed Eagles regularly flew over. Hokkaido is the only place where you can experience this impressive wildlife moment this close.
|Sika stag walking among the Red-crowned Cranes|
|The Japanese name "Tancho" basically means "red cap".|
|Honestly, this bird is truly the definition of grace.|
|Adult and juvenile Whooper Swan coming to the feeding area|
The name "Sika" actually comes from the Japanese word "shika" which basically means deer. It is also sometimes called the Japanese Deer as the scientific name Cervus nippon suggests. The subspecies found in Japan actually look much different from the ones found in mainland China and Russia by completely losing the spots upon reach maturity. Subspecies found in the mainland still retain their spots even when they become full adults.
We stayed at the Crane Center until 5:30PM then said goodbye to the cranes, swans and deer and returned to our hotel in Kushiro. On our way back, we saw a single Red Fox crossing the street. It was my first sighting of this mammal which we later saw several afterwards. We stayed in Kushiro for just one night then moved on to Kussharo Lake.
|Love watching them flying in flock|
|The white patches are so distinct that they look kind of funny.|
|Without the feeding area, this bird might not survive.|