Friday, 3 May 2013

Goodbye Hokkaido

On the morning of March 4, we left Rausu and headed back to Kushiro. The weather was perfect and the sunrise was brilliant. We watched the sun coming up behind Kunashir Island from our room. I spent some time walking around the port taking photos of some gulls since there was no duck due to the high concentration of drift ice.

Sunrise from Rausu Port
We could finally see Kunashir Island on the east.
Some eagles against the morning sun
Large-billed Crow looking prettier under the morning light
First-year Slaty-backed Gull
White-tailed Eagle and Red Fox
With Mt. Rausu in the background
Male Common Mergansers

We had a great time driving along the coast from Rausu to Kiritappu where we spent few hours scanning the sea. The scenery was literally breathtaking. In a small village along the way, we found a White-tailed Eagle and a Red Fox sitting next to each other against the background of Mt. Rausu. It was such a grand moment to end the trip.

This Red Fox was strolling on the roadside at Kiritappu.
But quickly ran away as we rolled down our window.
Not so tame still
Deciding what to do next
And this is what it did!
It later walked further and turned back to watch us.
Brilliant view at Kiritappu
At the tip of the peninsula where we watched a Sea Otter!
Yann scanning for sea birds
Some more scenery shot
We made a brief stopped near Lake Akkeshi,
where I finally got a chance to photograph Black Scoter at close range.
Still, it was extremely difficult to get a good shot.
At least I could get the eye but only when it moved further outward.

At Kiritappu, even thought all the birds stayed extremely far away in the sea we managed to add quite a good number of species into our list including Slavonian Grebe, Least Auklet, Long-tailed Duck, Pigeon Guillemot and we even found a Sea Otter! It was a real surprise for most of us. We said goodbye to Yann here before moving further to Kushiro where we returned the car and took the train back to Sapporo and spent 2 more nights having some non-birding fun before saying goodbye to Hokkaido. Overall it was such a memorable and successful trip for me. Thanks a lot to Yann who helped us with the information and guided to many interesting places. Even though I'm going to leave Japan for sure this year, I'm really looking forward to come back to this lovely island again some day.


  1. Wow the shot with the eagle and the fox is awesome Ayuwat! Incredible sight and picture. Love the set of the black scoter!

  2. Breathtaking pictures, Ayuwat! Great species found and beautifully captured. The fox and eagle and Mt Rausu are signature of Hokkaido's beauty.

  3. Great pics and great memories. Already longing for next winter !