Saturday, 17 May 2014


Japanese Green Pheasant

Shinano River, Niigata City, Japan

Last week

My plan to photograph all the gull species along the Shinano River was totally missed as summer has arrived and the best time for gulls here is March/April. I wanted to especially have a closer look at the Black-headed Gulls that pass through at that time. I think the numbers vary year to year. I will have to wait until next year to see them again.

Other news was seeing the peregrines mating on a building near the prefectural office back in March.  I didn’t think much of it to be honest as I’ve seen them doing it in before but nothing came of it. I think they practice birth control. 

I had a heavy heart when listening to Mr Honma talk with his friend about the peregrines at the prefectural office. They seem to be expecting great things from the falcons this summer but I heard that both of them found kestrel remains beneath the peregrine eyrie. I was alerted to this as it’s just about kilometre away that I have been watching kestrels raise young every summer since 2005. I have been visiting the cement factory a couple of times a week since early April but found everything was quiet there. Last Saturday afternoon had a small change when I found a single kestrel sitting atop a rusty tower. It stayed for just a minute before flying off up river and out of sight. I thought it may have just been a visit of nostalgia. 

The next morning was fine so I went back. Everything was again very quiet for about 15 minutes until a crow arrived at a nearby factory. The radars must have been switched on out of my view as suddenly a pair a kestrel fighters emerged from the cement factory and bravely warded the menace away. The fighters returned to their base flurrying their wings down and proclaiming that this is their territory. “Ye, be warned!”

Maybe signs of happy days ahead.

Black-headed Gull

Shinano River

End of April, 2014

Peregrine Falcon

Niigata Prefectural Office

Japanese Bumble Bee

Junsai-ike, Niigata

* UPDATED* A new bird for me. I was told, this thrush was called "Akihara".
I looked it up and found it was called, "Brown-headed Thrush" in English.
My pictures look different to my guides, however. >>
*Stu, from Hakodate Birding has identified it as an "Eyebrowed Thrush"
Thanks Stu!

Blue-and-white Flycatcher

Junsia-ike, Niigata

Eastern Crowned Leaf Warbler



Carole M. said...

a delightful series and your header photo is stunning (I've probably said it before ...)

Choy Wai Mun said...

Yup, happy days are certainly on their way to you. Congrats on your new thrush. I totally agree with you - sometimes illustration on guides are very different from the actual birds in the field.

Carole M. said...

I might be wrong, but did I see your name on my Pizzey/Knight birding app today for Paradise Riflebird?

Russell Jenkins said...

Yes, Carole! Thanks for noticing! I have some photos in the app. It's a very nice app too, don't you think?

Stuart Price said...'s an Eye Browed Thrush actually!

John Holmes said...

That Green Pheasant looks great...

Phil Slade said...

I suppose we forget that peregrines can take other raptors too? Such a shame but let's hope the right balance remains. Nice find with the Eye browed Thrush. They rarely find their way to the UK