Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Industrial Kestrels 2016

Eurasian Kestrel
young bird

Shinano River, Niigata City, Japan

May 2016

 I was fortunate to find that the kestrel family again raised 3 young. It seemed to me they had left the nest early....late May. Usually I think it's been mid-June. I've been watching them at the same cement factory since 2005.  This time things looked a bit tougher. The adult bird (pictured below) seems to have lost its right eye. It still managed to fly off and return about 20 minutes later with prey.

The biggest concern to me this year was that all three young birds were spending most of their time on the ground. I've seen an old man alongside the river there feeding cats in the early evenings. 

I first found the kestrels on a Friday evening in late May, then checked them again on the Saturday and Sunday. Each day they were mostly on the ground searching for beetles in the grass. They looked cute but very vulnerable. One bird in particular wasn't distracted by the arrival of a parent bird with food. The other two flew up after the free feed but the one lone bird was playing with a large beetle on the ground.

I was busy for the rest of the week and didn't return until the following weekend. At that time there wasn't and hasn't been any more signs of the family. There were only cats. I can only hope the family moved on to a safer place.

Adult with injured eye.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Goshawks 2016

Northern Goshawks

Niigata, Japan

June 19, 2016

Mr Honma and I went for a quick look at the goshawk nest this morning. I have been impatiently wanting to check it out but we have been waiting for the chicks to leave the nest.   We were a bit early with two just out of the nest and one still in the nest. I only spent about four minutes to capture the female and chick in the nest. The mum obviously didn't like attention so we left them alone to spend some time getting portraits of a single fledgling about 50 metres away. 

These pics are heavily cropped from the D800.

I also found the Kestrels along the Shinano River with 3 fledglings a couple of weeks ago. I got so-so pics but will post a brief story about them later.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Swifts and Terns

White-winged Tern

Sakata, Niigata, Japan

June 4, 2016

Had a scarce bird outing on Saturday and Sunday and found some scarce birds to match. I think these were White-winged Terns. At first I thought they were Black Terns but I think the contrasts are more likely to be White-wings. Both are scarce in Japan.

I also had some swifts that came overhead for a couple of minutes. It was quite gusty and challenging for the D7100 and AF-S 80-400mm to keep up. I was so frustrated with the buffer of the camera. Every time a bird was coming towards me I'd start firing when in range but the camera would freeze after 3 shots. I really need to convince my wife that I need a D500. On Sunday I went back with the D800 and found it was much better but I didn't get close enough for any decent shots.

There were two pods of terns on both days. The more common-usual, Little Terns and White-winged terns took turns in their groups to pass over the lake. The rarer bird seemed shyer and rarely came over close. 

Little Tern

Pacific Swift

Barn Swallow