Kasumigaura: November 29, 1998

On Sunday November 29, we (Ikenaga-san, Desmond Allen, Fer-Jan de Vries) visited the south coast of Kasumigaura from dawn to noon.


The banding site of Nagata-san on the southbank of Kasumigaura near mouth of the Semei-river betwen Ami and Miho. At dawn it was rather cold, but during the day the sun made it pleasant.
The mistnets in combination with the early morning revealed more species than I usually observe while biking in the afternoon: Dusky thrush, Bush warbler, Japanese marsh warbler, Fan-tailed warbler, Siberian meadow bunting, Black-faced bunting, Reed Bunting, Oriental greenfinch, Long tailed rosefinch, Tree sparrow. After we left the crew of Nagata-san caught a Wryneck.

The male kestrel of the week before was still around. There were also three Lapwings; Black-headed Gull, Mew Gull and Herring Gull could be seen above the lake..


The usual number of about 60 Bean goose (A.f. middendorffii) was present. They had choosen this time a more barren field than last time when they were hard to observe between the rice plants. Two female Hen-harriers were chasing the smaller birds, like Dusky thrushes.


The mudflats of Amada supported a flock of Dunlins, a Lapwing, two Rednecked Stints, an immature Black-necked Stilt and three Long-billed Dowitchers. Here also two female Hen-harriers and one female Eastern Marsh Harrier.


Four Eastern Marsh Harrier and two Tobies.

Comment on the Long-billed Dowitchers

Bill shape (long as a snip bill, thick, a bit drooping at the end) and feeding behavior (belly-deep wading in the water, constantly quietly probing with the bill in the water with an up and down movement of the head) revealed without doubt Dowitchers.
The overall grey color indicated winter plumage.
  • not Asian Dowitcher
    When flying all three showed a clear white patch at the back (between the wings, above the rump) This mark and the relative small size exclude the Asian Dowitcher.
  • not Short-billed Dowitcher
    This is harder. Short-bills are supposedly rare in Japan. The three birds were rather uniform dark grey. The breast seemed uniform grey, a bit lighter than the back. No speckled or mottled breast was visible. And the tail appeared rather dark when it was flying. The birds had a clear light supercilium. But not a dark crown. I have no experience with the Short-billed Dowitcher, however, and we saw the birds at a distance of 60 meter.
  • Long-billed Dowitcher
    Long-billed Dowitcher seems then the most likely conclusion, shared by Ikenaga-san and Fukuda-san. The latter had discovered the birds two weeks ago at this site.
    Back to previous page Last modified: Novemeber 29, 1998. Fer-Jan de Vries, ferjan@etl.go.jp