New Years Birding, Januari 2, 1998

Around Christmas 97 Ikenaga-san invited the Kantorians to join him on his traditional New Years Birding in Ibaraki-ken on Januari 2, 1998.

It turned out to be a very succesful and enjoyable day. 8 people participated: Neil Fergusson, Stefan Gleissberg, Hiroshi Ikenaga, Katayama Shusaku, Dirk Kunz, Numaguchi Kenji, Tanaka Shuuji. and Fer-Jan de Vries.

We began with the local swan and falcated teal pond Ottonuma, before we drove to the two swan ponds north west of Mito. Next we visited again the rocky coast line east of Mito from Nakaminato to Oarai and we finished in a relaxed way along the banks of the big lake Hinuma.

The weather was varied. It was dry and cloudless to start with. Not cold, probably around 8 degrees, however along the coast there turned out be to a strong and chilling East wind which brought lots of high waves. Near the lake it was less cold but still a bit windy.

An unexpected pleasure was the small barbecue organised by Ikenaga-san. The sashimi, baked King-salmon (apparently imported from Alaska or Canada) and the boiled shellfish were delicious!



  1. Little grebe Podiceps ruficollis [Kaitsuburi]
  2. Whistling (Bewick) Swan Cygnus columbianus jankowskii [Ko-hakuchou] 23 ex (Some spectacular 'fighting' between old and 9 newly arrived birds...)
  3. Mallard Anas Platyrhynchos [Ma-gamo]
  4. Spot-billed duck Anas poecilorhyncha [Karu-gamo]
  5. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata [Hashibiro-gamo]
  6. Falcated Teal Anas falcata [Yoshi-gamo] 45
  7. Gadwall Anas strepera [Okayoshi-gamo]
  8. Northern Pintail Anas acuta [Onaga-gamo]
  9. Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope [Hidori-gamo]
  10. Smew Mergus albellus [Miko-aisa] 1 female
  11. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis [Kawa-semi] ex 1

Swan pond Kotokunuma

  1. Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus [Ou-hakuchou] Together with Whistling about 60 ex. Mainly Whooper.
  2. Whistling (Bewick) Swan Cygnus columbianus jankowskii [Ko-hakuchou] Together with Whooper about 60 ex.
  3. Mallard Anas Platyrhynchos [Ma-gamo] > 50
  4. Spot-billed duck Anas poecilorhyncha [Karu-gamo]
  5. Baikal Teal Anas formosa [Tomoe-gamo] 1 male, winter plumage has all the colors but is rather pale.
  6. Northern Pintail Anas acuta [Onaga-gamo] > 400 ex
  7. Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope [Hidori-gamo]
  8. Pochard Aythya ferina [Hoshi-hajiro] > 75 ex
  9. Tufted duck Aythya fuligula [Kinkuro-hajiro] > 125 ex
  10. Greater scaup Aythya marila [Suzu-gamo] 1 eclips (!?)
  11. Brown-eared bulbul Hypsipetes amaurotis [Hiyodori]
  12. Tree sparrow Passer montanus [Suzume]

Swan pond Naka town

  1. Little grebe Podiceps ruficollis [Kaitsuburi] 1 ex
  2. Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus [Ou-hakuchou] 100 ex
  3. Whistling (Bewick) Swan Cygnus columbianus jankowskii [Ko-hakuchou] 40 ex
  4. Mallard Anas Platyrhynchos [Ma-gamo]
  5. Spot-billed duck Anas poecilorhyncha [Karu-gamo] 50 ex
  6. Northern Pintail Anas acuta [Onaga-gamo]
  7. Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope [Hidori-gamo] 2 ex
  8. Pochard Aythya ferina [Hoshi-hajiro] 30 ex
  9. Tufted duck Aythya fuligula [Kinkuro-hajiro] 1 ex
  10. Black-crowned night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax [Goi-sagi] About 20: in Naka town.
  11. Little egret Egretta garzetta [Ko-sagi]
  12. Great egret Egretta alba [Dai-sagi]
  13. White wagtail Haku-sekirei [Motacilla alba]


    1. Great Crested grebe Podiceps cristatus [Kanmuri-kaituburi]
    2. Temminck's cormorant Phalacrocorax filamentosus [Umi-u] 5 ex.
    3. Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope [Hidori-gamo] Several on river between Nakaminato and Oarai.
    4. Harlequin duck Histronicus histronicus [Shinori-gamo] Several supposed Harlequin Ducks flying over the high waves
    5. Red-breasted merganser Mergus serrator [Umi-aisa] 1 female, Nakaminato
    6. Slaty-backed gull Larus schitisagus [Ou-seguro-kamome]
    7. Herring gull Larus argentatus [Seguro-kamome]
      Larus (a.) vega In total at least more than 100 ex. I observed 4 ex with pale yellow iris and red eye rings and 1 ex with brownish iris.
      Actually, this is very tricky (and time consuming) to observe, as the iris is rather deeply embedded in the eye which on its turn can be deeply embedded in the eyesocket. The eye may appear dark until the sun reflects properly on the deep iris. One has to wait for the correct position of the head.

      Larus (a.) taimyriensis Heuglin's Gull. 1 definite example with yellowish legs and typical head shape and clear yellow eyes. 2 other candidates near by. Less clear yellow legs, but similar angular head shape.
      Note the rather different ration vega/taimyriensis as compared to a few days ago!

      Then there were three apparent Herring gulls with pale whitisch beaks with black dot on lower mandible, apparent adult plumage. ...??...

    8. Black-tailed gull Larus crassirostris [Umineko] > 100
    9. Glaucous gull Larus hyperboreus [Shirokamome] (imm first year)
    10. Kamchatka gull Larus (canus) kamtchatkensis [Kamome] 2 ex
    11. Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus [Yuri-kamome] > 100 ex
    12. Little egret Egretta garzetta [Ko-sagi] 2 ex on rocks along coast.
    13. Dunlin Caladris alpina [Hama-shigi] > 20
    14. Sanderling Crocethia alba [Miyubi-shigi] > 40 ex
    15. White wagtail Haku-sekirei [Motacilla alba]
    16. Bull-headed shrike Lanius bucephalus [Mozu]
    17. Blue rockthrush Monticola solitarius [Iso-hyodori] 1 female ex in Oarai.


    1. Great Crested grebe Podiceps cristatus [Kanmuri-kaituburi] > 70 ex
    2. Eared grebe Podiceps nigricollis [Hajiro-kaitsuburi] > 10 ex
    3. Little grebe Podiceps ruficollis [Kaitsuburi] > 5 ex
    4. Mallard Anas Platyrhynchos [Ma-gamo] > 400 ex
    5. Spot-billed duck Anas poecilorhyncha [Karu-gamo] > 300 ex
    6. Green-winged Teal Anas crecca crecca [Ko-gamo]
    7. Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope [Hidori-gamo] 2 ex
    8. Tufted duck Aythya fuligula [Kinkuro-hajiro] > 2500 ex
    9. Greater scaup Aythya marila [Suzu-gamo] > 5
    10. Smew Mergus albellus [Miko-aisa] 2 ex
    11. Common merganser Mergus merganser [Kawa-aisa] > 30 (males and females in different groups)
    12. Herring gull Larus argentatus [Seguro-kamome] 3 ex
    13. Kamchatka gull Larus (canus) kamtchatkensis [Kamome] 1 ex
    14. Little egret Egretta garzetta [Ko-sagi] > 30 ex
    15. Great egret Egretta alba [Dai-sagi] 2 ex.
    16. Gray heron Ardea cinerea [Ao-sagi] 3 ex.
    17. Coot Fulica atra [Ou-ban] 1 ex
    18. Black kite Milvus migrans [Tobi] 2 ex
    19. Common buzzard Buteo buteo [Nosuri] 2 ex (Japanese version does not show the variation of the European buzard.)
    20. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis [Kawa-semi] 1 ex.
    21. Skylark Alauda arvensis [Hibari] 4
    22. White wagtail Haku-sekirei [Motacilla alba] several
    23. Daurian redstart Phoenicurus auroreus [Joobitaki] 1 ex. Same spot as few days before.
    24. Black-faced Bunting > 10
    25. Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica [Kashiradaka] at least 5 ex
    26. Black-faced bunting Emberiza spodocephala [Aoji] at least 10 ex.
    27. Gray starling Sturnus cineraceus [Mukudori] 1 ex.
    28. Carrion crow Corvus corone [Hashiboso-garasu] > 5 ex
    29. Jungle crow Corvus macrorhynchos [Hashibuto-garasu] > 40 ex
    30. Carrion Crow > 5
    31. Gray starling 1

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    Last modified: Januari 6, 1998. Fer-Jan de Vries,