Sunday, January 9, 2011

31 December

This really long winter break makes me feel almost too lazy to do anything, even updating this blog! Anyway, the school will finally start again this coming Tuesday and I just have to clear up all the homeworks I have. These photos were all taken on the super fine December 31st. I got up earlier than usual and found that the Spa Beach outside was totally white with snow. The sun rose as I walked down to take photos of the beach. It was such a great moment, a perfect sunrise from a snow-covered beach, especially on the year end. I later caught a train to Kaku in hope of getting some better shots of the Baikal Teals.

You can still see the blizzard roaming behind my dorm!
I arrived at Kaku as another blizzard started to hit the area. A lone Northern Goshawk and another Peregrine Falcon were seen flying through the snow storm as I walked down to the river. However, the wind was so strong that the blizzard was blown away very fast. What's left was a nice view of snow-covered fields against blue sky. There was a big flock of about 50+ Eurasian Skylarks in the field. A female Common Kestrel also came patrolling by and stopped briefly on the electric pole. There were fewer ducks in the river than the last time. Much worse, there was not a single Baikal Teal in the flock. The number of Eurasian Wigeon increased a lot, and there was even 1 male Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), a new species to my local list, joining in the flock, though.
Mt. Takasaki (高崎山) is seen in the background

A flock of Grey-capped Greenfinches (Carduelis sinica) on the river bank

Long-billed Plovers (Charadrius placidus)
There was a flock of 7 Long-billed Plovers on the rocky bank of the river. I've only seen 1 of this bird in the lower stream last January, and it's quite a rare bird in Thailand, so I shifted my focus from finding a Baikal Teal to taking photos of these plovers. Unfortunately, they were all too shy and skittish and I couldn't get close to them. One or two birds seemed to be juveniles, while others were all in adult plumage. I can only hope that they will breed around this area, so I can come back to photograph them again in spring, which I think should be a bit easier.

Asian House-Martins (Delichon dasypus)

There was a big flock of more than 50 Asian House-Martins (Delichon dasypus) swifting over the river. A small number of House Swift (Apus affinis) also joined the flock. At first, I didn't even want to try photographing these fast martins, but since there was no other bird to photograph, I just had to try taking photos of them. The 4 photos above were the few acceptable shots out of the total several hundreds I took.

Japanese Wagtail (Motacilla grandis)

Rustic Bunting (Emberiza rustica)

Because there were so few birds to photograph, I decided to walk all the way to Oita, which was almost a wrong decision. I walked almost 10 kilometres from Kaku through the crazy wind and occasional light blizzard. At least, I came across a big flock of Rustic Buntings (Emberiza rustica) somewhere near Nanase-kawa. I've only seen this species once in Sekino-E in December 2009. I even found a few more smaller flocks along the way to Oita. They all seemed to feed on the ground, and have the habit of flying up to a dead tree when disturbed, which was good because I could get much closer to them than when they're on the ground. I finally reached Oita around 6pm and caught a train back to Beppu with my exhausted feet. I wished I could just go back and sleep at home, but my friends were all insisting me to join the count down party, so I went there like a zombie and that's how I ended my 2010.


Stu said...

Nice shots of some of the winter staples (but I didn't know the Martins were around in winter).

Your Japanese Wagtail pics are great.

Happy New Year, hopefully we can meet up if you come up to Hokkaido this spring?

Dominic Gendron said...

Great serie, the Wagtail shot are my favorites. COngrats also on the flight shot's of House-Martins ;)

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Thanks a lot Stu and Dominic!
The martins seem to be wintering here in the south as well Stu ;-)