Sunday, February 6, 2011

Something New

I've got an idea about taking some wintry landscape shots from the top of Mt. Tsurumi since the last few days. Last Thursday, I decided to take a bus to Beppu Ropeway and got on a cable car up to the mountain top. Unfortunately, the summit was covered with cloud and the snow occasionally fell down to make things worse. So I couldn't take any landscape shot as the vision was very poor. As I was walking back to the cable car station, a flock of dark blackish birds flushed up from the ground. As soon as I recognised them, my heart went thump thump and I said to myself "Asian Rosy Finch!", a bird I've never seen, or even thought I would see, before.

Asian Rosy Finch (Leucosticte arctoa brunneonucha)

There were 11 birds in total. They were all feeding actively in a small lawn behind the cable car station at the top of the mountain. I guessed they were feeding on dry seeds that appeared after the snow has melted. Although they were feeding closely in flock, I noticed that a bird would chase off the other when they came too close, just like in the 2 photos above. I was so excited to photograph them, and was constantly pissed off by the tourists who were walking by and chasing the birds away. They would come back in about 10 or 20 minutes later though. However, they still appeared to be much more approachable than many other kinds of finches around here like the Hawfinch or Grosbeak.

Asian Rosy Finch (Leucosticte arctoa brunneonucha)

I thought there would be no more surprises for the day, but I was simply wrong when a Japanese Accentor (Prunella rubida) literally dashed through the flock of the rosy finches and made them flew away for a while. The accentor perched on the top of a small tree next to the lawn for a few seconds and gave a strange high-pitched call before flying off as I tried to approach. It's a bird that I haven't even hoped to see. I thought it's just way too scarce to be found in Beppu, and again I was wrong. Its brief appearance just made my whole day.
White's Thrush (Zoothera aurea)

Yellow-throated Buntings (Emberiza elegans)
I spent about half an hour checking the park near the lower cable car station before getting on the bus. The sun was shining brightly at this lower altitude. I just wished that it was sunny like this while I photographed the rosy finches. I came across a single White's Thrush (Zoothera aurea) that was feeding behind a small building. Too bad it was just too shy for any decent shot, but that's ok because I've already got loads of photos of this species back in Thailand. There was also a large mixed flock of buntings consisting of the commonest Meadow Bunting along with the Black-faced and Yellow-throated Bunting. I concentrated on taking photos of the latter, but they were all so shy and I couldn't get close to them at all. I still have to work on this one!

9 comments:

Stu said...

What a great day you had! I haven't seen any Asian Rosy Finches this winter yet, they are a nice winter bird for sure...........

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Thanks a lot Stu! I've always thought that the rosy finch is the bird for Hokkaido or any other northern parts of the country, not for a southern island like Kyushu.

Hawkeyes a.k.a Kiah said...

Your hard work really payoff. The shots are beautiful.

Chris said...

Again a fantastic set of pictures... Congrats on the rosy! Nice to see something new time to time ;-) The rest is simply magnificent too! Well done!

martesorex said...

Wow, nice shots of Rosy Finch!

Mark Young said...

Wonderful images.

Peng said...

Great day and shots! By the way, after seeing your White's Thrush photo, any advice on distinguishing it from the Scaly Thrush?

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Thanks a lot everyone!
Siew Peng> I have to confess that I have no idea about how to distinguish the two by their appearance. The guide book says that White's has longer bill but it's still difficult to know what's "longer". Most of the time, I identify them according to the range and period of time. Scaly Thrush is a resident in Chiangmai, and I'm sure I've seen them cos I've seen a family raising their fledgling. It doesn't occur in Japan, so the bird above is the White's...

Peng said...

Haha! That's alright. I'm equally baffled by the guide book too. Since it's winter time now, I have no idea whether the one I saw at Doi Angkhang is White's or Scaly. Oh well, anyone will do I guess... Thanks!