Saturday, 2 January 2016

November in Japan (No.4): Nemuro to Rausu

Quite a long drive today, but plenty to see en-route.  In fact, just on the outskirts of Nemuro we had to make another sudden eagle stop - this time two adult Steller's sea eagles overhead:
Steller's sea eagle

Driving on past the impressively wild and extensive wetlands of Lake Furen we saw more large flocks of whooper swans and in addition, several hundred black brant geese.

The coastline was much more low lying with sandy beaches and several small fishing harbours.  Huge numbers of Greater Scaup were gathered in densely-packed flocks (many thousands), with smaller groups of black scoter.  Glaucous gulls were more common here, with a few glaucous-winged gulls but with the slaty-backed gull being by far the most numerous (as elsewhere).
glaucous gulls and a glaucous-winged gull (left)
left to right: glaucous-winged, glaucous and slaty-backed gulls
 A drive out the the Notsuke Peninsula was well worthwhile, with excellent close-up views of Steller's sea eagle and a gorgeous pair of Asian rosy-finches.

eye to eye with a Steller's sea eagle!
Asian rosy finch (male)
Asian rosy-finch (male)
 sika deer stag
Another stop at a small harbour gave more good views of black scoter, various gulls and a particularly inquisitive black-eared kite.

slaty-backed and glaucous (left) gulls
black scoter
black-eared kite
We arrived at Rausu just before dusk and settled into the guest house where we anticipated seeing Blakiston's fish owl later in the evening.  More on that next time.

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