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JAPAN

Friday 20th May - Friday 10th June 2011

Pete Morris

Okinawa Rail - our bird of the trip (Pete Morris)

Okinawa Rail - our bird of the trip (Pete Morris)

This was our sixth summer tour to Japan in recent years, a tour that focuses primarily on the breeding specialities and endemics of this remarkable country. For the third summer tour in succession we also included a visit to the lovely northern island of Hokkaido. Our overall total number of species recorded was 234, a respectable total, and this included 53 species only recorded on the extension. These included a fabulous selection of eastern rarities. With numerous hops (both by boat and plane) between islands (we spent our time birding on seven different islands!), we achieved our objectives of finding the specialities admirably! Highlights during the first part of the tour included such mouth-watering species as Mottled Petrel, Malayan Night Heron, Okinawa Rail, Copper Pheasant, Amami Woodcock, delightful Roseate Terns, Okinawa Woodpecker, Ural Owl, Ryukyu Scops Owl, Ruddy Kingfisher, Fairy Pitta, Siberian, Amami, Japanese and Izu Island Thrushes, Okinawa, Amami, Japanese and Siberian Blue Robins, Ijima’s, Japanese, Kamchatka and Sakhalin Leaf-Warblers, Japanese Swamp and Styan’s Grasshopper Warblers, Lidth’s Jay, and Japanese Yellow and Japanese Reed Buntings – to name but a few! On Hokkaido, we marvelled at the enormous Blakiston’s Fish Owls and were delighted to see breeding species such as Falcated Duck, elegant Japanese Cranes, Hazel Grouse, Spectacled Guillemot, Black Woodpecker, Siberian Rubythroat, Lanceolated, Middendorff’s and Gray’s Grasshopper Warblers, a fine pair of Pine Grosbeaks and Grey Bunting. We were also thrilled to find a Brown Bear and Raccoon Dogs during our forest wanderings. And to cap it off, we sampled exquisite and impeccably presented Japanese food and stayed in some wonderful and homely accommodations throughout the archipelago.

A gallery of images from this tour is available by clicking the URL below (or by cutting the URL and pasting it into your browser).

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Amami Woodcock - another must-see bird on the tour (Pete Morris)

Amami Woodcock - another must-see bird on the tour (Pete Morris)