Welcome to Birdquest
Monday 20th May - Monday 10th June 2013
This tour is a gem, a truly wonderful island-hopping birding extravaganza around the Japanese archipelago. On the busy island of Honshu in wetland areas we saw Japanese Reed Bunting, Marsh Grassbird, Japanese Green Pheasant and many Great Bitterns, to the mountain forests of Karuizawa and Mount Fuji where we found Latham’s Snipe, Japanese Green Woodpecker, Japanese Wagtail, Japanese Grosbeak, Japanese Yellow Bunting, Japanese Accentor, Brown and Japanese Thrushes, a stunning pair of Siberian Thrushes, Chestnut-cheeked Starling, Japanese Robin, Siberian Blue Robin, Red-flanked Bluetails, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Sakhalin and Japanese Leaf Warblers. On the delightful island of Miyakejima we saw Pleske’s Warbler, Ijima’s Leaf Warbler, Izu Thrush and Izu Tit, plus more Japanese Robins, Japanese Woodpigeon and Northern Boobook, and from the ferry we saw numerous Bonin Petrels, Black-footed Albatrosses, a Wedge-tailed and countless thousands of Streaked Shearwaters. In balmy tropical temperatures we explored Ishigakijima where we found Ryukyu Green Pigeon, Ryukyu Serpent Eagles, Ryukyu Flycatcher, Ryukyu Scops Owl, Ryukyu Minivets and Ishigaki Tit, plus Ruddy Kingfisher, Black-faced Spoonbill and Malayan Night Heron. On Okinawa we found as many as 18 Okinawa Rails before breakfast one morning, Pryer’s Woodpeckers, Okinawa Robin, the pryeri race of Japanese Scops Owl and some fine Black-naped and Roseate Terns. On Amami-oshima we enjoyed a superb Amami Woodcock, saw Lidth’s Jay, Amami Woodpeckers, Amami Robins, and heard the Amami Thrush. We had an excellent post-tour extension to Hokkaido that apart from enjoying glorious weather, produced a great session with Blakiston’s Fish Owl, plus Lanceolated, Middendorff’s and Gray’s Warblers, Grey Bunting, Spectacled Guillemot and Rhinoceros Auklets, Hazel Grouse, Red-crowned Cranes, an abundance of Siberian Rubythroats, Long-tailed Rosefinch, and many displaying Latham’s Snipe. We recorded 207 species in all, including just four heard only, of which 42 were recorded only on the extension to Hokkaido. Those yet to visit the country may wonder why food gets mentioned so much here, but we had some wonderful feasts of excellent Japanese food, prompting many of us to bring cameras to dinner!