Welcome to Birdquest
Monday 18th May - Monday 8th June 2015
This year’s tour of Japan was once again a real delight, a wonderful island-hopping extravaganza around the Japanese archipelago. In the mountain forests on the island of Honshu we saw Japanese Green Woodpecker, Ural Owl, Rufous Hawk Cuckoos, Japanese Grosbeak, Japanese Yellow Bunting, Chestnut-eared Bunting, Japanese Accentor, Brown-headed and Japanese Thrushes, Siberian Blue Robin, Narcissus and Blue-and-white Flycatchers, Eastern Crowned, Sakhalin Leaf and Japanese Leaf Warblers, while in lowlands and wet areas we saw Japanese Reed Bunting, Marsh Grassbird, Japanese Green Pheasant, Japanese Wagtail, Chestnut-cheeked Starlings, and Yellow and Eurasian Bitterns. On the delightful island of Miyakejima we saw Styan’s Grasshopper Warblers, Ijima’s Leaf Warbler, Izu Thrush and Owston’s Varied Tit, plus Japanese Robins, Japanese Woodpigeon and Northern Boobook, Tristram’s Storm Petrel and countless numbers of Streaked Shearwaters from the ferry. Down in the exotic Ryukyu Islands we found a suite of island endemics and other great birds, starting on Ishigakijima where we saw Ryukyu Serpent Eagles, Ryukyu Green Pigeon, Ryukyu Flycatcher, Ryukyu Scops Owls in the daytime, Ryukyu Minivets and Ishigaki Tit, Ruddy Kingfisher and Malayan Night Heron. On Okinawa we found many Okinawa Rails scuttling along the roadsides, Okinawa Woodpeckers with an active nest, lovely Okinawa Robins, Japanese Scops Owl, some fine Black-naped and Roseate Terns, and Black-faced Spoonbill. On Amami Island we enjoyed the superb Amami Woodcock, Lidth’s Jay, Amami Woodpeckers, Amami Robins, and Amami Thrush. We had an wonderful tour extension to Hokkaido where we saw many wonderful birds including Red-crowned Cranes, Hazel Grouse, Spectacled Guillemot, Rhinoceros Auklets, displaying Latham’s Snipe, and had a great session with Blakiston’s Fish Owls. Passerines were notable and included Lanceolated Warbler, Middendorff’s and Sakhalin Grasshopper Warblers, Grey Bunting, Siberian Thrush, Siberian Rubythroats, Japanese Robin and Long-tailed Rosefinches. In addition to the birds we saw some exciting Killer Whales, Dall’s Porpoise, Short-finned Pilot Whale, Japanese Serow, Raccoon Dogs, Siberian Flying Squirrel, Siberian Chipmunk and Amami Black Rabbit. The food, as always, was exceptional!