Okhotsk Chapter
of the Wild Bird Society of Japan


Okhotsk Region Bird Sightings

The Sightings section includes unusual sightings (below) and a journey through sightings during the course of a year (April 2013 to March 2014). The primary source of information on sightings is the blog on the Okhotsk Chapter's main site.

Unusual Sightings

Large numbers of Eurasian Coots  (Oo-ban; Fulica atra)
30 Nov, 4-5 Dec 2014; Abashiri Lake, Memanbetsu
Reports on the Okhotsk Chapter blog:
30 November: 157 (count & photo by Kanrinin)
4 December: 304 (by Hanada-san)
5 December: 254 (by Hanada-san)
10 December: 0 (by Hanada-san)
Don't know about years before the 1970s, but coots have been very rare in the Okhotsk region, typically one or two at Tofutsu Lake. In 2013, we counted up to 13 during the weeks prior to the onset of freezing at Heiwa Bridge, Tofutsu Lake. This we thought was a lot. In late November 2014, there were 5 or so coots at Heiwa Bridge.
himekoutenshi Greater Short-toed Lark
(Hime-koutenshi; Calandrella brachydactyla)
5 May 2013, Shibunotsunai Lake (east of Komuke Lake),
found and photographed by Kaito-san. This is the first time for this bird to be found in the Okhotsk region, though not a first for Hokkaido, and it has been added to our Checklist. Its status in Hokkaido is given as Accidental Visitor by the OSJ, and is indeed AV in the rest of Japan as well. According to OSJ (2012) this bird in Japan is a subspecies, C. b. longipennis, that "Breeds from the Ukraine, n Caucasus, Iran to Transbaikalia and Manchuria. Winters mainly to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and nw India; casual in Sakhalin, Korea, and Japan." Brazil (2009): "Habitat & habits: Open steppe with sparse vegetation; visits agricultural fields."
kohibari Asian Short-toed Lark
(Ko-hibari; Calandrella cheleensis)
28 November 2013, Hama-koshimizu area,
found and photographed by Kanrinin-san. It is remarkable that two different short-toed larks, both sighted for the first time in the Okhotsk region of Hokkaido, were sighted within just a few months of each other. Its status in Hokkaido is given as Accidental Visitor by the OSJ (2012), same as the Greater Short-toed Lark, and is AV in the rest of Japan as well. According to OSJ, this bird in Japan is a subspecies, C. c. cheleensis, that "Breeds in ne Mongolia, Transbaikalia, and Manchuria. Winters to s Manchuria and n China; casual in Japan." Brazil (2009): "Habitat & habits: Dry steppe or dry agricultural land."


mitsuyubikamomered Black-legged Kittiwake
(Mitsuyubi-kamome; Rissa tridactyla)
27 October 2013, Garinko port area in Mombetsu,
found and photographed by Kaito-san. Since the bird in this photo has reddish legs, there was a debate about whether it was a Red-legged Kittiwake or a Black-legged one. According to Kanrinin, compared to the Red-legged, this one has "longer legs, longer bill, gentler-sloping forehead, smaller-looking eyes, paler grey upper wings, and it is thus a Black-legged Kittiwake." Both Brazil (2009) and "The Wild Birds of Hokkaido" (2012; of which Kanrinin is one of the authors) convey that individuals with "orange-red" legs are rare but do exist. This bird in Hokkaido is a subspecies, R. t. pollicaris, that is a Winter Visitor (OSJ, 2012) and also called a Pacific Kittiwake (Brazil, 2009).
This is an unusual sighting but not a natural one. In mid-July 2012, a flamingo (near the left) escaped from the Asahiyama Zoo in Asahikawa, about 100 km away, and is seen here at Komuke Lake with a flock of grey herons (and one great egret) at the end of August. All efforts to recapture the bird failed and what happened to it after that is not known. (Photo: DB)

Monthly Photo Galleries

I was hoping to make photo galleries of birds that members sighted each month, but this turned out to be quite a time-consuming proposition. There are some nice shots in the one month I did do, so I leave that as it is. (Lots of waxwings this year.)

Spring Summer Autumn Winter
April 2014  (68 photos) July 2014 October 2014 January 2015
May 2014 August 2014 November 2014 February 2015
June 2014 September 2014 December 2014 March 2015