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The FOCUS ON Nature Tour in JAPAN 
January 2009

Mostly in Hokkaido, with Blakiston's Fish Owl, Eagles, Cranes, & More"


The immature White-tailed Eagle above was photographed 
during the annual FONT Japan Winter Birding & Nature Tour,
in February 2009 in Hokkaido.
Below, an adult White-tailed Eagle high in an Hokkaido blue sky.
(photo above by Karl Frafjord)   


Birds & Other Wildlife during FONT Japan Tour in January-February 2009

A List & Photo Gallery of Japan Birds, in 2 Parts

Rare Birds during FONT Tours in Japan

Upcoming FONT Japan Birding & Nature Tours

Highlights of Other FONT Tours in Japan  

The following, relating to the FONT Jan/Feb 2009 Japan Tour, Armas Hill, leader of the tour:

In the winter of 2009, we conducted our 31st FONT birding & nature tour in Japan. It was an abbreviated version of what we've done over the years, with what would well be called "the best of Japan in the winter". The tour was mostly on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, with also some birding on the main Japanese island of Honshu.

Highlights of the tour, as they have been in the past, were: groups of Japanese, or Red-crowned Cranes, dancing and calling on snowy fields, and numbers of both White-tailed and Steller's Sea Eagles. And again, as always (for us), we saw the Blakiston's Fish Owl, said to be the largest and about the rarest owl in the world. It was the 20th FONT tour during which we saw that special owl! 
Most of the FONT Japan Winter Tours, over the years, have been longer, on the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, and Kyushu, with some having an optional extension to the more-southerly island of Amami for endemic & specialty birds. And most FONT tours in Japan in the winter will continue to be the longer, 2-week version of the tour.    

The word in Japanese for the Crane is "Tancho". 


During the 2009 winter Japan tour, of course, in addition to the "major avian stars", the cranes, eagles, and owl, there's a supporting cast of characters too - including a number of birds that may not come as readily to mind, but that can be remembered, here, with the three photographs that follow, all taken during our Jan/Feb '09 Japan tour. These birds are the Brown-eared Bulbul, Olive-backed Pipit, and Peregrine Falcon.
The Brown-eared Bulbul, by the way, is a bird most likely to be seen in Japan than elsewhere, as it is nearly endemic to the country.  

For a complete list of Japanese birds, including those found during FONT tours, click the link at the top of this narrative. Nearly 300 species, you will note, have been found during our tours in Japan, and that is quite a cast!  


photographed during the FONT Jan/Feb 2009 Tour in Japan

(this & the following two photos by Karl Frafjord, of Norway)

OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT, also photographed during 
the FONT Jan/Feb 2009 Japan Tour

And lastly, in February 2009, during our Japan tour, 
when we were near some cliffs
along the southern coast of Hokkaido, 
2 PEREGRINE FALCONS were hunting in unison.
They were going in fast flight after a Dusky Thrush.
When one of the Peregrines flew by us quickly,
to our eyes its was but a blur.
But, as shown above, to the eye of the camera,
its image was clear. 

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