Eastern Hokkaido

The naming convention is taken from 'An Annotated Checklist of the Birds of the Oriental Region' by Inskipp, Lindsey and Duckworth, apart from those marked with * which are possible splits as new species.


The numbers by the sites refer to 'A birdwatchers guide to Japan' by Mark Brazil.

Kushiro marsh (#39) is one of the great spectacles in winter for dancing Cranes. In the Spring they disperse to nesting places further east but there are forest trails nearby to explore in the summer. Also the Drive Inn Tsuru is handy for the airport. On the drive to Furen-ko we passed Lake Akeshi which has an observation centre overlooking the marsh (unfortunately closed when we were there). During a picnic here a White-tailed Eagle soared overhead and a Japanese Crane circled round. Furen-ko (#33) is a brilliant place and you could easily spend a week here. There is a forest trail on Shunkuntai island full of Siberian Rubythroats and Woodpeckers and a visitor centre on the hill also with a trail. Off route 44 there are a number of forest trails such as at Km103 and alongside Lake Onneto where we saw Black Woodpecker. Blakiston's Fish Owl is carefully protected but can be heard at dusk. From here it is a short drive to the southern capes such as Kiritappu (#34) and Ochiishi (#35) but a scope would be useful here. Cape Nemuro (#36) was poor for birds but a fascinating place. Shiretoko (#31) was disappointing and there was still snow on the trail above the campsite at Kumanoyu. Notsuke (#32) was good for ducks especially Common Scoter and Harlequin Ducks which were close in to the shore.

Kawayu (#38) was a very pretty place and the volcanic vents spectacular, but unfortunately the clearing mentioned Mark Brazil's book is now a newish conifer plantation devoid of birdlife although we did hear Black Woodpecker in the distance.

F=Furen-ko, K=Kiritappu, N=Notsuke, O=Ochiishi, R=Rausu)


1 Anas falcata Falcated Duck (N)
2 Anas penelope Eurasian Wigeon (F,N,K)
3 Anas platyrhynchos Mallard (F,K)
4 Anas clypeata Northern Shoveler (F)
5 Anas acuta Northern Pintail (F,N)
6 Anas crecca Common Teal (F)
7 Aythya fuligula Tufted Duck (N)
8 Aythya marila Greater Scaup (F,K)
9 Histrionicus histrionicus Harlequin Duck (R,N)
10 * Melanitta americana Black Scoter (F,N)
11 Mergus merganser Common Merganser (N)
12 Dendrocopos leucotos White-backed Woodpecker (F)
13 Dendrocopos major Great Spotted Woodpecker (F)
14 Dryocopus martius Black Woodpecker (1 on trail near Lake Onetto, heard at Kawayu)
15 Cuculus canorus Eurasian Cuckoo (Heard only at Kushiro Marsh)
16 Cuculus saturatus Oriental Cuckoo (F)
17 Apus pacificus Fork-tailed Swift (F,K)
18 Ketupa blakistoni Blakiston's Fish-Owl (Heard only near Km100 off route 44)
19 Streptopelia orientalis Oriental Turtle-Dove (common)
20 Treron sieboldii White-bellied Green-Pigeon (F)
21 Grus japonensis Red-crowned Crane (F,N,K)
22 Scolopax rusticola Eurasian Woodcock (near Km100)
23 Gallinago hardwickii Latham's Snipe (fairly common - drumming display flight)
24 Numenius madagascariensis Eastern Curlew (4 at F)
25 Tringa totanus Common Redshank (F)
26 Tringa brevipes Grey-tailed Tattler (F,K)
27 Haematopus ostralegus Eurasian Oystercatcher (2 at F)
28 Larus crassirostris Black-tailed Gull (fairly common)
29 Larus hyperboreus Glaucous Gull (1 at F)
30 Larus schistisagus Slaty-backed Gull (common)
31 Larus ridibundus Common Black-headed Gull (Kushiro docks)
32 Cepphus carbo Spectacled Guillemot (O)
33 * Milvus lineatus Black-eared Kite (along roadsides)
34 Haliaeetus albicilla White-tailed Eagle (F,R)
35 Tachybaptus ruficollis Little Grebe (F)
36 Phalacrocorax capillatus Japanese Cormorant (F,K)
37 Ardea cinerea Grey Heron (common)
38 Gavia stellata Red-throated Loon (Diver) (N)
39 Garrulus glandarius Eurasian Jay (brandtii subspecies at F)
40 Corvus corone Carrion Crow (common)
41 Corvus macrorhynchos Large-billed Crow (common)
42 Cinclus pallasii Brown Dipper (R)
43 Turdus chrysolaus Brown-headed Thrush (Km100)
44 Ficedula narcissina Narcissus Flycatcher (F,R)
45 Luscinia calliope Siberian Rubythroat (F)
46 Tarsiger cyanurus Orange-flanked Bush-Robin (F)
47 Saxicola torquata Common Stonechat (F,O,K)
48 Sturnus cineraceus White-cheeked Starling (common)
49 Sitta europaea Eurasian Nuthatch (F)
50 Troglodytes troglodytes Winter Wren (F)
51 Parus palustris Marsh Tit (F)
52 Parus ater Coal Tit (F,O)
53 Parus major Great Tit (F,R)
54 Aegithalos caudatus Long-tailed Tit (japonicus subspecies at F)
55 Riparia riparia Sand Martin (F)
56 Hirundo rustica Barn Swallow (F)
57 Regulus regulus Goldcrest (F,O)
58 Cettia diphone Japanese Bush-Warbler (F,R)
59 Locustella lanceolata Lanceolated Warbler (F)
60 Acrocephalus bistrigiceps Black-browed Reed-Warbler (F)
61 Phylloscopus coronatus Eastern Crowned-Warbler (F,R)
62 *Alauda japonica Japanese Skylark (F,O)
63 Passer montanus Eurasian Tree Sparrow (fairly common)
64 *Motacilla lugens Black-backed Wagtail (fairly common)
65 Motacilla grandis Japanese Wagtail (fairly common)
66 Motacilla cinerea Grey Wagtail (R)
67 Anthus hodgsoni Olive-backed Pipit (F)
68 Carduelis sinica Grey-capped Greenfinch (F)
69 Uragus sibiricus Long-tailed Rosefinch (F,N)
70 Pyrrhula pyrrhula Eurasian Bullfinch (F)
71 Emberiza cioides Meadow Bunting (Kawayu)
72 Emberiza spodocephala Black-faced Bunting (F)
73 Emberiza schoeniclus Reed Bunting (F,K)


Also seen around Furen-ko were Siberian Chipmunk, Sikka Deer, Red Fox and a weird Feral Dog on Shunkuntai island which looked like a Wolf !

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