Visit your favourite destinations
Western Europe
North America
Eastern Europe
South America
Middle East
East Indies

A Report from

Eastern Hokkaido,

Tony Coatsworth

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 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)
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 (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
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 !

If anyone wants further information, please E-Mail me at

Return to 'Notes on Japan'

Why not send us a report, or an update to one of your current reports?