Not skiing Niseko..birding?

Not skiing Niseko..birding?

When:  December 2018      Weather: Cold Snow covered..  -5C

Leica M10P/Monochrom. 50mm F2.0 APO summicron, 35mm Summilux F1.4. Nikon P900

On a family holiday in Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan, everyone  but me was skiing and snow boarding;  I decided to just chill, enjoy the Japanese food and take some pictures of the snowy scapes.  Didn’t really expect any birding in subzero temperatures….


Snowy Niseko landscape


where the whole world seemed to come to ski and board


did I mention that the snow was heavy?


that much snow fell on the branch last night alone…


possibly the largest snowflakes in the world..

We engaged the services of Niseko Photography tours to bring us out to some less frequented locations to take some pictures and Charlotte brought us to a natural outdoor hotspring location, a temple and the famous Cafe Kobo….


The hot springs were interesting


with steam rising…


the temple was set in a lovely snowy landscape


winter berries which provide some sustenance for the birdlife


winter berries


spectacular snowy scapes


the icicles were crystal like and perfectly formed


But back at our apartment in Setsugetsu, Hirafu, we were fortunate to have some trees outside our window…


and these few trees provided me mnuch birding entertainment over the week we were here…


By far the commonest bird seen was the thickbilled crow which would dip its beak into the snow for moisture…


Eurasian sparrows were also plentiful


this little Eurasian nuthatch was very active


Eurasian Nuthatch


and then it became a bit of a tit fest! Here the Eastern Great tit or Japanese Tit perched and showed its prominent ventral vertical black stripe

Japanese or eastern great tit

Here, the Japanese Tit showing its greenish back but without the yellow ventral coloration of the Greenbacked tit

coal tit (2)

Coal tit with its little crest

coal tit

Coal tit

Marsh tit

Willow tit


Long tailed tit

long-tailed tit

long tailed tit


white wagtail

brown eared bulbul

Brown eared bulbul was a pleasant surprise!


Brown eared bulbul


niseko winterscape

I was pleasantly surprised that even in subzero temperatures, birds were still active and entertained me well for the few days I was there…so there’s more to Niseko than skiing and snow boarding!


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