Hokkaido Winter Birding Tours - Rare Sightings
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Tuesday, February 19, 2019
By Japan Dreamscapes
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Hokkaido Winter Birding Tours tend to gravitate around acutely focused species of birds.  Steller’s Sea Eagles are magnificent during the Winter Photography Workshops as well as Whooper Swans.  Both birds present amazing photo ops while visiting Hokkaido during the winter time.


However, your Japan Dreamscapes (JDS) Photo Tour Leader has spent years combing over the expansive, untamed regions of Japan’s largest northern island and always has a few off the beaten path destinations for the truly adventurous spirits that join the Birding Photo Workshops.  With over 20 years experience photographing in Hokkaido, the JDS Photography Workshops Guides have an almost encyclopedic catalog of information about natural landscapes and birding sanctuaries that are relatively unknown to the uninitiated to Hokkaido.


The Shari Port, or Shari-Kou, faces the Okhotsk Sea, and having that location means it benefits from being on the migratory bird route from Siberia.  One bird in particular is a particularly rare yet beautiful photographic capture, Ross’s Gull.


What distinguishes this gull from its more domestic brethren is its rather diminutive size.  The most commonly cited avian equivalent for Ross’s Gull is a common pigeon.  Once the drift ice has closed along the coast during the colder parts of the winter season, Ross’s Gull has been sighted hunting for food and finding relatively safe locations among the drift ice among the raptors that also hunt the drift ice for their next meal.  Their plumage also sets them apart.  Rather than the pearl white, adults have a subtle pink hue that covers their entire body.  Due to their general scarcity, taking a Hokkaido Winter Birding Photo Tour doesn’t mean a guaranteed photograph, but just the possibility of adding this capture on your photo tour makes the adventure all the more enticing.

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