Japan pelagic birding- Hokkaido- Miyakejima island Part 1/3

Late March is a good month to bird in Hokkaido- because we saw not only winter birds but also spring arrivals and cost was much lower! I also wanted to do a pelagic trip and also visit Miyakejima island, so I bundled them up and  came up with an itinerary and my friends- Low and Gim joined in. I couldn’t have asked for better company, Low is our chief spotter, Gim- our researcher, Terry, for bird I.D. and spotter; and me? I already came up with an itinerary and arranged everything- so I just chill and relax~ 😛

Itinerary

Nagoya to Tomakomai, Hokkaido (by ship) Click here for ship details!

From Tomakomai, Hokkaido, we flew to Memanbetsu, Hokkaido where we met Matsuo San (our guide and driver)

From Kushiro, Hokkaido, we flew to Tokyo and embarked night ferry to Miyakejima Island. Click here for ship booking.

*We’ve taken 2 domestic flights  and as we hold foreign passports, we could get cheap domestic tickets via ANA, and JAL 

At Nagoya Meitetsu Bus Terminal, we took the one and only bus to Nagoya Port- It leaves everyday at 5:20pm at level 4 (ticket counter at level 3). When we arrived at the Nagoya port, the big ship was awaiting for us and so were choppy waters with white caps! We’re in for a rough ride!

A 3 day ride from Nagoya to Hokkaido and we bagged a lot of pelagic birds- the most fruitful period was actually from Nagoya to Sendai section- after we’ve passed Sendai, things were a lot quieter but the scenery was breathtaking!

Some birds and mammals we saw: streaked shearwaters (tons of them), Ancient murrelets, Japanese murrelets, Short-tailed albatross, Black-legged kittiwakes, Red-throated loons, Black-throated loons, Pomarine Skuas, Rhino auklets, gulls, Dall’s porpoises, Northern fur seals, etc.

black legged kittiwakes are seen in flocks in Pacific Ocean

black legged kittiwakes are seen in flocks in Pacific Ocean

Pomarine Skua flew in and I was able to take a nice photo with my short lens.

Pomarine Skua flew in and I was able to take a nice photo with my short lens.

Small flocks of Ancient Murrelets seen on pelagic birding in Japan

Small flocks of Ancient Murrelets seen on pelagic birding in Japan

Lots of loons seen on Pelagic birding, from Nagoya to Tomakomai

Lots of loons seen on Pelagic birding, from Nagoya to Tomakomai

Lot's of Dall's porpoises in the Pacific Ocean!

Lot’s of Dall’s porpoises in the Pacific Ocean!

Northern fur seals floating in the Pacific Ocean.

Northern fur seals floating in the Pacific Ocean.

An unforgettable moment-

Saw a white wagtail making it way to Hokkaido! It didn’t hopped on the ship for a free ride, but kept on flying low to avoid headwinds..but waters were choppy in the Pacific Ocean.. I hoped it got to Hokkaido safely. To witness a migration like this brings a tear in my eye every time I think of it.

Migration across Pacific Ocean is not easy

Migration across Pacific Ocean is not easy

And here’s some great views as the ship made its way to Tomakomai port!

Snow-capped mountains seen as we got closer to Hokkaido.

Snow-capped mountains seen as we got closer to Hokkaido.

Arriving Tomakomai port

Arriving Tomakomai port

Lots of jellyfish in water, not sure if edible?

Lots of jellyfish in water, not sure if edible?

We arrived on time and headed out of the ferry terminal to catch our shuttle bus at 11:30 to the New Chitose airport for our flight to Memanbetsu! Everything went flawless, thank goodness!

Bus stop outside Tomakomai port

Bus stop outside Tomakomai port

End of part 1- zzz

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