Monday, 10 January 2022

Western Pacific Odyssey New Zealand to Japan 2008. No. 5

Western Pacific Odyssey New Zealand to Japan 2008. No. 5 (Saving the best for last)

We now come to our final blog on the above cruise, heading away from Chuuk Island then five days at sea heading North towards Japan.

2nd Cycle
1st Cycle
Various phases of the Red Footed Booby Sula sula on or around the Spirit of Enderby. During our trip we recorded it on nine dates with a daily maximum of seventy on the 28/4 on our fourth day at sea heading north from Chuuk. For a couple of nights several Boobies spent the night on the vessell. It is fairly common in tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans and often catches flying fish in the air.

Underside of Matsudaira's Storm-Petrel

 Matsudaira's Storm-Petrel Hydrobates matsudairat We were now heading North leaving Chuuk behind heading towards Japan and we were joined in the wake at the back of the ship with these Storm Petrels and they gave good views over several days, with five  on the 26/4, twelve on the 27/4, eight on the 28/4, forty on the 29/4 and fifteen on the 1/5. They were also joined by several in moult. Ranges Jan-Aug in tropical W. Pacific and during the non-breeding season they move to the Indian Ocean. They have large wings for a Storm-Petrel, long forked tail and bold white primary flashes.

Two Matsuidra's Storm Petrel in heavy moult.

Bonin Petrel Pterodroma hypoleuca As we were approaching and passing the Bonin Islands we came across this superb Bonin Petrel and we recorded three on the 28/4, thirty on the 29/4, one on the 30/4 and ten on the 1/5. They breed on the Bonin Islands, Volcano Island and NW Hawaiian Island. They are distinctive with a long tapering tail, and a diagnostic underwing pattern with black primary covert wedge diagnostic. A stunning looking pterodroma.

The underside of Tristrams's Petrels

Various Tristrams's Storm- Petrel Hydrobates tristrami. We recorded it on three dates in Japanese waters near Chichi Jimi Island (Bonin Island), passing Torishima Island and Ko Jima Island (Izu Islands) with seventy on the 30/4, one on the 2/5 and approx. 100 on the 3/5. Its a large heavy-bodied dark storm-petrel with a deeply forked tail, bold pale upperwing bands and variably paler rump.
Approaching Torishima Island

Torishima Island, Japan, breeding site of the rare Short-tailed Albatross

JFC on board the Spirit of Enderby off Torishima Island, landing not allowed.

We spent some time chumming in this area which proved very successful as a flock of 40 Short-tailed Albatross joined behind our vessel for some time before they departed. Without doubt the highlight of the trip

Here they come

The chumming is working very well.
Various plumages of the Short Tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus. They mainly breed on Torishima Island with 1-2 pairs have bred on Hawaiian Island. They range widely at sea in the N. Pacific. Simply superb!!
Adult Black Tailed Gulls Larus crassirostris near Ko-Jima Island. We recorded forty on the 2/5 and six on the 3/5. It is a resident to coast lines of the East China Sea, Japan, Manchuria and the Kurl Islands
Spirit of Enderby in the harbour at Chichi-jima Island.

Spectacular sun-sets over the Pacific.

We next arrived at Ko jima Island (part of the Izu Islands|), during the early morning but heavy rain and strong winds prevented much birding so after cruising around the island we departed during the evening towards Miyake jima Island and birded the following day at the Miyake Nature Centre.

Streaked Shearwaters  Calonectris leucomelas in Japanese waters. We recorded it on four dates with large numbers seen on the 3/5 when an estimate of 5,000 were logged. It has clean white underparts with variable white spots and streaks on face and crown. Breeds in subtropical NW Pacific.

Varied Tit Sittiparus varius (owstoni race) on Miyake-jima Island. We found four on this island on the 3/5, not sure about the owstoni race. 

Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos kizuki at Miyake-jima Island. We managed to see six on our visit.

Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos on Miyake-jima Island. We recorded just six on Miyake-jima Island
Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus on Miyake-jima Island. We recorded ten on this island.

Japanese Wood Pigeon Columba janthina on Miyake-jima Island, just three were reocded by ourselves on the island.
Japanese Cormorant Phalacrocorax in Miyake-jima Island harbour, and this was our only sighting.

Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia on Miyake-jima Island, Japan. We recorded fifteen on the island.

Izu Thrush Turdus celaenops at Miyake-jima Nature Centre. I spent quite a long time searching on the island for this Thrush and in the end I manage to find three at the Nature Centre which is an area of nice woodland.
Iljima's Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus ijimae in the Miyake-jima Nature Centre. We managed to find twelve of this phylloscopus warbler mainly at the Nature Centre. Most were at a distance to far to photograph or as the one in the photogrpah, against the light. Nice to end the holiday with a new Phylloscopus warbler.

Japanese Murrelet stacks off Miyake-jima Island, Japan.
A trip out in the hope of seeing Japanese Murrelets, which are often seen around this stack.
Japanese Murrelets Synthliboramphus wumizusume off Miyake-jima Island . It breeds in Japan N to Honshu also in South Korea and we were ablet to obtain some good views, and in total we saw ten idividuals.

Sadly, it was now time to prepare for our flight home, but just to end with two of the main species seen during this voyage. 
Short tailed and Black-footed Albatrosses on the sea off Torishima.

This is not a full trip report on this cruise, and it only concentrates on the species I was able to photograph during the cruise. We obviously missed quite a few species especially on the islands during the tour an in total I recorded myself a total of  210 species.

Full moon over the Pacific.