Trip report: Okinawa, Japan custom extension (April 2016) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Charley Hesse. This was a short custom extension to a Taiwan tour. It visited only Okinawa; the full Japan in Spring tour will cover a lot more ground.

This short custom extension was run prior to the Taiwan set departure tour. We just visited the main island of Okinawa where we concentrated on the forested north of the island with the local name ‘Yambaru’. Our main targets were the endemic Okinawa Woodpecker & Okinawa Rail, the latter only described as recently as 1981. We saw both easily, but we were also happy to see the endemic Ryukyu Robin & Ryukyu Minivet and several Ryukyu endemic subspecies, including Japanese & Ryukyu Scops-Owls, Whistling Green-Pigeon and Japanese Wood-Pigeon. We enjoyed fantastic birding and some great night excursions on which we saw several owl species, woodcock, the rare Ryukyu long-furred rat and beautiful Akamata snake. Our lodge was perfectly located in the native forests with all the targets on our doorstep. We were lucky to have the lodge to ourselves and the very friendly and helpful staff cooked us some wonderful Japanese food. After cleaning up in the north, we birded our way back to the capital Naha, hitting several areas of rice paddies and mudflats on the way back. We saw several interesting species such as Ruddy-breasted Crake, Yellow Bittern plus the endangered East Asian endemic Black-faced Spoonbill.

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