Trip report: Japan in Winter: Birding on Ice (February 2018) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Charley Hesse. This was a set departure tour.

Japan in Winter once again proved to be one of the most impressive and memorable trips available; and one of the top ‘bucket list’ tours anywhere in the world. If you want to Steller’s Sea-Eagles up close and personal, elegant Red-crowned Cranes prancing on the snow, cheeky Snow Monkeys taking a dip in hot springs, or the behemoth Blakiston’s Fish-Owl coming in to feed while you sit in a heated room, AND take killer pictures of all these amazing things, signing up to this tour is a no-brainer. We checked off all of these major draw cards in style. Other lesser known but equally awesome memories included: Finding the rare Japanese Waxwing on the snow-dusted slopes of Mt Asama, watching thousands of cranes (of 4 species) flying in at dawn for feeding time at Arasaki, locating the dinky Japanese Murrelet off the coast of Miyazaki, and watching dozens of rare Baikal Teal from inside a heated visitors centre while it snowed outside. Highlights are really too numerous to mention, but let it be said that the quality of birds on this tour was VERY, VERY high. And let’s not even get started on the incredible food, hot springs, scenery and fascinating culture. Japan is a difficult place to leave.

FULL Japan 2018 Report (3.3 MB file)