Japan in Winter

February 2015

with Jackline and Elston Hill
This is a link to our trip to Japan with Bird Quest. Birders are some of the nicest people that I have encountered. They
are also a bit peculiar with their determination to count as many birds as possible. Just a half second glimpse of a small
bird hundreds of yards away brings them such great enjoyment. I enjoyed myself, experiencing Japan with Japanese
lodging and food as well as our time spent observing birds and birders. Unlike photographers, real birders do not care
about the light or getting close to birds. Half way through the trip, we had so few decent pictures that I was unsure that I
would post this trip to the Internet. Eventually, we did get some very nice pictures--snow monkies, cranes, and eagles.

Below are links to our pictures from the trip. If you wish, click on the first link and at the bottom of each page there will be
a link to the next page. If the pictures are too big or too small for your computer, adjust the pictures by pressing Control
+ or Control minus simulaneously.

Further down on this page is some additional information about the trip for those interested in visiting Japan in winter.
As noted above, this was a trip with Bird Quest, a privately owned British company with an excellent reputation. Enrolling
in the trip, we knew we were going with real birders and that it would not be like an ordinary or photography trip. The
leaders, Dave Farrow and Chikara Otani, were outstanding. They were masters at covering a lot of territory and birds
and keeping the trip on schedule. We were usually up and out by 6:00 a.m. continuing until dark. The two mini vans
were roomy and adequate with six guests in each van. Much of the lodging and most of the meals was traditional
Japanese with us sleeping on the floor much of the time. Ironically, lunch was always at a 7-11 or similar type store with
the option to purchase western style or Japanese food.

As I noted, this was a trip for serious birders. We knew that going in and accepted the trip on this basis. Ironically, we
met someone else with a photography group. With the photo group, they spent much more time with the monkies, snow
cranes, and Stellar Eagles and adjusted their schedule for the light. Ironically, our timing for this wildlife was as good or
better. For example, there was no pack ice for the photo group with the eagles, but we had lots of ice. And one
additional plus to our trip was that it cost much less than the photo tours.