道東 3日目 / Eastern Hokkaido Day 3

Rausu (羅臼) to Teshikaga (弟子屈)

I wanted to be active before dawn, but since the Notsuke Peninsula Nature Center was open from 9:00 a.m. and I was concerned about the road conditions due to rain and snow since yesterday, I decided to have breakfast as usual and leave Rausu.

鷲の宿の前を流れる知徒来川 Chitorai river flows in front of the Eagle Inn
A view of the stream where the Blakiston’s Fish Owls were photographed.
羅臼町の波打ち際。国後島の向こうから日が昇る 。 The beach in Rausu Town. The sun rises over Kunashiri Island.
At any rate, I went to the sea to watch the sunrise. The sun rises over Kunashiri Island across the Nemuro Strait.
波打ち際の砂浜と丸石に朝日のオレンジ色がきらめく The orange of the morning sun sparkles on the sand and cobble stones at the edge of the waves.
凍結を始めた海と立ち並ぶ枯れ木 The sea beginning to freeze and dead trees standing in a row
Narawara on the Notsuke Peninsula. The temperature is about minus 4 degrees Celsius. The sea is more frozen than yesterday.
草むらの中からこちらを見るオスのエゾシカ。朝日が横から照らす。 A male Ezo sika deer looks straight at me from the grass. The morning sun shines on it from the side.
Good morning.

After getting a permit at the nature center, I enter the dirt road. As I drove toward the tip of the road, I spotted a fox. Like Ezo-shika deer, foxes can be found everywhere, but I got the impression that I did not see as many as I did with Ezo-shika deer. The rays of the morning sun were good, and I was very happy to be able to take pictures with the ice in the background.

氷の上に座ってこちらを見るキタキツネ Fox sitting on ice looking at me
The winter coat is fluffy and furry.
氷の上を頭を下げて歩くキタキツネ Fox walking with head down on ice
氷の上を歩くキタキツネの横からの上半身クローズアップ。朝日が正面から照らす。 Side view close-up of the upper body of a fox walking on the ice. The morning sun illuminates it from the front.
I was lucky to be able to hold a good appearance in the limited time I had.
氷の上でこちらを振り向くキタキツネ。目を閉じている。 A fox turns around on the ice. Its eyes are closed.

The inland sea side of the peninsula is starting to freeze over with calm waves. It is quite cold in terms of physical temperature because of the exposed wind.

凍りついた野付半島の海 Frozen Sea of Notsuke Peninsula

I parked the car at the designated spot and walked the rest of the way down the dirt road to the tip for about 1 km. Here is where the boots finally appeared.

野付半島の先端に至るダート Dirt leading to the tip of Notsuke Peninsula
I got roughly to the tip. The car is parked around the blue-green building in the back right corner of the photo.

The tip of the sandbar is covered with a meadow of weather grass (also known as “hama-nin-niku” which means “beach garlic”). It is said that snow bunting and other small birds come here for the berries. However, according to the owner of Etopirika Village in Kiritappu, there are not enough berries this year, and they seem to be moving from place to place.

天気草の草原 Weather grass meadows
When observed up close, the berries do not look like they are in a heap.

Well, after the exchange with the ranger the day before, I started my search with great enthusiasm, determined to find it. However, there was no sign of the little bird at all, let alone a snow bunting. Another group had already arrived ahead of me, but they also did not seem to have found anything. It would have been better if they had flown close to me by accident, but I could not find anything even though I went around all over the place where there was no vegetation. It was a pity.

I will get myself together and look for creatures that can be observed at this location. If you turn your eyes to the sea, you will see a different view.

海に浮かぶクロガモのオス a male Black Scoter floating in the sea
Male Black Scoter. I was able to observe this duck relatively closely, having seen it many times from a distance before.
飛翔するクロガモのペア Pair of Black Scoters in flight
Pair of Black Scoters.
海のすれすれを飛翔するコオリガモたち Long-tailed Ducks flying along the water's edge
Unfamiliar ducks flew in. Three male and one female Long-tailed Ducks.
翼をこちらに広げて飛翔する4羽のコオリガモ four Long-tailed Ducks flying with their wings spread toward me
One of my favorites this time around. The cutest.
海の上を飛翔するシノリガモのメス a female Harlequin Duck in flight over the sea
Female Harlequin Duck. Unfortunately, no males were seen.
海を泳ぐ一羽のヒメウ a Pelagic Cormorant swims in the sea
The metallic color of the Pelagic Cormorant looks beautiful.
飛翔するウミアイサ a Red-breasted Merganser in flight
Red-breasted Merganser.

A variety of seabirds, both familiar and unfamiliar, flew in and out of the area and were well worth seeing. Since the peninsula juts out into the sea, the distance between the birds and me seems to be a little different.

浜に打ち上げられた白骨化した海獣の死骸 Carcass of a white-boned sea animal washed up on the beach
There is also a carcass of a marine animal like this. There is a wild feeling typical of Hokkaido.
オオハクチョウの親子 Whooper swan parent and child
A parent and child of a Whooper Swan.
浜に積まれたゴミの上に立つオジロワシのペア a pair of White-tailed Eagles standing on a pile of trash on the beach
It was past noon by now, so I returned to the car and headed back. The sun is already setting. A pair of White-tailed Eagles standing together.
砂山に立つオオワシ a Steller's Sea Eagle standing on a sand hill
As I returned the permit to the center and drove away, I saw a Steller’s Sea Eagle. This is the closest I have ever been.
飛び立つために大きく翼を広げるオオワシ A Steller's Sea Eagle spreading its wings wide for flight
The appearance is completely different from the juvenile bird seen in Yamaguchi. A magnificent figure.
飛び立ったオオワシ A Steller's Sea Eagle taking off
飛翔するオオワシ A Steller's Sea Eagle in flight
飛翔するオオワシ A Steller's Sea Eagle in flight
Flying with the Northern Territories visible just behind in the background.
飛翔するオオワシ A Steller's Sea Eagle in flight
Thankfully, after the fox, I was able to take a few more chances on the Steller’s Sea Eagle.
堤防で翼を広げるシロカモメ A Glaucous Gull spreading its wings on the bank
A Glaucous Gull. So far, I think all of these birds are not particularly unusual to local birders, but there are many personal firsts.
夕日に染まる中標津の農地と山 Nakashibetsu's farmland and mountains at sunset
From Shibetsu (標津) Town, I headed for Teshikaga (弟子屈) Town, where I would be staying for the day. I took this photo of the scenery on the way, but where was it?
日没の光を受けて立つタンチョウ A Red-crowned Crane standing in the light of sunset
Just before sunset, I spotted a Red-crowned Crane nearby. Tomorrow I expect to see many, as they are the main attraction.

By the time I arrived in Teshikaga, it was already dark. I stayed at the “Pension Birao” for the day. It was very nice, clean, and had a great hot spring. I would like to go back there.

宿の窓から星が見える。 stars from the window of the inn.
The stars were beautiful, but I gave up photographing at night because of the moonlight.
ラーメンと豚丼 Ramen and pork bowl
Yukimi ramen and pork bowl at poppotei in front of the station. This one is great too. Too bad I have to leave Teshikaga so soon!

Continued on Day 4

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