Looking north from Furen
Our final morning on Hokkaido was to be spent driving south to Kushiro from Furen, taking in a few sites en route. First port of call was a woodland track between Furen and Ochisii - Take had told us it was a decent place to look for the striking grisiventris subspecies of Bullfinch, which we had not yet seen. A slow drive through the forest with several tactical spots eventually produced a Bullfinch, but alas it was a female rather than the pink-cheeked, grey-bellied male we'd been after! The woods were otherwise pretty quiet, a typical range of common woodland species (including several Japanese Pygmy Woodpeckers) and a few Steller's Sea Eagles were as good as it got.
It was pretty clear that the holiday season was in full swing on arrival in Ochisii. The harbour was totally devoid of people, let alone fishing activity, and gulls were extremely thin on the ground. A group of nine Falcated Ducks was a pleasant surprise and there were also several Black Scoters and a Scaup. With time pressing we decided to head south to Kushiro to spend the final couple of hours photographing gulls at the harbour. A quick stop in Akkeshi produced a first-winter Vega and a couple of Kamchatka Gulls among the commoner Slaty-backed and Glaucous-winged Gulls.
Many second-winter Slaty-backed Gulls tend to look quite grotesque
Kushiro Harbour just a short while before leaving Hokkaido
Shinkansen at Tokyo station