JAPAN - Land of the rising sun -

12-days birdwatching in Hokkaido with English- speaking Miksture guide 

- breathtaking scenery, delicious food, rich history and fabulous birding, is an essential destination for all birders”

 

Dates: 19.06 -30.06.2023

TRAVEL DESCRIPTION

Duration                                            12-days

Type                                                   Roundtrip with driverguide and                                                                      English / German / Scandinavian                                                                  speaking Miksture Tour Leaders  

Price                                                   From 3,000 USD pr. person in shared                                                            DBL room 

Solo Rate                                          600 USD           

Deposit                                             700 USD pr. person

Visa                                                    Depending on country of origin.                                                                    Information when booking the tour

Vaccination                                       Yes, against COVID-19 (PCR-test                                                                   might be needed)

 

Keybirds:

Pacific Diver Gavia pacifica, Japanese Cormorant Phalacrocorax capillatus, Pelagic Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus, Red- faced Cormorant Phalacrocorax urile, Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata, Segland Anas falcate, Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha, Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrionicus, American Black Scoter Melanitta nigra, Black-eared Kite Milvus lineatus, Havørn Haliaeetus albicilla, Japanese Buzzard Buteo japonicas, Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis, Red-crowned Crane Grus japonensis, Black-tailed Gull Lars crassirostris, Slaty-backed Gull Larus schistisagus, Spectacled Guillemot Cepphus carbo, Pigeon Guillemot Cepphus Columba (likely ssp snowi; Kuril Guillemot, which may deserve separate specific status), Rhinoceros Auklet, Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis, White-bellied Green Pigeon Treron sieboldii, Blakiston's Fish Owl Ketupa blakistoni, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos kizuki, White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos, Japanese Skylark Alauda arvensis japonica, Asian House Martin Delichon urbicum, Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni, Black- backed Wagtail Motacilla alba lugens, Japanese Wagtail Motacilla grandis, Brown-eared Bulbul Ixos amaurotis, Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii, Brown-headed Thrush Turdus chrysolaus,Gulddrossel Zoothera aurea, Asian Stubtail Urosphena squameiceps, Japanese Bush Warbler Cettia diphone, Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus, Japanese Tit Parus minor, Varied Tit Sittiparus varius, Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicas, Bull-headed Shrike Lanius bucephalus, Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius, Oriental Crow Corvus orientalis, Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos, White-cheeked Starling Sturnus cineraceus, Oriental Greenfinch Carduelis sinica, Grey-bellied Bullfinch Pyrrhula [pyrrhula] griseiventris, Japanese Grosbeak Eophona personata, Long-tailed Rosefinch Uragus sibiricus, Meadow Bunting Emberiza cioides, Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata, Black- faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala, Grey Bunting Emberiza variabilis, Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus pyrrhulina, Russet Sparrow Passer rutilans, Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturates, Gray Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka, White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus, Pacific Swift Apus pacificus, Latham’s Snipe Gallinago hardwickii, Short-tailed Shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris, Eastern Marsh-Harrier Circus spilonotus, Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia japonicus, White-backed Woodpecker Picoides leucotos subcirris, Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus jessoensis,, Asian Stubtail Urosphena squameiceps, Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus, Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides, Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps, Sakhalin Grasshopper Warbler Locustella amnicola, Middendorff’s Grasshopper Warbler Locustella ochotensis,, Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata, Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa daurica daurica, Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana cyanomelana, Japanese Robin Larvivora akahige akahige, Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane nechaevi, Rubinnattergal Calliope calliope camschatkensis, Narcissus FlycatcherFicedula narcissina, Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri, Siberian Thrush Zoothera sibirica davidsoni, Japanese Thrush Turdus cardis, Chestnut-cheeked Starling Agropsar philippensis, White-cheeked Starling Spodiopsar cineraceus, Olive-backed pipit Anthus hodgsoni yunnanensis, Pine grosbeak Pinicola enucleator sakhalinensis, Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola, etc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Habitats Covered

Mountains, valleys, pristine spruce forest, wetlands, marshes, reed beds, lakes, agricultural landscapes and ocean 

Expected Climate

Generally cool and cloudy - spring is especially cool in the mountains 

Group Size

Max. 4 with two Miksture leaders!

Tour Pace & Walking

Relaxed to moderate at times with generally easy walking

Accommodation

Comfortable lodging in hotels and guesthouses 

Ease of Birding

Moderate 

Other Attractions

Spectacular scenery, interesting mammals and other wildlife, Japanese culture and traditions 

Photographic Opportunities

Excellent!

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SCHEDULED 2023 DEPARTURE

 

19.06 - 30.06 2023

Tour Leader: Michael Westerbjerg Andersen

Tour price (Per person): USD 3,000

Solo Rate: USD 600 

THE TOUR AT A GLANCE...

 

Day 1. Arrival Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan

Kushiro is a bustling port city in south-eastern Hokkaido, and is located along both banks of the Kushiro River, where this river empties into the Pacific Ocean. The city was first settled by Japanese immigrants in 1870. The natural port of the estuary is the largest trading and fishing port in eastern Hokkaido. A long day ends with accommodation in a comfortable hotel, and the first Japanese dinner. O/N Kushiro. D

 

Day 2: Kushiro – Obihiro – Haboro

After early breakfast we drive towards Haboro which is the destination of the day.There will be many new bird voices to practice, especially the many warblers (several species of locust warblers), Japanese Bush Warbler, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Varied Tit, Japanese Tit, Brown-eared Bulbul, Japanese White-eye, Narcissus Flycatcher, Meadow Bunting, Black-faced Bunting, wagtails and more. Arrival in Haboro late in the day. O/N Haboro. B

 

Day 3: Teuri Island. Day excursion to the bird paradise among 1000,000 auks and seabirds

We have set aside the whole day for a day excursion on Teuri Island which is about 30 km from Haboro. When we arrive at the island you can walk around the island (about 3 hours) or cycle. We arrive by ferry to the port of Teuri, and five minutes’ walk from the port there is an information centre called "Umi-no- uchuukan," a great place to start! The view of the open sea is formidable, and the steep cliffs are vantage points for spectacled guillemots, and guillemots. The surroundings are to a bizarre degree covered with holes, which are nest holes of Rhinoceros Auklet. With more than 400,000 breeding pairs, Teuri is the world's largest breeding ground for the species. It abounds with cormorants, gulls, and auks. Pelagic Cormorant is one of the breeding birds, and at this time of year it is possible to see adult birds in the beautiful breeding suit with white feathers that surround the neck region. Rishiri-Fuiji is visible when the weather is clear and at this time of year you can also enjoy myriads of colourful flowers. There are also many seals in the water. We have the whole day available so there will be an opportunity to enjoy the amazing island. O / N Haboro. B

Day 4: Haboro - Wakkanai. To the northern tip of Hokkaido; beautiful views and landscapes

We continue to the northern tip of Hokkaido. Again, a day of driving through beautiful mountain areas until we reach the coast. We have found a cosy guest house between Cape Soya (Soyamisaki) and Wakkanai, beautifully situated by the sea (also here many spotted seals in the water, which can be seen from the dining room). The place is one of the best for Gray Nightjar, which is often heard from the parking lot outside the guest house. O/N Wakkanai. BD

Day 5: Wakkanai (northern tip of Hokkaido) - Abashiri. Okhotsk Line - the coastal road to Abashiri

We continue south along the eastern side of the peninsula along Rt 238, the so-called Okhotsk Line. Here, too, the road leads through lush and green areas, and the region is quite populated. White-bellied Green Pigeon is relatively common along this stretch. Lake Saroma. Beniya Natural Flower Garden (in Hamatonbetsu) is also a nice stop with fine species that are gradually becoming familiar. O/N Abashiri. B

Day 6: Abashiri - Lake Tofutsu - Shiretoke - Rausu. Lake Tofuso, the beautiful flower park - Koshimizu, Ruby Nightingale and exciting waterfowl, Shiretoke National Park - looking for brown bears

Just ten kilometres from Abashiri is the first stop of the day. Lake Tofutso-ko and the surrounding area are a good bird location. There are many herons and ducks (especially Falcated Duck which are seen among the mixed flocks of ducks). Hotspot for Chestnut-eared Bunting (and White-tailed Needletail). We stay for couple of hours (Red-Crowned Crane and Lathams Snipe). Further ahead the landscape is rugged and with low scrub vegetation of low vegetation (1-2 m). The avifauna is also dominated by alpine birds. From the top of the pine trees, the beautiful song sounds from Pine Grosbeak, and Japanese Accentor is often observed. Further down, the vegetation is dominated by strong low bamboo vegetation which is also home to the rare Gray Bunting - in the area's forests also occur Siberian Blue Robin, Olive- backed Pipit, Blue-and-White Flycatcher, and the beautiful Narcissus Flycatcher. At the end of the day, we arrive in Rausu. We accomodate in a comfortable hotel by the coast. O/N Rausu. B

Day 7 and 8. Rausu - whale watching, Blakistons Fish Owl, bear sightings etc.

Depending on the weather, we coordinate the various program points so that the participants get the maximum benefit. The waters around the Shiretoko Peninsula are one of the best places on the planet to see orcas in late spring, and at this time of year, the number of orcas is greatest. We have included a whale safari from Rausu, but it is possible to buy extra. The strait is shaped like a bay and the waves are relatively calm, making it the ideal place for boat trips for whales and orcas. Humpback and minke whales, as well as several dolphin species are often seen among the huge flocks of Short-tailed Shearwater. The rest of the days we spend on excursions in the mountains on yesterday's route Rausu - Shiretoko Pass - Rausu (often the stretch must be traversed several times to optimize the chance of seeing brown bears). Of course, we're also looking for the world's largest owl, Blakiston's Fish Owl. We have included an evening / night at one of the best locations on the planet, and we are usually successful. O/N Rausu. B

 

Day 9: Rausu - Nemuro. Along the coastal road to the Nemuro Peninsula

During the day we drive southeast, along the coastal road along the Izmerny Strait until we reach the Nemuro Peninsula (100 km). Along the way we pass small port towns and stop where there are good views and birds to watch. Sea eagles are often exposed on the concrete piers and in the low bush vegetation along, Rubythroats and Steiniger’s Stonechat are common. Places with trees and denser vegetation are good habitats for Oriental Cuckoo, Japanese Bush Warbler, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Sakhalin Grasshopper Warbler, Meadow Bunting, and Black-faced Bunting. In the open countryside, the Black- eared Kite hovers side by side with the Large- billed Crow, and on the power, lines sit Bull- headed Shrike, Chestnut-cheeked Starling, White-cheeked Starling, and Russet Sparrow. Long-tailed Rosefinch and Latham’s Snipe frequent moist marshes and bogs, and Asian House-Martin and Pacific Swift hunt insects above the water’s surface. O / N Nemuro for the following three nights. B

Day 10 and 11: Nemuro Peninsula - Cape Nosappu

The Nemuro Peninsula is the south-eastern tip of Hokkaido and is the last bastion towards the great Pacific Ocean - you can see directly over to the Kuriles. We have two full days in the area and that is important as the weather is very changeable. There are several fine species in the area both in the sea and on the land side, and among the heights are Red-Faced Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Spectacled Guillemot, Rhinoceros Auklet, Tufted Puffin, Ruby Nightingale, Long-tailed Rosefinch, Steiniger’s Stonechat, Middendorff ́s Warbler o.m. With a little luck you can see sea otters, whales and seals along the coast, and the landscapes in June are decorated with beautiful irises. 

The Taiga forests around Lake Onneto and Lake Furen are a must when visiting the Nemuro area. Fine old coniferous forest with strong undergrowth creates good conditions for woodpeckers, songbirds, thrushes, owls, warblers, and other goodies. We have prioritized an early hike (8 km) through the forest to experience the atmosphere and the birdsong optimally. While it's still dark, the White’s Thrush begins its beautiful monotonous whistle, soon accompanied by Blue Tail, Japanese Thrush, White-Bellied Green Pigeon, Japanese Robin, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, Varied Tit, Siberian Blue Robin, Narcissus Flycatcher, Blue-and - White Flycatcher and Asian Stubtail, etc. Several species of woodpeckers are in the area: White-backed Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Black-backed Woodpecker (rare in Japan) Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, and all three species of locustella warblers can also be experienced. The Oriental Cuckoo's characteristic deep monotonous call, which can be heard from a long distance, is also a characteristic element in the forest's soundscape. Lakes and bogs also contain fine birds: Black-browed Reed Warbler, Segland, Red-Crowned Crane, and Lathams' Snipe. The nearby Hattaushi Bridge is a well-known locality for Blakiston’s Fish Owl, but it is difficult to see at this locality. The overflying White-throated Needtails are easier! The Ural owl also periodically gives his effort. O / N Nemuro. B

Day 12: Nemuro – Kushiro. Tour concludes After breakfast we drive towards Kushiro, from where the tour concludes. BL

                   

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FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS:

 

Price per person (in shared double-room USD 3,000,- 

Single supplement:   USD 600,-

 

Deposit: : USD 700/person

 

Group size: minimum 2 and maximum 4  

 

Availability: Spaces available for 2023    

 

Leader:   Michael Westerbjerg Andersen

To book a seat on this tour a deposit on 700 USD per person should be paid (if Miksture cancel 100% this deposit will be returned, of course) – You are not reserved a seat before the deposit is paid. The remaining amount per person should be paid latest 1.th February 2023.

 

 Please see under IMPORTANT NOTES below.

 

The tour fee includes:

  • Guiding by Miksture/Michael Westerbjerg Andersen and his team

  • Services of tour leader

  • Meals according day-to-day program. All breakfasts (B) on Hokkaido

  • All lodgings in Hokkaido, 3***/4**** – guesthouse in Rauso

  • Transportation according program in Hokkaido in comfortable vehicle

  • Reserve entrance fees

  • Administration from Miksture

  • 1 x Whale Safari

  • 1 x Blakiston Fish Owl visit

  • Necessary permits sites and other paperwork  

 

The tour fee does not includes:

  • International and domestic flights
  • Visa fees;
  • Gratuities (drivers, hotel staff, restaurants etc.)

  • Alcoholic beverages, drinks and soft drinks

  • Lunches

  • Personal expenses for eventual extra arrangements not mentioned in the program

  • Travelinsurrance – mandatory! 

  • Money for own expenses and anything strictly personal (e g laundry, phone calls, any excess luggage charges, snacks).

 

IMPORTANT NOTES: a) Due to constantly fluctuating exchange rates, we quote our tours in USD. The tour price is however fixed only in the currency printed in bold, and the actual cost in the other currencies listed will be adjusted according to prevailing exchange rates at the time of final invoicing (usually 4 months before the tour.) The same applies to approximate flight and single supplement rates, which are also quoted in the respective fixed currency. b) Rates are based upon group tariffs; if the tour does not have sufficient registration a small party supplement will have to be charged. c) Furthermore, these costs are subject to unforeseen increases in tour related costs and may have to be adjusted as a result. d) Lastly, we may be forced to change or alter the itinerary and / or the designated Miksture leader/s at short or no notice due to unforeseen circumstances; please be aware that we will attempt to adhere as close to the original program as possible.

 

Special Notes:  It is important for the comfort of your fellow travellers that you do not over-pack. Kindly stick to 20kg (44lb) for check-in luggage and 8kg (+-18lb) for hand luggage.  

 

Please ensure that you have all the necessary medication that you require for the duration of the tour.

 

Although it will be springtime, the temperatures can vary greatly, from comfortable warm days temperatures of 14 to 16 degrees Celsius in the lowlands (but cool in the mornings), to cold with rain and at any time in the mountains and at the coast/ocean.

 

Warm clothes, including gloves, woollen hat, raingear, hiking boots and thermals will come in handy for the cooler days.

 

Fitness: In general this tour does not require a high level of fitness, but participants should be in good general health as most of the birding will be done on foot, and may require moderate walking for several hours at a time. Some of the walks in the mountains will, however, be more strenuous. Should you have any physical limitations, please notify us in advance of departure.

 

Japan cuisine is excellent - if You favour fish... We will have opportunities to try regional specialities at various locations on the tour.

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE DETAILS:
The main tour will commence in Kushiro, Japann latest early morning on day 2. As we depart early on this day, you are required to be present in Kushiro early morning or the night before the tour starts (accommodation is included in Kushiro). The tour will conclude with a transfer to Kushiro Airport after breakfast on day 12.

 

The above information in respect of arrivals and departures is a guide only. Precise arrival and departure information will be sent to you in your Tour Confirmation package once the tour has been officially confirmed. If you wish to arrive early and/or depart late and would like assistance in this regard, kindly contact the Miksture office.

 

FLIGHTS:

Please DO NOT book any flights until you have consulted the Miksture office for confirmation on the status of the tour.

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