JAPAN WINTER WILDLIFE SPECTACULAR

Saturday 30th January - Sunday 14th February 2010

Pete Morris

A fantastic time was had by all with the incomparable Snow Monkeys (Pete Morris)

A fantastic time was had by all with the incomparable Snow Monkeys (Pete Morris)

Our first ever Wild Images tour could not have been to a better destination. Japan in winter is truly spectacular, and I think it is no exaggeration to say that this tour not only lived up to our expectations but exceeded them! Japan is a marvellously fascinating country in which to travel, and this in itself added an extra dimension to the journey, as we were able to experience the profoundly different culture and exquisitely prepared food alongside our other objectives. It was however the incredible series of photographic spectacles which thrilled us most. The tone was set with the wonderful snow monkeys in their glorious wintry landscape, and the thrills just kept coming. Hokkaido provided many of the most memorable times as the Red-crowned Cranes of Kushiro danced and trumpeted for us. We were fortunate with some wonderful conditions at their roost and watched them sparring with White-tailed Eagles. Temperatures down to -26 degrees centigrade did not deter us (though the cameras complained) and we also had marvellous times with some incredibly obliging and photogenic Whooper Swans. Some rough weather made things a little more difficult and we had to wait a while before we could get out for what was the climax of the trip, an amazing boat trip where we were surrounded by hungry Steller’s Sea Eagles!! In the meantime we amused ourselves exploring the blizzard stricken Hokkaido coast by day and photographing the world’s largest owl, the Blakiston’s Fish Owl, by night. We ended the tour on the more southerly island of Kyushu. Strangely 10,000 cranes was almost an anti-climax. They were still fantastic but we missed the snow and winter landscapes. These were just the highlights, but there was far, far more to remember!

At times, the opportunities with the Steller's and White-tailed Eagles are quite breathtaking! (Pete Morris)

At times, the opportunities with the Steller's and White-tailed Eagles are quite breathtaking! (Pete Morris)

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