【Series】Spirits of the Kamuy landscape（23） Arrivals of the gyrfalcon – the Arctic bird of prey – are rare
In the winter of 2016, there was one bird that I wanted to photograph – the gyrfalcon.
That year, Hokkaido shinkansen began operating and the gyrfalcon was used as the symbol mark of the rolling stock. Hokkaido’s photographers were alerted: “If the timing is right, we’d like to run a photo in the newspaper”. The bird of prey breeds in the Arctic region and seldom flies into Hokkaido, and I had only photographed it once before.
It was February 2014 when I encountered the young gyrfalcon on the coast of the southern Hokkaido town of Mori. Its body was brown and approximately 60 cm in length. At first, it looked like a black kite. Its wing pattern and taut tail feathers were beautiful, and its feather covered legs afforded it a dignity worthy of an Arctic bird of prey.
Unfortunately, I have not been blessed with an opportunity to encounter a gyrfalcon since, and the hope of running a photo at the time of the opening of the shinkansen in 2016 never came to fruition. If possible, I’d like to photograph the white form of an adult bird.
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