【Series】 Spirits of the Kamuy landscape

In this series, the transformation of four seasons will be introduced through articles on wild animals that are active in the deep forests, marshes, and ocean as if they were being cradled by “Kamui,” which means deity in the Ainu language. The first installment in the series is the Yezo sika deer of Notsuke Peninsula. (Text and photographs by Tadanobu Shigeru from the Kushiro Branch News Secti

July 21

Special feature

【Series】Spirits of the Kamuy landscape (38) Latham's snipes make cracking lighting noise and nose dive

Surprised by a small common reed bunting bird (lower left), the large Latham's snipe takes flight

Daylilies drape yellow color amidst the grasslands of the Sarobetsu Plain that unfolds across the towns of both Horonobe and Toyotomi in Northern Hokkaido’s Soya region. A Latham’s snipe resting on a short tree was surprised by the approach of a small common reed bunting bird, and took flight.

Latham’s snipe is a summer bird. In the spring, it flies from the southern hemisphere to its breeding grounds, which are located in Hokkaido. It chirps with a “jeep, jeep” sound until night grows dark, and repeats a pattern of making a cracking lightning noise and plunging into a nose dive. This noise is the sound of the male snipes making a display, which involved expanding their tail feathers and slicing through the wind.

The amount of Latham’s snipes observed in Eastern Hokkaido is shrinking in recent years. The reason is the forest fires in Australia, their winter home. This is thought to have been caused by abnormal weather.

The yellow-breasted bunting and ruddy kingfisher birds, which commonly bred in Hokkaido until around 2000, are currently almost completely not observable here anymore. The reason is said to be overhunting and overdevelopment in their winter habitats. I deeply hope that Latham’s snipe will not follow these two migratory birds into oblivion.
(Words and photo: Shigeru Tadanobu)

Location

Sarobetsu Plain

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