Whilst back in the woods …

Hokkaido is a really cool place, literally, the year round average temperature is just 8°C. Trees are found up to about 1500 metres. In the lowlands there is deciduous forest dominated by Mongolian oak (Quercus mongolica) with dwarf bamboo (Sasa spp.) undergrowth. Above that the dominant forest cover is coniferous, mainly Asian spruce (Picea jezoensis) and various firs (Abies spp.). Where climate and landform suit agriculture the forest has been cleared and much of the remainder has been logged but there still seems plenty for most of the birds.

Eurasian Nuthatch
Eurasian Nuthatch

This one is right way up but the nuthatch is often seen creeping head first down the trunks of trees inspecting the bark for insects.

Eurasian Jay
Eurasian Jay
Greater Spotted Woodpecker
Greater Spotted Woodpecker

These three are old friends. Their range extends across Asia and Europe. As a kid growing up in England I could find all of them in the local forest.

This next guy is another example with which to illustrate Blakiston’s line. In the three large southern islands of Japan there is an endemic squirrel, funnily enough called the Japanese Squirrel (Sciurus lis). In Hokkaido, though, we find the Eurasian Red Squirrel. The local subspecies (Sciurus vulgaris orientis) has really cute ears. (The scientific term being auribus vere bellus).

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris orientis)
Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris orientis)

One thought on “Whilst back in the woods …

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