This trip was quite an experience: Earthquakes, an erupting volcano, a major blizzard, raw fish and squid for breakfast, some incredible dining experiences, great scenery, and a wicked lot of fantastic birds! Erik Forsyth did a very good job with the tour. He was a bit more laid back than I am used to, but we really had good luck with the birds. A lot of that also had to do with Bryan Shirley, who is also an excellent guide. Erik and Bryan made a great team and appeared to really enjoy the trip, which was infectious for the rest of the group.
Our Southern Islands Extension visits the subtropical islands of Amami and Okinawa and, with their white-sand beaches and palm trees, makes for a striking contrast to the frigid islands of the north. These tiny isles are home to an array of extremely localized endemics, with Amami hosting the beautiful Lidth’s Jay, Amami Thrush and the endangered Amami Woodcock. On Okinawa we seek out the threatened Black-faced Spoonbill and a horde of other over-wintering migrants, before turning our attention to the island’s specials including the remarkable and elusive Okinawa Rail and Okinawa Woodpecker, as well as Ryukyu Robin, Ryukyu Minivet and Ryukyu Scops Owl.