Arctic Tern, Kanagawa, 26.7.10
After getting up late on Sunday, with a view to doing nothing but homework and relaxing, I was pleasantly surprised by an email from a friend informing me of an Arctic Tern in Kanagawa-ken. By that time it was already 1pm, and with a more than 2 hour one-way trip, I was debating whether or not to go.
In the end, I was glad I did. I found the bird very easily (easy to spot with an entourage of 20-50 photographers and spent 3 or so hours photographing it before returning home. In fact, I enjoyed it so much (and felt that I still had unfinished business there) that I returned the day after, immediately after school. Again, I was glad that I did because I managed to get some much better shots, including some in-flight shots.
Arctic Terns are very rare accidental visitors to Japan, mostly in summer when they do come. They are renowned as in the avian world as the longest-distance migrant, completing (according to some sources) an unbelievable 70,000km per year. Apparently equivalent to 3 round trips to the moon during their lifetime. Amazing, and it was a great privilege to be able to see it.
www.arctictern.info/ is a nice website with some information and great photos of this record-achieving bird.