A few days ago we were in Rausu, Hokkaido at a bed and breakfast where Blakiston’s Fish Owls can be seen. From head to toe and wing tip to wing tip, these are the world’s largest owls – and one of the rarest. We had hoped to get a look and maybe some photographs.
In the stream that flows in front of the property, the minshiku owners have created a small pool which they keep stocked with trout. Most nights this time of year a breeding pair of fish owls take turns showing up at the pool to forage for themselves and their chicks. We got some nice photos of both the female and the male owl which we’ll include in an article at a later date.
In addition to the owls, minks – a species introduced from America – are occasional nighttime visitors to the pool. In wintertime, bears follow spawning salmon up the stream. One afternoon I was watching the pool, camera in lap, when a Thick-billed Crow landed in a nearby tree. I knew right away what he had in mind, so I focused on the pool and waited. What I wasn’t prepared for was the short work he made of catching this trout.