Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Best time to see Tancho cranes near Kushiro? 2019/5/2 09:29
We are thinking about a visit to Hokkaido next winter (2020) and I would like to time the trip to coincide with the best time to view the Tancho cranes around Kushiro. I know that some cranes can be seen throughout the year. As I understand it, the best views (including the mating dance) is during the winter - I think February but I would like advice for the best possible time to view the cranes and get nice photos. I am OK with being outside during the cold, I have a good long lens for my camera, and I do not mind waking up early and walking through the snow or wet marshlands to get the best views views (we will have a car). Of course I understand that when hoping to view any animals or nature in general, one can not predict dates exactly, it is nature and sometimes things are a little early or late, but my hope is to go at the time that is typically the best, "peak" experience for viewing cranes. February? Early, mid, or late February?

So when is the best time to be there? Thank you!
by Lowflyer (guest)  

Re: Best time to see Tancho cranes near Kushiro? 2019/5/3 06:12
The only place you're sure to see the tancho year round is at the "Kushiro Japanese Crane Reserve."
HsOߎR
http://en.kushiro-lakeakan.com/things_to_do/3778/

The mating dance is in winter when you can also view the birds at the Tsurui Ito Tancho Sanctuary. They feed them here over the winter so quite a few hang around.
https://www.wbsj.org/en/tsurui/

Both places are to the NW of Kushiro and can be combined with a visit to the marsh where there are board walks through the marshlands and some Jomon archeological sites (if it's not too snowy). The wild tsuru in the marsh are almost never seen, as the marsh is large and the grasses are tall. The most I ever saw there was an "itachi" (weasel).
by Anaguma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best time to see Tancho cranes near Kushiro? 2019/5/3 09:32
Thank you. I know all of that. What I'm looking for is the best DATE of the best chance of seeing the most cranes. Does anyone know the best date to aim for? Thank you!
by Lowflyer (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best time to see Tancho cranes near Kushiro? 2019/5/4 00:28
That's like the people from Singapore asking which "date" it's going to snow. You've got two places the birds gather in the winter, and one place in the summer. After that, it's up to the birds to give you their plans.
by kokumamushi rate this post as useful

Re: Best time to see Tancho cranes near Kushiro? 2019/5/4 04:10
> That's like the people from Singapore asking which "date" it's going to snow.

Hah, hah....no, it's not - your analogy is completely wrong.

One can reasonably ask "when can I see whales in Hawaii?" You can look at the historic records, and it is clear that whales are generally seen in Hawaii from November through May, with the most sightings in January through March. So if you plan a trip to Hawaii and you want the best chance of seeing whales, you can plan to go in February - right in the middle of peak whale sighting season. That gives you the best chance. If you go on February 15, you may or may not see a whale. But your chances are better on February 15 than they would be on November 1 or May 30. Sure, you could get lucky and see a whale there on May 30, but if I were planning a trip and I wanted to see whales, I would plan to be there in mid-February. It's nature, so there are no guarantees that any animal will show up when you do, but you can easily make smart (or not smart) choices for the timing.

I could ask, "when should I go to Japan to see the sakura?" Yeah, sometime from March 1 (in the south) through May (in the far north). But if I only have one week, when is the best time to try? Wherever you go, one can surely suggest a period of 1-3 weeks in any location where it's likely you will see them.

It's no different for birds, bears, butterflies or other wildlife. If you want the best chance of seeing wild animals, you go at the peak time, usually the middle of the "season" when they're there. Just like if I wanted to see Sakura in Kyoto, I'd probably go in mid-April (along with everyone else).

So yes, I know that in theory, some cranes are there near Kushiro all year, and in theory, you might see one in July or October, bit it's not very likely. I also know that "winter time" has the feeding and the mating dance. But if you have just one week...when to go?

I'm not asking what day it's guaranteed to snow. What I'm looking for is when is the most likely time that one has the best chance of seeing the cranes. It's actually a pretty simple question.

Thanks to anyone who can offer practical suggestions on the best week to aim for.
by Lowflyer (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best time to see Tancho cranes near Kushiro? 2019/5/4 11:43
I'm sorry to come across as rude Lowflyer - but please do not mock or be rude to people who have actually given reasonably accurate information. The comment about Singaporeans asking about when can they see snow is a common one. I should know - I live in Singapore!

I've visited Kushiro in October around 6/7 years ago and there were cranes then. The main flock were not here, but they tend to be in their largest numbers around February / early March just before the main thaw when many parts of Hokkaido has the smallest amount of food available.

Note that it's not that easy to get too close to them but at least you might be able to walk/snowshoe closer than I could as the walking tracks were closed when I visited due to a Bear sighting.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Best time to see Tancho cranes near Kushiro? 2019/5/6 00:53
The number of birds at the feeding stations is dependent on the weather. If it's a warmer winter but still snow cover, there will be more birds as the streams and ponds are open and the birds only sleep in standing water, but the food sources are covered. If the winter is colder and the streams/ponds freeze up, the birds move south even with the free food so they can stand in water at night. Predict the weather and you can predict the number of birds.
by Anaguma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best time to see Tancho cranes near Kushiro? 2019/5/6 11:37

We visited in Mid FEB many years ago, just after the Sapporo ice festival. Considered it was deep winter, very cold, and were we in luck? Saw many tanchos in the Kushiro Shitsugen Wetland area.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

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