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Whooper Swans, Lake Kussharo, Hokkaido

Lake Kussharo in eastern Hokkaido is the largest caldera lake in Japan in terms of surface area, and the sixth largest lake in Japan overall.    Most years,  the lake freezes over completely in winter,  however the winter of 2016,   when I visited,  was unusually mild by Hokkaido standards.    The lake is home to the beautiful whooper swan which can be approached and photographed at fairly close distance.   The whooper swan is not an endangered species and is widely distributed throughout northern Eurasia.   The species is amongst the heaviest of flying birds and mate for life. Whilst the adult swans are predominantly white in plummage,  the juvenile birds have grey and brown tonings to their feathers and are,  to my mind,  the more beautiful.

Winter landscape, Lake Kussharo, Hokkaido, Japan
Winter landscape, Lake Kussharo, Hokkaido, Japan
Whooper Swan
Whooper Swan
Juvenile Whooper Swan drinking
Juvenile Whooper Swan drinking
High key Whooper Swan walking on ice
High key Whooper Swan walking on ice
Whooper Swan at ice edge
Whooper Swan at ice edge
Whooper Swan entering icy water
Whooper Swan entering icy water
Juvenile Whooper Swan trio
Juvenile Whooper Swan trio
Juvenile Whooper Swans in step
Juvenile Whooper Swans in step
Whooper Swan drinking at ice edge
Whooper Swan drinking at ice edge
Juvenile Whooper Swan swimming through ice
Juvenile Whooper Swan swimming through ice
Whooper Swan entering water with splash
Whooper Swan entering water with splash
Whooper Swan on landing approach
Whooper Swan on landing approach
Whooper Swan in winter landscape, Lake Kussharo
Whooper Swan in winter landscape, Lake Kussharo
Whooper Swan pair in landscape, Lake Kussharo
Whooper Swan pair in landscape, Lake Kussharo
Juvenile Whooper Swan resting on ice
Juvenile Whooper Swan resting on ice
Juvenile Whooper Swan resting on ice, close crop
Juvenile Whooper Swan resting on ice, close crop

As you can be see with the last image,  I couldn't decide whether I liked the original vertical format or the cropped horizontal better.   I've included both versions,  readers can form their own opinion!  :-)

As readers may appreciate,  I've got a huge number of image files to work through from my Japan trip,  you can expect more wildlife images in the days and weeks ahead.   ~ KD