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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