Saturday, December 31, 2005

Seabirds at Manazuru Cape

Welcome to the humble diary of a Tokyo Birder. Between work, and starting a new family, this diary will record the results of various weekend (and weekday) birding trips in and around (and occasionally beyond) the Tokyo region, in 2006.

A warm-up to the big year begins on new-years eve. Please enjoy....

Location: Manazuru Cape, Manazuru, Kanagawa

Mitsuishi (Three Rock Formation), Manazuru Cape, Dec 31st, 2005Access: Shinjuku to Odawara - Odakyu Line. Transfer at Odawara Station to JR Line. Odawara to Manazuru - JR Line. Bus to Manazuru Cape (last stop) - Stand 3 in front of Station

Weather: Clear, Cool-Cold, Strong Wind

Time: 11.00am - 4.00pm

Birds: Streaked Shearwater, Temminck's Cormorant, Common Sandpiper, Eastern Reef Egret, Grey Heron, Black Kite, Black-tailed Gull, Common Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Blue Rock Thrush, Brown-eared Bulbul, Varied Tit, Carrion Crow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Common Kingfisher, Rock Dove, White Wagtail, Oriental Greenfinch

Comments: From the last bus stop and behind the "Manazuru Cape Palace" we walk down the stairs leading to the shoreline and Mitsuishi (Three Rock Formation - see picture). Herring Gulls and Streaked Shearwaters dominate the air, while the occasional Temminck's Cormorant flies by or fishes the ocean near the rocks.

Amongst the tidal pools we find a single Common Sandpiper and slate grey Eastern Reef Egret. Oriental Greenfinches fly down to sun themselves on the rocks in a small flock of six from the steep vegetated slope leading down to the beach. A Blue Rock Thrush moves from rock to rock at the ocean edge. Riding high on air currents, several Black Kites circle overhead.

Taking a deserted walking track back towards the town of Manazuru (a 4km walk) through the dark and thickly wooded hills of the promontory, we pass a wooden bird hide overlooking a low, dense sea of ferns - but no birds. A lone Varied Tit flies through the highest branches while the ubiquitous Brown-eared Bulbuls screech in the canopy.

One kilometre short of the station, we arrive at the harbour area. From the footpath between the rocky shoreline and seawall we spot an iridescent Common Kingfisher atop a pile of concrete blocks used to form a breakwater. At the base of the blocks another Eastern Reef Heron fishes in rough water, while a Grey Heron watches from atop another man-made breakwater further out to sea.

Within the harbour, Black-tailed and Common Black-headed Gulls work beside each other amongst the myriad of fishing vessels.


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