Monday, January 09, 2006

Coming of Age Day Birds #1

Location: Ikuta Ryokuchi Park, Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture

Wooden Walkways in Ikuta Ryokuchi Park - Jan 9th 2005Access: Shinjuku Station to Mukogaoka-yuen Station - Odakyu Line. Walk 10-15 minutes to Park Entrance

Weather: Cloudy, Cold, Light Breeze

Time: 8.30am - 11.30am

Birds: Spot-billed Duck, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Oriental Turtle Dove, Rock Dove, White Wagtail, Brown-eared Bulbul, Red-flanked Bluetail, Dusky Thrush, Japanese Bush Warbler, Great Tit, Varied Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Japanese White-eye, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Carrion Crow, Hawfinch, Black-faced Bunting

Comments: Monday, January 9th, was a public holiday in Japan - Coming of Age Day (Seijin no hi) - where Japanese men and women who have turned 20 years-of-age in the last year dress in formal and traditional attire to attend municipal ceremonies. It was also a grey and cold morning.

The Ikuta Ryokuchi Park in Kawasaki is a 10-15 minute walk from Mukogaoka-yuen Station on the Odakyu Line in Kanagawa Prefecture. Entrance to the park is free and various paths lead visitors through the undulating Tama Hills - woodland dominated by oak - bordering residential zones, and the Kawasaki Kokusai Golf Course to the south. In the northwest arm of the park, wooden walkways lead through open woodland, rice fields, grassland, and a small bamboo forest. Various ponds and water courses are found throughout the park.

Immediately on entering the park, near the main entrance, we find large numbers of Great Tit and a single Red-flanked Bluetail by a small waterfall in an area named Shoubu-en. Walking then into Funsui-ike, at the centre of the park, we find flocks of Eurasian Tree Sparrow, White Wagtail and Rock Dove by the frozen fountain/pond. At another frozen nearby pond, Okuno-ike, a couple of Spot-billed Ducks.

From here the paths lead up into the undulating Tama Hills - Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Oriental Turtle Dove, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Japanese White-eye, Brown-eared Bulbul and Carrion Crow are easily found; while a single Varied Tit, Dusky Thrush and Hawfinch, and a pair of Black-faced Bunting are harder won.

Descending down wooden stairs into the valley in the northwest arm of the park, we locate a pair of Japanese Bush Warbler on the slope - after spending a lot of time following their rustling in heavy scrub. Along the wooden walkways we meet a local birder who tells us of a reported Yama-shigi (Eurasian Woodcock) in the area - however we were unable to find it. Locate one pair of Black-faced Buntings in shrubbery by a rice field before emerging back into the housing area.

Ikuta Ryokuchi Website (English) and map (Japanese)

2006 Japan Bird Count: 44 Species


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