Thursday, January 26, 2006

Eurasian Kestrel

Location: Mouchibenten Camp Ground, Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture

Sagamigawa near the Mouchibenten Camp Grounds, Sagamihara - Jan 26th 2006Access: Shinjuku Station to Hashimoto Station - Keio Line. Bus from South Exit to Mouchibenten Camp Bus Stop. Walk 10 minutes to Camp Site

Weather: Clear, Warm, Light Breeze

Time: 3.00pm - 5.00pm

Birds: Great Cormorant, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Black Kite, Eurasian Kestrel, Buff-bellied Pipit, White Wagtail, Japanese Wagtail, Dusky Thrush, Brown-eared Bulbul, Bull-headed Shrike, Jungle Crow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Oriental Greenfinch, Black-faced Bunting, Siberian Meadow Bunting

Comments: The popular Mouchibenten Camp Ground in Sagamihara, on the banks of the Sagamigawa, is deserted at this time of year but for a few fitness fanatics and fishermen. From the camp ground a high bank runs between the river and a flat plain of rice fields, which in turn, abuts a steep and thickly wooded hill - the fringe of Sagamihara's urban sprawl.

Few birds are on the river except for a close knit group of four Little Egret, and small groups of Eurasian Wigeon and Common Teal. The exposed grey pebble river bed of the Sagamigawa is always home to large numbers of Wagtails, while the dry brown reeds on the banks are popular with Siberian Meadow Bunting and Black-faced Bunting.

In the rice fields, criss-crossed with narrow roads, can be found Buff-bellied Pipit and Bull-headed Shrike; while the wooded slopes are home to large numbers of Jungle Crow and one Eurasian Kestrel (our 65th species for the year) - distinctive by its size and shape, rufous back with black wingtips, a single black bar at the end of a white tail, and black 'tear' under the eye.

A small variety of other common species add to the list, while a gentleman flying a remote-control aircraft buzzes too closely to the highest tree tops and finds his shiny white aircraft suddenly stuck at an impossible to reach position - we leave shortly after as he contemplates the futility of it all!

Links: map (Japanese)

2006 Japan Bird Count: 65 Species


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