Sunday, January 15, 2006

Gyotoku Bird Observatory

Location: Gyotoku Bird Observatory, Ichikawa, Chiba

Gyotoku Bird Observatory - Jan 15 2005Access: Shinjuku Station to Tokyo Station - JR Chuo Line. Tokyo Station to Ichikawa-shiohama Station - JR Keiyo Line. Walk to Gyotoku Bird Observatory - 30 minutes

Weather: Clear becoming cloudy, Warm, Light Breeze

Time: 1.00pm - 3.30pm

Birds: Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Mallard, Spot-billed Duck, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Buzzard, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Common Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Oriental Turtle Dove, Common Kingfisher, Buff-bellied Pipit, White Wagtail, Brown-eared Bulbul, Daurian Redstart, Dusky Thrush, Bull-headed Shrike, Carrion Crow, Grey Starling, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Common Reed Bunting

Comments: From the second floor of the three-storey Gyotoku Bird Observatory we look over the bird reserve "Ichikawa Yachou no Rakuen" - loosely translated as "Ichikawa Wild Bird Heaven". Immediately in front of the observatory is a pond, home to a Mute Swan, various ducks, and 27 Black-crowned Herons - I count 13 juveniles and 14 adult birds, and I suspect there are more hiding in the reeds.

An older Japanese man beckons me to look through his scope (one of many that are fixed at regular intervals on the long desk that stretches the length of the picture window) - a Common Buzzard sits alone atop a distant tree. We are told that earlier in the day a Northern Goshawk had taken a Black-crowned Heron directly in front of the observatory, much to the horror (and fascination) of the gallery!

The Ichikawa Wild Bird Heaven is completely fenced off to the public, but every Sunday and National Holiday, at 1.30pm the Gyotoku Bird Observatory opens the gates to "Heaven" and takes visitors on an escorted tour through the reserve. We put down our name for the tour and join the gathering group outside. Wearing only sand shoes, we are warned of the boggy conditions - given the heavy rain the day before - and are taken down the side of the building where dozens of pairs of gumboots are kept for ill-prepared "Heaven" newbies such as ourselves.

Scaffolds provide nesting platforms for Great Cormorants at Ichikawa Wild Bird Heaven - Jan 15th 2005Suitably shod, we spend two hours in the reserve. Highlights include a female Daurian Redstart, a Common Snipe which is startled on a side path and takes flight immediately, Greater Scaup which mingle with Tufted Ducks on the largest pond, and countless Great Cormorants building and tending nests on its banks - in the trees and especially constructed bamboo scaffolds - against the backdrop of industry.

map (Japanese)

2006 Japan Bird Count: 63 Species


Anonymous Luis said...

Ah. I see that you have linked to Google maps. Sorry, never mind.

By the way, did you see the bird hospital near the observatory? Yes, the birds are caged and so don't "count," but still, there are some great birds in there.

6:42 PM  

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