Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Sagamihara Chosuichi Dam

Sagamihara Chosuichi Dam (map) is located in Sagamihara, Kanagawa; adjacent to Sagamihara Park and a short walk from the Joshibi University of Art and Design. The dam was built in 1952 with a water surface area of 12ha and an effective storage capacity of 700,000 cubic meters. It is a popular site for ducks and, of course, bird watchers.

Sagamihara Chosuichi Dam - Southern Fence LineA tall fence surrounds the dam, but it is along the southern edge (closest to Sagamihara Park) that provision has been made for birders, with gaps provided for binoculars and scopes. This is also the best vantage point for birders to view the whole dam.

Inside the dam, the western concrete bank is currently a favourite hangout for Common Teal, Mallard and Mandarin Duck. Common Teal also inhabit the southern bank, while Tufted Duck, and the occasional Spot-billed Duck and Northern Pintail enjoy the south-eastern corner. Along the northern banks Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Pintail and Northern Shoveler hold court, while in the center of the dam Grey Heron and Great Cormorant rule.

Along the southern side, a walkway extends out into the dam to a deck; and while this can not be accessed by the public, around the base is a prime spot for Falcated Teal, Madarin Duck, Mallard and Common Teal.

Gadwall, Common Pochard and Eurasian Coot are found in far less numbers, at any one of these locations on any day. White Wagtail and Common Sandpiper are also commonly seen along any of the banks. Little Grebe are most often seen out in the center of the dam.

Sagamihara Chosuichi Dam - Western EdgeThe Japanese Wagtail is usually spotted from a dirt road along the western side of the dam. On the western side of this road are allotments and open country. The Japanese Wagtail likes to spend time flitting between both environments. This location is also popular with Bull-headed Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Siberian Meadow Bunting and Oriental Greenfinch.

Common Starling are often located in large numbers near the main entrance to the dam on the northern side. The small and ubiquitous Eurasian Tree Sparrow, which travel in large flocks, is to be found anywhere around the perimeter. The Oriental Turtle Dove are ocassionally seen in small numbers on surrounding telephone wires, as are Carrion and Jungle Crows.


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