Sunday, January 15, 2006

Yatsuhigata Tidal Flat

Location: Yatsuhigata Tidal Flat, Narahino, Chiba Prefecture

Looking over the Yatsuhigata Tidal Flat to the Nature Observation Center - Jan 15 2005Access: Shinjuku Station to Tokyo Station - JR Chuo Line. Tokyo Station to Minami-Funabashi Station - JR Keiyo Line. Walk to Observation Centre from North side of Minami-Funabashi Station - 20 minutes

Weather: Clear, Cool - Warm, Light Breeze

Time: 9.30am - 12.00pm

Birds: Little Grebe, Black-crowned Night Heron, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Spot-billed Duck, Northern Pintail, Black-winged Stilt, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Common Black-headed Gull, Rock Dove, Oriental Turtle Dove, Common Kingfisher, White Wagtail, Brown-eared Bulbul, Pale Thrush, Japanese White-eye, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Common Reed Bunting

Comments: The Yatsuhigata park area sits at an extreme end of Tokyo Bay and covers 42.0ha, with 41.2ha a National Wildlife Protection Area. It was designated as a RAMSAR site in 1993 - one of 33 such sites in Japan. Subject to the ebb and flow of Tokyo Bay, it is the home of large numbers of resident and migratory shorebirds.

Arriving at the junction closest to the walkover from the station, at the western edge of the main reserve, we follow the footpath leading to the Nature Observation Centre. From this vantage point we immediately pick up Black-winged Stilt, Dunlin, Common Teal and a Common Kingfisher. Along the pathway, in the thick line of trees separating the path from the reserve, we observe the ubiquitous Brown-eared Bulbul, Oriental Turtle Dove and a single Pale Thrush staying close to the ground in the heaviest shrubbery.

Arriving at 9.30am, with 4 hours until low tide, we pay 300 Yen to enter the Nature Observation Centre and look through the scopes lining the large picture windows. The mudflats beneath the building contain a solitary Common Sandpiper and an immature Black-crowned Night Heron standing at the edge of where the reeds meet open ground at the western end.

The high tide concentrates the majority of the shorebirds in the far north-eastern corner of the flat, so we walk a part of the 3.5km footpath that surrounds the reserve for a closer view. Here are large numbers of Dunlin in winter plumage, together with a variety of ducks and Common Black-headed Gulls.

Along the footpath, following the northern side of the reserve Japanese White-eye are found in almost every tree, while in the tall reeds in the north-western corner we have excellent views of Common Reed Bunting.

Links: Yatsuhigata Homepage (English)

2006 Japan Bird Count: 56 Species


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