Saturday, February 18, 2006

Izumi no Mori

Location: Izumi no Mori, Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture

Access: Shinjuku Station to Yamato Station - Odakyu Line (Katase-Enoshima). Walk 10 minutes to park

Weather: Partly Cloudy, Cool, Light Breeze

Time: 9.30am - 1.00pm

Birds: Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Little Egret, Great Egret, Eurasian Wigeon, Falcated Teal, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Spot-billed Duck, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Rock Dove, Oriental Turtle Dove, Common Kingfisher, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Brown-eared Bulbul, Great Tit, Japanese White-eye, Carrion Crow, Jungle Crow, Grey Starling, Eurasian Tree Sparrow

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Japanese Skylark

Location: Tama River (Komae Area), Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture

Access: Shinjuku Station to Izumi-Tamagawa Station - Odakyu Line

Weather: Clear, Warm, Still

Time: 9.30am - 12.30pm

Birds: Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Little Egret, Great Egret, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Long-billed Plover, Dunlin, Common Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Japanese Skylark, Buff-bellied Pipit, White Wagtail, Japanese Wagtail, Brown-eared Bulbul, Dusky Thrush, Carrion Crow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Black-faced Bunting, Siberian Meadow Bunting

Comments: Approaching the Tama River from the north, from Izumi-Tamagawa Station, we immediately see a single Great Crested Grebe in the centre of the river (our first on this river). Following the river bank east, we then find two Japanese Skylarks (lifers) feeding in short grass. They do not exhibit the crest depicted in the field guide, but this is quite common. Later, we find that these two Skylarks have attracted more attention with a small group of birders gathered to watch and photograph them.

Further down river, on the exposed rocky river bed, we locate a single Long-billed Plover, and a Dunlin (another first for us on this river). Large flocks of Dusky Thrush are to be found along the water and high in the trees that line the banks. The ubiquitous flocks of Eurasian Tree Sparrow fill the tall dry reeds, amongst small numbers of Siberian Meadow Buntings.

2006 Japan Bird Count: 73 Species

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Black-necked Grebe

Location: Kasai Rinkai Koen, Edogawa, Tokyo

Access: Shinjuku Station to Tokyo Station - JR Chuo Line. Tokyo Station to Kasai Rinkai Koen Station - JR Keiyo Line

Weather: Clear, Cold, Light Breeze

Time: 11.30am - 3.30pm

Birds: Black-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Spot-billed Duck, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Buzzard, Eurasian Coot, Common Sandpiper, Common Black-headed Gull, Rock Dove, White Wagtail, Brown-eared Bulbul, Daurian Redstart, Dusky Thrush, Great Tit, Japanese White-eye, Bull-headed Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Jungle Crow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Common Reed Bunting

Comments: At over 795,000 square-meters Kasai Rinkai Koen is one of Tokyo's largest parks, located in Edogawa on Tokyo Bay, across the Edo River from Chiba and Tokyo Disneyland. The Kasai Seaside Birdlife Park is located on the eastern side of the park, incorporating park land, seashore/river, man-made lake and small forest habitats. From above the man-made lakes resemble ducks (see map link). From the large central observation building, scopes are made available for birders, and a white-board provides news of interesting sightings.

At the far eastern edge of the park, we observe over 50 Black-necked Grebe (Eared Grebe) at the mouth of the Edo River. Greater Scaup, Northern Pintail, Gadwall and Eurasian Wigeon are found on Tokyo Bay, with a variety of other ducks on the man-made lakes. On the white-board there is a report of two Baikal Teal having been seen over the last couple of days, but we fail to find them.

A Common Buzzard stands vigil on the eastern lake, while a second raptor pays a fleeting visit, without staying long enough to be positively identified. The lakes are unusually bereft of waders, with only two Common Sandpiper found on the shores of Tokyo Bay.

Links: Monthly Bird Sightings for Kasai Rinkai Koen - Wild Bird Society Tokyo Chapter (Japanese); map (Japanese)

2006 Japan Bird Count: 72 Species

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Kiji Hunting (in vain)

Location: Maioka Park, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture

Access: Shinjuku Station to Totsuka Station - JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line. Totsuka Station to Maioka Station - Yokohama City Subway. Maioka Station to Maioka Park - 25 minute walk

Weather: Clear, Cool-Cold, Light Breeze

Time: 11.30am - 2.30pm

Birds: Eastern Reef Egret, Black Kite, Common Snipe, Oriental Turtle Dove, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Daurian Redstart, Dusky Thrush, Japanese Bush Warbler, Great Tit, Japanese White-eye, Brown-eared Bulbul, Bull-headed Shrike, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Black-faced Bunting, Siberian Meadow Bunting

Comments: Kiji (Green Pheasant) is a frequently seen bird in Maioka Park (Japanese - Maioka Koen), but proved frustratingly elusive on this visit. However, we did see the much more common Kiji-bato (Oriental Turtle Dove - also known as the Rufous Turtle Dove).

Maioka Park was also the venue today for the 'Big Lens' camera club. Older Japanese men and women, carrying the fruits of a life-time of hard work (i.e. camera lenses bigger than bazookas), prowled the park in small groups, and were immensely useful in spotting a beautifully camouflaged Common Snipe close to the path in a rice field.

The Maioka Park habitat is an undulating country of rice fields, coppice, streams and ponds. In one stream we locate an Eastern Reef Egret, in the less common white form - similar in size to the Little Egret but with a pale yellow bill and legs. Black-faced Bunting and Japanese White-eye are the most commonly seen birds about the park, while a Japanese Bush Warbler proved as difficult as always to locate - preferring to stay close to the ground in thick scrub.

We also locate one squirrel!

2006 Japan Bird Count: 71 Species