Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Winter Favourite in Autumn

Location: Sagamihara Chosuichi, Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture

Access: Shinjuku Station to Sagamiono Station - Odakyu Line. Sagamiono Station to Joshibi University of Art and Design (last stop) - Bus 60 from Stand 3. Walk from University Bus Stop through Sagamihara Koen to Sagamihara Chosuichi

Weather: 8/8 Cloud (Overcast), Cool - Warm, Still - Light Breeze

Time: 1.00pm - 2.30pm

Birds: Great Cormorant, Spot-billed Duck, Oriental Turtle Dove, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, Brown-eared Bulbul, Varied Tit, Great Tit, Carrion Crow, Jungle Crow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Siberian Meadow Bunting

Comments: Sagamihara Chosuichi in winter is a renowned haven for wildfowl, but for the rest of the year the waters are almost sterile but for Great Cormorant, Spot-billed Duck and the occasional water-skimming Barn Swallow.

White Wagtail were present on the banks of the dam and nearby alotments, the majority exhibiting a pale yellow face. While a yellow face is generally considered an unreliable way to age a Wagtail, it is more common in first winter birds in Europe and has been noted as a possible feature of immature birds in Japan (Wild Bird Society of Japan, 1982).

As Typhoon 13 (Shanshan) moves up the west coast of Japan, it started to rain as we departed the dam and soon set in for the remainder of the day and evening.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Intermediate Egret (at last)

Location: Yatsuhigata Tidal Flat, Narahino, Chiba Prefecture

Access: 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: 6/8 Cloud, Cool, Light Breeze

Time: 9.15am - 11.15am

Birds: Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Egret, Intermediate Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Common Teal, Spot-billed Duck, Black-winged Stilt, Lesser Sandplover, Grey Plover, Far Eastern Curlew, Common Greenshank, Terek Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-tailed Gull, Rock Dove, Common Kingfisher, Japanese White-eye, Grey Starling, Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Comments: A single Intermediate Egret is another notch in our yearly count. This bird could so easily have been missed amongst the large number of Little and Great Egrets on the well-exposed flats (in fact, along with the Black-crowned Night Heron, Common Greenshank and Lesser Sandplover, it is not recorded on the daily record on the Yatsuhigata web site).

Field Notes: Little Egret pose and stance, black-tipped yellow bill - not as long or as heavy as the Great Egret, black feet, size clearly between the nearby Little and Great Egrets. An hour later we wander past again to find another couple with scopes and bird guide out, making the same identification.

2006 Japan Bird Count: 116 Species