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Light Birding

April 14th, 2006

This just must not be a very good time for birding. I’m going out there, but I’m not finding much. No life birds, of course, but not much in the way of birds at all. My luck has been especially poor at the Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park; seems like every time I’ve been there for a long time now, I’ve come up dry, or nearly so. Just a long trip, some walking, and butkus. I finally came up with the idea of calling in first, and asking if the birds are out there–but only after I went this time. What I’d like to suggest next time is that they do a mailing list, if they have computers in the observation center. They could set up a mailing list which people could subscribe to automatically. Then, when the volunteers in the center saw a good number of birds, they could send out a mailing. Birdwatchers with an eye on their computers would get notice that it was a good time to go to the park. Alternately, they could send out regular messages two or three times a day listing the birds spotted at the time. The upside would be that they would get more visitors when there were birds. The downside, I suppose, is that attendance (and income from fees) would drop when birds were scarce. Still, I’m going to suggest it to them.

Actually, this trip was worse than usual: I headed out to the park on my scooter on Thursday, and fifteen minutes out from the park, my bike broke down. I thought it just ran out of gas, so I pushed it up a hill to the nearest gas station. But after filling it up, it still wouldn’t work. So I pushed it down the same hill and up another to a bike shop, and they tried changing the spark plug, to no avail; they said the wiring was probably bad, and being a Yamaha shop (mine’s a Suzuki), they couldn’t fix it. So I called the chain I bought the bike from, and they came and picked the bike up and dropped me off at the nearest station to get home. Turned out that the bike had been on recall for three different issues, and my bike broke down due to one of them. That’s nice. Good of them to call me up and tell me about it. Instead, they leave me to break down and waste a whole day.

In any case, they fixed all three issues, and so I had to take the bus and train to Kawasaki City, then walk a distance to pick up the bike–always fun when your foot is still healing from a bone break. After picking up the bike, I figured I was close enough to the mouth of the Tama River to check it out. Good thing, too–it was the best birding area I had been to all week. I didn’t see anything new (I think), but did see new plumage on an old find. Specifically, the Black-headed Gull:


Before, I had only seen them like this:


There was a whole flock of them further out, in fact, in various degrees of plumage change:


There were also a few other gulls. These two I caught together, for an interesting contrast in their size:


I think the big one is a Herring Gull, but am unsure about the lesser one. Could be any one of several species, an immature gull I suppose. I’ll try to find out which one somehow.

Other than the gulls, there really wasn’t much out there. Cormorants galore. Various ducks, mostly Spot-billeds, Tufteds, Widgeons, and some Teals. I spotted but could not photograph a Little Tern. The Dusky Thrushes are back. The Brown-eared Bulbuls and White-cheeked Starlings are freakin’ everywhere. And that’s just about it.

Aside from birds, there were a few other things. When my bike broke down, it was near a small park with a pond. In the pond were turtles (fairly common in these parts), but this one seemed unusually relaxed:


And when my bike broke down and I was pushing it up that hill, I passed a girl walking her pet. But the pet made me do a double-take: it was a monkey. Not too often do you see a girl walking a monkey on the streets of Tokyo. Later, when I was in the park, I ran across her again; she had met up with a guy who also had a monkey, a younger one. The two monkeys were cuddled together for a rest, and looked quite charming.


Categories: Birdwatching, Uncategorized Tags: by
  1. ykw
    April 16th, 2006 at 01:53 | #1

    Nice photos !!!

  2. Brad
    April 18th, 2006 at 15:20 | #2

    I love the turtle and monkeys!

  3. April 22nd, 2006 at 15:18 | #3

    Mystery Bird…

    I would record KAMOME, but which one…

    Larus canus / heinei / kamtschatschensis ???

    Most Common Gulls recorded in Korea and Japan are of the kamtschatschensis form, but the the jury is still out. If this was a younger bird, triangular brown pattening on the covets v striated pattens might be helpful in aiding a more positive identification.

    Age… 2nd year?

    Best I can do :(

  4. April 24th, 2006 at 12:26 | #4

    Great pictures! I really like the turtle- so relaxed and probably has no idea how cute he is.

  5. jessica
    February 7th, 2009 at 03:04 | #5

    monkeys are chimps jessica loves monkeys

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