Home > Uncategorized > Tokyo Minato Yacho Koen (Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park)

Tokyo Minato Yacho Koen (Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park)

April 15th, 2005

So I finally found my way to the Tokyo Wild Bird Park in Ota Ward near Haneda Airport (closest station: Ryutsu Center Station on the Tokyo Monorail, three stops out from Hamamatsu-cho on the Yamanote Line), and had a look around. The park has one central entrance easily enough found on foot, though I’m sure it’d be very hard to locate by car–it is only accessible (or even visible) going one way off the access street, in the direction opposite from the way most people will come, and even then it’s off a secondary street you have to know to take.

Once in the park, you pay ¥300 and are handed a booklet (English version available) with a map of the park and images of the birds usually seen there. The park (see map here) divides into two sections, and seems ideal for birds–there are several lakes, brush, woods, marshes, even mudflats. The bad point is that there’s heavy traffic and trucks loading and unloading all around the periphery of the park, in addition the close-in air traffic, making quite a racket most of the time. Doesn’t seem to bother the birds, but for humans it takes getting used to.


The other problem, though you see its necessity, is that you can’t really go very near the birds at all. The pathways on the map are mostly access paths for staff; visitors are kept to the main paths, and the good viewing spots are not very close-up. They have four huts and one wall set up with viewing blinds, each one equipped with viewing scopes (a nice touch, though many are missing) and seating for the patient birder. There is also a “Nature Center” with large glass windows and more scopes, allowing for a good view of the central park area. But the birds are usually at least 20 meters or so from any viewing spot, and likely much farther; without a good zoom lens, you won’t catch many good shots. Though if you’re just there to view, the scopes they give you do quite nicely.


Because this was a weekday without many people on vacation, the park was nearly deserted. Unfortunately, there weren’t many birds around, either. Well, there were a number of birds, but not as many as one might expect for such a location. A whole flock of Cormorants, and an unusually large number of Eurasian Coots and Northern Shovelers, but nothing I hadn’t seen before, and certainly no truly uncommon birds. Tree Sparrows, Great Tits, Little Grebes, Tufted Ducks, Pygmy Woodpeckers, Dusky Trushes, Brown-eared Bulbuls, and of course, crows and pigeons were all in attendance. A Kingfisher flew by too quickly to see (though we could hear it), but mostly they were species that can be seen in a lot of other places.

However, I did see a few new species and got photos of one I hadn’t shot before. The first was a bird I have seen often of late, but is always flying fast and erratically: Barn Swallows (Tsubame • ツバメ). They were flying that way here, too, but I was able to catch a few seated on a pole not far from the viewing blinds.




While I was watching the swallows, I noted a big white bird in the distance coming in for a landing in the marsh, and got a lucky shot of it. At first, I thought it might be another of the common egrets, but this one surprised me when I took a look at the image on my computer later–it was a Grey Heron (Aosagi • アオサギ), one I’d never seen before:


The only other original bird I saw was a very nice-looking one, a Little Ringed Plover (Kochidori • コチドリ):





I also did catch a very brief glimpse of what I am pretty sure was an Azure-winged Magpie (the tail was distinctive), but no chance to photograph it this time.

So not an unproductive day, but not exactly the windfall of new species I’d hoped to see. But I’m told that later this month, around the 20th or so, there will be a lot more birds coming in from migration, so I’ll be back again to see what develops.

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  1. April 16th, 2005 at 01:36 | #1

    i must say i have become a fan of your bird watching. your photos are all great quality and it’s fun to see the animals through someone elses perspective. :)

  2. Luis
    April 16th, 2005 at 02:35 | #2

    Well, thanks!

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