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Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park

March 29th, 2006

Last week, I finally got around to going to the Oi Park. As usual, few shorebirds were there–seems to be the norm for my visits. I’m told that April will see more birds there–but then, my first visit was April 15 last year, and there were few birds there–a swallow and a plover, aside from the ever-obligatory cormorants. Hopefully, I’ll be luckier this year. But not so far. Still, the lack of water birds didn’t mean there was nothing there. I did actually get a new life bird:

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That is a Daurian Redstart. A female alone, unfortunately–the males are much more colorful, with a full red breast, black back and face and a white cap. What marks this bird as a Daurian is the white patch on the wing. This bird is related to one of my first finds a bit more than a year ago, the Red-flanked Bluetail. Both birds are about the same size and shape.

Actually, there was one other life bird, though I’d seen it before. I simply had not been able to identify it with certainty. It’s the Buff-bellied Pipit (also called the Water Pipit):

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Also at the park, but not pictured here because I so recently showed them elsewhere, were Tufted and Spot-billed Ducks, Pochards, Mallards, and Northern Pintails, as well as Coots and Moorhens, Cormorants, Bulbuls, and Wagtails. There was also a Kingfisher, an Oriental Greenfinch, and a Grey Heron, not shown here because I couldn’t get decent shots.

There was one bird that I couldn’t get a good shot of because it was maybe half a kilometer away, across the park. I did manage to shoot an image through an available spotting scope to get enough of a shot of this Northern Goshawk:

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There was also a Herring Gull, though this one was on a rock in the Tama River, I spotted on the way in:

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Near the gull was a wagtail, this one the less common Japanese Wagtail, with the black head and white brow:

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On my way out of the park, I saw a few Japanese Pygmy Woodpeckers in the trees:

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And almost as if to console me for not seeing so many nice birds, a big flock of Azure-winged Magpies escorted me out of the park, flying and perching right above me for the last hundred meters and more to the exit.

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One other note: there are cats in the park, which when you think about it, is kind of natural. But this one cat was super-friendly. It walked straight up to me and demanded to be petted. After giving it a good neck-scratch and petting, I got back to the birdwatching. And the cat not only followed, it jumped up onto any available surface near my hands and started going back and forth. When I walked away, it chased after me, walking between my legs. Probably the friendliest cat I’ve ever met in Japan–or perhaps the most attention-starved. I practically had to run off to leave it behind.



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