+travel++japan++chiba prefecture++gyotoku birds++march 29 2009

 north east asia galleries
» Beaches
» Castles
» Chinese Characters
» Festivals
» Fireworks
» Fish
» Flowers
» Food
» Gods
» Graves
» High Rise
» Japanese New Year
» Mountains
» Pagodas
» Primitive Peoples
» Rift Valleys
» Sand
» Street Protests
» Torii
» Wild Birds
» World Expos

IN April 2009 I played host to a visit (a royal visit no less) of my mother and father, who wanted to check out the country I currently live in, which is Japan. Since my Dad is a diehard birder, I was keen to show him some of the birdlife in the city I currently reside in, which is Tokyo. Now Tokyo is not a place you normally associate with birds or any kind of nonhuman life in fact, so I was startled to discover earlier this year that Tokyo Bay (which opens about an hour's walk from my apartment) is a major player on the migratory bird route. In the 19th century more than 200 species of birds dropped into the bay on their long jaunts around the world. Snow geese were so plentiful that naturalists of the era described them, well, like a blanket of snow. There used to be hordes of them. Of course Tokyo has turned into a massive metropolis in the meantime, and the banks of Tokyo Bay are lined with factories, skyscrapers, wide concrete avenues, acres of rusting steel. The Edo River stills flows, but its breadth is punctuated by numerous bridges. Browngrey projects (called mansions in Japlish) line the shores. To their credit the authorities are doing their best to reclaim the river and the bay, and bring back the birds. A string of bird sanctuaries have been established, one of which is at Gyotoku (Chiba Prefecture). There is another one right next to Haneda Airport in Shinagawa Ward, under the flight paths. What you might see here and at the other bird sanctuaries to be found around the bay: plovers, sandpipers, gulls, terns all the way from Australia, thousands of ducks, grebes, cormorants in water. Particularly, as the tide rises and falls, black-bellied plovers, dunlins, bar-tailed godwits, etc. Herons and finches. My Dad was impressed with the terns, which plunged endlessly into the rainspawn pond (this was at the Shinagawa sanctuary). .


Birds of Japan

Tancho Crane Park, Kushiro, Hokkaido