more birding in tokyo- oi yacho koen

To: "'Raquel Ormella'" <>
Subject: more birding in tokyo- oi yacho koen
From: "Geoffrey Dabb" <>
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2010 11:36:44 +1100

Most frustrating with no F Guide, Raquel.  Among the books acquired in the buying frenzy caused by my own fieldguide-deprived days, I have –


M Brazil  -  The Birds of Japan

Wild Bird Soc of J  -  A Field Guide to the Birds of Japan

Y Yamashina  -  Birds in Japan: a Field Guide

J Robinson  -  A Birder’s Guide to Japan

K Kobayashi – Birds of Japan in Natural Colours (in Japanese)

Y Kiyosu – Bird’s Life in Japan (in Japanese, 2 vols)


I do not speak Japanese and have never been birdwatching in Japan.  However if there’s something in particular I can look it up for you.


One of my favourite little books is “Japanese Birds” by Prince Nobusuke Takatukasa, in English and  published by ‘Board of Tourist Industry, Japanese Government Railways’ IN 1941.  Evocative watercolours show the birds the English-speaking tourist in 1941 might have come across in travelling through the Japanese countryside.  One of the illustrations is below.  I have indicated the Daurian Redstart, evidently a common-enough sight from your railway carriage.


in Japan.jpg



From: Raquel Ormella [
Sent: Monday, 18 January 2010 12:13 AM
Subject: [canberrabirds] more birding in tokyo- oi yacho koen



Hi All

I am in Tokyo at the moment and as there is a bit of a Japanese thread running I thought I would let you know about a great bird park that reminded of Kelly’s Swamp- sort of. Also I am here for 3 months- if anyone has any birding contacts I would love to meet them.

The Tokyo Port Bird Park (Oi Yacho Koen) is an easy trip from Shibuya and run by the Wild Bird Society of Japan (300 yen entry- like $4). It an amazing large park, that has been regenerated around several reed bed fringed ponds. There are 3 fresh water ponds and one salt water tidal pond (which is very large), 5 hides with free spotting scopes, toilets, picnic tables, a small market garden, a nature education centre (a beautiful wooden teaching room), AND a 3 story centrally heated visitors centre that has a panoramic glass wall equipped with scopes on mobile stands, onto the large salt water pond- amazing! There is a ranger station there and they had field guides in different languages for reference. You need to go in there to defrost- it was 2 degrees on my first visit. The whole park is ringed by the industrial port of Tokyo and is a place that birds are using despite the oddness of the setting. - hence the Kelly’s reminder.

The whole place is really well maintained by staff and volunteers. The hides where not only spotless, with floors freshly mopped but they had air freshners. It was a bit disconcerting as one of them was eucalyptus.

I have been there twice this week. The birds I have seen on those to trips are: Little Grebe, Common Cormorant, Spot-billed Duck, Pintail, Pochard (I’m going to have to double check the beaks now), Tufted Duck, Common Kingfisher (4 in total- they are like a cross between a sacred and azure, with a iridescent light blue racing strip down their backs- breath taking), Grey Heron, Common Coot, Common Sandpiper, Rufous Turtle Dove, White wagtail, Brown eared Bulbul, Brown Thrush, Dusky Thrush, Great Tit, Siberian Meadow Bunting, Reed Bunting, Grey Starling and the ever present Jungle Crow.

Three rare birds where also present- the Common Buzzard (3), Northern Goshawk (1) and a European Bittern.

On my second visit on Saturday there was a small group of birders encamped especially to see the Buzzards who are visitors at this time of year, and hoping to see the Bittern who is a new visitor. They where really friendly and a great help with identification, about as many women as men, and all with super-duper cameras. But if you like to be alone, it was only 2 others and me there mid week.

For anyone looking for a field guide – I bought a second hand copy of Mark Brazils’ Birds of Japan, it's a large and heavy book with only 6 pages of colour plates (one being an enormous Stellar Eagle- one I would think you would not have to cross check with another bird). I was hoping to get a guide with roman script that I could use in the field and have Brazils book for translations but the best field guides I have found are only in kanji. The Wild Birds Society’s Field Guide to the birds of Japan (in English) is out of print- copies go from $50 to $500 on Amazon. Their Field Guide to the Water Birds of Asia is still in print and available from their office.


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