Brazil Day, December 5, 1997

On December 5th the small children in the Netherlands are all anxiously waiting for the arrival of Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet. Throughout  the year  they live in Spain, but his birthday Sinterklaas spends with the children in the Netherlands.  If you have behaved properly the past year, he will ask Zwarte Piet to give you your  present which Zwarte Piet carries in a large bag hanging over his shoulder. If not, then Zwarte Piet will carry you in that very same bag back to Spain. Typically the Mayor of your town and the Headmaster of your school will announce the visits of the holy man and his helper to your city hall and your  school... 
Some days before the 5th of December Ikenaga-san announced to the Kantorians the visit of his friend Mark Brazil to Tsukuba. In the evening of the 4th there was a pleasant dinnerparty at his place (Katayama-san turned out to be a genuine noodle specialist!) and for December 4th Ikenaga-san had concocted a busy program, involving many visits to all kind of local birding spots and museums of natural history and topped with a timely visit to Narita Airport to put Mark on his flight back to New Zealand.

Eventually we visited Shinoike, Ottonuma and  the museum in Ushiku, and the Abiko city museum of birds..

Mark Brazil turned out to be a keen birdwatcher (despite being the whole day bothered by a rather heavy cold or allergy): always alert, with a sharp and knowing ear for bird calls. He spotted a Tobi on the way to Shishitsuka-oike, a bird rarely seen in Tsukuba, immediately located the Benimashiko in Shishitsuka-oike, when Ikenaga-san had explained that it was  possible visitor, and noted the two Tsugumi overhead in Ushiku, which are surprisingly rare this whole December month.

Participants: Asuka Haruhiko, Mark Brazil, Stefan Gleissberg, Ikenaga Hiroshi and Fer-Jan de Vries.

Weather: not particularly memorable. It was overcast but dry. Not too cold, nor windy.



  1. Mallard Anas Platyrhynchos
  2. Green-winged Teal Anas crecca crecca [Ko-gamo]
  3. Gadwall Anas strepera [Okayoshi-gamo]
  4. Northern Pintail Anas acuta [Onaga-gamo]
  5. Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope [Hidori-gamo]
  6. Black kite Milvus migrans [Tobi] 1 ex, just west of the area.
  7. Northern goshawk Accipter gentilis [Ou-taka] 1 female
  8. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis [Kawa-semi] 1 ex.
  9. Japanese pygmy woodpecker Dendrocopos kizuki [Ko-gera]
  10. Japanese wagtail Motacilla grandis [Seguro-sekirei]
  11. Bull-headed shrike Lanius bucephalus [Mozu]
  12. Daurian redstart Phoenicurus auroreus [Joobitaki]
  13. Pale thrush Turdus pallidus [Shirohara]
  14. Great tit Parus major [Shijuu-kara]
  15. Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonica [Mejiro]
  16. Siberian meadow bunting Emberiza cioides [Hoojiro]
  17. Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica [Kashiradaka]
  18. Black-faced bunting Emberiza spodocephala [Aoji]
  19. Long tailed rosefinch Uragus sibiricus [Beni-mashiko]
  20. Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes [Shime]
  21. Gray starling Sturnus cineraceus [Mukudori]


  1. Little grebe Podiceps ruficollis [Kaitsuburi]
  2. Spot-billed duck Anas poecilorhyncha
  3. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata [Hashibiro-gamo]
  4. Falcated Teal Anas falcata [Yoshi-gamo] About 45.
  5. Gadwall Anas strepera [Okayoshi-gamo]
  6. Northern Pintail Anas acuta [Onaga-gamo]
  7. Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope [Hidori-gamo] At least 80.
  8. Coot Fulica atra [Ou-ban]
  9. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis [Kawa-semi] 3 ex.
  10. Rufous turtle dove Streptopelia orientalis [Kiji-bato]

Ushiku Nature Sanctuary

  1. Dusky thrush Turdus naumanni [Tsugumi]
  2. Great tit Parus major [Shijuu-kara]
  3. Long-tailed tit Aegithalos caudatus [Enaga]
  4. Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonica [Mejiro]
  5. Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica [Kashiradaka]
  6. Jay Garrulus glandarius [Kakesu]
And on the way to Narita airport from Abiko:
  1. Great Crested grebe Podiceps cristatus [Kanmuri-kaituburi] 1 ex on the Tonegawa near Saikaibashi in Tonemachi.
  2. (Northern) Lapwing Vanellus vanellus Same place a bit more to the west. [Tageri]

Birds of Japan and Asia ,
Januari 7, 1998,
Fer-Jan de Vries.