Between Takasaka and Hatoyama

Some bird observations by Fer-Jan de Vries.

Most observations are made while commuting by bike between from my home in Takasaka to the Hitachi lab in Hatoyama, Saitama-ken, Japan in the period

July 1 1995 - July 1 1996, plus some later updates...

  1. Little grebe Podiceps ruficollis [Kaitsuburi] On the lower ponds in the garden, one pair in summer time, 6 ex in wintertime (Dec). None in Jan, after short frost period. The pair returned in March.
  2. Great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo [Kawa-u] 1 ex in breeding plumage above river east of highwaybridge north of Takasaka, Jan 27. One fouraging in the lower pond, Feb 8, 96. Several ex. on Feb 24, along the rivers surrounding Takasaka. In Shinrin-koen there is a colony of at least 30 nests.
  3. Mute swan Cygnus olor [Kobu-hakuchoo] Permanent resident of the higher pond in the garden. It is female given her production of one egg in the first week of April.
  4. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos [Ma-gamo] Lower pond. Dec, about 20 ex. Jan about 14 ex.
  5. Spot-billed duck Anas poecilorhyncha [Karu-gamo] Lower pond. Dec, Jan about 15 ex. Often there is also a small group (<10) in the pond with the dragon, near the river (Nov, Dec).
  6. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata [Hashibiro-gamo] 1 female, March 5, 96.
  7. Green-winged teal Anas crecca [Ko-gamo] Lower pond. Dec, 2 males.
  8. Manderin duck Aix galariculata [Oshidori] Lower pond. Aug 2 ex., Dec. 1 female.
  9. Pintail Anas acuta [Onaga-gamo] 1 female in river east of highwaybridge north of Takasaka, Jan 27, 1996.
  10. Black-crowned night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax [Goi-sagi] 1 juvenile along river east of highwaybridge north of Takasaka, Jan 27, 1996.
  11. Cattle egret Bubucus ibis [Ama-sagi] In ricefields next to river north of Takasaka, July 13, 1995.
  12. Little egret Egretta garzetta [Ko-sagi] Flying along the ice covered small river (Dec 27). Wading in small river near petrol station just outside Takasaka, Jan 14, 1996.
  13. Gray heron Ardea cinerea [Ao-sagi] regular visitor of the garden (Dec).
  14. Long-billed ringed plover Charadrius placidus [Ikaru-chidori] Two ex. feeding on the pebles next to the very shallow river just south-east of of Takasaka, Feb 24, 1996.
  15. (Northern) Lapwing Vanellus vanellus [Tageri] Small flock (about 10 ex) on barren ricefield along bigger river north of NASDA forest, November 95. One eating a fat worm in the floodland of the river northwest of Takasaka, Feb 24, 1996.
  16. Latham's snipe ?? Gallinago hardwickii [Ouji-shigi] March 24. Plus at least 3 days before and at least 14 days after. Could be observed on the green near the porters lodge, but only in the middle of the night after 11 pm. At most 4 individuals. Feeding: it walks pecking in the dry short grass. In the middle of the open area as well on the green between the shrubs opposite the porters lodge. Rather large snipe, with a long bill. Appearance pale with two clear white lines on each side of the back, the trailing edges of the primaries and secundaries, respectively. Too large for Common snipe. Other possibility seems to be the rare Swinhoe's snipe. Visibility was not optimal. One of the porters seemed to be familiar with the birds. He has seen them in several autumns.
    In beginning October '96 similar large snipes have been spotted again by Shuichi Haupt.
    Discussion (added Nov 15 1996). Latham snipe winters in Australia, and is known to fly nonstop from as far as northen Queensland to the Tokyo region of Japan (Latham's Snipe (Gallinago hardwickii) In Australia and Japan by J.A. Naarding, Tech Rep 85/2 of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania) leaving somewhere in the end of March. I can imagine that the non-stop flight depletes all fat reserves, and that before continuing north a few weeks of recuperation are needed. However the autum sighting if it was the same snipe does not fit the migration pattern of the Latham's Snipe, which is due to arrive back in Australia late August. The white lines on the back might hint at Solitary snipe, though! But pale appareance made me doubt...
  17. Common buzzard Buteo buteo [Nosuri] Thu Dec 14 11:30. Soaring west of HARL. Rather pale, with dark carpal patches. Round tail, just as pale.
  18. European sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus [Hai-taka] Fri Dec 8, 95: 1 male passing garden of lab during lunch hour, chased by two local Carrion crows. Rather tiny, with a long tail. Brownish barred underside. Few rapid wingbeats followed by long gliding flight.
  19. Bamboo partridge Bambusicola thoracica [Kojukei] May 14, 1 adult plus full grown young, direct south of Takano-sans neighborhood.
  20. Common pheasant Phasianus colchicus [Kiji] July on the green. 1 male. Fri Dec 15, 95: 2 males between the Kuwa stumps near the river. In April, at least three males seem to live on the premises.
  21. Copper pheasant Yama-dori [Phasianus soemmerringii] In dry floodland next to river north of Takasaka, July 13, 1995.
  22. Rufous turtle dove Streptopelia orientalis [Kiji-bato] Resident around Takasaka. Any month.
  23. Common cuckoo Cuculus canorus [Kakkoo]
  24. Little cuckoo Cuculus poliocephalus [Hototogisu] May 22, heard around Hitachi garden and recorded by Nishioka-san! May 28, the whole morning one bird was singing and flying around the lab,
  25. Horsfield's hawk-cuckoo Cuculus fugax [Juu-ichi] Somewhere in September 96 one juvenile bird killed itself against a window of the lab. Nishioka-san determined the bird. For the moment it has been preserved in some freezer.
  26. House swift Apus affinis Hime-amatsubame Mino-yama east of Chichibu, March 30, 1997.
  27. Common kingfisher Alcedo atthis [Kama-semi] Along river north of Takasaka, Summer 95.
  28. Greater pied kingfisher Ceryle lugubris [Yama-semi] Passing overhead near NASDA, 2 ex. (Dec 27, a cold windy day, bright and clear, probably the first that the smaller rivers are covered by ice). Underside made a very white impression.
  29. Japanese pygmy woodpecker Dendrocopos kizuki [Ko-gera] Dec 25, in a high tree near the temple. Climbing forwards and backwards up and down branches. Size of a Great tit. Voice: low prrrrr sound. Female, as it lacked any red coloring. Similar spot Jan. Between NASDA and temple: 3 ex very active on a warm winter morning, Jan 23.
  30. Skylark Alauda arvensis [Hibari] July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec: Along the river between Takasaka and Hatoyama. Late in April it started singing again in the HARL garden. 5 pairs are present.
  31. House martin Delichon urbica [Iwa-tsubame. July, Aug, Sept... In April I haven't seen them yet. May 15, along the river south of Takasaka and Hatoyama.
  32. Barn swallow Hirundo rustica [Tsubame] Abundant, July, Aug, Sept... The first reappeared April 10. Until May 6 an irregular visitor of the upper pond area. Only after this date migration seems to be over.
  33. Water pipit Anthus spinolettaT [Tahibari> First week of March, 1 ex along the upper pond.
  34. Gray wagtail Motacilla cinerea [Ki-sekirei] few, thoughout the year. Often: around the concrete drainage system along the road leading to Monomi-yama temple, e.g. Jan 8-9, 96. Or near the dragon pond, Jan 14.
  35. White wagtail Haku-sekirei [Motacilla alba] Few, thoughout the year
  36. Japanese wagtail Seguro-sekirei [Motacilla grandis] Permanent resident of the edges and green around the higher pond.
  37. Brown-eared bulbul Hypsipetes amaurotis [Hiyodori] Abundant and noisy. Especially since Oct, Nov, Dec. Individuals are eating persimons from the trees along the road towards Monomiyama temple, Jan 96.
  38. Bull-headed shrike Mozu [Lanius bucephalus] resident in forest and on farm land between Hatoymama and Takasaka. Fri Dec 15, 95: on a sunny windless winterday I see at least 12 ex perched on electric wires, bushes, rooftops and trees along my bike route. March 3: nice and sunny weather makes them sing!
  39. Daurian redstart Joobitaki [Phoenicurus auroreus.] along golfcourse near Takasaka, November (male, female). Dec 26-Jan: one female winters in the garden just below the window of our office. Jan-Feb: female has disappeared it seems, but a male is now present. Dec 31: one surprisingly tame male next to the temple. Jan, Feb 96: daily observations at various locations.
  40. Siberian thrush ?? Turdus sibiricus [Mamijiro. One female feeding on a path between Momoyama and NASDA, Feb 23, 1996. Gray-brown thrush, size and pattern like a Dusky thrush. However no orange-brown at the wings or breast. The eyebrows light, but not as clear creamy as in the Dusky thrush, similar for the throat. White scapulars and white wingbars suggested two white lines on the grey wings. I did not see the underside of the wings. The observation is perhaps a bit early for a Siberian Thrush, which seems to be a summer visitor. However we had already a day with exceptionally warmth (20 degrees Celsius), 10 days ago, altho' followed by snow again.
  41. Pale thrush Turdus pallidus [Shirohara] One male feeding on the forest floor. With a beautifully fine speckled colarline. Togethere with Bulbuls, Jay and Black faced bunting, Feb 9.
  42. Brown thrush Turdus chrysolaus [Akahara] April 13, one adult west in the countryside of HARL.
  43. Dusky thrush Turdus naumanni [Tsugumi] Nov, Dec. Groups of 100-150 ex. can be found feeding on the meadow West of the lab, Jan 96. Individuals are eating persimons from the trees along the road towards Monomiyama temple, Jan 96. Until the end of April everyday several individuals could be seen feeding like the european Blackbirds on the green. However, somewhere in the beginning of May all of them have disappeared.
  44. Bush warbler Cettia diphone [Uguisu] July, Aug. Between temple and NASDA on a warm wintermorning, silently searching for food in a mixed flocks of tits and white-eyes, Jan 23. The first singing bird of the new season: March 7 near the temple. In April at least 10 singing individuals are present in the HARL garden. Abudant everywhere.
  45. Fan-tailed warbler Cisticola juncidis [Sekka] May 14, along river south of Takasaka and Hatoyama.
  46. Goldcrest regulus regulus [Kikuitadaki] Oct, Nov, Dec
  47. Great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus [Ou-yoshikiri] May 14, along river south of Takasaka and Hatoyama. May 23, one singing next to the pond of the Dragon.
  48. Willow tit Parus montanus [Ko-gara] Oct, Nov, Dec
  49. Coal tit Parus ater [Hi-gara] Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan.
  50. Great tit Parus major [Shijuu-kara] Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan.
  51. Varied tit Parus varius [Yama-kara] Jan 17, flying towards golfcourse opposite Hitachi.
  52. Long-tailed tit Aegithalos caudatus [Enaga] Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan(flocks of 20-30 ex)
  53. Japanese white-eye Zosterops japonica [Mejiro] Jan 9, 96: in garden on road to temple. Fouraging together with tits and buntings on a warm winter morning between temple and NASDA, Jan 23.
  54. Siberian meadow bunting Emberiza cioides [Hoojiro] Oct, Nov, Dec. Occurs around the fields near the river. Sometimes on the green in front of the lab (Dec 19). Also along the forest edge of the golf course near NASDA (Dec 26).
  55. Rustic bunting Emberiza rustica [Kashira-daka] Dec. Voice: tzit. In the forest west of Monomiyama hill (Dec 27). Several along river east of highwaybridge north of Takasaka, Jan 27.
  56. Black faced bunting Emberiza spodocephala [Aoji] Dec. Voice: metallic tzit. Along the forest edge of the golf course near NASDA (Dec 19). In forests around NASDA. Fouraging together in trees with tits, and white-eyes on a warm winter morning, Jan 23. One individual near temple, on the same spot several times in Jan, and Feb 9.
  57. Siskin Carduelis spinus [Ma-hiwa] Dec. Two ex. near NASDA, Februari 20, 1996
  58. Oriental greenfinch Kawarahiwa [Carduelis sinica] Often on the electric wires in Takasaka. Eg. Jan 13, a troop of 12 ex. Also in the forest of NASDA, Jan 23. From March residents in Takasaka again... may 28, 2 ex in the garden of the lab.
  59. Tree sparrow Passer montanus [Suzume] All year round.
  60. Gray starling Sturnus cineraceus [Mukudori] All year round. From beginning of May, the starlings have replaced the thrushes on the green of lab.
  61. Jay Garulus glandarius [Kakesu] In the forests on the hills, sometimes in the garden. Can be seen all along the route. Jan 23, near the temple. After two silent winter months, towards the end of Februari the birds become noisy again. Autumn and winter, until end of march.
  62. Azure winged magpie Cyanopica cyana [Onaga] during summer sometimes in the garden. A flock of about 40 ex in valley west of Hitachi, west of route 41, Jan 27. May 23, near Takasaka. May, around the dormitory.
  63. Carrion crow Corvus corone [Hashiboso-garasu] Resident of the garden. Often around dusk a small flock (<50 ex) can be seen over the lower pond. Likes Kaki's or Persimons.
  64. Jungle crow Corvus macrorhynchos [Hashibuto-garasu] resident in the garden, abundant in the forests. Hammering at treebark like a slow woodpecker, Jan 14.

Back to previous page Last modified: March 31,1997. Fer-Jan de Vries,