Jay Birding around Kansai- Kyoto 京都赏鸟

I was told that there were many birding spots in Kyoto, but with my limited time, I could only make do with areas which were easily accessible! From the hotel where I stayed, I took an early morning stroll to the Imperial Palace Park, which was about 25 mins away!

map

the canal

the canal

As I walked along the canal, there were no shortage of mallards and black headed gulls and tufted ducks, who were happily taking their morning baths (brrr…!!). They were so close that I could almost touch them!!  It was a tough walk as the roads were iced and slippery…I made quite a few falls before I got the hang of it! >.< Anyway, that wasn’t the worst stunt I made that day…I saw some stepping stones that could get me across the canal, and without further looking, I headed for it…making huge strides for each stone. I managed to catch the attention of some locals, who watched my spectacular moves, and  pointed to me that there was a footbridge nearby…@_@” Embarrassing!!

Mallard

Mallard

black headed gull in canal

black headed gull in canal

When I arrived at the entrance of the park, I was greeted by a huge flock of Japanese Grosbeaks! I was taken by surprise by the quantity and their foraging behavior on leafy grounds! The Japanese grosbeak below obviously stayed away from its noisy friends and decided to roost on a tree! 😛

Japanese  grosbeak at Imperial palace park entrance

Japanese grosbeak at Imperial palace park entrance

In Winter, thrushes were no shortage here…!  I could easily see Scaly thrush, Pale Thrush and Dusky thrush…!

scaly thrush

scaly thrush

Apart from Imperial Palace Park, I also visited Arashimaya, where I saw more cormorants and also the Japanese Wagtail!  I was hoping to see some buntings there, but I failed to find any! It was a great walk nonetheless… 😛

Arashiyama

Arashiyama

comorants

comorants

japanese wagtail

japanese wagtail

Jay Birding around Kansai- Osaka 大阪赏鸟

When munching was such a joy in Japan, one simply could not resist the temptation of savouring Japanese cuisine in Kansai.  It wasn’t meant to be a birding trip in Japan…since there were lots of other temptations, but nonetheless, I still brought along my bino and a short lens hoping to see some birds as I jay walked in the Kansai region. Having landed in Osaka, I couldn’t miss the chance of visiting Osaka Castle Park. 😛 The magnificent moats and the stone walls built from Edo period was a breathtaking sight! It’s a huge park, and as I only assigned a morning to walk there, I only went to a few areas in the map below circled in red for bird watching! 😛 😛

bird watching place at Kansai Castle Park

bird watching place at Kansai Castle Park

It was such a bliss to walk in the park in early morning, and to see locals feed the gulls was an amazing sight! They all told me to get ready when they toss the food in the air…but never have I thought the gulls would come so close for their morning meal….I had to stand so far back to get a decent shot! 😛 😛

There were plenty in winter!

Locals would throw bread to feed the gulls!

Other birds floating in the canals were the Tufted Duck, Spot Billed, Common Pochards, plenty of Black Headed Gulls and Eurasian Wigeons and Mallards of course!

common pochard and Eurasian wigeon

common pochard and Eurasian wigeon

tufted duck

tufted duck floating in canals

During winter, thrushes were never a shortage to see in Japan, a short stroll around the forest area and even open grounds, I could easily spot the Pale Thrush and the Dusky Thrush! 😛 😛 There were also the White Cheeked Starling, Black Crows (zzz), Brown Eared Bulbuls and Green Backed Tits…now where were those Varied Tits? :-/

White cheeked starling, dusky thrush, green backed tit, pale thrush

White cheeked starling, dusky thrush, green backed tit, pale thrush

Brown eared Bulbul is a resident in Japan

Brown eared Bulbul is a resident in Japan

As I was about to leave the park, I bumped into a few local birders… 😛 They gathered round an area, and while having their hot-pot (yummy!!); they raised their binos whenever a bird stopped for a little snack! I am pretty sure I’d do that when I have arthritis! OUCH!

chestnut flanked white eyeOne of my surprise visiting the Castle Park was to see a beaver! As I walked down the bridge, I saw this beaver along the edge of the canal begging for food! How cute is that? 😛

Beaver Begging for food!

Beaver Begging for food!

Apart from Osaka Castle Park, I also made a short visit to Nanko Bird Sanctuary. Here is the website. http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/search/detail/sightseeing_1235.html  I was a little disappointed as I did not see much birds at the main tower. The birds were far, so it was a better to bring a spotting scope instead! However, the walk along the trails next to the main tower hide was fruitful. Finally ticked a bird which is common to everyone but not me… @_@”. May I present to you the Oriental Greenfinch! 😛

Oriental Greenfinch

Oriental Greenfinch

Okay, here’s a photo of me munching… 😛 😛

That's me

That’s me