Friday, November 25, 2005

From the Field: Birding Tokyo at the Ueno Zoo and Shinobazu Pond

After a quick but tasty lunch at McDonald's (I know, I know, but it's cheap and fast, and I was really hungry!) I headed to the Ueno Park area. This seems to be a bit far from most of the tourist spots, but was near a very interesting area with lots of stalls selling foods and all sorts of goods. I took the Hibiya Line subway and got off at the Ueno station, this was a bit confusing, but if I had just followed the trees I would have found the park quickly.

There is a zoo in the Ueno Park area, but the main attraction is the collection of little ponds where people feed the ducks and gulls. Make sure you check all of the ponds if you have the time. For any experienced European or Asian birder, this might not be an important stop, but it was was nice for me to see, up close and personal, a few species that I do not see very often. And a good photo opportunity, too, as most of the birds are tame, and sometimes need to be chased away. It is pretty cool to see Pintails and Shovelers handing out on park benches. Anyway, the ducks that I saw were Pintail (lots), Eurasian Wigeon, Tufted Duck (lots), Pochard, Northern Shoveler, and Mallard. Also the usual Pigeons, Tree Sparrows, and Black-headed Gulls. There were a few Black-tailed Gulls, one with a silver leg band, the partial number was 881 (or 188, the band might have been outside down), if anyone knows where to report Asian bands please let me know). I looked through the fence into the part of the ponds that were in the zoo and saw a Little Egret and the Great Cormorant colony. There were a couple of larger gulls that might have been something else but I couldn't get on them in time to make a positive identification. Here are my cheater tame duck photos:

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