Birding/ Bird watching in Japan - Akigase Park

Wednesday 10th of April 2019 and my alarm went off 5 minutes before 4 o´clock and they called from the reception 5 minutes later. I will go by train to meet my Guide at the Naka-Urawa Station. And while I'm on the train you can have a look (if you want) at the bird checklists my guide sent me while I´m on the train. Bird check lists as pdf files below:
Tokyo Area bird check list - April

Miyake Island bird check list - April

5:36 Takeshiba Station (Yurikamome Line) Train to Shinbashi 3 min.
5:48 Shinbashi Station (JR Keihin-Tohoku/Negishi Line for Omiya) *Platform No.6 Train to Omiya 30 min.
6:21 Akabane Station (Saikyo Line for Omiya) Train to Naka-Urawa 16 min.
6:37 Naka-Urawa Station
Drive for Akigase Park 15 min. 4km

Looking out the window and it was gloom and grey for long as I could see. And an annoying drizzle so it was clever that we did Mount Takao yesterday. Coming out from the hotel, Bayside Hotel Azur Takeshiba Hamamatsucho walking to the Takeshiba Station and it was cold.

Birding/ Bird watching in Japan - Akigase Park
Not many passengers on the train

My Guide was waiting for me at the Naka-Urawa Station and we went out to his car for the short drive to the Akigase Park / Sakuraso Park.

さいたま市--さくら草公園 (Akigase Park / Sakuraso Park, Saitama)

Akigase Park / Sakuraso Park is two parks. There are several parks along the Arakawa River and it can be hard to notice when walking across the borders. Akigase Park / Sakuraso Park is perfect for birding as there are many different habitat. Public Park, Forest, Rice Paddies and River habitat so you can see all kinds of birds.

And you can drive your car along small roads, very good as it was raining when I was there so I used the car as a moving bird hide. So it is a recommended birding site. The only trouble you can run in to is transportation between the park and the railway station. OK, taxi from the train station is easy enough, but to get back can be a little harder.

Get the phone number to the taxi driver that dropped you in the park, but make sure the driver understand English. And if you plan to spend a full day you need to bring picnic lunch as I could not see any restaurants or vending machines in the area.

Birding/ Bird watching in Japan - Akigase Park

We stop between the Akigase Park / Sakuraso Park but it is raining so I cannot get out of the car as I risk to destroy my camera. My guide had umbrellas but that won´t be good enough. We see Brown-headed Thrushes and the beautiful Hawfinch from the car and this is of course birds I want to have on picture.

No sign of the rain stopping any time soon. I suggested that we should park under the bridge and we can look for birds under the bridge. One Dusky Thrush a couple of Tree Sparrows and Oriental Greenfinches is all that we see. We decide to get back in to the car and we drive around looking for birds.

We spot the very beautiful Black-faced Bunting / アオジ and I manage to get a picture. I was happy with the picture even if the bird is behind some twigs and leafs.

Birding/ Bird watching in Japan - Akigase Park
Raining so I can´t get out of the car

Birding/ Bird watching in Japan - Akigase Park
Bird watching under the bridge

Black-faced Bunting, Emberiza spodocephala personata, アオジ

Dusky Thrush, Turdus eunomus, ツグミ

Birding/ Bird watching in Japan - Akigase Park - Brown-headed Thrush
Brown-headed Thrush through a rainy window
Obviously not good enough to make it to my list of observed birds

We see the Brown-headed Thrush just in front of us, but the pictures taken through the window went straight to the garbage bin. I tried to get out and the bird took off. I discovered two Hawfinches on the lawn. Pictures straight to the garbage bin as the birds was too far away.

The fields are full of White-cheeked starlings and Dusky Thrushes but it seems like the rest of the birds are taking cover from the rain. We drive along the road along the stream and there are plenty birds in the bushes/ reefs. If it could only stop raining and I could get out of the car with my camera.

Canon 5D and I have had the camera for 3 to 4 years and, well, it is not giving up. But this camera have experienced a lot of rain during the time with me. 5D is a sturdy camera and it can take some rain but right now here and then I decided to buy a new camera when I come back home to Bangkok. I also need a back-up camera on my travels, imagine coming to the Amazon and Antarctica and the camera bails on you. Then I need an extra camera.

I was disappointed with the Hawfinch, a bird I have planned to see in Sweden on my next bird watching tour in Skåne and I have booked a room in an area where eBird show reported Hawfinches.

We see the beautiful Meadow Bunting in the reeds, a male singing, but too far away for any good pictures. Japanese Tits and Thrushes, but no pictures.

Birding/ Bird watching in Japan - Akigase Park - Meadow Bunting or Siberian Meadow Bunting, Emberiza cioides, ホオジロ

Birding/ Bird watching in Japan - Akigase Park - Japanese tit, Parus minor, Oriental tit, シジュウカラ

We drove around among the rice paddies and we spotted several Japanese Green Pheasants / キジ (キタキジ) There was also an Japanese Skylark / ヒバリ that I could not get on picture

After an hour we had seen many of the Hawfinches but no pictures. But I managed to get one bird when we were about to leave. And going back towards the train station we passed a Pale Thrush just before leaving the park. Not very good picture but OK.

It was raining and there wasn´t much light in the park so not expected from the pictures.

Hawfinch, Coccothraustes coccothraustes, シメ, Stenknäck

Hawfinch, Coccothraustes coccothraustes, シメ, Stenknäck
Hawfinch / シメ

Hawfinch, Coccothraustes coccothraustes, シメ, Stenknäck
Hawfinch / シメ

Pale Thrush, Turdus pallidus, シロハラ

My eBird checklist from Akigase Park / Sakuraso Park, Saitama can be downloaded HERE
Or online on ebird´s web page, click HERE

A short day due to the rain, but it had been an excellent day and we had seen many birds. My birding in Japan have come to an end. I had dinner at the hotel and in bed early and I will fly back home tomorrow morning. Click HERE to see how that goes.

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