Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Osaka Birding - Day 2

Having learned from yesterday's fiasco, we asked the concierge at our hotel to call a taxi for us to take us to the Osaka Nanko Bird Sanctuary. It took us about ten minutes to get to our destination. The fare was a bit steep though - $10 - for such a short distance. Nevertheless we were glad that we are now at the birding spot we so wanted to visit.

The "hide" if you would call it that, is a semi-circle concrete structure with windows overlooking the wetlands and chairs in front of those windows for photographers to sit while taking pictures of the birds. 

However, it doesn't open until 9 am and it was only a little before 8 when we arrived. So we decided to explore the surrounding wooded area. Apparently not a good idea. For one thing birds were sparse - only the ubiquitous White-cheeked Starlings, Eurasian Tree Sparrows and Brown-eared Bulbuls were there. Another thing was the presence of gnats and other flying insects that would swarm at our faces apparently attracted by our warm breaths and moist eyes, perhaps because it was gloomy and a bit cold that morning. We met another local bird photographer who was standing by the trail looking up obviously waiting for a bird and frantically shooing away the insects that kept attacking his face. He spoke a little English and showed us what he was looking for - a Japanese Paradise Flycatcher! Unfortunately the whole time we were there the star bird of Osaka never showed up.

Nine o'clock we entered the "hide". As if on cue a flock of shore birds flew in. The sad thing was they were at some distance, too far even for my 600mm lens. Even farther away was a Great Cormorant perched on a stump. 

Some of the better shots we got were interestingly enough, the "Grey" birds:

Grey Heron

Grey Plover

After almost an hour most of the shore birds flew away. Then in flew a few Eastern Spot-billed Ducks.

Half-past ten and there weren't any interesting new birds. Then I saw an "LBJ" (little brown job) feeding on a grass stalk. Hoping that it wasn't a Eurasian Tree Sparrow, I peered through my long lens and got excited! I couldn't identify it at that moment but I knew it would be something new for us. Searching the internet later that day I was so thrilled that I was right in claiming it as lifer number four - the Grey-capped Greenfinch.

The long walk back to the hotel wasn't as bad as we thought it would be, now knowing the route we had to take.

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