Birdwatching in Tokyo!
Aaron is an exchange student. One day Aaron spots Shuhei, his homestay host father, working on something on his PC in the living room.
Shuhei-san, what are you doing?
Hi, Aaron. I’m organizing all the photos of birds I’ve taken on my travels. I don’t mean to brag, but they’re all great shots, aren’t they?
Shuhei-san, I didn’t know you were a birdwatcher. My Dad has the same hobby!
No kidding! Well, that’s a coincidence! Now that you mention it, I’ve heard that birdwatching is a popular hobby in Taiwan. I’m glad to hear it!
My dad used to take me birdwatching all the time when I was little. But when I became a junior high school student, I got so busy with my friends, and I stopped going birdwatching altogether.
Well, if it’s been so long, why don’t we go together? We don’t even have to go far. There are plenty of spots right here in Tokyo where we can observe birds in the wild.
Sounds great! Take me with you!
All right. Let’s stay as close to home as possible this time. Let’s see, there’s Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park in Ota Ward, and there’s Kasairinkai Park in Edogawa Ward. We can also visit the Institute for Nature Study at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Minato Ward, Todoroki Valley Park in Setagaya Ward or Shakujii Park in Nerima Ward. Which one should we go to?
How about Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park?
Great idea! Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park is one of the best birdwatching spots in Tokyo. They say that about 120 species of bird are spotted there every year.
That’s amazing! I can’t wait.
On the weekend, Aaron and Shuhei made their way to Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park.
Look! The planes are flying overhead! We’re very close to Haneda Airport. Not only that, but there’s a big wholesale market next door, and large trucks travel back and forth on nearby highways.
I’ll bet you never thought birds would gather in a place like this, did you?
At this spot, ponds and grasslands developed naturally on a landfill area of Tokyo Bay, and birds started gathering here, so it was turned into a park. One feature of the park is that it has both freshwater ponds, created by gathering rainwater, and a brackish pond, created by the mixture of seawater from Tokyo Bay and rainwater flowing in from the freshwater pond.
So you can observe the different types of birds that gather on the shores of each pond.
Which pond are we at now?
This pond is a brackish pond. Look, here you can see a gray heron, and over there you can see great cormorants.
They’re all resting on top of stakes.
We can see the tidal flats from that observation hut. Let’s go over there. In this season we should be able to see some relatives of the sandpiper and plover.
This is the observation hut? It’s nice! Not only do they lend out binoculars free of charge, but there are telescopes installed in the observation spots, too!
We’re in luck! There’s a whimbrel and a gray-tailed tattler. I hope you won’t mind if I concentrate on my photography for a bit.
Not at all! I think I’ll take pictures with my smartphone and send them to my dad in Taiwan.
Would you like to borrow my camera afterward? If you’re interested, I’ll teach you some of the finer points of photographing birds in the wild.
Do you mean it? Thanks, that would be great! My father will be amazed when he sees the great photos I’m going to take!
Ono Bldg. 3F, 17-15 Kandamatsunagacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0023