Friday 18 December 2015

First day in Japan

It's been one hell of a slog to get to where I am sat currently (in the Best Western Hotel at Suminoekoen, Osaka). In fact to be precise it was a slog lasting 25 hours from take-off at Heathrow to arriving at Suminoekoen station this afternoon, involving two planes and three trains. Although I was exhausted, my first ride on the Shinkansen woke me up - not only for the speed but for the views of Japan as we journeyed south, highlighted by the glorious sight of Mount Fuji on a clear day.

Mt Fuji from the Tōkaidō Shinkansen

After this quite considerable effort to reach Osaka on my first afternoon, I was naturally a little disappointed not to find the returning drake Baer's Pochard at his favoured haunt in Suminoe Park. And what a strange place it is, for one of the world's rarest birds - a swimming pool!

Prime habitat for critically endangered birds

Though the light was already fading by late afternoon, the park provided some reasonable compensation (for a Brit) in the form of a handful of Dusky Thrushes and Oriental Turtle Doves, as well as a few new birds for me: Eastern Spot-billed Duck, Oriental Greenfinch and Eastern Great Tit, all of which fall between 'common' and 'complete trash' in terms of Japanese status. Black-backed Wagtails (lugens) were pretty nice as well, with one sitting still for long enough at dusk for me to rattle off a few record shots at high ISO.

 Eastern Spot-billed Duck

Motacilla (alba) lugens

Right, I'm off to bed.

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