Cancelled Flight And Cook Your Own Food Japan Birding 30 January

Tokyo birding may not have eagles but Daurian Redstarts are very smart!

We flew to Tokyo hoping we could then fly north from Tokyo to the island of Hokkaido in search of our most wanted bird of the trip but sadly all flights cancelled due to heavy snow at our destination. Steller’s Sea Eagle would be held on ice for the time being. We were gutted but nothing we could do except hope for better luck the next day.

Our Tokyo birding location that held a surprising number of birds.

When you can’t fly to see your most wanted bird what do you, go birding of course. After hanging about the airport a long time and managing to rebook our flights to Hokkaido, the following morning, we headed out into Tokyo. Luckily despite its vast sprawl Tokyo is a green city with plenty of parks and other open spaces. Charley took us down by the river where some thin reed-beds clung to the muddy tidal banks and a few bushes managed to grow. Not the most beautiful spot but we could make out a hazy Mount Fuji and it was warm and sunny, hard to imagine the blizzards further north.

Dusky Thrushes showed very well in the afternoon sunshine by the river.

One of the first birds we saw was a gorgeous male Daurian Redstart flitting around a clump of bushes and junk washed up by the river. With the sun on this Robin sized bird it really glowed and we watched it for a long time. We walked along the river bank enjoying the sunshine and seeing some birds. Dusky Thrushes hopped about on the short grass areas, Brown-cheeked Bulbuls flew from bush to bush, White-cheeked Starlings posed in the sun and both Black-eared Kites and Eastern Buzzards showed off against the blue sky.

We enjoyed amazing close views of Pintail from the river bank.

On the river we found a gang of eleven Black-winged Stilts, new for our trip list, and a scarce bird here in winter, Vega and Black-headed Gulls loafed around on a mud bank and Carrion Crows were easy to see. Further along we came across local people feeding the ducks and were surprised to see Eurasian Wigeon and Pintail coming in for a free feed. A few Eurasian Reed Buntings, just like home, were also new for the trip.

In the evening we visited a “cook your own food” restaurant which was an experience! You order your food and it is delivered to your table that has a hot, very hot, plate in the middle and you cook it yourself. I ordered prawns and they came with vegetables and an egg to bind it together, the end result looked like an omelette and tasted very good. It was a bit of fun and well worth doing, once!

We headed for bed praying that our flight to Hokkaido would leave in the morning.

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