17.08: Touched down in Japan for barely 5 hours and I was up again, catching the bullet train out of Tokyo into the wilderness that was Karuizawa’s Wild Bird Forest. Located on a highland plateau, this bird sanctuary - otherwise known as Yacho no Mori - is home to apparently 120 species of birds. Of which many, have apparently taken wing to seek warmer pastures down south. Though (relatively) quiet it may be, it was a delight to see the remaining non-migrants. Singing, preening, bathing, feeding. Or just silently roosting - and that was the best part (amidst the ferocious, relentless mosquitoes): seeing the Ural Owl (Strix uralensis). Perched 4-5m high, its eyelids flutter, noting my friend and my presence before continued its shut-eye. It got me at the first flutter. Words (or sounds) weren’t necessary for this kind of love.
18.08: Day two of birdwatching: marshland and the coast. Yatsu-Higata Marshland and Kasai Rinkan Park respectively. Amidst all the 8 lifers (aka new bird species), I make my very first acquaintance with gulls, specifically the Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris). Old friends (e.g. Grey Herons, Little Egrets, cormorants) and new (ducks galore!), scatter far and wide on sandbanks and in the water. Some not so brave, skulk against the tall, swaying grass.
To be honest, I am not really a big fan of shorebirds - but then again, this is mostly fueled by current inability to identify between the seemingly crazy kaleidoscope of speckled, streaked and mottled patterns. All these in hues of black and earth and everything in between against the feathery canvas of white. But I think, they are slowly starting to grow on me.
Narumi Yasuda - Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä (Original and Karaoke version)