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just a little blog where I waffle on about my birding experiences here in Western Japan...
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Wader weekend...chasing the a mythical bird

Posted Thursday 13th September 2007 at 22:08 by lostinjapan
Well I'd been jealous of Tokyo birders getting crippling views of Spoon-billed Sandpiper down to a few yards and having heard that 4 birds had turned up along with a host of other goodies in Fukuokoa I decided to make an early morning Shink visit to said city.

A slighty overcast morning saw me get off the train, walk a coupla of k's across a new bridge over Fukuoka Bay to the newly completed artificial island.

The only birds of note on the way were a lone Eurasian Curlew, a couple of Grey-tailed Tatler and Common Sandpiper for company.

Around a thousand waders had been reported on a large reclamation lagoon..off-limits to the general public, but not an intrepid birder.

I managed to get access to the site and soon found the waders out in a slightly heat-hazed lagoon.

Some 30 odd Greenshank, 50 godwits (both Black and Bar-tailed), 4-5 Redshank (scarce bird here) and a Spotted Redshank.

I then picked up a few other odd species, with several Terek Sandpiper, a Grey Plover, a couple of hundred Red-necked Stint and 3 Ruff (again a scarcity in Japan).

As the morning progressed the heat started to pick up and the birds became too difficult to view. then 3 Peregrines decided it was feeding time and scattered most of the birds to the four corners of the earth.

So I decided to walk around the lagoon, as most of the small waders landed on the far side.

On the way round, plenty of Fan-tailed Warblers,Meadow Buntings, Japanese Skylarks and a rarity in the shape of two immature Eastern Yellow Wagtails popped up or flew over.

Just before settling down onto the edge of the lagoon, I found 50+ Sanderling on offshore floats, along with 5-6 Broad-billed Sandpiper and a few Red-necked Stint.

Once at the side of the lagoon, among some 200+ Red-necked Stint I found another 4-5 Broad-billed Sands, 30+ Dunlin (very long-billed), a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, 7 Lesser Sand Plovers, a few Little Ringed Plovers and a couple of Little Stints (a rarity in Japan).

In the center of the lagoon, were several Wood Sandpipers and 3 Far Eastern Curlew, along with a good total of 30+ Terek Sandpiper.

Eventually the waders moved again and I continued to walk around the lagoon, scaring up a couple of Turnstone, and then finding 2 Ringed Plover, an adult winter and an immature, again a scarcity in Japan.

I was just about to give up and turn back, when suddenly about 60 meters out, among a group of Stints I spied 3 birds with funny spoon shaped bills..oh my god there they were Spoon-billed Sandpipers..so odd-looking I was gob-smacked and just stood mouth open watching them feed together, before finally being scared off after about a minute, with another bird putting in a brief appearance.

The fact that it was four immature birds is I guess good news. Though I wonder if they have wandered from nearby Korea.

The sun was getting unbearable, so I, finally decided to head home, picking up a couple of Sand Martin among the oodles of Barn Swallow.

What a day, a total of 27 wader species, with around 800 birds. An amazing total for such a small area...and one of the world's most intriguing and unique waders.
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birderbf's Avatar
What an incredible day for waders Sean! i think I've had about 27 this fall...
Posted Sunday 16th September 2007 at 01:31 by birderbf birderbf is offline
 
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