Saturday, 8 March 2014
430km, the approximate distance from Kyoto to the bird, is pushing my day-twitch limit but after four new birds in four attempts in an amazing 21-day spell, I was feeling confident. It's now five in five in a 28-day run.
I left home at about 11:30pm on Thursday night getting onto the Shin Meishin expressway in driving snow an hour later. As usual I studied the map before setting off and left the SatNav at home, I'll probably regret it one day, and found the site without too much trouble.
I was told the park gates opened at 7am and that the car park soon fills up, however when I arrived at 6:50 (great timing!) the gates were already open and a semi-circle of photographers left no doubt where the bird was. I grabbed the gear, walked the 30-40m from the van and there it was. Not only have I been very lucky to get all the birds I've gone for but, Savannah Sparrow aside, they've been lining up to get on my list.
The bird was continuously in sight as it fed on the short grass or along the woodland edge giving some great views until 9am when the sun crept up over the hill behind the bird making viewing conditions less favourable. That being the case I didn't hang around much longer thinking of the long drive back and an early rise for work the following day.
This is one of many birds I took for granted in the UK, especially as they were much commoner when I lived there, so looking more closely at this bird made me realise what a subtly attractive bird it is.
Now... where's that reported Varied Thrush got to?