Andrea and David's trip to Japan, July 2011

Day 8: 24-7-11 Kushiro Wetlands- (Day 7- Day 9) - birdlist - bird gallery

Day 8: We enjoyed a great but quite different hotel breakfast buffet then took the bus to other side of the Kushiro wetlands, hoping to find the open wetlands teaming with water birds - and especially cranes. The Park Centre was on the top of a hill at the edge of the reserve, and overlooked a forest. After an hour on a forest trail with Oak trees and an understory of dwarf bamboo, but virtually no birds, we found an archaeological site where a man was sitting by a thatched hut, making spoons. Fascinated, we moved on, eventually entering a riverine forest habitat which was teeming with small birds (especially stonechats) and cuckoos. But still no cranes or any waterbirds.

Almost five hours later, we returned to the visitor centre, bought a tiny burger to share, and asked about cranes. They recommended that we took a taxi to the crane reserve. Which we did. This turned out, despite the brochure, to be the centre for crane breeding, and all the cranes were in enclosures. However, we had finally seen some living cranes, and two very sweet and charming chicks. The whole island is full of crane symbols from manhole covers to wood carvings, and posters everywhere. But, since these were all captive, bird of the day was Black-eared Kite, several of which were circling around the crane park.

We were slightly disappointed (though the chicks were very cute), despite the fact that we had supported the reintroduction efforts (there were only 20 left 50 years ago, now there are over 1200). We took a taxi back into town and went in search of a different local restaurant. We walked down the main street for at least 1 Km and had given up hope of finding any restaurant (except the one we had eaten in the previous evening), as we turned round to back to 7-11 we spotted a side streets with masses of neon signs. Building up hope, we investigated and found this restaurant! Shoes by the door, sitting round the kitchen ... do we need to say more? Absolutely delicious!