While I’m not exactly a birder like my friend Yui, I was nevertheless looking forward to our trip to Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park.
As surprising as it may sound, both my home institution, Ateneo de Manila University, and the neighboring University of the Philippines-Diliman are actually recommended sites for amateur birders located just within the vicinity of the metropolis.
Bird walks are organized periodically in both institutions; in addition, one might be delighted to discover that the latter also offers bird watching as one of its many course choices (as many as 100+) for Physical Education.
Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU)
Known for having one of the more beautiful campus grounds in the country with a lot area of 83 hectares, ADMU is home to 43 bird species as of 2011 count done by the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP). Resident birds amount to 36, of which 30 are endemic while 7 are migratory.
The terrain is elevated at some points owing to the original hilly landscape where the university now lies. As seen on the map, trees line the streets and the vegetation becomes more dense towards the eastern side of the campus that actually overlooks a valley. Being more forested and untamed, this area grew overtime to be the university’s unofficial wildlife sanctuary as well as the favorite spot of bird watchers.
In fact, just last school year on the month of July, the university held its most recent batch of bird walks in celebration of the Ignatian Festival in honor of the school’s patron, St. Ignatius.
The latest series of bird walks as sponsored by the Ateneo Institute of Sustainability
Some of the birds seen in the campus include the following (for the name, just hover over the image):
University of the Philippines-Diliman (UPD)
Meanwhile, with a staggering lot area of 493 hectares, UPD abounds with mini forests dotted around the campus. As of 2013, the university is home to 113 bird species, of which 109 are endemic, resident, and migratory while the remaining 4 are introduced and escapees.
Knowing Yui, who’s a long-time avid birder, I know she would especially love it here as this open university town (think of it as like University of Tsukuba) is teeming with its own extensive wildlife set against one of the last remaining vestiges of the country’s urban forests. In addition, unlike in ADMU, bird watching can happen anywhere with birds spotted even around the busiest of areas such as the Main Library owing to the density of the forest ecosystem on campus.
Below, I have listed some of the birds verified by WBCP.
Blue Rock Thrush
Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park
The park hosts 22 endemic bird species here in Japan, which is rather commendable considering that this is a reclaimed area.
Just last week, our class together with some friends from ANT461 (also under Professor Watanabe) went to the park after lunch and it was good knowing that the weather was clear and fair. From Yotsuya station, we took off for Ryutsu Center Station along the Tokyo Monorail line going to Haneda Airport. From there, the park is just a 15-minute walk.
While I know that Tokyo has its fair share of green patches, it still feels surreal as I am typing this right now to know that a bird sanctuary like this actually exists close by a busy airport. It’s a sharp contrast that leaves one in a dreamlike state upon entering the nature reserve, as if a switch had been turned on.
Some of the fauna that I could remember include:
Little Ringed Plover
Eastern Spot-billed Duck
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Note: Pictures not mine. Close-up of the birds are not the actual shots.