Wordwise 126 A2854

Birdwatching – discover the natural beauty near you

  • 2014.05.08

One thing that not many people know about me is that one of my favorite pastimes is birdwatching. I have been doing it since I was about 10 and have seen over 300 different species of birds all over the world. When I visit a new country, one of the first things I do is visit a bookstore and buy a guide of the local avifauna. But one of the great things about birdwatching is that you don’t have to travel far to enjoy it. It can be done anyplace anytime. And actually, we, residents of Hokkaido, are pretty lucky since this island is home to a great variety of beautiful birds. As many of you may know, the marshes of Kushiro are a summer sanctuary for the emblematic red-crowned crane. In the winter, the spectacular Steller’s sea eagle can be seen all along the Pacific coast of the island. Even closer to us, other beautiful, albeit smaller, species can be spotted in the parks, fields and mountains in and around Sapporo. One of my favorite Sapporo birds is the varied tit. (pic.) Although I see it almost every time I cross Nakajima Park, I always stop to watch this colorful bird swiftly fly from tree to tree in its endless quest for food. This summer, my goal is to see two species that have eluded me so far: the black woodpecker, that lives in the forest on the slopes of Mount Moiwa and Maruyama, and the Siberian rubythroat, which has a most beautiful song and can be found in grass fields along the seashore towards Ishikari. So, if you see me on one of my hikes or bicycle rides with my nose up in the air and all my senses on the alert, approach me quietly because I’m probably on the trail of a bird.