Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sakata, Niigata


Sakata, Niigata, Japan

January 5, 2013

Although I’ve posted some images and subjects from Sakata before I haven’t mentioned what an important birding place it is for Niigata. It was the tenth designated wetland site in Japan for the Ramsar Convention. Click here for more about the Ramsar convention. 

It has a wonderful glass-fronted observatory equipped with scopes and literature and heating. It is a very worthwhile place for any birder to visit. 

When I first went there, I was greeted by the staff (that are usually in the office) and they happily showed me the sights. I remember being seated to watch some incredible video of a White-tailed Eagle hovering like a big kestrel in pursuit of a duck on the water, (maybe a merganser). The duck dived under water to escape but the eagle plunged in deeply, then, swam to the shore like a dog with the duck in foot. They have a large automated digital scope that can be controlled at the observatory (By anyone game to take the controls) and the extraordinary close-up footage was taken with it. That was my first visit back in 2004.

The site consists of a freshwater lake with a path encircling it. I recommend anyone to go for a stroll with scope and/or camera. Sometimes we walk past groups with scopes or individuals with tripods and cameras or visa-versa. 

I’ve posted about it here as “Sakata” (Sa-ka-ta), because all their literature, as well as city and Ramsar websites spell it as Sakata. Even the Japanese writing at the actual place uses the sounds, Sa-ka-ta, but some local Niigata folk, including birders often pronoun the name “Sagata” with a “ga”, and I’m often corrected when I pronounce it, “Sakata”. 

Also check out this pdf  and this website




June, 2013

It's a nice bike ride from the city





Giant Lotus almost completely covers as far as you can see in September, 2013

October, 2013



The Hiragana says Sa-ka-ta, ba-shi

Long-tailed Tit

Winter birdlife

Grey Heron

Eurasian Bittern a rare bird in Japan

I have amended this from "Yellow Bittern" and relabelled it thanks to the comment by John below.

Great Egret

January 4, 2005

January 4, 2005

January 4, 2005

There is some nice reference material
available in English and Japanese at the Observatory and Visitor's Center
kindly provided free by Niigata City.