Niigata - The fifth step ... the length of Japan. - CycleBlaze

Niigata

Birding hasn't featured as much as I would have liked on this trip.  The bad weather has definitely played a part but, in our experience, Japan has (as do many developed countries) very low bird densities.  Apparently during the migration periods (which we are about to enter) large numbers of migrants pass through Japan.  Hopefully we can take advantage of that.

However, last night as we sat eating our konbini supper (with Californian Cab Sav in our mugs) on the concrete blocks that line the seaside at the campsite, we had a number of waders moving in our vicinity, seemingly quite comfortable with our presence.  As soon as I had brewed the first of three cups of coffee this morning, I was back on the concrete blocks enjoying the company of a some confiding Red-neck Stints, a single Great Knot and finally a single Grey-tailed Tattler as they gleaned the concrete and sand for tasty morsels.  A great way to start the day.

The first two birds are extremely rare (and most likely accidental visitors) in southern Africa while the third is unlikely to ever be seen there, so these are special birds for us to see.  

Great Knot
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Red-necked Stint
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Grey-tailed Tattler
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The ride to the ferry port at Niigata was only thirty kilometers so we waited for the tent to dry after last night's rain (yes, it did rain again) and had a gently ride into the harbour area of the city.  It came as a surprise to us, once we reached there that the ferry from Niigata to Tsuruga runs at most weekly and that the next ferry would be on Sunday - two days time.  A quick caucus decided that waiting for two days to claim back more than a week's riding would be worth it so we booked our tickets (a slow and drawn out process) and set off into the city to look for accommodation for the next two nights.

To cut a long story short, there is a dance festival in town this weekend and almost all accommodation has been taken up up.  After a couple of hours of visiting hotel after hotel, we ended up bout eight kilometers out of town for tonight and will be heading back into to town for tomorrow night.  We've started a big new section of work so it fits into our plans. 

We were hoping to be in Kyoto for Leigh's birthday in four day's time but I guess we might have to celebrate it a few days later.

Today's ride: 53 km (33 miles)
Total: 1,986 km (1,233 miles)

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