Photo/IllutrationThe first sighting in Japan of a common yellowthroat that normally inhabits North America (Provided by Kazuhiro Akutsu)

  • Photo/Illustraion

MITO--Bird lovers are flocking to near the Hinuma wetland area in Ibaraki Prefecture here for a rare glimpse of a bird that is native to North America.

The frenzy was triggered when an amateur photographer and bird enthusiast snapped a shot in early March of the common yellowthroat in Hinuma, which has been registered in the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

An official with the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology in Chiba Prefecture said it was the first confirmed sighting of the bird in Japan.

The official said, "While the bird normally spends the winter in Central and South America, it might have for some reason flown south to Asia."

The common yellowthroat belongs to the passerine order of birds.

Only one common yellowthroat has been sighted in Hinuma, but it has the characteristic yellow body and black face mask of the male common yellowthroat.

The bird normally migrates for the winter to the southern part of the United States and Mexico to as far south as Colombia.

The online posting of the photo, as well as word-of-mouth, generated huge interest in the common yellowthroat. Lines of photographers are often seen near the Hinuma wetland as they patiently wait for the chance to capture a stunning image.

One elderly man from Tokyo who had waited from before dawn said, "I had my camera ready from the morning, and I was able to click the shutter when the bird made an appearance for just a second."

Takashi Hiraoka, a specialist in the Division of Natural History at the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology, said, "It seems very likely that the bird caught the winds blowing to Japan and arrived here without mishap, as there appear to be no scratches on its feathers."