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Old Sunday 25th March 2012, 12:27   #1
Frogfish
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Shanghai Perambulations

Ok with McM's encouragement I'll start my own thread on birds I've photographed here in what is now my de facto home city (15 years living here, after 2.5 years in HK). Although I have had a lifelong interest in birds, having been encouraged at a young age by my mother to ID (with the aid of every child's Collins' British Birds) the birds that visited our garden, I only got into DSLR photography a couple of years ago and started birding (it seems, checking back on my records) just over a year ago.

I'm really into the photography side so really don't count, or tick off, the birds I see - I just want to improve the quality of the bird shots I take and am passionate in this regard. Running my own business I'm lucky to be able to take time off during the week and I drive myself all over Shanghai to visit places of interest, photographically and not just for the birding, usually alone as my wife prefers the massage parlour to long walks in the woods ! Though she will accompany me on occasion I've yet to get her hooked .... maybe I should promise back rubs each day for a week for every trip she accompanies me on

Whilst nowhere near as knowledgeable as most here, nor as eloquent or entertaining a writer as some, hopefully the odd post I make will provide some interest and record of birds I've seen and where they were located.
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And to get started here are just a few of my better shots of birds I've seen over the past year :

1. Yellow-browed Warbler
2. Southern (Cinerous) Great Tit
3. Light vented Bul Bul.
4. Chinese Grosbeak
5. Grey Backed Thrush (adult F).
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Old Sunday 25th March 2012, 12:41   #2
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And a few more ....


1. Hoopoe
2. Light vented BulBul
3. Vinous Throated Parrotbill
4. Night Heron
5. Long Tailed Shrike
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Old Sunday 25th March 2012, 12:54   #3
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Excellent start Kevin!

The Long-tailed Shrike and the bulbul exiting the water are particularly powerful...glad I nudged you along there...keep 'em coming :0)

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Old Sunday 25th March 2012, 13:27   #4
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Wow, Shanghai is really well represented on our subforum! These are great shots! The bulbul is quite impressive - it was bathing I guess? I like the flying night heron, and think the hoopoe picture is also nicely timed. Of course, they're all quite fine shots - your persistent efforts are definitely paying off.
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Old Sunday 25th March 2012, 13:32   #5
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By the way, I'm still learning about thrushes - can someone confirm for me if that is a grey-backed? Very handsome bird!
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Old Sunday 25th March 2012, 17:00   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McMadd View Post
Excellent start Kevin!

The Long-tailed Shrike and the bulbul exiting the water are particularly powerful...glad I nudged you along there...keep 'em coming :0)

br
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Old Sunday 25th March 2012, 17:03   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
By the way, I'm still learning about thrushes - can someone confirm for me if that is a grey-backed? Very handsome bird!
Thank you for the reminder - I've labelled them now and yes you are correct !

Also correct the Light vented Bulbuls like to bathe late afternoons all year round. They get very nervous being on the ground so that shot was taken by me doing my best to imitate the SAS !
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Old Sunday 25th March 2012, 17:14   #8
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The first shot below is the shot I didn't know where to put on it's lonesome. Hardly a wild thing .. but so majestic.

I'd like your opinions on #2 & #3. It looks like a Chinese Grosbeak ... but seemed so much bigger ! The Chinese Grosbeaks I've seen are finch-sized and in flocks. This was Bul Bul sized, solitary and chased a few light-vented BBs off it's patch - extremely noisy bird too !
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Old Sunday 25th March 2012, 22:21   #9
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Yes a Chinese Grosbeak
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Old Monday 26th March 2012, 01:49   #10
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All your Chinese Grosbeaks show white wingtips. Japanese Grosbeaks have dark tips, an all-yellow bill, shorter black hood and a slightly purplish tinge to the plumage as shown in a bird on my patch last winter (wheras Chinese Grosbeaks have a browner cast, especially on the flanks).

NB also that female Chinese Grosbeaks have brown heads and both male and female Japanese have the dark hood.

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Old Monday 26th March 2012, 17:51   #11
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Thanks for the ID confirmation guys !

The housing development where I live has a green, wooded, and secluded area (about 100yds long and 40 yds wide) with a little stream running through it ending in a small pond. The stream is very shallow, surely not more than 12-18 inches (ca. 30-45cms) in the deepest place, however lots of small fish call it home.

Two years ago for the first time I noticed a pair of nervous common kingfishers using this as part of their fishing range (it's not suitable for nesting - no mudbanks - but lots of small boulders to use as fishing launch pads). Last year I couldn't get a good shot, as soon as I got within 40 yds and they spotted me they were off (only one would visit at any one time, I've never seen them both together).

I was disappointed (as previously I've seen them from the end of January thru end of March/mid-April, after which time I assume they were nesting and their fishing range shrinks considerably) that this year they had not appeared, and had almost given up hope, believing this small patch was not as well stocked as it need to be to entice them back.

However 2 days ago I saw a single bolt of electric blue and yesterday on returning well equipped there she was in all her glory ! Unfortunately a young child and his mother thought this the perfect time to walk the footpath along the banks, unseen by them they chased her upstream and, I thought, away for the day. But as luck would have it 10 mins later she was back, and allowed me closer than I've ever been at around 20 yds away. This year she seems far less nervous (if it is the same pair) and the lady and her child got within 10 yds before she took off so I may yet get some nice sharp shots of them in good light.

Sorry about this one, it was taken at dusk and is a heavy crop so isn't the best, but now I'm hopeful that this year at last I'll get the shots I want !
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Old Monday 26th March 2012, 17:57   #12
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Not sure if anyone can ID this bird from my poor description alone. Last year I looked out of my kitchen window, cuppa in hand, and spotted, dancing around in the bamboo not 5 yds away, an all black bird (blackbird size, or maybe a touch larger) with a long gorgeous all black lyre-bird like tail (two long trailing plumes).

I watched for a minute before sneaking away to get my camera - by which time it had gone, never to be seen since, or before. My next door neighbour (Chinese) is also a birder and said he saw the same bird, I don't understand the name he gave me but he did say it was a very rare visitor from Japan. Any ideas ?
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Old Monday 26th March 2012, 23:59   #13
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Just a guess - though maybe smaller (?) Japanese Paradise Flycatcher?
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2012, 00:07   #14
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Drongo?
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2012, 03:09   #15
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Black Drongo's i havent seen them in the city! But ashy drongo's can be seen in the city parks but mostly they wil be escapees.

I had a female japanese flycatcher @ century park during october 2011. If Kevin had a male japanese flycatcher, you have got gold in the City.
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2012, 08:01   #16
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Well, drongo was my first thought too, and probably more likely... it was the "japan" bit that made me think "big" It depends a lot on how much of a dreamer vs. a realist the other viewer was!
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2012, 11:52   #17
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Thanks for the suggestions. I've been on OBI and it looked most like the Ashy Drongo Dev suggested, as the tail plumes on the Black Drongo were not the same as the bird I saw, which had rather more 'ornate' plumes.
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Old Thursday 29th March 2012, 19:01   #18
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Very disappointed, I was supposed to go off to Qiandaohu (thousand island lake) yesterday, which is about a 4 hour drive from here, for 3 days but because one of my wife's friends was ill the trip was cancelled (4 ladies plus me - them for massages and me to wander off camera in hand, birding) :(

So just another wander around the compound to see if the CKF was back (she wasn't) but it's surprising how many species frequent this very small development.

Can anyone please confirm the ID of the first bird who was singing her/his heart out and also confirm the fourth photo that I'm 99% certain is a Vinous Throated Parrotbill ... that would be a first in my garden (there was only two of them and no flock).

Photos also of a Little Egret, White Wagtail and I think a Grey Wagtail too. No photos needed of the rest of the Motley Crew, the hooligans of the neighbourhood, the Light vented Bul Buls, plus Blackbirds, Tree Sparrows, Spotted Doves and a pair of Cinereous Tits !
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Old Thursday 29th March 2012, 23:33   #19
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1: Hwamei (an escape in the city)
2: Grey Wagtail
3: White Wagtail
4: Vinous-throated Parrotbill
5: Little egret

Nice shots again there Kevin

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Old Friday 30th March 2012, 09:43   #20
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Thanks for the Hwamei ID, Mark. Wonderful songbird hence it's destiny as a prized caged bird (though my wife tells me not all Hwameis are good singers).

Does it not appear natively in the Shanghai region ? I'm sure I've seen them in the Shanghai Botanical Garden.
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Old Monday 2nd April 2012, 13:11   #21
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A few hours to spare on Saturday p.m. saw me driving the 10kms from my home to the Sheshan hills. I've been here once before for birding, walking up the main hill to the observatory, but was really disappointed, too many people and the bamboo forests seem to contain relatively little birdlife. So this time I went to a different hill and found far fewer people and a lot more in the way of bird variety. There were a couple of bird calls that were unusual (to me !) and that I could not ID - I didn't see the birds. I tried to use the video on the DSLR to record them but that didn't work out too well due to the overpowering chorus from the Bul Buls !

Anyway apart from the usual suspects my first interesting spot was a Common Kingfisher (this location is about 1 km from a large lake and there are some streams in the area - I wondered if it were nesting on the hill because the ground is soft and there are some very quiet and undisturbed locations). I flushed a pair of 'somethings' from the undergrowth - never to be seen again - and from the very brief encounter I noticed light brown backs and tails with scimitar (?) shaped wings and the the underside was light with black and white under the wings. These were maybe twice the size of a blackbird.

I also spotted a couple of solitary birds at different times, that I thought were Chinese Grosbeaks. However in the Birds of East Asia plate I don't see any of the yellow on the wings and under the tail of these birds (see photos). Can someone confirm the ID and explain why these have some yellow markings (breeding plumage perhaps) ? Sorry these are very heavy crops taken at distance (the first from over 100m away) - photos #1 & #2.

Flitting from tree to tree, bush to bush, were a couple of birds which I need help IDing (photos #3 & 4), I was able to get a couple of shots off when they paused momentarily. Can someone help with the ID ? Thanks !

Next up I got a few shots of a Yellow Browed Bunting (and a few of these turned up again later on with a group of Vinous Throated Parrotbills) !

There was the odd Cinerous Tit around and other unrecognisable (by me) brown blobs flying past in the canopy. I found I had then wandered into a graveyard of sorts. My wife didn't think graves were permitted there although there were only a few.

Having eventually climbed to the top of the hill (there is some sort of flat building, toilets and a small Chinese pavilion there) I decided to switch lenses to take a few environmental/landscape shots ... and of course that was the time that a Japanese White-eye decided to come and check me out .. landing no more than 1.5m away. Needless to say it was off the moment I tried to slowly swivel around to my left ! There were also 2 or 3 Grey Backed Thrushes around.

For me the highlight was the last bird I was able to ID in the disappearing light, by then I had a flash attached and used the beamer to direct it the 20m to a Red Billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix Lutea) and get a few (distinctly average and heavily cropped) shots - what a lovely little bird ! Reading up later it seems these often fly in small flocks but this one seemed to be alone.

Anyway back down the hill .... only to find I've been locked in. A few minutes later the groundsman allowed me my freedom !
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Old Monday 2nd April 2012, 13:15   #22
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And here are the Red Billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix Lutea) & Yellow Browed Bunting.
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Old Monday 2nd April 2012, 13:25   #23
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Your grosbeaks are Oriental Greenfinches, and I wonder if your two brown birds in the bushes might have been Scaly (or White's) Thrush? - the b/w underwings and the size fits this species.

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Old Monday 2nd April 2012, 13:33   #24
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Your grosbeaks are Oriental Greenfinches, and I wonder if your two brown birds in the bushes might have been Scaly (or White's) Thrush? - the b/w underwings and the size fits this species.

Cheers
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Thanks Mike !

The birds in the bushes were much bigger than thrushes (I have plenty of Scaly Thrush shots so recognise the shape/size of that bird). Any idea of the birds in #3 & 4 ?
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Old Monday 2nd April 2012, 14:08   #25
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1-4 are all Oriental Greenfinches.

I'm with Mike on your brown birds...the b&w underwings are indicative of zoothera thrushes at least...

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