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Old Friday 15th September 2017, 11:17   #451
Owen Krout
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Dev,

I'll take you up on that offer for the butterfly ID's. My immediate reaction was, "Oh, I've got to have those!", but, especially considering the aprox. 25% import duty here on the mainland, my wife quickly corrected my thinking. Especially since I've already mentioned that my 8+ year old Mac will need to be replaced soon. Getting caught drooling over lenses on the internet the other day didn't help.
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Old Saturday 16th September 2017, 02:53   #452
Jeff hopkins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen Krout View Post
Not a Long-tailed Tit. I've seen a lot of them here and can quickly and immediately identify. As to what it was thought... I just can't say, hence I claimed nothing.
Yeah, I suspected you'd know them, as common as they are there. Not sure what else it could be other than other tits or wagtails, or maybe a parrotbill, none of which would be uncommon or unfamiliar.
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Old Saturday 23rd September 2017, 07:38   #453
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Sep-20

The excellent weather made a good excuse to make a trip to the Gedalou Reservoir. Total numbers were low, but at least there was a decent variety. The large numbers of herons/egrets that I have seen in the past at this time of year were not present despite there being several fish ponds that had been recently drained and would have been good feeding areas. The wife and I had an argument over the two Grey Heron that we spotted as she was insisting that they were green. Not looking green to me and not being able to think of what would be green just ended up with us sounding like an old married couple, which we are. Turned out after downloading the images we figured out that my neutral tint polarized sunglasses were giving me a pretty true color and not so much her fashionable and colored sunglasses. I did spot what I am sure by size and good look in the bins were a couple of Great White Egret, but they were in the rice fields across the main road running north of the lake. The Litttle Egret showed the yellow feet in flight and the long leg extension showed the legs to be too long for Chinese Egret/Swinhoe's.

The only birds with large numbers were Barn Swallow who were in two large flocks almost a kilometer apart that were splashing down on the surface of ponds to bathe and then perching on electric wires to dry off and preen. I made a large number of tries but only managed one decent shot of a Swallow just before it hit the water.

Gedalou Reservoir, Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Sep 20, 2017 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.5 kilometer(s)
11 species

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) 2
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 1
Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) 2
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) 2
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 1
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) 4
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 8
Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 2
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 5
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 240 Two large flocks about a kilometer apart. Both flocks were splashing down onto the surface of ponds and perching on the overhead wires to preen and dry off.
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 30

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39306097
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Old Saturday 23rd September 2017, 07:54   #454
Owen Krout
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Gedalou 'development'

I believe the big reason for the reduced numbers of birds at Gedalou Reservoir is due to the disturbance from a 'development' project. Apparently the government privatized the large city park area on the west side of the reservoir as the main entry is now gated and well fenced off to ensure collection of entry fees. The little village which was between that area and the lake had tried to spin itself into a tourist (scenic) destination a couple of years ago but had failed to attract any attention unlike nearby villages which successfully spruced themselves up (with government money for improvements) and become popular places for city dwellers to go to buy fresh vegetables, fruits, etc. That village is now gone, bulldozed flat. In its place is a small 'ghost village' of large individual houses, obviously intended for the rich people who could afford such, but only one of which is occupied with the rest abandoned unfinished.

Some of the locals stayed on rice and fish farming as before. BTW, I get around the gate entry fee by entering along the dirt path through the little village along the north side of the lake.

I also just noticed a shot of the single Little Grebe that I saw as we entered through the village and threw it in here.
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Old Sunday 24th September 2017, 06:24   #455
Owen Krout
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September 24

Today's mid-day walk through the park produced a nice variety of birds. The main players were a large family group of at least 30 Azure-winged Magpie, as noisy as ever. A surprisingly larger number of five Hoopoe were also seen, mixed in with the A-wM. Hiding in the bushes were a pair of Japanese Tit which drew attention to the four Red-flanked Bluetail females who were hiding quietly deeper into the foliage. I also saw all three of the Great-spotted Woodpecker that I know to inhabit that particular park as well as a Grey-headed Woodpecker. A couple of Chinese Bulbul and about ten Eurasian Tree Sparrow rounded things out.

Unfortunately, there has apparently been a decision to develop the village alongside that park, which is isolated between high-rise apartments right now. I don't know at this point whether it is to be raised and replace with more unneeded high-rises or to receive the refurbishing that many villages in Dawa County are getting recently. Whichever it is to be, they were busily cutting down trees and brush and hauling in large, insulated, mainfeed line type hot water heating supply pipes and marking out the path right through the heart of the park where they will go.

On a more amusing note that those dog lovers among us will appreciate, I am sharing the contents of an email I sent out to my family this morning that I entitled "Fetch!"

My wife had gone out into our little garden this morning and my peaceful early Sunday morning was interrupted with her screaming. I dashed out to see the neighbor’s 8-9 month old Golden Retriever had pushed its way through the fence they put up and was, obviously to me, eager to play with our little Terrier who was trying to chase it away from my wife. I distracted it with some pets and ‘chase the stick’ fun, but then the panicked young lady owner appeared and started yelling at it to come home. Apparently living up to its retriever breeding, it seemed to think it was being told to fetch and it gently took my wrist in its mouth, living up to Golden’s reputation for having a soft mouth, and tried to drag me back home with it. Failing that it tried pulling on my t-shirt, which did earn it a smack. It then dashed off towards its home snatching our terrier up on the way and ‘retrieved’ her back to its owner. It deposited her gently and unharmed, though throughly confused, at its panicked owners feet. Obviously expecting to get praised for a job well done it became the one thoroughly confused when it got just the opposite.

I had to spend time after that explaining to my wife that, no, it wasn’t trying to eat LuLu, it was just doing the job it was bred for and that, no, it didn’t bite me, it was just like taking your hand to lead you where it wanted you to go. She finally accepted that it was friendly and correctly assessed that it was “Too friendly”.
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Old Tuesday 26th September 2017, 06:05   #456
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Your dog sure has an interesting life!
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Old Saturday 30th September 2017, 04:02   #457
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKinHK View Post
Your dog sure has an interesting life!
Yea, well I have to admit that I am becoming the old man with his terrier at his heals that treats the dog and talks to it like a child. Since I retired and am home all day, my wife found things to do to keep her busy outside the home. I suppose the same thing as when my mother told me that she was relieved that my father had found part time work to keep him occupied as he had been driving her nuts since retiring. Unfortunately there are not other foreigners here and I've learned that anytime a Chinese person wants to be "friendly" they really are wanting something from you and for free.

On the birding though; I started out yesterday around noon for the dog's walk, not taking the camera since I hadn't planned on any serious birding. Being so nice out we went further than she usually wants to go though and ended up near enough to one of the reed beds that I decided to at least give it a quick look. Turned into one of the more delightful excursions I have made. Not for quantities of birds but for the quality of the experience.

Spotting what proved to be ten Little Grebe and what I thought to be five Spot-billed Duck at the far end of a channel, I decided to walk around and come back in on the far end just behind the fire department station house where I knew there was a narrow walkway along the top on the embankment between the channel and a small pond the fire department uses for an emergency water supply. The walkway was almost overgrown since the government people have once again started protecting the area from attempts to drain and farm it. However that proved perfect as the reeds have recovered remarkably from the earlier drought and are now well over two meters high, thus providing a natural blind from which I could observe the Grebe and what were indeed Spot-billed Duck through my bins. The really neat part of the day was after I had been standing there for five or ten minutes a flock of Reed Parrotbill moved into the reeds around me and for the next 20 minutes or so I was delighted to be able to stand there quietly and have Reed Parrotbill all around me, often with a meter. They were so active as to often sound like an animal walking through rustling the reeds. I was even able to hear the constant cracking of seeds in their heavy parrotbills! Some other Reed Warbler were also nearby, but I was not able to tell exactly which one, though possibly Black-browed by their songs.

One Eurasian Coot and three Pallas's Leaf Warbler as well as about ten stray Barn Swallow rounded out the numbers. The big numbers of Barn Swallow have moved south by now with only a few seen high up and generally working their way south.

During the move around the edges of the reed bed I notice the openings of two dens dug into the ground that were too large for the Daurian Ground Squirrel that are found in the Panjin area but based on past sighting in that area were probably Siberian Weasel or possibly Little Weasel, though the opening hole looked too large for that.

The reed beds that were so badly damaged a couple of years ago have made remarkable recoveries this year once the rains returned and I even heard a few frogs calling yesterday. The Heron and Egret that frequented them during this time of year have not returned however. A couple of pairs each of Chinese Pond Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron nested this year in hidden corners, but no Lapwing, Great, Little or Intermediate Egret though.
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Old Saturday 30th September 2017, 12:44   #458
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sounds like a special experience - i certainly envy you those parrotbills Owen!

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Old Sunday 1st October 2017, 07:27   #459
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OK, I ran across one just now that I would have called B.S. on except for it being a well known source and most importantly, for having good photographs.

It seems that the larger full grown Praying Mantis have an appetite for Hummingbird brains. You read that correctly. From the Audubon Society: http://www.audubon.org/news/praying-...vs-hummingbird or: https://youtu.be/ep6vmpcUQR8 The New York Times version of the story included note that there are reports of mantis predatory behavior towards small birds on all continents except Antarctica where there are no mantis.
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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 00:09   #460
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Not sure there are any small birds on Antarctica, either, other than storm petrels.
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Old Thursday 5th October 2017, 02:06   #461
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Oct 3

(Be tolerant please, for a little while. My keyboard is failing me fast at this point and among other things, the capital 'i' and the 'esc' keys aren't working)

Another trip over to the wetland reed beds nearby home yielded a lot of variety. i specifically had in mind getting a closeup of the Reed Parrotbill. Although i technically managed a this only slightly cropped closeup, they were staying hidden so not an unobstructed shot. Numbers were not as large as the other day being about ten birds. They have probably pretty well worked over that patch and moved on to another area of the reeds. The Common Coot were bathing along the shoreline and harassing the Little Grebe who are usually the ones bothering anybody in their general vicinity. A couple of Spot Billed Duck kept to themselves at the far end of the channel. The Zitting Cistola seem to be intermittently appearing in the reed beds at this point and instead of scattered into individual territories, gathering into flocks, probably indicating that they are migrant groups.

The surprise upon entering the area where the Parrotbill are so visible was what i think was a Least Weasel not breaking from cover until less than a meter away.

Moving on to another wetland area produced Black-headed Gull over the ponds. i had known all summer that there was movement in the cover of the reeds but was not able to see if it was only the Little Grebe & C. Coot. This time i did get one quick look at a Eastern Water Rail a first for me! it was running through a sort of tunnel along some matted down reeds. its large feet let it walk along the floating mat. i don't know if this was something that they deliberately keep open to hide in or if it was just taking advantage of something that occurs naturally.

The dry ground with open woods in the area produced Dusky Thrush & Olive Backed Pipit. Also spotted single Hoopoe & Great Spotted Woodpecker. A few Common Magpie & Azure Winged Magpie worked around the area, apparently arguing over whose territory it was.

On the way out some Chinese Bulbul were arguing with a large flock of E. Tree Sparrow over a particular area. i managed to catch a long range shot across a canal of two of them scolding each other.

At the end of the walk another large flock of E. T. Sparrow were being unusually vocal, even for them and as i walked close by the reason became apparent as a Eurasian Kestrel broke from the tree they were mobbing.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Oct 3, 2017 11:15 AM - 2:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 kilometer(s)
Comments: wetland area w/reed beds
18 species

Eastern Spot-billed Duck (Anas zonorhyncha) 2
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 2
Brown-cheeked Rail (Rallus indicus) 1
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 3
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 8
Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 2
Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 1
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 4
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 4
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 3
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 8
Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) 20 not scattered in individual territories but gathered into flocks. Probable migrants
Reed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis heudei) 10
Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica) 1
Dusky Thrush (Turdus eunomus) 6
Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni) 9
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 220 mostly in two large flocks of 100+ about 1.5 km apart

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39542564
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Old Saturday 14th October 2017, 10:12   #462
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Oct 14

Today's tour around the neighborhood parks produced some interesting finds.

The swarms of Pallas's Leaf Warbler that were found a couple of days ago had passed on south, leaving a few stragglers behind including one that cooperated long enough to get a decent picture. Not something that is easy to do with those little balls of energy that flit through the heavy cover. Replacing them were small flocks of Coal Tit. More elusive was a small group of Yellow-bellied Tit working the same pines as the Coal Tit. it wasn't until i got home and checked on the photos taken that i was able to determine for certain that i had indeed been seeing YBT. We are technically out of range for them but especially during migration we occasionally get an eruption as they pass through.

A few Chinese Bulbul, Yellow-browed Warbler and Tree Sparrow made a showing and i finished off the day with one Olive-backed Pipit and a couple of Hoopoe.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Oct 14, 2017 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
9 species

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 2
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 2
Coal Tit (Periparus ater) 15
Yellow-bellied Tit (Periparus venustulus) 5
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 4
Pallas's Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus) 4
Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) 2
Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni) 1
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 5

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39909619
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Old Saturday 14th October 2017, 10:30   #463
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Other things

A few other non-birding things from today's outing. First of all, another 'impressionistic' photo, perhaps to be included when Mike and i publish our "What You Really See" field guide. The Yellow-bellied Tit were in dark shadow and it was a struggle to find that balance between fast shutter and gathering enough light. Next up was a hare making tracks after my terrier, LuLu scared it up. it also qualifies as an 'impressionistic' photo as i was taking a close-up shot of a dragonfly and hence had all the camera setting wrong with no time to make any changes. She is starting to show her age and only chased briefly, then settled for barking. And finally, LuLu in her cool weather jacket.
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 06:41   #464
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Oct 17

Tried a different approach and picked a likely spot to observe and just waited. A half an hour and one tree produced some interesting birding and the best shots I have managed so far of a male Red-Flanked Bluetail. A very nicely colored male with his little harem of females decided I was no real threat and moved out of hiding in the foliage to feed. A single Yellow Browed Warbler, a half dozen Japanese Tit and a couple of Pallas's Leaf Warbler also flitted about the same tree and tolerated me being so close.

All was fine and I was enjoying the session when a local moved in close behind me to stare. He was back enough that he didn't disturb the birds too much so I just ignored it, but then he decided to be 'helpful' and started beating on the branches of the tree behind me to make the birds come out into the open. That of course brought an end to being tolerated by the birds and they all disappeared. I turned and glared at him and he just gave me a grin and wandered off.

When my helper was literally beating the bushes I had heard an odd sounding, loud, 'krack!' type call a couple of times and it registered as an odd Magpie call since they have quite a variety of calls. Immediately though my attention was caught by a Northern Hobby soaring almost immediately overhead, hunting dragonflies. It was a rather large NH and I had to check the photos later to assure myself that it was indeed a NH.

As I started to move back into the trees, after moving out enough to get an overhead shot of the Hobby, the 'Krak!' came again and three medium sized birds broke out of the nearby truck farm area adjacent to the adjoining village. Immediate impression was that of female Ring-necked Pheasant with their being common in the area. The coloration was about right, but the tail seemed a bit short and the overall size seemed a bit large. In addition, as they landed into tall cover about 250 meters away, I thought I saw legs too long for RNP. They quickly disappeared into the cover and although I moved around to a better look, I was unable to reacquire them. Later at home I puzzled through the field guides and decided on female Great Bustard which is a new tick for me.

All in all, not a bad outing for staying in one position for half and hour.
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 06:45   #465
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Nothern Hobby pics

Some of the Northern Hobby pics from the 17th. Unfortunately the shutter speed should have been higher and the shots where he caught a dragonfly and ate it in flight came out blurred.
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 07:18   #466
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Great Bustard is a Mega bird! They might probably winter in the area, hope you can get some good views in the coming days.
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 01:29   #467
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Great Bustard is a Mega bird! They might probably winter in the area, hope you can get some good views in the coming days.
I'm hoping they will stick around for awhile, Dev. They are probably migrants but so far the weather has been mild, not even any frost so far. It is highly variable here, but overall Panjin does have a reputation for mild winters and often even Hoopoe will stick around through the winter. At any rate, I will be watching closely for any photo opportunities. There are a lot of Ring-necked Pheasant in the patch where I saw them, but the cover is heavy enough that even they are difficult to actually see even when you can commonly hear them crowing. Guess I need to train the terrier to be a pointer!

Returned to the area yesterday and though rather quiet, I was overflown by a flock of 25-30 Brambling and spotted a few more Yellow-bellied Tit.
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Old Tuesday 24th October 2017, 04:06   #468
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Some of the Northern Hobby pics from the 17th. Unfortunately the shutter speed should have been higher and the shots where he caught a dragonfly and ate it in flight came out blurred.
Owen, this is an Amur Falcon.
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Old Wednesday 25th October 2017, 05:27   #469
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Thanks Paul, I reviewed all my shots, went through the field guides and even ran it by the ID forum, turns out your correct. Good for me as that gives me another lifer tic.
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Old Thursday 26th October 2017, 06:09   #470
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OCT 24, 2017 Yingkou Wetland Park

Since nothing else was occupying the time on Tuesday and since there had always been a reason that I couldn't make it to the Yingkou Wetland Park all this month I decided that it was time to try even if later in the migration than I would have wanted. It is just over an hour and a half each way by the city bus, but at least it is only 5 RMB each way and an additional 1 RMB for the local bus or 20 RMB by taxi.

I walk in along the edge of the wetland area and as usual for there I was greeted by the Common Magpie and a few Coal Tit. Unfortunately the smog started moving in as I arrived making seeing conditions rather poor. I was able to make out a few Common Greenshank, Black-winged Stilt & Little Grebe in the ponds in the wetland area. One very nice Grey Heron sailed by close enough to give some decent shots despite the smog.

Arriving at the Liao River estuary the tidal mud flats were fully exposed all the way out to the channel but there were only a few birds to be seen. The least I have ever seen there. Some 20 or so Saunder's Gull were widely scattered and mostly grounded feeding off the mud and all to be seen for the approximately one kilometer stretch surveyed. One Whimbrel and four Far Eastern Curlew were probing the mud. Surprisingly, nothing else to be seen.

The moat around the old fort yielded one more Little Grebe but the adjacent park which usually teems with warbler and such was totally quiet. The small ponds in the surrounding wetland did yield a lone Little Egret fishing. Nothing else except a Eurasian Kestrel that sat preening on top of a cell tower.

We did finally have our first light frost that morning but it has immediately warmed up again. However, the AQI of 214 was enough to keep me inside yesterday and today.
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Old Thursday 26th October 2017, 06:13   #471
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More pics from Yingkou

A few more pics from the 24th including the two perfectly placed stones that caused me to spend time puzzling over "What kind of duck is that and what is it doing just sitting there on the mud?". Take a half dozen steps to the side and, Oh, it's not a duck!
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Old Friday 27th October 2017, 06:50   #472
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A few more pics from the 24th including the two perfectly placed stones that caused me to spend time puzzling over "What kind of duck is that and what is it doing just sitting there on the mud?". Take a half dozen steps to the side and, Oh, it's not a duck!
Done that over and over and its not going to stop. On a comical note, i give them names too Stick bird, mud bird and rock bird too.
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Old Friday 27th October 2017, 16:43   #473
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...i give them names too Stick bird, mud bird and rock bird too.
Hmm...I can see I need to review your life list closely young man
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 05:04   #474
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Nov-7, 2017

Howling winds and leaden skies giving poor lighting for photography have kept me in other than short walks for the dog for the last week. A couple of days ago the reported 'Force 7' wind was enough to actually knock her down, so even she has not wanted to stray far.

Today was unseasonably warm and the predicted wind did not develop, so we went further afield. I did not take the camera since the skies were still heavily overcast and lighting dim. As it turned out a brief break in the clouds allowed the sun through briefly brightly illuminating a large flock of brilliantly colored Yellow-bellied Tit feeding on the ground under some pines and at close range! They are usually much more elusive so I was upbraiding myself for not having brought the camera.

The rest was the normal of Japanese Tit, Coal Tit a pair of Grey-headed Woodpecker, four Hoopoe about 25 Azure-winged Magpie, two Chinese Bulbul and the usual 50 or so Tree Sparrow. The only thing missing were the pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker that I know are in the area and a few Common Magpie.

I've been wondering if the migration has been as slow for everybody else since the China forum has been so quiet for the last week+.
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Old Wednesday 8th November 2017, 05:15   #475
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Hi Owen,

October is almost the end of the passerine migration with few late birds showing up to first or second week. I have been tied down due to the house furnishing work and also completing formalities for the new ride, so haven't got a chance to do much birding this season, only couple of outings in the last 3 months.
This sunday, was very productive with 8 species of buntings excluding the Reed Buntings but this also means a strong sign of Winter.

To spice up your birding life, there are some photos going around the Wechat groups. It's a Female Snowy Owl at the Liaohe Estuary close to your place. Red-crowned Cranes are also present.
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