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Old Saturday 22nd July 2017, 07:18   #426
Owen Krout
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July 22 2017

A cold front moved through from the north yesterday dropping the high temps down into the 20's and apparently brought some oddities with it. The first was when I noticed the Swallows over our apt. complex mobbing what at a distance seemed to be a few other swallows. I at first thought it to possibly be parents trying to shoo off juveniles but getting closer and employing the binoculars it appeared to be 4 Sand Martin. That was a bit puzzling as I have never seen them nesting here and I thought that they nested north of here. Too early for the migration to begin I would think. I know that there are some species where the males do not take part in raising the young and hence do start south in mid-July (Hummingbirds in the Americas for instance), but didn't think Martins would be one of those. First juveniles of the season moving south early or just ranging wide?

The second one I first spotted yesterday moving fast and hence not able to get a good look at and that I got a better look at today through the bins. Both days a flock of about 15 Eurasian Jay staying close together and moving about mostly silently. Mostly only a 'growling' call and an occasional soft whistle. A second flock of 5 spotted about a half a kilometer from the first flock. Well inside their range but I have never seen them here before.
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Old Saturday 22nd July 2017, 07:26   #427
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen Krout View Post

I managed to dig up a few older images from up to two years ago that I had not deleted and still don't have an ID.
I just discovered that the BF has an ID thread for butterflies and moths. They pegged the strays from 2 years ago in Kansas as:
1 Mourning Cloak (Camberwell Beauty for us in UK)
2 male Diana Fritillary
3 Painted Lady
4 Red Admiral
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Old Monday 24th July 2017, 06:43   #428
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen Krout View Post
Hey Dev,

Just got back in from the walk and came up with what I think is a shot with a Bath White and a Small White together. Also a small yellow unidentified. Maybe just slightly larger than the Bath White.

Hi Owen,

Both Whites are Small and its actually the mating display. Rest of the Yellow's are Eastern Pale clouded Yellow (Colias erate).
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Old Monday 24th July 2017, 06:46   #429
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Originally Posted by Owen Krout View Post
I just discovered that the BF has an ID thread for butterflies and moths. They pegged the strays from 2 years ago in Kansas as:
1 Mourning Cloak (Camberwell Beauty for us in UK)
2 male Diana Fritillary
3 Painted Lady
4 Red Admiral
That's what i figured. I have very little experience with butterflies and almost none outside China but that 3rd one looks good for Indian Red Admiral and the fourth one is definitely not the Indian Red Admiral.
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Old Monday 24th July 2017, 12:34   #430
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Just a brief note about how much we probably miss all the time. Walking through a section of city park that I traverse probably at least 3-4 times a week, I spotted a pair of Chinese Grosbeak high up in a tree feeding a juvenile. Not so odd except that passing through that often, usually with my bins and often the camera, I had not spotted any C. Grosbeak all summer. They are perhaps the tamest birds that I find around here usually being up at the very tops of the trees and not showing any signs of even noticing human activity, but still makes one wonder how much else goes unnoticed.
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Old Monday 24th July 2017, 12:48   #431
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirudevaram View Post
That's what i figured. I have very little experience with butterflies and almost none outside China but that 3rd one looks good for Indian Red Admiral and the fourth one is definitely not the Indian Red Admiral.
Whoops, I had @3 & #4 reversed.

Too the internet to see what references and/or textbooks I can come up with for butterflies. Long, long ago in a faraway land, when I was finishing up high school I had two offers to choose from. I was handy with mechanical things, engines and such and though my Father preferred electronics he was willing to pay for any engineering studies at Kansas State University. They had actually offered to admit me in my third year prior to my finishing high school. The other was a full ride scholarship from Pennsylvania State University. They expressed a willingness to discuss any major but preferred that I take the Forestry or a Biology major based on my career aptitude tests. I actually preferred Penn State, but my Father made it clear I was on my own if I went that route and being 18 years old I chickened out. Now it seems I am back to learning the biology.
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Old Wednesday 26th July 2017, 07:29   #432
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I was not able to readily find the original post about the private school ripping out a big section of city park landscape to make a parking lot in order to reference it, but this last week has brought about a surprising development. The local gossip was that the school had not bothered with notifying the city government or getting permission. Not an uncommon approach for those with the big money. Apparently the new mayor decided to make an example of it though as during the last week not only have the new curbing and concrete that had been poured been ripped out but about a half a meter of fill dirt was hauled in. Currently there is even a 'guard' camping out during daylight hours in the middle of the area in a makeshift tent. As I mentioned before the school has plenty of unused land inside their fenced area for many times that much parking area, so it was unnecessary anyway. First time I have seen anyone actually penalized for that kind of behavior.

Given the thoroughness with which it was obliterated I am considering referring to it as 'Carthage'. They did everything except salt the earth.

Also reminds me that I have given up on the whole 'Beautiful Dawa' brand representative bit. My visa was due to expire in the middle of August and the new mayor has just ignored the whole project idea so I applied for a renewal of the Q1 visa last week. Should get an answer by Monday and even if they don't at least I would be back in America in time for the total eclipse.
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Old Saturday 29th July 2017, 12:31   #433
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Some of the Brown Shrike and Azure-winged Magpie juveniles are starting to be seen on their own, still obviously not quite sure of what they should be doing. The Hoopoe are still guarding and feeding their young, who are now as big and fully feathered as their parents, often plumper with the parents starting to look rather thin.

I got a quick look at a very small little butterfly this morning. A little Hesperiidae I think, or at least seems to me to look like it fits into there. No more than 1.0 - 1.5 cm across the wings in flight and a mottled light brown on the underside of the wings with the upperside being a universally very deep blue to black. Haven't been able to find an image that matches anywhere with my first reference book set to arrive in a couple more weeks.
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Old Tuesday 15th August 2017, 01:55   #434
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Just a quick note to catch up on the last couple of weeks. It seems to be trying to make up for the six months of almost no moisture by raining almost everyday now. The short dog walks between rains have produced very little, especially the last couple of days as the fledglings are on their own now. What birds are still hanging around are very quiet now and tending to stay well hidden in the foliage.

In one particular area there is one Hoopoe that will drop down to the ground within a couple of feet of the dog, not to harass her, but rather just eyeing her. She originally occasionally made a halfhearted lunge towards it, but it just hopped up over her to come down behind her. Now they seem to feel like they know each other and will just walk side by side for awhile.

The Azure-winged Magpie are forming up into bigger familial flocks again and I saw about a dozen of them following along with us and scolding on yesterday's walk.

It was nice and cool this morning at sunrise, giving the first hint of the rapid cool down that will start in another couple of weeks or so.
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Old Tuesday 15th August 2017, 02:06   #435
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Any chance to grab a pic of your dog with the Hoopoe?

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Old Wednesday 16th August 2017, 01:31   #436
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKinHK View Post
Any chance to grab a pic of your dog with the Hoopoe?
I keep trying, Mike. So far I have only managed the dog alone reacting, the bird alone, the dog with a blur of Hoopoe, the Hoopoe with a blur of dog, etc. One of the problems is that if I get too close or move around too much trying for a good angle the Hoopoe spooks and leaves. Also that where this occurs is just off the walkway in a clearing behind some bushes. Nothing yet even as good as the blurry shot from a year ago with a Hoopoe scolding her.

While I am at it, I decided to include my first attempt at something else to keep myself busy. I took some handheld shots of the Moon back in January 2017 using my Canon 7D Mkii w/100-400mm lens @400mm. I got busy then and forgot about it and just got around to processing the images. Not quite right yet, but not a bad first try. I tried with the extender attached to get out to 560mm during a break in the clouds a few days ago, but got the setting wrong and badly over exposed it.

All prompted by my youngest brother having a telescope he is learning and my having more time to play with the image processing, which takes more time than the imaging. He has a real job and a teenager in high school as well as one in university making demands on his time. While after many years of commonly working 60-70 hours a week, I am thoroughly enjoying being retired. At any rate we are discussing trying having him collect the images and sending them to me to process. Another excuse for why I need to update to a new computer from my 8+ year old one. Seriously though, I tried stacking a large bunch of images yesterday and an hour later it was still working and when I went to adjust the angle on the computer I almost burnt my fingers on the back of the case. Shut it down and started lobbying with the wife for a new computer.
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Old Friday 18th August 2017, 13:38   #437
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That's not bad at all Owen - closer already than I would expect a Hoopoe tolerate!

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Old Friday 18th August 2017, 16:56   #438
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That's not bad at all Owen - closer already than I would expect a Hoopoe tolerate!

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The dog is so small, maybe the hoopoe thinks it's another hoopoe!
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Old Saturday 19th August 2017, 02:09   #439
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Actually, I think you are close there, Jeff. Maybe I could paint some black stripes on her.

I have thought that the dog is so small that it confuses other critters. "What is that!?". The Azure-winged Magpie seem to be especially intrigued by her and will follow her often getting quite close inspecting her. I have had them do the normal team attack on her with one getting her attention from the front while another gets close enough to peck her in the butt. Seems to be more entertainment than anything for them as long as they don't have a fledgling nearby that they are feeding and protecting. Then I have to rescue her as they will actually mob her.

She can work well for drawing small warblers and such out of the foliage.
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Old Friday 25th August 2017, 07:22   #440
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Weather fronts arriving from the north this last week coupled with the last couple of days clearing off with cooler temperatures and some of the best seeing that I have encountered in China have gotten me out the last couple of days. Beautiful blue skies and cooler temperatures.

Yesterday yielded some Dark-sided Flycatcher and a few very shy Taiga Flycatcher. A few Brown Shrike continue to hang around though they are staying very quiet and hide in the foliage very well.

Today's outing was longer and over to a wetland area. The wetlands recovered very quickly in the last month with the constant rain. The thin and stunted reeds have shot up and are now lush and over two meters high! I managed to add Reed Parrotbill to my life-list and found three Chinese Pond Heron. A few Little Grebe, which I have seen only rarely this season, were found in a water channel in the wetlands. The little terrier passed by a female Ring-necked Pheasant at less than a meter away without it flushing or the dog even noticing it. It finally flushed as I walked by but I wasn't able to get the camera up quick enough to take a photo. One Pallas's Leaf Warbler was observed at very close range, too close to focus on before it disappeared into the foliage.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Aug 24, 2017 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 kilometer(s)
10 species

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 1
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) 6
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 5
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 10
Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) 1
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 4
Dark-sided Flycatcher (Muscicapa sibirica) 4
Taiga Flycatcher (Ficedula albicilla) 3
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 5

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S38805947


Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Aug 25, 2017 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 kilometer(s)
11 species

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 1
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 5
Chinese Pond-Heron (Ardeola bacchus) 4
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 1
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 30
Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) 4
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 2
Pallas's Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus) 1
Reed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis heudei) 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 100 one large flock

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S38808526
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Old Friday 25th August 2017, 07:32   #441
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Nature watch -AUG 25

I also managed to get some nature shots over the last couple of days.

Yesterday I found a rather striking spider. And today I encountered an unknown snake crossing the road. And just to round it out some nice flowers on the edges of the wetland area.
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Old Sunday 27th August 2017, 03:08   #442
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Congratulations on the parrotbill Owen - a great find!

Delighted to see some migration starting up your end of the country. We just got going here this week with the first Amur Paradise Flycatchers and Arctic Warblers plus some amazing typhoon-related records.

The best were John Allcock and Dylan Thomas adding an astonishing four species of tern - Common, Bridled Aleutian and Sooty - to the Lam Tsuen list, along with Redshank and Black-winged Stilt.

I saw none of these but a few birds have also been in Discovery Bay this week - see my Exploring Lantau thread for more.

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Old Thursday 31st August 2017, 05:46   #443
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Just one of those days

Note to self, remember to put the battery in the camera before you lug it and the telephoto and the tele-extender lenses on a two km hike to (and then back from) the wetland area that always produces well. Also it would have been a good idea to remember to put your field notebook and a pen in your pocket as well. Of course other than a few Taiga and Dark-sided Flycatchers, nothing was to be found.
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Old Wednesday 13th September 2017, 02:34   #444
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September 11 & 12

Thunderstorms rolled through from the west across the bay in the early predawn hours of the 11th. The skies cleared to crystal blue with tremendous seeing for the next couple of days and while nothing amazing, it did lead to one new life list tic.

The storms had apparently pushed migrating birds with it concentrating Red-rumped Swallow over us for one day on the 11th which were immediately sighted on starting out flying at an altitude overhead that made them barely visible overhead, but low enough to be easily identifiable in the binoculars. I reported a count of 50 but that was just what I could make out at one moment directly overhead as they swirled about in a big ball mobbing a falcon. (More on that later)

The city park area next to us yielded some interesting arrivals. Immediately upon entering the park I saw a medium sized owl soar silently through the trees, but so briefly as to not allow any ID. It seemed too large for one of the Little Owls that have been in the area this summer. A pair of Yellow-browed Warbler absorbed me for a little while as they displayed much more distinct wing bars than normal, for here at least.

Moving on, there were numbers of flycatchers working the garden and as well as a nice Dark-sided Flycatcher. I was only able to view through the bins at distance, but did observe what I believe may have been a couple of Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, which would be a new tic, but just not close enough to get a positive ID. That did draw attention to another larger pair also hawking insects. Their flycatcher like behavior, very shy making it impossible to get close, constant movement and their forked tails, made me puzzle over an ID. The blurred photos from them being in deep shade and distant didn't help a lot. The ID forum help led to deciding they were just Chinese Bulbul juveniles apparently having a teenage identity crisis and thinking they were flycatchers. Makes sense as there was a nearby group of C. Bulbul juveniles nearby behaving more normally.

On the way out the previously mentioned falcon swooped lower with Red-rumped Swallow streaming behind. I got a good quick look through the bins and even managed a quick parting pic of what I feel confident proved to be my new tic as a Lesser Kestrel. I was able to observe a grey hood with no mustache, the black tips to the outer underside wing tips and the somewhat pointed rather than square tail. It also appeared slighter than the Eurasian Kestrel that I usually see and exhibited a more erratic flight with more turns and swoops than the E. Kestrel normally show. I theorize that the storm the night before also swept it east of the bay from where it would be more common.

The 12th produced nothing new, but for a return of the Spotted Dove that had disappeared this summer.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Sep 11, 2017 12:15 PM - 1:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 kilometer(s)
8 species

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 2
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 12
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 10
Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) 50 large numbers migrating through area at altitude - positive id with binoculars
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 6
Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) 2
Dark-sided Flycatcher (Muscicapa sibirica) 4
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 5

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39122868

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Sep 12, 2017 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
4.5 kilometer(s)
7 species

Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) 6
Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 4
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 1
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 16
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 5
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 10
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 55

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39139380
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Old Thursday 14th September 2017, 02:09   #445
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Gnatcatcher would be an amazing record for Asia, Owen. There aren't even any eBirds records for Alaska.

Maybe a long-tailed tit?
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Old Thursday 14th September 2017, 02:10   #446
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September 13

I decided to make the two hour round trip up to the Panjin Wetland Park yesterday and was surprised by finding myself almost entirely alone in what is normally a well used park and by there being a dearth of Passerines except for the Azure-winged Magpie which overran the place. Very unusual as I usually get good counts there.

I did spot some distant gulls. On the other side of the lake of course and since I didn't want to make the 2 hour hike around the lake, all I have is some hazy shots that haven't helped me to ID.

I did catch some of the Daurian Ground Squirrel and a six legged spider.

Getting bored with counting Aw Magpie, I switched over to butterflies and that worked out well. I have posted on the forum for such at: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....07#post3616207 & http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....08#post3616208

Not finding a lot of help online with these as there are some good sights, but focused on either Britain or the USA. Since I still claim a residence in the State of Kansas in the US and hence am subject to Kansas state taxes which support Kansas State University which recently was bragging of their Entomology Department being rated as #4 in the world, I took a shot at asking them for any suggestions for materials, online or otherwise. Probably will be ignored as most university level professors are not interested in dealing with the public or in anything outside their narrow sub-field, but worth a try I figured.

Panjin Wetland Park, Liaoning, CN
Sep 13, 2017 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
6 species

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 3
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 60 Family groups of 10-20 were densely packed throughout the park
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 20
Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) 10
Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) 2

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39167052
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Old Friday 15th September 2017, 02:46   #447
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Originally Posted by Owen Krout View Post

Moving on, there were numbers of flycatchers working the garden and as well as a nice Dark-sided Flycatcher.
View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39139380
Hi Owen, good to see you are getting good action right now.

Also, the photo is of Asian Brown Flycatcher not Dark-sided.
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Old Friday 15th September 2017, 03:40   #448
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Getting bored with counting Aw Magpie, I switched over to butterflies and that worked out well. I have posted on the forum for such at: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....07#post3616207 & http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....08#post3616208

Not finding a lot of help online with these as there are some good sights, but focused on either Britain or the USA. Since I still claim a residence in the State of Kansas in the US and hence am subject to Kansas state taxes which support Kansas State University which recently was bragging of their Entomology Department being rated as #4 in the world, I took a shot at asking them for any suggestions for materials, online or otherwise. Probably will be ignored as most university level professors are not interested in dealing with the public or in anything outside their narrow sub-field, but worth a try I figured.
I can totally understand the frustration, Owen. I went through the same pain of not knowing what that is despite having seen nicely and got a better photo even.
So, earlier this year, i bite the bullet and bought the 4 volume handbook "Butterflies of China".
Pros:
Covers all the 1400+ species in China
Extensive sketches
Cons:
Only in Chinese except for scientific names
no distribution maps though the distribution range is mentioned in words (Chinese)
No details of ssp (or i haven't figured that yet)
Mega price tag (2800 rmb)

So, if you got something and need to know what it is, just post it here or the butterflies section, i will try my best to ID it.
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Old Friday 15th September 2017, 10:40   #449
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Gnatcatcher would be an amazing record for Asia, Owen. There aren't even any eBirds records for Alaska.

Maybe a long-tailed tit?
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.
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Old Friday 15th September 2017, 10:46   #450
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Hi Owen, good to see you are getting good action right now.

Also, the photo is of Asian Brown Flycatcher not Dark-sided.
Hi Dev,

I was going to argue with you on that one, but after carefully going over the field guides I decided that you were correct. Dark-sided, Grey-streaked, Asian Brown, tough to distinguish, especially when I only see one or two during migration, but finally decided that indeed the bill length, primary length and off=center eye ring push it into Asian Brown Flycatcher.
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