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Old Tuesday 30th May 2017, 09:46   #401
Owen Krout
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Our little dog insisted on needing to take a walk later than normal this evening and it led to a daytime sighting of the Little Owl that has been haunting our neighborhood at nights. I heard it softly calling and my attention attracted I spotted it sitting on the very top of our building. A very confused dog as I rushed back inside and grabbed the camera. As it turned out it was only visible from one small area in the garden and I only managed a half dozen or so quick shots before it flew off.
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Old Friday 2nd June 2017, 04:16   #402
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Another sighting of our Little Owl today about noon. Again while walking the dog. Still perched high up on our building. The coloration and the diminutive size make it very difficult to spot.
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Old Saturday 3rd June 2017, 22:23   #403
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Old Monday 5th June 2017, 06:32   #404
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Having an Owl in the apartment complex is so awesome.
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Old Wednesday 7th June 2017, 07:10   #405
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I've been watching the spot where I spotted the E. Kestrel last week, but apparently they have found another location that suited them better as I have seen no activity there. I have seen them hunting though, so they are somewhere nearby.

I did spot a small Falcon from our patio two days ago just before sunset and attempting to take some Swallows that were working over the complex. Very small and fast, just slightly bigger than the Swallow. It made several dives from above and behind the Swallows, but with no success. I did quickly grab the camera, but it refused to focus on the small target in failing light against the hazy sky. It was flying higher than I would normally expect for any of the smaller Falco. I spotted two more today while out, working over the reeds and at a much more moderate height. I didn't have the camera today, but I am thinking Merlin.

The Oriental Reed Warbler have finally started showing up. Seems a bit late this year, but the reeds themselves have been a little slow getting started, probably because of the dry conditions. A few Hoopoe have started showing up also. Good to see since the unusually cold winter caused numbers to drop to zero. A few Black-Crowned Night Heron have established in the reed bed about a km from our condo. Also good to see as that is the reed bed that was drained plowed and tried to change to a corn field. Very little standing water, but the village gave up on using it as crop land and it has quickly reverted to reeds this year. The other spring returns are the E. Cuckoo which were loud and chasing each other over the reed beds.

Don't know if anybody has any suggestions, but I heard a call today that I am sure I have never heard before, but unfortunately was never able to get a sighting. It was a loud, very pure toned three note call something like 'Ting, ting, ting'. Almost sounded like a chime being struck. If my wife had been there she could have identified the specific note as it was so clear and clean. The bird was in some trees bordering the reed beds, the same habitat where the Cuckoo were.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Jun 7, 2017 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 kilometer(s)
10 species

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 3
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 12
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) 6
Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 3
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 2
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) 4
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 30
Oriental Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) 5
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 20

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37442230
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Old Saturday 10th June 2017, 01:42   #406
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen Krout View Post

I did spot a small Falcon from our patio two days ago just before sunset and attempting to take some Swallows that were working over the complex. Very small and fast, just slightly bigger than the Swallow. It made several dives from above and behind the Swallows, but with no success. I did quickly grab the camera, but it refused to focus on the small target in failing light against the hazy sky. It was flying higher than I would normally expect for any of the smaller Falco. I spotted two more today while out, working over the reeds and at a much more moderate height. I didn't have the camera today, but I am thinking Merlin.


Don't know if anybody has any suggestions, but I heard a call today that I am sure I have never heard before, but unfortunately was never able to get a sighting. It was a loud, very pure toned three note call something like 'Ting, ting, ting'. Almost sounded like a chime being struck. If my wife had been there she could have identified the specific note as it was so clear and clean. The bird was in some trees bordering the reed beds, the same habitat where the Cuckoo were.

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37442230
Hi Owen

Hobby is more likely to be hunting Swallows, and maybe a kid with a triangle was your reed bed chimer!

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Old Saturday 10th June 2017, 05:02   #407
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Hi Mike,

I think you are right about the Hobby. I didn't take the camera or bins with me today, but there were two individuals working the city park adjacent to our condo. I got a very good look from underneath as one skimmed just over the tree-tops directly over me and I believe from that that it was indeed a Hobby. I also relocated the Kestrel pair. They were at the same complex as before but have moved up even higher now occupying an even better sheltered ledge on an elevator tower rising up above the main roof line.

The reed bed chimer did almost sound like a kid with a triangle, but unless he jumped in the pond and very quickly swum to the other side, I think I can rule that one out. I did happen to think yesterday that maybe it was an escaped cage bird. A neighbor 100m or so down from us has a cage bird that they put out on the patio during the daytime and it has started making a similar call now.
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Old Sunday 11th June 2017, 07:34   #408
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June 11, 2017

A long walk along an irrigation canal this morning with the most impressive thing being the lack of birds. The canal is lined with mature woods and normally is one of the best areas to find a variety of birdlife. Today however it showed only a smattering of life. I did manage a few interesting pics and observations though.

I managed to catch the mugging in act as a E. Magpie was mobbed by a pair of Brown Shrike. In all fairness it looked like the Magpie was probably attempting to raid their nest.

Great-Spotted Woodpecker were much more abundant than in the past. Sadly I couldn't get a usable picture, but could clearly make out in the bins one of them snatching a spider out of her web and then proceeding to pick out each of the silk bundled insects that had been captured for a further snack. I have seen woodpeckers on the ground eating ants off the ground before but first time I have seen one targeting spiders.

Just as I was walking by one of the many sights in Panjin with oil jack pumps working away, there was a loud bang followed by what sounded like pipe dropping to the ground and an immediate loud 'whooshing' sound. The sound was a blow-out of one of the wells. I paused long enough to determine that the wind was blowing away from me, grabbed a couple of quick pics showing a gas cloud escaping under heavy pressure then slowly slacking and left the area. I don't think the Panjin wells have a problem with toxic gas emissions, so probably a natural gas buildup, but not taking any chances. On the one picture you can see the bridle and possibly the traveling rod are missing. (Sorry, the sort of thing that grabs the attention of an engineer. )

I also was approached by a teacher from the Oil Field Middle School who had excellent English and we had a pleasant long talk. Unusual to find anybody, including those who are supposed to be English teachers, in Panjin that can speak English any better than I can muddle through Chinese.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Jun 11, 2017 8:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
6.0 kilometer(s)
9 species

Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 7
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 1
Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 1
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) 20
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 4
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 1
Oriental Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) 3
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 10

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37520970
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Old Tuesday 13th June 2017, 07:37   #409
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Always seems to happen that way. While walking the dog this morning in the apartment complex, of course without camera or bins, I had one of those times that you berate yourself for not bringing the camera and not having time to dash back inside for it. My attention was drawn to what the Sparrows were mobbing and chasing in flight with some help of a few Swallows. It turned out to be a good size black or very dark colored bat. It kept trying to take cover under the roof overhang of the top floor but they kept going at it and forcing it out. That was interesting enough, but as I was watching it fly nearby while trying to shake off it's pursuers, it drew my attention to 5 Black Stork flying over west to east and fairly high. That is the second sighting but the first that I have felt confident enough about the ID to claim on my life-list. Thanks to Tom Beeke for the photos in his 'Birds of Dalian' field guide. Of course yesterday a walk of 3km or so with the camera yielded nothing of note.
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 01:19   #410
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Congratulations on the storks Owen!

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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 04:58   #411
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Finally had a little bit of rain today, so limited to a short walk inside the complex to 'water' the dog. I was rewarded with two Hobby working together and trying for the Swallow again. I didn't see that they had any success, but observed one trying to get to a Swallow nest tucked up under an overhang. Probably trying to snatch a baby out of the nest. Swallows from all over mobbed it and drove it off. Not a lot bigger than the Swallows, so it would be easy to not notice, especially at any distance. Yesterday, again with no camera, I observed with bins the E. Kestrel pair. I didn't see any young but both were sitting on the ledge but 10-12 meters apart and facing away from each other. Having a spat? Am I correct in remembering that they would not build a nest of such but just use a flat ledge like a Peregrine?
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Old Wednesday 5th July 2017, 01:42   #412
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July 5, 2017

Birding has been rather slow here lately, so I have neglected to report. Deciding to beat the heat, I got out at 06:00 and decided to check out what is left of the nearby reed beds. Apparently because last years attempts to farm them was such a dismal failure and possibly due to the continuing drought, they were mostly left untouched this year and have recovered enough for a thick regrowth of two meter high reeds. Little standing water, so the Egrets and Herons are still scarce, but maybe next year.

I ventured down onto a narrow pathway through the middle of the reeds and did manage an 'impressionistic' close-up of a scolding Reed Parrotbill and scared up a Black-Crowned Night Heron from only about a meter away. A few Zitting Cisticols and a couple of Oriental Pheasant were also found. Overall the area was rather deserted though. The Grey Headed Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt and Oriental Reed Warbler that have been common in the past were all absent. The mosquitos suddenly appeared in an overwhelming swarm at twenty minutes after seven though and drove me out of the reeds. The temperature already reaching 28 and the humidity being very high made me decide to head home at that point.

Was one of those interesting days of two extremes in China. I started out with being confronted by what I am sure was one of the wealthy parents of a student from the private high school. I had spotted what I thought was a Great Spotted Woodpecker, but just to be sure I pulled up the camera to use as a low power spotting scope and snapped a couple of shots to in case. (It was) A sudden angry voice right behind me startled me and it was the parent accusing me of what I eventually figured out was taking photos of the nearby cell phone tower. (Don't ask me, I don't know why that was any big deal) This immediately drew a group from the retired folks just arriving who have a music jam all day long in the park. Unknown to him, my wife is 'Professor Wang' who sometimes comes out to join the group and they all knew about my birding activities. Once I figured out what he was on about I showed the two shots I had on the camera and the group started rather unkindly chasing him off. This was balanced off a half hour later by a person unknown to me who was passing by on his electric scooter stopped to tell me about another area nearby that was 'hen howda'. I listened and thanked him not seeing it necessary to tell him I already knew about it. (Actually it is only fair)

Managed a few nice shots of some pretty little 'skipper' butterflies. Anybody have any suggestions on references for such things? I am attracted as much by other wildlife and could identify most of what I would have seen tramping around the forests in Pennsylvania but only took the minimum biology necessary in college and most of what I see here is completely new to me.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Jul 5, 2017 6:00 AM - 8:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 kilometer(s)
13 species

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 2
Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 11
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) 1
Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 2
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) 4
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 2
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 20
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 9
Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) 8
Reed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis heudei) 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 10

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37975415
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Old Wednesday 5th July 2017, 04:46   #413
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July 4, 2017

Just thought to add a brief account of my July 4th outing. I noted on eBird that others had had some luck recently in the protected wetland area on the west side of the Shuangtaizi River so decided to check out the Gedalou Reservoir expecting to find some Egret, Heron, Bittern and Gulls at least. I was surprised to find only one Yellow Bittern. Not even any Black Crowned Night Heron which are abundant here this year. First time I have been there and not seen any gulls. The Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebe that are usually scattered along the shoreline were also completely absent. Just a few Brown Shrike and a pair of Chinese Bulbul which had some fledglings well hidden in a patch of trees but which they couldn't keep quiet. Constantly and loudly begging to be fed. One E. Magpie and they are usually abundant also.

The lake was about five meters lower than normal and was just reaching the level where the built-in intake pipes were becoming ineffective. Full pool would be even higher than that. Picture shows one with a whirlpool as it started to suck air. These are the source of the water for the fish, crab and shrimp ponds that ring the lake. This is a critical economic point as these ponds all over the Panjin district are a major source of good income for many families. We have had some rain lately but not enough to keep up, especially with the heat. It got to between 40 and 42 for a week a couple of weeks ago and is 34 now. ('Just like Kansas!', my wife says) Doesn't sound too bad for you down south I know but 28 is the normal high for this time here and this is normally the rainy season.
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Old Thursday 6th July 2017, 08:53   #414
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Hi Owen,

Reed Parrotbill is top notch. Its my favorite patch bird and nothing beats to it.

Your butterfly is a Bath White (Pontia edusa), great to see both dorsal and ventral views. My target species for this summer but haven't ticked it yet despite they are very common throughout China but all i'm seeing at the moment is the Small White (Pieris rapae). Would be great to see some more butterflies from your patch.
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Old Friday 7th July 2017, 04:52   #415
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Would be great to see some more butterflies from your patch.
I'll keep that in mind, Dev.
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 07:06   #416
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July 14 & 15

The summer rains have finally arrived with some good soaking rains in the last week. The down-side is the heat and humidity that accompany such. Dodging the showers I made it out for short trips the last couple of days. The only thing of special note was that the young are fledging and I was able to get a few distance shots of Brown Shrike & Azure Winged Magpie young loudly begging for food. Hoopoe also had young tagging along begging, but I didn't manage a usable photo of those. Their parents always appear to be much less happy with the youngster still begging for food.
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 07:13   #417
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Dev's butterflies

I kept you in mind on my two recent short outings, Dev. I think that I did spot a few of the Small White that you are looking for, but they were not willing to sit still for a portrait. Definitively smaller than the Bath White and looked almost pure white. Today I did, however, catch a nice single unknown for you.
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Old Monday 17th July 2017, 08:29   #418
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I kept you in mind on my two recent short outings, Dev. I think that I did spot a few of the Small White that you are looking for, but they were not willing to sit still for a portrait. Definitively smaller than the Bath White and looked almost pure white. Today I did, however, catch a nice single unknown for you.
Give me enough time and I managed to dig it out of the internet. The 'unknown' turns out to be from the Nymphalidae family - Polygonia c-aureum Asian Comma

I haven't managed to track down one from today however. A very striking, rather large, butterfly with bright yellow wings w/black markings. It soared right over me and then quickly just vanished. No time to get the camera up and focused.

Nothing much from today in way of birds. There were, however, Chinese Bulbul, C. Magpie, & Brown Shrike all feeding recently fledged young in the immediate area of the butterfly sighting, so maybe one of them snatched it up.
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Old Wednesday 19th July 2017, 06:57   #419
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Good photos, as usual, Owen. You are right about the Asian Comma. Another common butterfly of the open country, i usually get the big no's here during spring and autumn.
The small C or comma mark on the underwing gives the name Comma, took a while for me figure out.
How big was your Yellow Buttefly with black markings? I'm not sure how large it was and i'm not sure if Golden Birdwing makes it all the way to Dalian. It usually stays at the canopy and hardly settle down for nectar or any mineral source.
Coming to the Whites(Pieridae), the most common ones we get in East China are Small White, Indian Cabbage White, Bath White, Dark-banded White and Yellow tip. It's quite a challenge to distinguish them apart if they are in flight.
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Old Thursday 20th July 2017, 05:26   #420
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Hi Dev,

The large yellow butterfly immediately made me think of a Tiger Swallowtail http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...p?photo=536594 About that size and wing shape. However it seemed to lack the dark banding on the trailing edges of the wings and the quick impression that I got was less of the black banding and rather black spotting.

The whites are fairly common right now but I haven't gotten a good enough look to make an ID. I am inclining to either Small White or Indian Cabbage White though. I've never been comfortable with a pinned collection just for my own enjoyment and the challenge of trying to get a good ID photo just makes it more interesting. It's been too hot and humid lately to tote the camera around much, but typically in the next couple of weeks it starts to ease off.
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 01:45   #421
thirudevaram
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Hi Owen,

Two Swallowtails are common in East China. Asian Swallowtail(Papilio xuthus) which has the black bands(streakings) on the upper wing and also its distribution range spreads through Russia, Japan, Korea and China.

Common Swallowtail (Papilio machon) is much similar except for the upper wing markings. Its widely distributed through China although i have never seen them near the coast.

Attached the photos for your reference.

PS : The Asian Swallowtail is captioned as Southern Swallowtail (noob mistake) but i never got around to fix it.
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 04:01   #422
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Interesting,

The Common Swallowtail is the closer of the two, but not a match to the quick impression I got. General size and shape looks good but the markings are not quite right. Then again it was only a quick look, so I may be mistaken. I am going out in a few minutes for a quick jaunt before the predicted heavy rain, so hopefully I'll get another chance.

You've managed to catch my interest. Being more of a naturalist than just a birder, butterflies and moths make a good supplement to the birding, so I have just ordered a copy of Butterflies of the World by Lewis. I'm currently in the middle of Cornell Universities Handbook of Bird Biology, but once that is completed, I can start on butterflies.

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.
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Last edited by Owen Krout : Friday 21st July 2017 at 18:43. Reason: added image
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 06:19   #423
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July 21 2017

Brown Shrike in abundance this afternoon feeding recently fledged young. A few Chinese Bulbul and one rather bold Hoopoe. Also a shot from a couple of days ago that I forgot to post of a young Great-Spotted Woodpecker. The parents had decided that it was time for it to set off on its own. It would fly over near them and as soon as it started squawking for food they would drive it off.
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 06:23   #424
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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.
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Old Saturday 22nd July 2017, 04:17   #425
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For whatever reason, I am not able to edit post #422 or I would just delete the images. It just dawned on me that I spent the summer in America that year and hence those butterflies are from Johnson and Miami Counties in Kansas. Lots of online resources for butterflies in the US and Britain, so I am sure I can figure those out.
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