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Old Friday 26th August 2016, 09:59   #326
Owen Krout
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The first real cool front came through from the north yesterday with heavy low fast moving clouds and dropped the temperature down to 14 degrees this morning with clear blue skies. Hoping that it might have carried some early migrants south with it I went out. It turned out that it was more of a case of having encouraged the local population to head south. More notable than any new arrivals was what is now missing. The Oriental Reed Warblers, Zitting Cistola, Cuckoos, Brown Shrike, Little Grebe and Common Coots were all completely missing and even the Barn Swallow are noticeably decreasing in number. Didn't even pick up any Heron or Egret and this was an area that has reliably produced both all summer.

One new tick however with (4) White-winged Tern.

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus) 4
Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 1
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 3
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 12
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 4
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 10
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Old Saturday 10th September 2016, 07:00   #327
Owen Krout
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Back from three days of no internet. An underground power cable blew and took some fiber lines with it. Not much to have been posted anyway except for new tics for Pacific Swifts and Red-rumped Swallow. Pretty sure they have been here but my increasing experience and familiarity with what is here brought them to my attention. The Pacific Swifts were spotted one morning about 06:00 while walking the dog and stood out as just looking different from the usual Barn Swallows and having a different flight and hunting pattern. There was a heavy fog which had driven them down very low and upon stopping to observe them more carefully the white rump patch stood out. They moved on in the migration once the fog lifted as by 12:00 they were no were to be found. The single Red-rumped was in with a small group of Barn Swallow at a different location and spotted as I crossed a bridge and it flew very close and lower than me. Also a Merlin has been seen a few days in a row early in the morning flying very low, below tree tops, and very rapidly and unpredictably. I have seen the remains of a couple of small bird kills which may have been from it.

Everything else remains very slow. I thought I heard some Tits yesterday morning, but they were back in the still dense foliage and I never got a look at them.
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Old Sunday 11th September 2016, 00:22   #328
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An interesting note from this morning about 06:30. While walking the dog through a nearby city park a Siberian Weasel crossed the path about 10 meters in front of me! It apparently has a favorite hunting spot in the village immediately adjacent into which it was headed as it had an intent air about it and it was ignoring people on the footpath. Amazingly to me, I was the only person that seemed to notice it. The dog didn't even notice it slip between us.
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Old Thursday 15th September 2016, 03:35   #329
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Tuesday, I managed to break the cycle of poor outings that I have had for this summer. Over the week-end I told my wife that the weather looked good for Tuesday and that I was going to either Yingkou Harbor or to Gedalou Reservoir. She objected telling me that there were “no birds” at this time of year. Come Tuesday she objected again but as I was getting my gear together to take the bus to Yingkou she told me to wait as “the children”, which is her favorite term for our mid thirties daughter and her husband, would take us to Gedalou as they were taking the morning off. After waiting until 10:30 we took off in the right general direction. We didn’t go to Gedalou though. Instead we went to a newly spruced up “tourism village”. When I spoke up they all again assured me that there were no birds at Gedalou. After getting dragged to the pond with domestic geese and ducks and waiting while they overpaid for grapes from a pick-your-own vinery I told them to drop me off at a bus stop for the #30 as I could still make Yingkou. That led to the round and round of “Do you still want to go to Gedalou?” - “Yes, either one will be fine” for at least a dozen times. (I knew I was not giving the answer they wanted, but, dammit, I did want to go. Finally, they did drop my wife and I off at Gedalou, which is only a about 5km from the daughter’s office. It was worth the struggle.

On first arriving there were only the (50) Barn Swallow and a handful of gulls, upon reaching the lake itself it picked up a little. The first thing were the Lesser Black-backed Gull (Heuglin's) and Vega Gull and a few Purple Heron which were cruising fairly low along the lakeshore. Fortunately I managed some really good shots of those as it later led to a good discussion on the ID forum. That is always good as when an ID I am not sure of generates discussion I take it as it really was tricky not just me being dense. In a short time I picked up Little Grebe and Black-headed Gull. It always seems a strange name to me in that it is rare for me to actually see a black hood on any of these.

Just as the wife was wanting to leave all that changed when I finally located some shrimp ponds that had been recently harvested and drained. The first was obscured behind some trees which still have heavy foliage, but as my wife panicked I went down the bank and disappeared into the trees to get a clear line of sight. I only found Great White Egret and Black-headed Gull with a few Common Magpie but it was a nice change from what I have been getting. When I came back up the wife had found another location with several drained pond with paths making them accessible.

This was the jackpot. Just as we arrived one of the three wheeled, hit-and-miss engine, no muffler farm vehicles pop-pop-popped its way along the bank of one of the ponds and the skies filled with egrets and gulls. I spent quite some time working into a position to get some decent ID photos as the Intermediate Egret and Little Egret were especially jumpy after all that noise. While I was doing that the wife was chatting up the owners of the ponds.

I finally gave it up for the day as the humidity was climbing and the haze was approaching more of a fog. The final straw though was that the PLA Air Force decided it was time for low level flight practice and started passing over every few minutes. This would cause another eruption of birds each time and they usually would re-settle on a different pond requiring me to attempt to approach the now spooked birds again. All in all a good day.
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Old Thursday 15th September 2016, 03:39   #330
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More photos

Some more shots from Tuesday and my final list

Gedalou Reservoir, Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Sep 13, 2016 12:15 PM - 2:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 kilometer(s)
12 species

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 11
Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) 16
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) 4
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 25
Intermediate Egret (Mesophoyx intermedia) 30
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) 40
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 72
Herring Gull (Vega) (Larus argentatus vegae) 14
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Heuglin's) (Larus fuscus heuglini) 10
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 6
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 40
White Wagtail (Chinese) (Motacilla alba leucopsis) 6

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31581732
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Last edited by Owen Krout : Thursday 15th September 2016 at 06:02. Reason: added list
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Old Monday 3rd October 2016, 04:01   #331
Owen Krout
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October 2, 2016

It has started to cool down and along with that the slowly increasing migration. An outing yesterday only brought a few birds of note, but was a nice day for an outing.

Early on I was teased by numerous Warbler that I was unable to identify any closer than probable Sylviidae family. Only brief glimpses as they were being very shy and there is still plenty of leaf cover in which they could hide and scold me.

In the process of trying to get a viewing angle on some of those little teases I tried another area nearby and having no success paused and looked up to see a Eurasian Kestrel sitting above me on a snag watching me with curiosity and with a second individual hovering over the adjacent open area. I managed a few good shots, but that big eye of the 400mm lens made her uncomfortable and she left.

I decided to move on over to the only small wetland area still undeveloped in the immediate area and immediately heard a Little Grebe whistling and when I managed to get a break in the reeds I caught the Grebe harassing two Common Coot. I have noticed before that the Little Grebe seem to get quite territorial this time of year. Seems a little odd since they will soon be migrating out of the area, so I suppose that they are able to navigate back to the same spot that they are staking out now as being theirs.

It wasn't until I started processing my photos that I realized that one of the Common Coot had a leg flag. I can't bring out any detail, but it was right leg and white or silver.

The only other birds of note where the sky being thick with Swallow flying very high and in and out of the low hanging clouds. I am sure there were many more than the 80 that I counted as those were just the lower ones who were drinking and bathing on the fly in the nearby water. There seemed to be a slow constant movement southward with more arriving steadily from the north to replace those leaving.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Oct 2, 2016 2:00 PM - 5:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 kilometer(s)
9 species

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 6
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 2
Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 1
Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 2
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 9
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 3
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 80
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 4
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 40

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31865064
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Old Monday 3rd October 2016, 04:15   #332
Owen Krout
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More photos

The Common Coot photos and a large toad I encountered. (I'm easily distracted ).

Another item of mention is that I was standing at the ceiling to floor window overlooking our patio a few days ago when a Siberian Weasel came through about 4 meters away! It gave me an unconcerned glance as it went through heading further into the complex. An area only about 500 meters from here where a small village was bulldozed about ten years ago was recently cleared for expansion of a private school. Shortly after being initially bulldozed there was a freeze on further development in Dawa county and in the meantime it had become overgrown and was serving as great habitat for wildlife in general. I knew there were Little and Siberian Weasel in the nearby wetlands and apparently all the renewed drainage and development has them looking for shelter and prey.
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Old Wednesday 12th October 2016, 14:22   #333
Owen Krout
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October 11, 2016

Things have picked up in the last week here. I am starting to see the expected migrants both passing through and some of the winter residents reappearing.

Taking a break from the baseball playoffs (I am an American after all), I went out fairly late Tuesday afternoon and was very pleased to see increasing numbers of the migrants passing through and the expected winter residents starting to reappear. I only had about an hour before the light rapidly started failing as the sun started making its increasingly early departure and I spent most of that time trying to ferret out what finally proved to be 14 Pallas's Leaf Warbler. They were being as reclusive as usual and I believe most were 1st winter as their coronal stripe was not as evident as usual. Partially due to the poor lighting also, I am sure.

Mixed in that first half hour were a couple of Light-vented Bulbul that were calling and chasing each other and one Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Just as I was ready to give it up a noisy flock of 75 White-Cheeked Starling poured in through the trees where I was standing. Startled as much as I was they immediately moved about 20 meters away to feed on some Sumac seed heads. I managed to get closer and stay hidden getting some good shots through the trees.

They finally noticed me and flew again disappearing behind a large mound of fill dirt left over from when a planned development project was halted by the new construction freeze about 10 years ago. There is a large open undeveloped field just beyond there and I decided to check on what I might see from the top of the aprox. 20 meter tall mound. Good idea as it turned out as in addition to my original flock, now sitting on power lines, were two more flocks of at least the same size wheeling over the area. The next 15 minutes or so as the sun faded yielded 9 Common Magpie, 2 Rock Dove, and a large flock of at least 100 Tree Sparrow all of which were in the open field below me.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Oct 11, 2016 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
7 species

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon)) 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 9
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 2
Pallas's Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus) 14
White-cheeked Starling (Spodiopsar cineraceus) 200
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 110 Primarily one large flock of 100

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S32003704
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Old Wednesday 12th October 2016, 15:07   #334
Owen Krout
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October 12, 2016

Today proved that much of birding is dependent upon the luck of just being in the right place at the right time. I decided this morning to return to the patch where I found all the White-cheeked Starling just as they were roosting for the evening yesterday. I reached the same little hillock by about 07:30 only to find only 5 White-cheeked Starling. Apparently the rest had headed on south at first light. The only other thing of note in the field below me was some Common Magpie tormenting a white cat that had been hunting in the overgrown field. They were actually coming down to the ground and pecking at the cat.

The day was not a bust however. True to my theory, a single dead tree snag proved to take up most of my time and provide an entertaining mornings outing. On my way into the area, while trying to get a good photo of 2 Little Bunting I noticed a pair of Common Magpie observing me from the said snag. The entertainment really started as I was passing by the snag again on my way back home. Hearing a woodpecker's warning call several times, I moved cautiously back up to the area of the snag and was rewarded with a Eurasian Kestrel that a Great-spotted Woodpecker was scolding. Both were in the snag. Just as I spotted them another E. Kestrel joined the first at its perch. The Great-spotted Woodpecker decided he was out numbered and left the area. Shortly thereafter, while I was working into a better position and snapping shots a couple of Azure-winged Magpie started harassing them and finally the Kestrel decided the view from the perch wasn't worth it and flew off. The A-w Magpie assumed the top perch the E. Kestrel had been using only to have the G-s WP aggressively return and displace them. Within minutes he was in turn pushed out by a very aggressive Hoopoe. The action wasn't over though as almost immediately the displaced Azure-winged Magpie which had moved to some nearby Sumac were swarmed by a flock of 30 White-cheeked Starling. The Magpie left the area only to shortly return to the area in a flock of 30 of their friends to reclaim the snag.

Another item of note is that at this point some days will have no Barn Swallow while other days will be like today with a steady flow of birds from north to south. Food is getting scarce for them, especially north of here I am sure as for the last week temps have hovered at just above zero at sunrise.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Oct 12, 2016 7:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
11 species

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 1
Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 2
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 33
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 13
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 45
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 13
White-cheeked Starling (Spodiopsar cineraceus) 30
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 20

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S32004152
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Old Thursday 13th October 2016, 05:13   #335
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Hi Owen,

Post #333, Photo 1, Red-billed Starling and Photo2 - White-cheeked Starlings above and Red-billed Starlings are just below them.
Over the weekend, I was tracking a very fat and dark bird in the undergrowth in the hopes of Black-breasted Thrush but just as you know it was a White-Cheeked Starling.
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Old Thursday 13th October 2016, 16:04   #336
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Originally Posted by thirudevaram View Post
Post #333, Photo 1, Red-billed Starling and Photo2 - White-cheeked Starlings above and Red-billed Starlings are just below them.
I think they're White-cheeked rather than Red-billed. In particular, the wing pattern doesn't fit Red-billed (no white in primaries). White-cheeked have a variable amount of white on the head, although I've never seen one this extreme. e.g. compare this bird (which is White-cheeked despite the file name): http://www.moonbeampublishing.com/im...A_A61T7448.jpg
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Old Friday 14th October 2016, 08:55   #337
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I have seen a lot of variation in the amount of white on the head of White-cheeked Starlings here also. I am quite confident of these being White-cheeked. For one thing this far north would be 800km or so too far north for Red-billed.
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Old Friday 14th October 2016, 09:42   #338
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Wah, never realized there was so much variation of "white" on White-cheeked Starlings.
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Old Friday 14th October 2016, 09:43   #339
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I have seen a lot of variation in the amount of white on the head of White-cheeked Starlings here also. I am quite confident of these being White-cheeked. For one thing this far north would be 800km or so too far north for Red-billed.
Not necessarily too far, Tom had couple of these earlier this year.
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Old Saturday 15th October 2016, 09:54   #340
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October 14, 2016

I tagged along with family as they went to Honghaitan (Red Beach). I find the whole Red Beach thing rather uninspiring but the locals are convinced it is awe inspiring before they even get there. I've mentioned before that it is a private enterprise which does have the positive of protecting about 25km of coastal tidal flats right at the mouth of the Shuantaizi river. Boardwalks allow you to go about a km out over the tidal flats at several places along the main roadway. At least it keeps a separation between people and the birds and the area clean by Chinese standards. Still quite a lot of litter visible as people are freely tossing their trash over the side of the boardwalks. The crowds and worse yet the piped in mood music are enough to ruin it for me.

Since the main purpose was for everyone else to view the Red "Beach", I only managed three short birding walks at different spots. The first one was the most frustrating not do to the tide being fully out and hence most of the waders being lost in the haze in the distance, but because immediately upon starting down the boardwalk I spotted fresh tracks which indicated there had been a Stork or Crane there. These were about the size of my hand or a little larger. Checking the tide tables it was probably about sunrise just as the tide started out and there were no people around. The only other thing yielded in this 20 minutes was 28 Saunder's Gull that were mostly just sitting about resting and 3 Barn Swallow.

Moving on to the next area proved a bit more productive. Another boardwalk out over the tidal flat. 19 more Saunder's Gull, as well as 32 Eurasian Curlew. There were some other peeps out just far enough to not be identifiable except for 30 Kentish Plover that were dashing about near the Curlew and thousands of crab that the gulls were foraging. I did notice an odd behavior in that occasionally, on some sort of cue that I could not figure out, all the crab inside a maybe 10 meter radius would suddenly pop out of their holes, dash about madly and then dive back into their holes. Quite comical to observe.

We made a final stop at the bridge at the south entrance and from there I picked up 33 Black-tailed Gull.

Birding would be much better if one were there shortly after the tide was starting out or before it reached high tide as that would push the waders in close enough to view.
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Old Saturday 15th October 2016, 15:56   #341
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An extended morning walk today out to a wetland area produced two flocks of 40 Naumann's Thrush on the south side and another 30 Naumann's on the north side. Both were being very difficult to approach so I spent over an hour managing just a few decent images.

Filled it out with 6 Hoopoe, 2 Little Grebe 3 Light-vented Bulbul and 2 Common Magpie. Saw one woodpecker fly with loud alarm call and while a probable Grey-headed Woodpecker, I couldn't say for certain.
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Old Thursday 20th October 2016, 05:51   #342
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What started out as a short outing turned into a three hour hike. I intended to spend the time to manage to get a better look to firmly confirm that what I have been seeing is indeed Pallas's Leaf Warbler. After much effort and time I finally did manage a few good ID photos and confirm that as well as a few Little Bunting. One Little Bunting objected to my presence enough that when I turned my back on him I was suddenly startled by a wing slapping my ear! I don't know if it was me or the fact that I had the dog along with me that had it so riled.

Just as I was getting ready to head back home I noticed a large flock of something about a kilometer away circling over one area. It intrigued me enough for me to decided to walk over to there to get a close look. As it turned out, just as the sun was going down, there is a new commercial sized pigeon operation in the area. I hesitate to call it a coop as it was a large three story entirely devoted to pigeons. As I walked over there more and more birds kept arriving and increasing the size of the circling flock until I could only estimate over 500 birds in the air! That is not counting all the birds feeding in the central courtyard and perched in the complex. Up until now there have been a number of small market operations but 30 birds was a large flock for any of those with most being more like 10 birds.
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Old Thursday 20th October 2016, 15:41   #343
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Love the Saunders' Gull and Curlew against the pink background.

Cheers
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Old Saturday 22nd October 2016, 05:36   #344
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Thanks, Mike. It did make for an interesting photo. The red/pink is the natural color of the vegetation on the tidal mud flats at the Red 'Beach'. Probably a combination of my natural character tendencies from my German heritage and my engineering training to focus on the issue at hand, "work the problem", but I didn't even notice it that much at the time. I was there for birding and the low numbers caused me to get laser focused on getting my 85 RMB entrance fee worth out of the trip.
It is possible to get too focused on your immediate issues. Trying to get more relaxed in my retirement and just take life just the way it comes.
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Old Sunday 23rd October 2016, 15:17   #345
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Originally Posted by Owen Krout View Post
I did notice an odd behavior in that occasionally, on some sort of cue that I could not figure out, all the crab inside a maybe 10 meter radius would suddenly pop out of their holes, dash about madly and then dive back into their holes. Quite comical to observe.
I've seen something like this too, but don't know anything about it really. Kind of like musical chairs - they've all heard the music and know it's time to move
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Old Monday 12th December 2016, 13:51   #346
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Slow progress

Wow, I didn't realize that it had been that long since I made my last post! Life got hectic for a little while and things ranging from making Shengdan Liaoren (Old Man Christmas) appearances to having some major dental work done caused me to only get out once a week or so.

My goal that I set at the beginning of the year, when I had 100 Liaoning species to reach 150 species by the end of the year is starting to look in jeopardy. I had hope for it when I managed to tick numbers 147 & 148 on Nov 23rd with Japanese Reed Bunting & Pallas's Reed Bunting. The Japanese Reed Bunting was a real catch as you can see it was mixed in with some Tree Sparrow and it was only because I have learned to do a closer binocular check on the flocks of "only sparrows" that I did a double take and snapped a few quick shots before it disappeared.

Since then nothing new and the winter species are just starting to arrive mainly in the form of numerous Japanese Tit, while I'm rapidly running out of time. I am sure I could have topped that goal if I would have had time to make a few trips to the Liaodong bay and picked up some new waders or ducks. Still I can hope for a couple of new Warbler or Finch.

Hawfinch, Eurasian Magpie, Chinese Bulbul, Japanese Tit and Tree Sparrow make up almost all of what I find right now. I should start seeing a greater variety and larger numbers of various kinds of Tit with winter arriving. We had our seventh snow day of the season today, so things should get more interesting soon.

Interestingly, the Azure-winged Magpie have seemingly vanished. They are normally abundant and found year round here. Of course with all the wetland habitat loss that occurred right around home, the Egret and Herons that I could spot last year within a few hundred meters of home were no where to be seen.
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Old Wednesday 14th December 2016, 03:17   #347
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Looking wistfully at your Japanese Bunting shots Owen - just two records in Hong Kong . . .

Given your location sooner or later a Siberian Crane is going to fly right over your head while you're shopping or doing something totally unconnected to birding - you also have the potential for am few others of course!

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Old Wednesday 14th December 2016, 06:16   #348
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Well, as I have related before, I am about 75% certain of having a fleeting glance, at a distance, of a Black Stork about 3 years ago, before I had started with more organized birding, spotted a V-flight of what I now think was probably Siberian Crane out the apartment window early one morning. Again only a fleeting glimpse as there was considerable fog and they were just quickly in and out of the fog. Only a matter of time to get a good solid sighting of them I am sure.

I wonder if the 'little brown birds' like the Japanese Reed Bunting don't experience severe under-counting. As I said in my case it was spotted only because I pay attention to the boring Sparrows. Even then the thoughts were, "Sparrow, sparrow, sparrow, only sparrows. Wait a minute, that is an odd looking sparrow!"
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Old Monday 19th December 2016, 02:50   #349
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That was a nice catch, Owen. Good job on picking the odd man out. And Merry Christmas too!
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2017, 08:29   #350
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I'm still here!

Wow! It's been way too long since I last posted. It has been especially cold here this winter and that kept me down to only about one outing a week since mid-December. Even then I have had very little to comment on, typically only seeing 50 or so Tree Sparrow, a couple of Common Magpie, an occasional dozen or so Azure-winged Magpie maybe a few Japanese Tit or so. I have not seen any of the usual winter Hoopoe, Long-tailed Tit, Tree Creeper, etc. I was slowed down even in February by continued cold weather and snow (snowed again last night) and a bout of illness which the local Doc assessed as bird flu.

All that being said, the continual feelers which the local government has been sending out over the last year, suddenly became more serious. I was notified by our neighbor that Mr. Li, the vice-mayor who is in charge of Panjin Honghaitan (Red Beach) area, wanted to meet with me last Saturday. We met (Picture - yes we were using Tom Beeke's "Birds of Dalian) and he discussed my birding activities and he viewed many of my better photos. During the meeting he indicated that the government had approved what might translate as an Environmental Education Center at Honghaitan and asked if they could use my photos for display there as well as any advice that I might have for conservation efforts in the area. Having expressed that I would be interested in helping them, he made a couple of quick calls and arraigned for me to do a tour the next day.

Sunday arrived with a threat of snow and a stiff north wind so things were delayed until afternoon when it was suddenly announced that the car would be here in 20 minutes. Throwing on layers of clothes and grabbing my camera we were off. The whirlwind tour didn't allow for a lot of birding, but I did get to visit a "reserve" area where I met Professor Jao who has since the 1980's been working on trying to preserve Red-crowned Crane. (Picture) He currently has 16 birds who I understood to be both birds undergoing rehabilitation and birds that were hatched at the reserve. They are kept in cages until they are deemed ready to release into the wild. Typically enough for China, he was somewhat evasive about actual numbers, but I gathered that he had 80 birds since he started and released 10 last year.

While I was there he tried to find some Vinous-throated Parrotbill for me to add to my life-list, but I only came up with 30 or so Pallas's Reed Bunting. Unfortunately I was not able to add the Red-crowned Crane since they were not wild birds.

The threat of losing the light due to having started late and the heavy overcast caused me to be rushed out of there to go over to the neighboring Honghaitan. It is basically closed down to tourist activity this time of year but after a brief discussion the guards allowed us entry. We proceeded to the new center which is at the final stages of construction. I was surprised at that point by being offered what I am sure is essentially a 'white monkey' job to help with promoting the center, conservation efforts and tourism in general. I was told that VM Li had decided that having Shengdan Laoren's (Santa Claus) face and my pictures would be very good for tourism. Oh, and by the way, this is your office! No formal agreement as yet, but interesting at least. Probably not a lot for me but free entry to Honghaitan and Mr Li did indicate he would arraign access to several other conservation areas in Panjin's jurisdiction and possibly transportation.
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