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Old Saturday 9th April 2016, 08:49   #201
Owen Krout
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Things are slowly picking up here. I had been thinking that the migration might be starting up a little early since after an unusually cold winter, it has now been unusually warm for the last couple of months. Picked up a couple of Siberian Stonechat today which is a first for me.

On a side note; Our neighbor, who is some sort of government wonk, asked my wife today about my background and my birding hobby. After getting the basics she said that the mayor for Dawa wanted to talk to me. Said she would get back to me in a few days. Hmmm.... Generally I try to avoid contact with officialdom.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Apr 9, 2016 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 kilometer(s)
9 species

Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 5
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 1
Japanese Tit (Parus minor) 1
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 2
Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus) 2
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) 10
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) 4
Yellow-billed Grosbeak (Eophona migratoria) 1
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 50

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28824114

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)
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Old Monday 11th April 2016, 11:45   #202
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We had plenty of Stonechats down here too, Owen.
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Old Thursday 14th April 2016, 02:18   #203
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Seems the local government had been getting inquiries about what the white haired foreigner with the camera and binoculars was doing. So our neighbor, who is some sort of government wonk, decided to send reporters over to interview us. Basically telling how the retired American living in Tianjin district of Panjin is interested in “researching” birds. My reply of it was just a hobby to keep my mind active and to encourage physical activity got rather blank looks and apparently was not good enough for them. From the reporters blog:

http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MzA3...Gt06GbgHIUB#rd

Of course now I will be bothered more often but maybe it will help to raise awareness.
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Old Thursday 14th April 2016, 02:41   #204
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Congrats Owen! Welcome to the realm of "foreign expert". TV will be next...... :)
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Old Thursday 14th April 2016, 06:20   #205
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Actually, there was a Panjin TV reporter as well, but have not heard anything about that yet. Our daughter expressed that it didn't matter anyway as nobody watches Panjin TV anymore anyway. Guess that put me in my place. Up until the forced retirement due to age, I held the Foreign Expert rating due to my Engineering certification and Masters in Technical Education. 16 years ago they actually issued separate ID books as Foreign Teacher and the higher paid Foreign Expert. Has that gone by the wayside? Didn't seem to make any difference anymore the last time I was teaching at university here.
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Old Thursday 14th April 2016, 06:33   #206
Owen Krout
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April 14, 2016

Two days of much needed rain. Today opened with heavy fog, but as soon as it lifted I made a tour around the neighborhood. Two surprisingly loudly singing Pallas's Leaf Warbler presented a challenge to locate and photo as they stayed hidden in dense cover, but finally allowed some really good shots. The first two Barn Swallow of the season were also seen today.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Apr 14, 2016 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 kilometer(s)
6 species

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 2
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 2
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 2
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 3
Pallas's Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus) 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 25

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28932975

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)
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Old Thursday 14th April 2016, 09:51   #207
Dong Bei
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Great pictures of a hard to photograph bird!
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Old Friday 15th April 2016, 03:42   #208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dong Bei View Post
Great pictures of a hard to photograph bird!
Indeed! How many photos of bare branches we took...
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Old Saturday 16th April 2016, 09:49   #209
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April 16, 2016

Managed one sighting today even with rain keeping me housebound. Standing at the patio door watching it rain I heard a White Wagtail singing. Grabbing the bins I found an individual singing in the shower as he perched at the top of the neighboring building. Managed some fog obscured photos while standing in the doorway to keep the camera dry.
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Old Sunday 17th April 2016, 10:21   #210
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April 17, 2016

A walk in the park this morning revealed about (20) Yellow-bellied Tit cheerily working their way south to north through the park. Singing and eating newly formed buds on the willows while constantly moving on. Enough to brighten the whole day and even make having to finish up my tax forms not so bad. Not much else except some Light-vented Bulbul also singing away.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Apr 17, 2016 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 kilometer(s)
5 species

Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 2
Yellow-bellied Tit (Periparus venustulus) 20
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 6
Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus) 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 30

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28995600

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)
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Old Monday 18th April 2016, 14:24   #211
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April 18, 2016

Despite some marginal weather, I made a trip to XiHu Park, which as the name suggests is a medium size pair of lakes on the west side of Dawa. Intermittent mist kept viewing conditions to just adequate and probably doubled the time expended, but yielded some good results. A visit in better weather would probably yield a longer list.

Just after we entered the park migrants were evident all over the sky but unfortunately just high enough to not be able to identify specific species. Looked like flights of ducks and shore birds though. One small flock of Rock Dove/Domestic Pigeon was attacked by a Eurasian Kestrel as they flew over. The Kestrel missed and made a quick diversion to what looked to possibly be Plovers. Another miss. Shortly thereafter the cloud deck lowered and blotted out the flights of migrants.

Back at ground level, while trying to get some ID photos of buntings I scared up a rabbit. The first I have seen in the wild in China. Also loudly evident was a pond of loudly calling frogs. Buntings proved to be Black-Faced Bunting and Yellow-Breasted Bunting. Barn Swallow were working the sky over the water and from just behind the frog pond I caught a quick glimpse of what looked to be a Purple Heron. Not a good enough look to be sure though so it was not counted.

A brief slightly heavier mist lifted just in time to catch some Red-Flanked Bluetail and as I was working on counting I was surprised by a shower of Brambling suddenly pouring out of the low hanging clouds. At least 150 individuals grounded and started feeding. Shortly they were joined by half a dozen Pale Thrush.

The full list is at the end of this. Tomorrow I hope to make it to the Shuangtaizi River Estuary. Weather is supposed to clear and I expect good hunting.

XiHu Park, Dawa, Liaoning, China, Liaoning, CN
Apr 18, 2016 11:30 AM - 1:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 kilometer(s)
14 species

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 5
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 1
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 6
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 25
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 6
Pallas's Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus) 1
Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus) 4
Dusky Thrush (Turdus eunomus) 6
Yellow-browed Bunting (Emberiza chrysophrys) 4
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) 8
Black-faced Bunting (Emberiza spodocephala) 12
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) 150
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 20

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S29032356

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)
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Old Monday 18th April 2016, 17:03   #212
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Owen, that flock of brambling is amazing!
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Old Tuesday 19th April 2016, 22:27   #213
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Really enjoyed your posts over the last few days, which wonderfully communicate how the ability to enjoy birds can really lift your day. Whether they're the focus for the excitement of a big arrival of spectacular migrant or just a few minutes watching a wagtail singing in the rain- it's all good!

Cheers
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Old Wednesday 20th April 2016, 02:24   #214
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April 19, 2016

The name on the map of Yingkou Wetlands Park was too tempting to ignore so I decided on a scouting trip. Although at about 55km it is further afield than I have been birding, there actually is easy access. 15 min on the local bus for 1 RMB and then a 200m walk to catch the #30 which goes all the way to the edge of Yingkou for a mere 5 RMB.

Not having done this before, I was somewhat unsure of the best way across the 2 km long bridge over the Liao River. Taxi was the obvious choice but seeing a white face they insisted on 30 RMB. Figuring I could do better than that I started looking for a bus with my wife almost in a state of panic that I was willing to set off into the unknown and just take life as it came and adapt. A cultural trait I have noticed of almost all Chinese, they are almost afraid to try anything new. After searching about for about 15 minutes I observed the 501 crossing the bridge and found a stop for it. All the locals waiting there insisted that it went no where near the wetland park and again the wife went into panic mode over my attitude of "I'm going to try it anyway. The worst that can happen is we have to ride it back to here and it's only 2 RMB." Her, "Where will we get off?" Me, "I'll figure it out when we get there."

Sure enough, the second stop seemed about right, so we got off. Another round of panic. Her, "Where are we? Where is the park?" Me, "I'm not sure. I think the river is that way. Let's go"

Sure enough, we came up on the park after a short walk. We were immediately side-tracked as she wanted to go inside the Old Artillery Fort for some tourism. She was delighted and I found it mildly amusing. However from the ramparts I spotted hundreds of shorebirds feeding on the mudflats as the tide was coming in. It is right at the place where the Liao River broadens into the estuary.

Dragging her away from the tourist trap we moved over to a viewing area and left the pavement to get as close as I could. It was impressive as there were three large flocks over about a kilometer.

Over the next couple of hours I was able to spot a very conservative (750) Black-tailed Godwit which Brazil's has as Eastern Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa melanuroides) but has apparently been placed back into the Limosa limosa again now. Also (75) Pied Avocet. I had to put the Grey Plover (Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)) to the ID forum after I spotted it in one photo when carefully scanning for what I expected to be many more species that I had visually missed. Also had to submit the Common Greenshanks which were sleeping standing in a shallow pond just inland. Missed an ID on what I took to be a Bittern that broke practically at my wife's feet from the reeds and took cover a short distance away.

The many Passerines were pretty much ignored as I just didn't have the time to spend on stalking them due to oncoming rain and having to get back to the bus before it quit running. Also due to my getting disoriented under the leaden skies and making an unintended detour. Another session of panic. "You lost us!" I was less concerned, I have always operated on what I thought was a good way of looking at life. Your not lost as long as you can find your way home. "I've never been lost in my life. I was a mite bit confused once for a couple of weeks" Davy Crockett. Her impending disaster was averted as I managed to figure it out and we did indeed find our way home.

Yingkou Wetland Park, Yingkou, Liaoning, China, Liaoning, CN
Apr 19, 2016 1:15 PM - 4:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 kilometer(s)
11 species

Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) 75 Count is conservative. Mixed with three large flocks of Black Tailed Godwit.
Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) 1
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) 2
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) 750 Count is conservative. Three large flocks feeding on mud flats.
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 15
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 10
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 1
Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus) 1
Black-faced Bunting (Emberiza spodocephala) 4
Pallas's Bunting (Emberiza pallasi) 6
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 80

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S29068189

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)
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Old Wednesday 20th April 2016, 02:27   #215
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The Rest

The rest of April 19
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Old Wednesday 20th April 2016, 09:12   #216
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April 19 addemdum

Pete Dunten from e-bird looked over some of the shots from yesterday and bumped the take up a little by adding (6) sleeping Far Eastern Curlew and a Black-winged Stilt. He did however not like the Grey (Black-bellied) Plover. I have asked what he saw it as, but no reply yet.
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Old Wednesday 20th April 2016, 12:22   #217
Owen Krout
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A slower day today as I tried a recommended birding spot with a city park established in an oxbow bend of an old course of the Shuangtaizi River in the Shuangtaizi district of Panjin. Definitely not a hot spot for birding, but a nice city park. Even has some sort of zoo, which I passed on as it would only be depressing and a small amusement park area.

The only thing of note was the (50+) Yellow-browed Warbler which were staying hidden but their calls made for a good secondary verification and (4) Grey-headed Woodpecker who were calling amazingly loudly. A nice day in the park, but better birding right at home.

Shuangtaizi, Panjin, Liaoning, China, Liaoning, CN
Apr 20, 2016 10:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 kilometer(s)
12 species

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 2
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 4
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 20
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 2
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 2
Japanese Tit (Parus minor) 5
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 5
Pallas's Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus) 15
Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) 50
Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus) 5
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) 4

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S29073763

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)
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Old Thursday 21st April 2016, 05:15   #218
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I would like to echo Mike's thoughts. Fantastic spell of birds. Really love that shorebird congregation.
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Old Thursday 21st April 2016, 06:31   #219
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Thanks folks. The list grew a little more. eBird asked for more photos from the 19th and they found Saunder's Gull that I had hesitated to count. They double checked and still said yes, so I added 10 to my count. Another lifer.

Arthritis flared up today but I have some more places to visit in mind, maybe tomorrow. Can't take too many days off during migration. If I'm going to be the local "foreign expert" there are standards to be maintained!
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Old Friday 22nd April 2016, 15:44   #220
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April 22, 2016

Tried a return to Gedalou Reservoir today and was surprised to find almost nothing. The usual cloud of gulls about the entrance was missing with the lake itself yielding only (16) Little Grebe) in a group and (42) Black-headed Gull in another group floating floating 400-500 meters off shore. There were half a dozen of the adjacent fish ponds recently drained which would normally be full of birds but only one showed any life with about (75) Black-headed Gull and no waders to be seen. Even more odd was the absence of any Warblers or Bunting which normally are to be found in the woods and brush along the shoreline. (3) Little Bunting and (5) Common Magpie were the total to be seen. A handful of Barn Swallow flitted about overhead along with another (15) Black-headed Gull. Highlight was when one of the Magpie decided to play "catch me if you can" with our dog. Landing on the road and calling her until she rushed it and then giving a good flap to soar up over her. Did this several times until a passing vehicle interrupted the fun. The Magpie then followed us closely for quite a ways, probably hoping we would drop something it could snatch to eat.

Gedalou Reservoir, Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Apr 22, 2016 11:30 AM - 12:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
5 species

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 16
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 132
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 5
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 6
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) 3

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S29115426

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

That being so slow we decided to move over to the XiHu Lake Park on the other side of Dawa which just four days ago was the sight of the Brambling fall. Again, remarkably barren of birds. Even the Tree Sparrow were scarce.

It occurs to me that both my recent decent outings were on days with wind and rain or approaching rain. Today was sunny and warm with little wind.

XiHu Park, Dawa, Liaoning, China, Liaoning, CN
Apr 22, 2016 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
6 species (+1 other taxa)

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 3
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 2
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 10
Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus) 1
Dusky/Naumann's Thrush (Turdus naumanni/eunomus) 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 20

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S29115477

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)
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Old Saturday 23rd April 2016, 00:54   #221
MKinHK
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Hi Owen

Not sure if the ebird guys told you but you can separate sleeping Saunders' Gull from Black-headed by the black and white checkered pattern of the primaries. On your pic you can also see the white eyering.

No question that your Grey Plover is a Grey Plover, but couldn't find any pic on here, the ID forum or on your e-bird post of anything that looked like a curlew, let alone one that could be identified as Far Eastern.

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Mike
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Old Saturday 23rd April 2016, 08:33   #222
Dong Bei
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Migration time in Panjin! I've been told by a top birder in Dandong that there are big numbers of Saunders's Gulls that breed in the Panjin area.
Throw the picture of the Curlew in question up on here and there are people who can ID it for you :)
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Old Saturday 23rd April 2016, 15:32   #223
Owen Krout
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I managed much better photos today of two Eurasian Curlew on the other side of the Liao River and consequently I am not so sure of the Far Eastern ID that Peter found. He saw the sleeping individuals in this photo as that.

I had to make some corrections on the ebird list as it was past my bedtime when I entered it and it apparently showed. I had managed to scramble the photos around.
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Old Saturday 23rd April 2016, 16:00   #224
Owen Krout
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I made a trip to the Dawa side of the Liao River Estuary which was turned into a comedy of errors which ate up most of the day but did finally get there. Unfortunately, they are busily filling and draining wetland and most of the shore is dragons tooth sea-wall. I did find about a half a kilometer of mud flat in the river finally and while not as productive as the Yingkou side, it did have a number of Plovers with a few others.

As soon as I stepped up to the shoreline (9) Eurasian Oystercatcher flew by which immediately made me forget all the hassle of just getting there. (2) Pied Avocet were feeding, but before I could get the camera up a passing dump truck blasted his horn at me and sent them flying off.

A large number of Kentish Plover were scurrying around the area, probing the mud then madly dashing to a new spot. Scattered a little more thinly were what finally decided were (20) Lesser Sand Plover given the large white forehead patch and rufous head and breast band.

Out of the edges of the activity were (2) Common Greenshank (less confident of that one, so have a look), (10) Grey (Black-Bellied) Plover, (2) Eurasian Curlew which I caught in flight as they departed and the white rump was a good identifier.

Mostly Black-headed Gull in the area with (6) Saunder's Gull mixing in.

By the way folks, I appreciate the constructive discussion. I've only seriously been at this for the last year and one thing I know from my engineering background is to learn from one's mistakes.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Apr 23, 2016 1:45 PM - 2:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 kilometer(s)
Comments: Dawa side of Liao River Estuary
10 species

Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) 2
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) 9
Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) 10
Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadrius mongolus) 20
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) 50
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) 2
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) 2
Saunders's Gull (Saundersilarus saundersi) 6
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 20
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 1

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S29137214

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)
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Old Saturday 23rd April 2016, 16:04   #225
Owen Krout
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The Rest

Some more photos from April 23.
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