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Old Wednesday 8th April 2015, 14:19   #23
Owen Krout
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Panjin, Liaoning, China
Posts: 982
We scrubbed the trip to try for waterfowl again due to it being cold and windy again so I decided to try the wooded areas along the irrigation ditch with the hope that the trees would shield the wind. They did and it turned into one of the better days, although it did not start that way.

Hoping to spot the Grosbeak again, I chose to walk north along the irrigation ditch bank. Within the last couple of days the previously dry ditch had been flooded, which seemed promising. However, at first it seemed like a washout as up to about 4km into the walk and considering just giving it up I had only logged a few Tree Sparrows and Azure-winged Magpie.

Score at this point, 4km and 2 hours into the search:
(30) Passer monotonous - Eurasian Tree Sparrow
(10) Azure-winged Magpie

Even the Japanese Tits that usually were there to scold me were a no show. Just as I was ready to give up, I spotted a Tree Creeper and while trying to photo it, a little still unidentified who proceeded to do its hummingbird imitation as it hovered and worked its way around some tree limbs while reaching out to peck at the bark. Grabbing little insects I could not see, I am sure. I got one photo of it setting in the crotch of a branch, showing the face and figured the prominent white eye ring would make it easy, but I am still not finding it. Several photos of it hovering around a branch. Another photo perched where the eye is covered by a branch.

Thats better, add two more:
(1) Certhia familiarus - Eurasian Treecreeper
(1) Unidentified hummingbird imitator (See pictures of my unidentified finds at:

Those boosted my enthusiasm so I decided to push on further than I had in the past. Good decision as just about 100 meters further on I had what to me was the find of the day. A flash of bright yellow caught my attention as a Grey Wagtail landed on the other bank of the ditch. He took a drink and as I started snapping away (picture attached) I was puzzled by what he was doing. He was bobbing and strutting in what looked to be an obvious display, but who was he displaying too? There were not any others around. Only when I got home and viewed the photos on cropped and on my desktop display did I realize what was up. He was seeing his own reflection in the water! A pretty boy, but apparently not the sharpest tool in the shed. Add one more:
(1) Motacilla cineria - Grey Wagtail

I decided to keep going and about a km further, I hit a patch of park with a good mix of open woods, dense brush and open grass right next to the irrigation ditch for water. Within about a 50 meter wide circle I made all the rest of my observations. The problem suddenly changed from searching to find any birds at all to literally standing in one place and rapidly snapping photos in all directions! Apparently somebody had called a meeting and I had missed the memo!

(6) Motacilla alba - White Wagtail
(6) Eophona migratory - Yellow-billed Grosbeak
(1) Emberiza elegant - Elegant Bunting
(2) Pycnonotus sinuses - Light-vented Bulbul
(1) Bombycilla japonica - Japanese Waxwing (Maybe the same single stray I had seen elsewhere, now hanging out with the Grosbeak, his Bohemian friends no where in sight.
(2) Turdus eunomus - Dusky thrush (Hiding deep in pines)
(1) Unidentified - The big black bib looks like the White Wagtail, but a lot less black showing. Maybe a younger bird? An alba of the alba? See full size at:

At his point, 6km and 3 hours in I gave up and took a taxi home. All in all a good outing. Actually, I think that I enjoy the challenge of ferreting out all these land bound birds hiding in the brush one at a time over trying to identify and count large quantities of water birds out in the open. Turns out there is some use for the hunting skills I learned 50+ years ago!

Any help with ID always appreciated
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