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Panjin Birding by the Old Fat Man

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Old Monday 4th June 2018, 17:00   #601
Dong Bei
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Good stuff again Owen. A Little Curlew would be notable but not questionable in your area. I don't think ebird should have a problem with it but you never know.
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Old Wednesday 6th June 2018, 08:41   #602
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Jun-6

Howdy Tom,

ebird did list it on the Liaoning rarities list.

I started this morning with hearing the Little Owls about 06:00. They are most certainly nesting just about 50 meters from our patio and I got better photos despite the heavy overcast. This particular decorative cupola was repaired last summer and since then lacks the decorative screening that all the others have, making it an ideal nesting spot for them. I actually observed two owls but could hear a third deeper into the complex. One of those I was watching was slightly smaller and lighter colored and seemed pretty clumsy as it made what was honestly more of a fall into the bushes and thrashed around awhile before it rather clumsily flapped back up to the ledge. It flushed a couple of Chinese Bulbul who paused on the neighbors fence with a look of "That was a close one!". Given three individuals I assume that was a fledgling who hasn't quite gotten the hang of foraging, or even flying. It moved over to the adjacent building later on and sit there giving their wheezy call, apparently begging for breakfast, well into the afternoon.

It was threatening rain, but the weather app said the nearest rain was 50km away so I decided to check out the little wetland area. I wasted about a km of walking as I intended to actually try going out into the wetland on a narrow raised embankment that I used in the past two years, only to find out that the first path was now blocked off where they are preparing a pad for some more new drilling and the road and sidewalk were blocked by related digging that prevented me from reaching a second pathway.

I came back to my regular viewing area, which is quite long range, and did manage some interesting viewing. The Chinese Pond Heron have really congregated on the area. There have always been a few in there, but usually just one or two. I had at least 10 in view today. My little Yellow Bittern made another close-up appearance and I caught it as it stretched it's neck out to finish swallowing some prey. Also verified that the Spot-Billed Duck are nesting in larger numbers than I have ever seen there.

A couple of nice finds was a pair of Grey Heron hiding out in the edge of the reeds and just as I decided to leave a Common Kingfisher flashed along the channel where I was standing, actually below me. The local fire station sits on the edge of the wetland and I often walk out on the embankment around the emergency water supply pond right behind the station. Today ten of the "fire soldiers", as my wife calls them, were out on clean up duty we had a grand time taking pictures and with them trying to understand my Chinese and I trying to understand their English. That is at least until their Lieutenant, or at least somebody obviously in charge, noticed they weren't working and broke it up.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Jun 6, 2018 8:00 AM - 9:45 AM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 kilometer(s)
15 species

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 5
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 1
Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) 1
Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) 1
Chinese Pond-Heron (Ardeola bacchus) 8
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 10
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) 2
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) 10
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) 4
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) 1
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 10
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 3
Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) 10
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 10

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46341365
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Old Wednesday 6th June 2018, 20:38   #603
Dong Bei
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Little Owls are awesome and fledglings owls are hilarious. I love watching them try to figure out how to do life and the parents are usually nearby with a annoyed look on their face. Nice Bittern picture!
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Old Thursday 7th June 2018, 04:38   #604
Owen Krout
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Tom,

The out-stretched neck seemed to be a theme yesterday. I initially did the "What is that?" routine on this Pond Heron as it stood there for quite awhile with it's neck stretched out, straight up.

Heavy rain last night with lighter rain off and on today. More heavy rain predicted for tonight. Not good for my arthritis, but a welcome relief for the environment here. Hopefully, I'll be feeling more like exploring tomorrow to see if anything new results.
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Old Thursday 7th June 2018, 04:44   #605
Lancy Cheng
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Hi Owen,
I got my first Pond Heron in Summer Palace in Beijing this morning. My birding trip is coming to the end and I will be flying home tomorrow. I will post a summery later :)
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Old Thursday 7th June 2018, 04:47   #606
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Good for you, Lancy. This seems to be a good year for the Pond Heron. Hope you enjoyed birding in China!
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Old Saturday 9th June 2018, 01:22   #607
Owen Krout
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JUN-8 Shangkouzi Environmental Tourist Area

I tagged along with some acquaintances on a typical Chinese tourism outing yesterday. About what I expected with the vague idea about how to get where they had heard was scenic, getting lost, driving around in circles (me asking why we were driving in circles and my wife telling me to be quite ) as the phone navigation app took us to the wrong places, all with the same or very similar name, etc. We finally did find the Shangkouzi Environmental Tourism area, which is along the Liaohu river, where we were promptly denied entry. As usual, no explanation, just no.

Not to be denied, we took the normal Chinese approach and since we had a Land Cruiser, we found a way through a tiny village to a narrow rutted dirt trail up onto the top of the river dike. That was followed to another narrow trail down to another village from where we found the narrow paved road into another back entry right on the river. Nobody at the gate ticket booth so we admitted ourselves.

What few people were around were obviously surprised to see anyone, much less a laowei. Actually looked like a potentially productive area for birding during migration seasons. There were boat rides for rent during season, but although there were some people lounging about and one of our party members tried to rent a tour, no one was ambitious enough to actually take a boat out on the river. From what I gathered, it was obviously the wrong season.

The area's "hook" is crop art. It was explained to me that the rice was actually planted for the crop art and was to attract tourists in the fall as, there was "Nothing to see" right now. I went up the observation tower anyway and it looked pretty good to me.

Everyone was enjoying themselves and hence being quite loud so birding had to be done around that, but it still produced well for this time of year. Unfortunately, shortly into actual birding, my camera stopped working. I de-mounted the lens, changed lenses, cleaned the contacts, all to no avail. Only just as we were finishing up did I realize the battery door had come unlatched. Close it back up securely and everything was fine again. It was one of those days as I also had left my binoculars setting on the desk at home, so had to do it the old fashioned way, MK-I eyeball. Good ID practice at least.

The Yellow Bittern were in surprising numbers on one small pond and some Black-Napped Oriole were responding to my whistled call, which overly impressed everyone in the group. Just as we were leaving, the White-Cheeked Starling started congregating in a few trees for their evening roost. I had a couple of interesting calls that I would guess to probably have been thrush, but although I got fairly close to them I never managed to get a visual for an ID.

All in all an interesting area and even my wife said we should try again in the fall.

Shangkouzi Village Ecology Tourism, Liaoning, CN
Jun 8, 2018 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
14 species

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 1
Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) 4
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 1
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) 6
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) 2
Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) 3
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 3
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 10
Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) 8
Chinese Penduline-Tit (Remiz consobrinus) 8
Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) 20
White-cheeked Starling (Spodiopsar cineraceus) 26
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) 4
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 10

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46405418
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Old Wednesday 13th June 2018, 15:13   #608
MKinHK
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Stretched out CPG always make me goggle - there so little evidence that all that neck is there when they're in the usual hunched up pose.

The crop are is cool indeed - very Chinese!

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Old Yesterday, 12:37   #609
Owen Krout
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Wait....Is that a.... OR Lancy, you left too soon.

Not sure where else I should post it right off, so here it is in my usual thread.

We were out checking out a shopping mall we hadn't been in before and ran into a friend who announced she had recently been through an area that had "many, many birds". We decided that I would buy gas and she would take us there. Now I'm not going to say exactly where this time, for reasons to be seen.

I had been there only briefly when the first, "Wait...Is that..." moment occurred. While panning across, trying to get a decent shot of a White-Winged Tern something flashed across my field of view. Was that a Pied Avocet? No, it was three. Not a rarity as such, but surprisingly out of normal range for this time of year.

Just a few minutes later I eyeballed an odd looking wader flying across in front of me. Luckily, my instincts in such cases are to pull up the camera and bang away. This was the real prize. Three Black-Faced Spoonbill and in breeding plumage! That is the reason I am being cagey about the exact location other than just Panjin. I made the mistake of reporting one rarity including precise location information once before and it was promptly mobbed by birders considerably less concerned about the bird's welfare than I was. Still not entirely sure what to do with this one since as far as I can tell this would be an extension of the known range. I am reporting to ebird, but just as generic Panjin and with location data stripped. I suppose somebody is bound to want to have a try themselves and since only one person can keep a secret, that will put it our there anyway once I show someone else where to look. Trouble is it goes against my grain as I like to share with other responsible birders but I have seen way too many people harassing a rare find.

An additional bonus in that in the process of snapping away at the BFS I caught one image with a Common Shelduck included. Not a big deal, but it was a species that has managed to elude me up until now. Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Chinese Pond Heron and Black-Crowned Night Heron were found as well as Little Egret and Intermediate Egret.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Jun 17, 2018 3:45 PM - 4:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 kilometer(s)
16 species

Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) 2
Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) 1
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) 4
Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia) 1
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) 12
Cattle Egret (Eastern) (Bubulcus ibis coromandus) 4
Chinese Pond-Heron (Ardeola bacchus) 2
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 9
Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor) 3 Rust colored breeding plumage patch clearly visable
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) 3
Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) 10
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) 5
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) 4
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 25
Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) X Abundant. Calling loudly from reed beds.

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46605820
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Old Yesterday, 12:39   #610
Owen Krout
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Black-Faced Spoonbill images

More shots from today
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Old Yesterday, 16:00   #611
Dong Bei
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Wow Owen, great find! Three in one place in mid June... Is there a small island or cliff nearby where they could be breeding? I've never heard of a breeding site in Panjin for Black-faced Spoonbill but this evidence strongly points in that direction. Maybe it is late enough for dispersal from known breeding sites? Yes, sometimes better not to share the exact location.

very cool!
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Old Yesterday, 20:35   #612
Owen Krout
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Tom,

Very flat, as is Panjin in general, so nothing like cliffs and although very shallow, there were no islands. Occasional mud bars but those would be transient according to water levels. Much rain this year which is keeping waters up to normal levels not seen for years. There are areas along the bank where birds are keeping reeds flattened down and are nesting. Unfortunately, as one photo shows, this critical part of the Shuangtai Estuary Ramsar site is endangered by continuing destruction of the wetlands.

Fairly well protected from public in general just because the road, narrow with no shoulders or pullouts but paved and in good shape, does not show on the digital maps.
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Old Yesterday, 23:06   #613
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Nice find! Endangered species. I only know they breed on a small island near Dalian. Good to know they show up in Panjin :)
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