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China observations

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Old Sunday 29th November 2009, 10:34   #51
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some nice birds Gretchen - especially Oriental Stork!

You can tell Coal Tit from Great Tit because Great Tit has a neck and tail and Coal Tit appears not to.

Sandhill is very rare in China - I had the second ever record in 1999, but since they breed into far eastern Siberia they are probably under-recorded.

Cheers

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Old Sunday 29th November 2009, 13:56   #52
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cranes winter along Yangtze River basin so none of them pass here.
Sandhill is steadily recorded in recent years sucn as Shanghai,Yancheng and Yellow River Delta.
Scaly-sided Merganser passed Hangzhou Bay in early Nov and they're now in their wintering ground--6m&8f in Wuyuan.
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Old Sunday 29th November 2009, 22:14   #53
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Coal Tits were very common around here in the winter and now I haven't seen one in 1.5 years. Anyone else had similar experiences?

Finally made it out again yesterday. Gretchen, I know what you mean about the weather. It's supposed to be warm for the rest of this week. I had 34 species but mostly just normal stuff. I did have a group of Pallas's Rosefinch which are not that common here and lots of ducks. I also got some nice photos of a Little Owl sitting on a barn roof. I would have loved to have seen an Oriental Stork. I've only seen them north of here about 2 hours where a group winters each year in frozen rice fields.

Gotta run,

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Old Tuesday 1st December 2009, 11:52   #54
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Originally Posted by mcaribou View Post
cranes winter along Yangtze River basin so none of them pass here.
Sandhill is steadily recorded in recent years sucn as Shanghai,Yancheng and Yellow River Delta.
So will the Sandhill be wintering in your area? not with other cranes?

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I would have loved to have seen an Oriental Stork. I've only seen them north of here about 2 hours where a group winters each year in frozen rice fields.
Ah, so it's not too far north for the guy I saw here - some can make it through the winter up there!!! Brrrrr

Cheers Mike for the tip on GT and CT.

Anyone know if it is possible to see Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker in this area? I had the impression it was possible, but haven't seen it on any of a few lists I checked. Too far south? (I assume you have them Tom?)
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Old Tuesday 1st December 2009, 21:54   #55
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Never seen Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker in the Dalian area. I assume I will one day because of the suitable habitat. They are abundant around Dandong on the Korean border and I have seen many there, especially around the section of the Great Wall there.

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Old Wednesday 2nd December 2009, 04:31   #56
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Sandhill Crane winters here,in mixed flock with other cranes.
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Old Thursday 3rd December 2009, 12:31   #57
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Sandhill Crane winters here,in mixed flock with other cranes.
Yes, we usually get a couple or so passing through Beidaihe with the other cranes during big movements.
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Old Thursday 24th December 2009, 08:36   #58
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some of my observations in Beijing here:
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=158180

On 12 Dec,my third visit to Poyang Lake this winter,got a lifer--3 Baer's Pochard.
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Old Thursday 14th January 2010, 04:44   #59
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Heading to Malaysia and Thailand for 3 weeks on Saturday! Will actually get out a do some birding there. I have not been out for at least a month here due to work, early darkness, deep snow, and cold cold cold. Hope to get out a lot more in the spring here in Dalian.

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Old Thursday 14th January 2010, 09:48   #60
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Yeah, lots of challenges here too! The days are really short (especially since temps are pretty low when the sun is), and I've discovered that my best walking shoes are not really very good for real cold. Supposed to warm up a bit in a few days, and I'll hopefully get to venture out a bit more. And yes, here's to hoping for more opportunities in the spring!
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Old Sunday 17th January 2010, 09:33   #61
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Finally got out today and am still trying to figure out winter birding... apparently there really are birds out there, but I'm not seeing much! My strategy at the reservoir area was to look for open water, which there was astonishingly little of! The ice in the deepest pond looked easily 6 inches thick It has been awfully cold here for a while, but this was the end of a three day warming trend (highs above freezing at least two days). Well, my only reward was seeing one Grey-headed Woodpecker down drinking in a small open area - my strategy had a little success but not as much as hoped.

I also kept my eye on the leaf litter (what wasn't covered in snow) for buntings, but no sign. There were still tree sparrows around (and magpies galore, of course), so there was obviously something available for birds to live on there! I confess at the end I heard a few cheeps which I didn't pursue due to both me and hubby being a bit too frozen.

I think I saw a few pheasants fly in the distance, which was a bit exciting because when I saw the first I thought "must be a magpie, right, but?" Thankfully there was a second which gave me a better chance to note that it really was the wrong color and a different flight pattern (and slightly different shape) from a magpie. Ah, slowly, slowly....

The snow is great for footprints. Though I haven't really worked seriously on them for a long time, I could see rabbit tracks -nice but not surprising. However, it also seemed like maybe there were squirrel prints - that would be something, as I find squirrels extremely rare in this country, and have never seen one in QHD before.

Well, not too exciting, but guess there is still some unfrozen wildlife out there
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Old Wednesday 27th January 2010, 07:31   #62
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Hi all
Bohai Bay incl. Dalian and Qinhuangdao is under heavy icing.I think Relict Gull moves southward a little maybe.
Days ago saw thousands of them in Jiaozhou Bay,Qingdao,to the south of Shandong Peninsular.
Also Yellow-billed and Black-throated Loon,Ancient and Long-billed Murrilet etc in a pelagic trip to Cheniushan Is(this time from Rizhao but not Lianyungang).
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Old Wednesday 27th January 2010, 22:43   #63
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Sounds Terrific

Any pix of the divers or the Murrelets? Not many records of Long-billed recently

Cheers
Mike
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Old Saturday 30th January 2010, 08:06   #64
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Quote:
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Sounds Terrific

Any pix of the divers or the Murrelets? Not many records of Long-billed recently

Cheers
Mike
Yellow-billed Loon near the island,and Long-billed Murrelet in the sea,photo by Li,the local photographer.
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Old Saturday 30th January 2010, 21:35   #65
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Fantastic - Thank you.

Mike
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Old Sunday 31st January 2010, 00:19   #66
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Great shots of the sea birds. Thanks.

Just back from four days on Hainan.

Some very special birds.

Details soon.
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Old Saturday 6th February 2010, 02:28   #67
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Hi all
I posted my report of the pelagic trip here

http://birdforum.net/showthread.php?...95#post1723395
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Old Saturday 6th February 2010, 09:39   #68
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Thanks very much indeed for posting the link to the post - I hadn't seen seen it.

What a fantastic day! Congratulations.

If there's room on board on your next trip, I would love to come along.
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Old Saturday 6th February 2010, 09:45   #69
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I'm off to Beidaihe tomorrow for a couple of days. Does anyone know if there's anything special around? Waxwings? Owls? Harlequins??
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Old Saturday 6th February 2010, 12:04   #70
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Sorry, I'm just back after a few weeks away - maybe someone else knows...
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Old Sunday 7th February 2010, 07:11   #71
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No problem Gretchen, thanks anyhow.

Actually, I wasn't optimistic, because it was cold (much colder than Beijing), snowing and quite foggy when I arrived (at 11am).

I resisted the temptation to go and sit in front of the fire and, instead, took a taxi from the station to the Yang He bridge. The river was frozen except for a small area of open water on the east side (c10 Little Grebe and 2 Goldeneye).

20 minutes drive to the west, I noticed a large raptor sitting at the top of a tree - an Upland Buzzard no less.

I went as far as the Da Pu bridge, but that river was also frozen. It's the first time I've been there and never seen a single bird (I've been there every winter for the past 12 years).

On the way back I stopped at the Dai He bridge and noticed that there was a stretch of open water with 4 ducks on it (1 pair large, one small). I picked up my bins and was surprised to see a male and female Smew (and a pair of spot-bills). Smew is quite an uncommon winter visitor here.

The fog was closing in, it was snowing more heavily, and it was getting darker; but just past the south side of the smaller Dai River bridge I heard something that brightened up the day. I had no idea what was singing, but I did know that it was bound to be interesting.

I immediately located the bird and was delighted to discover that it was a Siberian Accentor (I guess if you are from Siberia, today must seem quite spring-like)!

I managed to get some reasonable photos of this stunning bird(there were actually two birds in the same area). And then, just as I the two accentors flew further away, a Great Spotted Woodpecker landed within 10 yards of me, followed closely by an eye-level Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker.

I was delighted, as well as surprised I'd actually found anything at all on such a seemingly miserable day, but things actually got better...

I stopped off at the stone park, which is always worth a look in winter, particularly the berry bushes that are on the side of the stream that runs down to the (completely frozen) sea.

No sooner had I got there, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks: A Brown-eared Bulbul no less (an at-best scarce and probably rare visitor to Beidaihe). So scarce, in fact, it's a "new" bird for my Beidaihe list - not that I take this seriously, but I did know it was my 280th!

The battery in my camera was on the way out, but held on for me to get some okay shots (there were actually a pair of them there). They were in the same berry bush as 4 Chinese Bulbuls (showing just how large Brown-eared really is). And, playing the part of the icing on the cake, a Naumann's Thrush popped into the same frame.

At 3pm I tried to get into the south side of the Lotus Hills, but they've locked the gate for the winter it seems, and I didn't fancy trekking down from the north gate; and so, with the weather worsening, I decided to quit while I was ahead.

I'll post some photos later today.

Gretchen, I sense that the Brown-eared Bulbuls have been there for a while (they twice flew across the road to the trees near the beach, and back again, suggesting they have a well-established feeding routine). So, if you fancy a twitch, I think that you have a very good chance of seeing them.

Last edited by Shi Jin : Sunday 7th February 2010 at 07:18.
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Old Sunday 7th February 2010, 09:46   #72
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As promised here is the link to the Beidaihe photos... hot off the press ;-)

http://www.chinesecurrents.com/2010birds10.html
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Old Sunday 7th February 2010, 23:43   #73
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Hi Shi jin,

Thanks for the great report - so nice to see what was and wasn't around when you were here. As always, your photos help me see what birds really look like (apart from illustrations). I'm interested in the brown-eared bulbul - had seen somewhere that they might be found here (perhaps Doc Martin?), but had not heard anyone mention them recently. I'll try to get over as soon as I can get away from my desk (hopefully they may stay another week or so!).

Interesting news on Lianfengshan's gate - wonder if the other was truly open or if the whole thing has closed up for the holidays...
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Old Tuesday 9th February 2010, 05:01   #74
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Hi Gretchen

Just back from the Stone Garden.

The b-e-b is still there (at least one). Ranging around the garden.

Also c20 yellow-bellied tits and 3 Chinese Grosbeaks...c 30 yards west of the little pagoda.

Must dash... train to Beijing departs in 25 mins.
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Old Wednesday 10th February 2010, 13:37   #75
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Brown-eared Bulbuls are common just north of Dandong near the great wall and Fung Huang Shan but never heard of them that far west. Great record. They're usually quite noisy so not to hard to locate if they are in the area. Maybe they're too cold to make noise? I've headed out here in Dalian a few times after getting back from Malaysia and Thailand to find almost everything frozen solid including the sea in some places. A guy from Beijing is coming for a birding visit and so hopefully we will get out for a few trips. Must be a lot of ducks somewhere other than their usual places. Here's to the arrival of spring migration!
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