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Panjin Birding by the Old Fat Man

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Old Friday 29th June 2018, 03:39   #626
Lancy Cheng
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen Krout View Post
Hi Lancy,

I grew up where we commonly would have frost until the first week of June, but snow in late June? That is going a little too far for me!

For what it is worth, I'm a little suspicious of that report also. I can't tell when it was submitted, but the person claims 1867 species in the last five years. That report was a three person party, but 16 kilometers in two hours and two genuinely rare species? Looks like an extreme "twitcher", especially since two rarities apparently didn't slow them down at all. Not even long enough to get any photos. Upon spotting either one of those I would have spent the rest of my available time in that small area observing.

Admittedly my personal style is just the opposite, tending to independently work an area slowly and with close attention to detail. Quality, not quantity. Indeed, in consideration for your limited time in the area, I was covering a lot more area and a lot faster than normal for me when guiding you, though I am sure to you it seemed a quite relaxed and unrushed pace. To me, the twitcher might feel a lot of internal pressure to get that tic, even on a less than solid observation. My style is more the opposite, the rarer the observed species the stronger the evidence has to be. I've not claimed a number of tics just because my confidence level was not high enough. This winter I even went back to my early lists and removed several tics from ebird based on now having enough experience to think those were unlikely and not having enough solid observational evidence. Indeed, without photos, I am reluctant to claim any new or rare tic.
Thanks for your guided tour! I probably wouldn't see as many species by myself, let alone getting to know the hot spots.
My birding style is pretty casual, compared with twitchers. Give me a flock of gulls in winter, I can spend days with them
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Old Monday 16th July 2018, 05:25   #627
Owen Krout
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The last couple of weeks have been too wet to get out and do any serious birding. Indeed, having only brief windows of a few hours when the sun has even been visible. Mostly too dark and too much risk of rain to actually get the camera out. We have had a number of days this month with more rain in one day than we had in the previous four years of drought.

One thing that occurred to me on my one outing a week ago when the morning at least had clear skies was that there are no Zitting Cistola this year. Usually they are abundant in the reeds and although difficult to get a good visual, they are very vocal and can be heard constantly. Reed Parrotbill and other such reed dwellers also absent of in very low numbers. The non-Passerines are, if anything, up this year though.

Brown Shrike are always common, but they are especially abundant this year. Also seemed to be very successful at raising young. This years Shrike seem to be mostly on their own now. They Common Magpie young have fledged though and stub tails and all are noisily demanding to be fed.

The Cuckoo were markedly absent on my last outing a week ago, so apparently they have started to move south already. Another one that was up this year was the Black-Naped Oriole. Normally I only see one or two a summer, but this year I was able to find two areas where they were concentrated in groups of 8-10 or more.

I've pretty well given up on the Black-Faced Spoonbill for now at least as even when it is not raining is is 30 and 90% humidity. Not to mention the millions of mosquitoes. Rained hard again last night but not raining this afternoon. However there is just enough humidity and overcast to produce a bright glare that makes photography impracticable anyway. Phone app says cloudy but no rain for the rest of this week, so maybe I can get out for a morning before the heat rises once the ground dries out a bit.
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Old Sunday 22nd July 2018, 04:10   #628
Owen Krout
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I did a short outing to my local wetland patch early yesterday morning before it heated up but I was mostly foiled by the fact that with all this water and heat the reeds are now about 3 meters high and have effectively blocked the line of sight from all angles. A burst of fireworks from a nearby village did scare up four Black-Crowned Night Heron and one each of Chinese Pond Heron and Great White Egret. A few Oriental Reed Warbler could be heard but not seen. I'm pretty sure I could hear some Black-Winged Stilt but again not visible.

I planted some sunflower this year in our little patio garden hoping to attract some Tit or Bunting. No success in doing that but this morning I noticed some Tree Sparrow pecking fresh seeds out of one of the flower heads. Not what I was aiming at but it is my first successful attempt at feeding or attracting birds here in China! I had to take the pics through the picture window, so not the best. They were less than a meter out the window.
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Old Monday 30th July 2018, 02:11   #629
Lancy Cheng
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Newfoundland is heated up. We have had heat warning as the temperature went up to 30...yeah, it's too much for us :P
This summer is unusual. Summer is normally boring for birders but so far we have Little Blue Heron, Solitary Sandpiper, Laughing Gull, Franklin's Gull, Sabine's Gull, Roseate Tern, Black Tern, Long-tailed Jaeger, Pomarine Jaeger and Parasitic Jaeger in July. Four in red are lifers for me.
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Old Tuesday 31st July 2018, 02:12   #630
Owen Krout
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We are having much the same here, Lancy. It hit 34 yesterday and the next several days are predicted to be 35. The overnight lows have been running more like the normal daytime highs being in the upper 20's. Not so terrible except the humidity has been ranging from 90% in the early morning to 70% late afternoon. People here are just not used to it. My wife has declared that it is like an oven and as bad as living in Kansas was. She grew up in Heilongjiang though, so I'll take this over the -50 and 2 meters of snow winters. At least plenty of rain this year, breaking the drought.

Sounds like you are having a good year for birding at least. Glad to hear of it. One of my bucket items is still to make a drive across Canada, so maybe I'll still get a chance to try out your birding grounds someday.

I bought a Panasonic LUMIX ZS-60 for a pocket camera and am working on learning to use it right now. It is more complicated than I expected it to be, but that also means more flexibility, so after a learning curve, I think it is going to be great. It is an outdated model, so I got a really good price on it.

I'm spoiled by the Canon 7D, but the best camera for you is always the one you have with you and the 7D is just too bulky and heavy to carry around all the time. I think it is going to work out well, as it is better than a cellphone having roughly an equivalent zoom to the 7D and much lighter weight. The auto focus is much slower though and so far a bit difficult to get it focused on a particular bird at distance. I wasn't able to figure out manual focus though, so once I get that things should improve. If anything though the colors and the exposure seem to work a bit better. The fast Leica lens - 1.33-6.4 is really nice. The electronic viewfinder works better than I expected.
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Old Thursday 9th August 2018, 00:39   #631
Owen Krout
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I made a couple of quick trips out to the wetland near home in the last week. The first trip on Aug 4 didn't yield much of interest other than a number of Chinese Pond Heron flying low. Eventually I figured out that they were trying to cox young out of the nests in the reeds and into the air with them. I saw a couple of fumbling short flights in response.

Yesterday's outing, August 8, found only one C. Pond Heron, but several other families out on the small area where I can still find an only partially obscured view of the water. As many of the pictures I took show, I was trying to peek through reeds even then. It did give the advantage of giving me a natural blind affect.

It started off with a rather sad discovery of a pair of Spot-Billed Duck still patrolling the area near where I had spotted a nest in previous outings. The sad part was that people have started dumping the rubble from apartment renovations into the area including right on top of their nest! Apparently their young got buried under the rubble. Most of that seems to be coming from the high end luxury (by Panjin standards) apartments in the compound where we live.

More encouragingly, I also found two other family groups of SBD still together, one group of nine and one of eight. One of the youngsters apparently hadn't practiced it's landings enough yet, as it came in and flared out it didn't lean back enough and flipped over going head first into the water.

I also found a pair of Little Grebe families out on the water. Mom and Dad were in the general area, but leaving the youngsters mostly to themselves. Total of 10 LG.

I heard a couple of other Moorhen complaining about my presence just below me as I stood on the bank but managed to get a few shots of one Moorhen and her two chicks before she noticed me and hustled them back into the reeds.

A single Pond Heron soared over and I managed a decent shot despite the white bird against bright white clouds. I updated the Firmware on my Canon 7D MkII the night before and it seemed to help a little with the auto focus & exposure in the very challenging conditions.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Aug 8, 2018 1:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 kilometer(s)
9 species

Eastern Spot-billed Duck (Anas zonorhyncha) 19
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 10
Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) 1
Chinese Pond-Heron (Ardeola bacchus) 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 1
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) 8
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 10
Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) 1
Daurian Starling (Agropsar sturninus) 7

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47732978
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Old Thursday 9th August 2018, 00:42   #632
Owen Krout
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Little Grebe family photos

Some shots of the Little Grebe and Moorhen families
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Old Thursday 9th August 2018, 21:51   #633
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Great to see the shots of successful wetland breeders and the Tree Sparrow on your sunflowers.

Like you I'm looking forward to some cooler weather - this is the hottest summer I can remember here in Hong Kong!

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Old Thursday 9th August 2018, 23:52   #634
Owen Krout
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Hi Mike,

I don't have any data, but locals insist this is the hottest summer they have ever seen. There are actually a number of luxury apartments around us that people only use as a summer place to escape the heat. Hasn't worked out for that this year.
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Old Tuesday 14th August 2018, 00:25   #635
Lancy Cheng
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This is def the hottest summer I've ever had in Newfoundland! Heat warning again tomorrow with 29C and humidex 36. An orchard oriole which is the 6th record in the province is waiting for me to chase...
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Old Tuesday 14th August 2018, 07:12   #636
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Owen, love to see you keeping up with the breeders, and excited to hear about your efforts with the sunflowers! I wonder if the flowers are distant from other greenery then perhaps tits etc are not confident enough to come? Or perhaps a bit later in the season. Any rate good luck on that!
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Old Tuesday 14th August 2018, 23:28   #637
Owen Krout
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Good to hear from you Gretchen. Your thread and hence you, are really responsible for getting me into this. A wonderful turn for me as after 40 years of 60 hour work weeks being just normal and often hitting 90 hours, coupled with serious health issues, I had decided that I had earned the right to just do what I pleased and as it turns out it really pleases me to spend time in nature.

Our little patio garden does sit in the middle of an apartment complex, of course, but a higher end one with lots of well tended flowers and shrubbery. We even have two nice Maple trees of some sort and a few small fruit trees. Previously related where I complained enough to drive off the workers who were removing the trees that had lined the drive between buildings. However I think you are basically correct. I have been hoping to attract some of the Tits and such that are winter residents in the city park visible from our garden, less than 100 meters away. There is not going to be anything left for winter though as the T. Sparrows have finished off all the seeds! My wife has agreed to designate a larger area to my sunflowers and such next year since she gets a big kick out of watching the Sparrow's acrobatics within a meter or two of the big picture window.

Heavy rain here for the last several days and the phone app shows heavy thunderstorms over the bay just 20km or so to the west right now. On top of that I managed to throw my back out (again) while cleaning the floor last weekend. Improving though, so soon as it dries out a bit I'll get back to it!
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