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Summery: a casual birding trip in China

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Old Wednesday 13th June 2018, 06:54   #1
Lancy Cheng
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Summery: a casual birding trip in China

I spent a month (May 9th - June 8th) in China for family reunion and did some birding whenever I could. Among the 5 cities I visited, Panjin and Dalian were well planned (big thanks to Owen and Tom! ). Information of birding in Beijing and Shenyang is more or less available from internet which was helpful. Harbin is the least birded city of all five, so I just winged it. In total, 93 species were observed, 81 in Liaoning province (Panjin, Dalian and Shenyang), 38 in Beijing and 19 in Heilongjiang (Harbin).

Hightlights
While lots of duck species were gone from winter ground, I did manage to see Ruddy and Common Shelducks. I was surprised to learn that Mandarin Duck breeds in Zhaolin Park, Harbin, every year for years. It is a small park, located in the center of business district, with limited water area. The park did a wonderful job by providing breeding boxes.
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46114681

I'm happy with 18 shore bird species, most of which were in Panjin/Yingkou wetlands. I'd like to spend days there watching shorebirds. Amazing habitat! Dunlin was abundant while most species showed up in small numbers. Eurasian Oystercatcher was a treat.

I saw two of my 3 target gulls. Black-tailed Gull was everywhere in/near Dalian. The color aberration one at Jinzhou dump was stunning. I am still not fully convinced by the story of Black-tailed Gull at Beijing zoo (https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46367037). Saunders's Gull was a guarantee in Red Beach but I couldn't find one anywhere else. Black-headed Gull was common and I saw a colony, mostly 2nd calendar year birds, on a small island in Songhua River, Harbin. I was shocked ALL Herring-type gulls were gone. My Newfoundland experience didn't apply there. They are here all year around though winter is still the best gulling season. I'm planning my next trip to China possibly in 2 or 3 years and it will be in winter

Five tern species was not bad. Little, Whiskered and Gull-billed were lifers. White-winged Tern was not but it's still great to watch them in flocks. I had only seen a single before.

Warbler and raptor: well, I'll be back!

A Purple Gallinule in Newfoundland is the best welcome home gift. It was found just after I left but survived till our June-uary: local temperature is still single digit.

Full list:93
  1. Ruddy Shelduck
  2. Common Shelduck
  3. Mandarin Duck
  4. Eastern Spot-billed Duck
  5. Mallard
  6. Ring-necked Pheasant
  7. Little Grebe
  8. Great Crested Grebe
  9. Yellow Bittern
  10. Gray Heron
  11. Great Egret
  12. Little Egret
  13. Chinese Pond-Heron
  14. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  15. Oriental Honey-buzzard
  16. Eurasian Moorhen
  17. Black-winged Stilt
  18. Pied Avocet
  19. Eurasian Oystercatcher
  20. Black-bellied Plover
  21. Gray-headed Lapwing
  22. Lesser Sand-Plover
  23. Kentish Plover
  24. Little Ringed Plover
  25. Whimbrel
  26. Eurasian Curlew
  27. Bar-tailed Godwit
  28. Long-toed Stint
  29. Red-necked Stint
  30. Dunlin
  31. Terek Sandpiper
  32. Common Sandpiper
  33. Green Sandpiper
  34. Common Greenshank
  35. Saunders's Gull
  36. Black-headed Gull
  37. Black-tailed Gull
  38. Little Tern
  39. Gull-billed Tern
  40. White-winged Tern
  41. Whiskered Tern
  42. Common Tern
  43. Rock Pigeon
  44. Oriental Turtle-Dove
  45. Spotted Dove
  46. Indian Cuckoo
  47. Common Cuckoo
  48. White-throated Needletail
  49. Common Swift
  50. Eurasian Hoopoe
  51. Common Kingfisher
  52. Dollarbird
  53. Gray-capped Woodpecker
  54. Pygmy Woodpecker
  55. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  56. Gray-headed Woodpecker
  57. Eurasian Kestrel
  58. Amur Falcon
  59. Bull-headed Shrike
  60. Brown Shrike
  61. Black-naped Oriole
  62. Azure-winged Magpie
  63. Red-billed Blue-Magpie
  64. Eurasian Magpie
  65. Carrion Crow
  66. Large-billed Crow
  67. Barn Swallow
  68. Red-rumped Swallow
  69. Willow Tit
  70. Japanese Tit
  71. Chinese Penduline-Tit
  72. Eurasian Nuthatch
  73. Light-vented Bulbul
  74. Yellow-browed Warbler
  75. Arctic Warbler
  76. Oriental Reed Warbler
  77. Vinous-throated Parrotbill
  78. Chestnut-flanked White-eye
  79. White-browed Laughingthrush
  80. Korean Flycatcher
  81. Taiga Flycatcher
  82. Blue Rock-Thrush
  83. Chinese Blackbird
  84. Red-billed Starling
  85. White-cheeked Starling
  86. Crested Myna
  87. Gray Wagtail
  88. White Wagtail
  89. Meadow Bunting
  90. Little Bunting
  91. Yellow-billed Grosbeak
  92. Oriental Greenfinch
  93. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
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Old Wednesday 13th June 2018, 15:06   #2
MKinHK
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Some good birds in that list Lancy - and what a great bird to come home to!

Cheers
Mike
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Old Wednesday 13th June 2018, 15:13   #3
Lancy Cheng
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKinHK View Post
Some good birds in that list Lancy - and what a great bird to come home to!

Cheers
Mike
Thanks, Mike! I'd choose a differemt season to see different species next time. Hard to decide fall migration or winter, though. The Purple Gallinule is the only one reported in Canada so far this year, I think. Bonus!
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Old Wednesday 13th June 2018, 15:15   #4
Dong Bei
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Nice list Lancy. Where were the Needletails?

Definitely plan for Laotieshan on your next trip in the winter. Some birds can't/don't make the crossing south from there and end up staying right at the lighthouse tip area if the weather isn't too bad. you can find lots of expected winter species as well as a few surprises there in the winter.
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Old Wednesday 13th June 2018, 15:25   #5
Lancy Cheng
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Originally Posted by Dong Bei View Post
Nice list Lancy. Where were the Needletails?

Definitely plan for Laotieshan on your next trip in the winter. Some birds can't/don't make the crossing south from there and end up staying right at the lighthouse tip area if the weather isn't too bad. you can find lots of expected winter species as well as a few surprises there in the winter.
They wete seen in Harbin. I'm not 100% confident as they looked smaller/shorter than Red-rumped Swallows, but this is the closest I could think. I'd appreciate comments.
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46031939
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Old Wednesday 13th June 2018, 15:32   #6
Lancy Cheng
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Or, a House martin?
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Old Wednesday 13th June 2018, 15:53   #7
Dong Bei
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Hi Lancy,

In a hurry here but it is a House Martin. Now to decide between the two possible ones :)
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Old Wednesday 13th June 2018, 17:18   #8
Lancy Cheng
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Hi Lancy,

In a hurry here but it is a House Martin. Now to decide between the two possible ones :)
Thanks, Tom! I will see if get shots of the underwimg.
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Old Thursday 14th June 2018, 02:38   #9
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Hi Lancy,

81 species for Liaoning - That is really good I would say! I've only reported 107 this year for Liaoning.
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Old Thursday 14th June 2018, 11:18   #10
Lancy Cheng
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Hi Lancy,

81 species for Liaoning - That is really good I would say! I've only reported 107 this year for Liaoning.
Thank you and Tom! My birding in Liaoning was planned while in other places was random.
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Old Friday 15th June 2018, 10:51   #11
Lancy Cheng
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Hi Lancy,

In a hurry here but it is a House Martin. Now to decide between the two possible ones :)
I'd leave it as Common/Asian House Martin as no photos to show field marks better. I'm leaning towards Common though as bright white underpart and deeper fork were observed in field.
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46031939
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Old Friday 15th June 2018, 11:00   #12
Lancy Cheng
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I can't edit the main post. There are 92 species on my China list, plus 3 other taxa, 76 lifers have been added to my world life list. :)
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Old Friday 15th June 2018, 13:11   #13
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Hi Lancy, I don,t have a picture of a asian house martin to compare between common house martin, but I did Notice on your picture that that birds rump seems quite long and extends further towards the back of the bird, Also checking through a collins pocket guide of birds of britain and europe, the house martin there has a very short white rump, I may be wrong but I,ve not seen the rump as on your bird extended that long before on a british bird.. Also I presume there clams in the foreground of the greenshank you photographed I,ve never seen a bed of clams before..

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Old Friday 15th June 2018, 16:43   #14
Lancy Cheng
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Hi Nancy, I don,t have a picture of a asian house martin to compare between common house martin, but I did Notice on your picture that that birds rump seems quite long and extends further towards the back of the bird, Also checking through a collins pocket guide of birds of britain and europe, the house martin there has a very short white rump, I may be wrong but I,ve not seen the rump as on your bird extended that long before on a british bird.. Also I presume there clams in the foreground of the greenshank you photographed I,ve never seen a bed of clams before..
Yes, the long white rump was observed in field. I think Common would be the better match but I wasn't 100% confident to make the call. Hope more experienced birders step in and share their thoughts.
There were LOTS of clams and they were HUGE! Locals harvested them for food. I have phtos to show the size. I'll post some later.
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Old Friday 15th June 2018, 18:01   #15
Dong Bei
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House Martin Fun

Hi Lancy, just back from a short trip and now have time to chime in.

I'm not sure which House Martin it is from your photo. I can't speak for Harbin, but in most areas of Liaoning Asian House Martin is by far the more common of the two. In fact, I've only identified several Northern/Common House Martin the entire time I lived in China. They could have been overlooked but I found Asian as the much more common one.

NE China is quite a distance from Europe and caution should be used in comparing east Asian and European species with the same name. I've got into trouble doing this before with Marsh and Willow Tits. The distance is more than between Newfoundland and 6 time zones to the west from where I am now in the same country :) There is so much more to learn about east Asian birds that winter, migrate, and breed in completely different areas.

I'm attaching some grainy photos of a Northern taken in Liaoning as an example of east Asian Northerns. These can vary of course. The fork in the tail varies as they turn and fly and photos taken at just the right time can make the fork look deeper or shallower. The Oriental Bird Images database is a fantastic place to see images of species taken in Asia. http://orientalbirdimages.org/

I'm not sure that a positive ID can be made without underwing photos but it's still fun to discuss.
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Old Friday 15th June 2018, 20:42   #16
Lancy Cheng
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Originally Posted by Dong Bei View Post
Hi Lancy, just back from a short trip and now have time to chime in.

I'm not sure which House Martin it is from your photo. I can't speak for Harbin, but in most areas of Liaoning Asian House Martin is by far the more common of the two. In fact, I've only identified several Northern/Common House Martin the entire time I lived in China. They could have been overlooked but I found Asian as the much more common one.

NE China is quite a distance from Europe and caution should be used in comparing east Asian and European species with the same name. I've got into trouble doing this before with Marsh and Willow Tits. The distance is more than between Newfoundland and 6 time zones to the west from where I am now in the same country :) There is so much more to learn about east Asian birds that winter, migrate, and breed in completely different areas.

I'm attaching some grainy photos of a Northern taken in Liaoning as an example of east Asian Northerns. These can vary of course. The fork in the tail varies as they turn and fly and photos taken at just the right time can make the fork look deeper or shallower. The Oriental Bird Images database is a fantastic place to see images of species taken in Asia. http://orientalbirdimages.org/

I'm not sure that a positive ID can be made without underwing photos but it's still fun to discuss.
Thanks, Tom! I don't think I would go any further than Northern/Asian House Martin. When I was in Harbin, I didn't know what to expect. Maybe next time I'll be better prepared :)
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Old Friday 15th June 2018, 20:43   #17
Lancy Cheng
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coaltit View Post
Hi Nancy, I don,t have a picture of a asian house martin to compare between common house martin, but I did Notice on your picture that that birds rump seems quite long and extends further towards the back of the bird, Also checking through a collins pocket guide of birds of britain and europe, the house martin there has a very short white rump, I may be wrong but I,ve not seen the rump as on your bird extended that long before on a british bird.. Also I presume there clams in the foreground of the greenshank you photographed I,ve never seen a bed of clams before..
"Einstein" as size comparison
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Old Friday 15th June 2018, 21:12   #18
coaltit
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"Einstein" as size comparison
Hi Lancy, Clams certainly seem to like the environment there, thanks for shareing Lancy.

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