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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

18 months in Shanghai: March 2012 - August 2013 (1 Viewer)

and some more pics...


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Nice to read about your settling in. Think your urban park sounds like its doing okay for a Feb. Sunday! Two shrikes, a thrush and warblers as well at the others. Nice pics of all the birds, but I know those Pallas's are pretty tricky, so kudos!
Will be looking forward to following this thread. Until I looked more carefully and saw the model, had thought the photographers were snapping the blue door, perhaps for some kind of effects shot.

In addition to the birds, envy you the (non-Tesco) food.

Good luck with IDing more Blub species !
Non-birdy post

Cheers for kind words all.

Forgot to mention I did get a "tick" last weekend but I think the "Bird Police" (how far does "George Michael's" remit extend anyway..?) will be down on me like a ton of bricks if I add "City Hwamei" to the totals...

Not much feathered interest to report since then...it's been all about the work thing...settling in (small desks and chairs...can't see my Finnish ergonomicists being happy with me when I get back...!)...getting to know the new team..etc...

Add to that the red tape game...40 minutes of taxi travel for a 2 minute "interview" in which I don't think I said anything and exchanged my autograph on a white form for a temporary residence pink form half the size...gotta keep on moving though...only when I get all the papers in order can we release my small air freight parcel which include me bird books and more scruffy, dull, green-ish field clothes!

Add to that an on-going battle with "airplane "flu"" and it doesn't amount to much in the way of natural history.

One ray of sunshine is that it looks like I'll have the 3rd week of April (Mon 16th) off so I think the plan has to be to concentrate on a certain set of mudflats about 3 hours N of here with a view to getting views of a certain cute, cute, cute wader...I'll be contacting the local connections separately to discuss a plan of attack on that one (but feel free to comment here for the greater good if you wish :0)

So...nowt planned for the weekend...happy to hook up with any locals if you're a) doing something birdy and b) are prepared to give idiots guide directions on where I have to go, etc...

Not bad for a short post...and there I was telling the team yesterday to tell me to shut up if I go on a bit...

A terrific pic of the Long-tailed Shrike Mark.

Learning the bus routes will dramatically shorten your travelling times and, most importantly, allow more time for birding.

Hwamei in downtown Shanghai is definitely a plastic - sorry.

Botanicals, wet feet and the folly of not taking the camera...

Saturday 3rd March saw a later than planned start but I was out the door by 0930. 8/8 cloud cover and light rain had seen me opt for travelling light with just bins for company...something I'd regret of course!

A day for exploring a bit more of the very efficient Metro saw me hop on Line 9 at Dapuqiao and head 4 stops west to Yishan Road. A quick change to Line 3 south towards the Southern Railway station and 3 stops more brought me to Shilong Road. De-training and walking under the tracks and over the Shilong Road itself by footbridge and 10 minutes gentle stroll down Dongquan Road saw me at the Number 4 Entrance Gate of the Shanghai Botanic Gardens. (http://en.shbg.org/index.action)

Once me and the lady on ticket office duty had mimed our way through the cost...”no here, take what you need from my wallet”!...15 RMB...I could enter one of the peaceful havens in this frenetic city...indeed at one point in the morning I was sat on a bench with no other people in sight and the city but a distant roar...you could almost convince yourself it was the ocean!

With a light rain still falling I set about unearthing the birdlife...early score with a Long-tailed Shrike atop a tree...still coming to terms with a “city shrike”...and Blackbirds everywhere...plenty of opportunity to study their calls and songs as spring was most certainly in the air...some rather odd duck-like high-pitched peeps confused me until I caught a male in the act of delivering the call...

A bridge produced another Long-tailed Shrike perched on a pole in the water (where's me camera...!) and a pair of Common Sandpiper bobbing along the non too appetising muddy edge of the river...locked in by it's flood defense walls on either side

Chinese Bulbuls, Spotted Doves and Tree Sparrows were also apparent but otherwise things seemed quiet...both on the avian and human front. On I ambled and a distant group of long-tailed birds in some distant trees attracted my attention...surely not 7 Long-tailed Shrikes?! No...closer inspection revealed these pranksters to be beige-bodied, black-capped, blue-tailed Azure-winged Magpies. Now we'd found each other they became constant companions for the rest of my time in the gardens, flitting around in a loose rag-tag of a group.

I was now by the Tropicarium and the thought of a warm-up appealed but once again I was distracted by movement in the trees...two huge black-tipped, yellow bills attached to a couple of Chinese Grosbeaks...very nice...then almost straight away more movement at my feet...a pair of Vinous-throated Parrotbills moving rapidly through low bushes distracted me and the grosbeaks took advantage to move higher up the tree they were sharing.

All the warmth I need so onward for a walk around the periphery of the gardens...bamboo stands, a rose garden to be...now just clay-filled borders with stumpy twigs in waiting for spring warmth to get the growing season started. More Azure-winged Magpies to keep me company and then another familiar friend appeared...a small bundle of cream, green and yellow resolved into one, then two, fly-catching Pallas' Warblers...a repeat of my trip to Xujiahui Park two weekends ago.

Onward and the rain gave up and a watery sun poked it's head through the clouds before thinking better of it. A quiet corner delivered two washed out Great Tits and a Eurasian Magpie to boost the “trip list”.

A quiet seat by a small, reed-fringed pond, offered plenty but delivered nothing new...Tree Sparrows and Chinese Bulbul's played hide and seek, Blackbirds chuckled and sparred, Spotted Doves coo'd and Azure-winged Magpie's messed about. The only surprise for 20 minutes quiet contemplation being a leucistic Blackbird: mostly white with odd black feathers, a mottling on the breast, a bill a tubenose would be proud of - some deformity resulting in the final third of the upper mandible being very thin and so producing the seabird profile!

When it first dropped through the trees to the ground I had a flashback to last Spring's West Pacific Odyssey when a male Chuuk Monarch looking not too dissimilar surprised us by being present several hundred metres lower than advertised (but that's just me showing off that I've seen the monarch (and the White-eye :0)

On I wandered and found myself towards the eastern extremes of the gardens and a high-pitched call and some buzzing jogged Fair Isle memories...a quick scan revealed a tree-top pipit calling and tail-pumping for all it's worth...turning it's head so I could admire those black and white spots...Olive-backed Pipit nailed. It stayed maybe 5 minutes and turning around to continue my journey I could see why it may not have wanted to linger...another Long-tailed Shrike sat at camera height about 3m from me...I WANT MY CAMERA...NOW!

Ho-hum...a cheerful chappie in uniform came over to see what the game was and I offered him my Swaros to view the shrike...a quick glance and then he swung them on the work gang about 50m to our left...much more fun for my new best friend...thumbs up all around...well I tried to instil a love for shrikes in him at least...

I'd been seeing White Wagtails intermittently but finally I got good views of a cracking white-faced, leucopsis male...the black beady eye isolated in a mask of white...accompanied by a scruffier female or sub-adult bird (don't ask me, I was admiring the male...thinking...”camera moment”...)

A small stream almost concealed behind a wall of trees had some “noises off” so I stepped along a small path to see who was causing trouble...more aneamic Great Tits and then on the edge of the stream...a Little Egret! Who wasn't for hanging around and flopped and flapped off around a corner and lost from site.

Noting my position was now close to my port of entry and that the squelching noise I had been hearing was significantly correlated with the cold, damp feeling in my left boot, I came to two conclusions: I needn't have bothered packing this particular pair of boots as they are destined for the bin and that it was time to retire gracefully back to the warmth of home to plan tomorrow's adventure...which may contain me taking the 'effin camera along rather than being a silly boy and leaving it home in the dry...

...to be continued...if I go out tomorrow...

oops...reading Mike's HK thread reminds me I forgot the Crested Mynah's I saw this morning...
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A good report that nicely captures the ambience of urban birding in China.

Looking forward to hearing about tomorrow.

Botanicals with pictures...and dry feet!

So...working on the "if it ain't broke..." principle, today became a repeat of yesterday...once I'd decided to brave the cool, grey, damp weather again. Up early to the grey vision from the balcony...ugh

1030 and it seemed slightly brighter and less damp so off I went...lugging the camera today (Canon 40D and 100-400mm lens before anyone asks)...and wearing different boots from yesterdays past-their-best pair!

Well, I was optimistic with the weather as it closed in again as I wandered the gardens, no busier than yesterday at least. Usual suspects soon made themselves known...Chinese Bulbuls, Tree Sparrows, Blackbirds, Spotted Doves, Long-tailed Shrikes

Common Sandpiper numbers jumped to 3. More White Wagtails and Azure-winged Magpies (or whatever I'm supposed to call these eastern birds now split from the Iberian population?)

Followed the same circuit and had a pleasent surprise near the southern edge of the gardens near some bamboo when a flock of 30 odd small jobs flushed from under some trees...Tree Sparrows I thought but closer examination revealed several smart Chinese Grosbeaks. Better views than yesterday but the poor light in general coupled with being under the canopy (coupled with who was doing the photography...) meant shots were probably not the killers we'd all like!

A-wM were slightly more co-operative but I'll let you decide what's going on with that shot...

Moving on to the more secluded area where I found my leucistic blackie y'day paid dividends as not only was he present (and fighting his corner with his more drably dressed fellow black blackies) but I, nearly, stumbled over 4 Olive-backed Pipits who, with some careful stalking provided quality viewing...again the light didn't help this particular amateur photographer but they ain't too shabby...

The rain decided to put on an extra spurt so I decided discretion and valour could take a hike and I was off although not before a smart Red-flanked Bluetail proved to be to shy for ol' David Bailey here and shot off through the trees.

Finish on a high note then and I wandered back through the gardens stopping only to wonder what exactly was being "fished" for in the watercourse and where it might end...not on any plate I eat from I hope...sobering thought as I indulged myself on a Sunday afternoon...here were people up to their chests in filthy water trying to make a living...

Once again, thanks for the kind comments...I hope I maintain the momentum...and...be nice...me mum's reading this :0)



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and some more pics...


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and more...OBP in all it's glory...


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and finally...some more...


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Nice to see Grosbeaks on the ground - never seen them do that! :-O Like your very white blackbird and the multi-tailed Azure winged. (I think they are a very good looking magpie, but I have been noting that they seem to be the most aggressive of our 3 species, though the smallest!) The pipits certainly did give good views too. It is encouraging to see what urban birders are finding!
Nice pictures mark. The white(black)bird looks stunning.:-O

I'm not sure if you have scouted the Bonsai garden, Eurasian Siskins, Grey-capped greenfinch and oriental turtle dove can be seen there.

I saw a male red-flanked blue tail during the end of December, my only male blue-tail in the city park in this winter.

Also, i saw a pair of grey-headed parrotbills but they seem to be escapees.

Collared finchbills also can be seen but mostly they are escapees.

The stream which you have mentioned wil also have few common snipes and Daurian redstart, common kingfisher along the walls.
Show me the munia...or...White's that I see out in the open?

Saturday 10th March dawned (well 0700'd) bright and sunny so ablutions and breakfast over it was time to hit Line 9 for 2 stops east from Dapuqiao to Lujiabang Lu station where I quickly transferred to Line 8 heading to the northern terminus of Shiguang Lu. About 50 minutes later I was looking around a residential district for signs to the Gongqian Forest Park...without success...luckily I had a mental map so struck off in the right direction (sorry about that...) for the park...however...on reflection this evening...Shiguang Road, Baicheng Road, Yinxing Road and Jungong Road to the Northern entrance gate was probably the long way around...note to self...get off at Nenjiang Road and walk E along Minxing Road next time and enter at the S gate!

Anyway...entering the park...another fabulous 15RMB of value...I had a frustrating flyover by 4 starling-type things that what I saw in the bins move me to suspect Red-billed Starling but that would be a lifer so deserves better views...vielleicht das nächster zeit (to quote Ritchie Blackmore...which ought to be a first in this bit of BF...)

Looking around it was apparent that 1030 was a little late to be arriving so I hatched me a plan to keep to the perimeter of the park in an attempt to avoid the worst of the crowds...mostly successful but I did keep happening across the wedding photography crews...sadly the most interestingly dressed groom was arriving just as I left the park...calf-length white trews with no socks and “baaad” white loafers do not make for life-long memories methinks!

Back to the birds...the outsider strategy quickly delivered in the shape of a “rare bunting “tic”” from somewhere in the shrubbery...quickly frustrating glimpses of what I am going to decide was a male Tristram's Bunting ensued along with a wild goose chase where it let me see a dark hood, foxy red rump and memory triggers of my 2008 trip. This catch me if you can soon descended into “wassat?” as what turned out to be the first of several groups of Scaly-breasted Munia interpolated themselves between me and my initial quarry. Being a good scout...I focused on these more static wee birds whilst I put a name to them...presumably these are like my “City Hwamei” and untickable but still cute. They redeemed themselves by putting me very briefly onto another old friend in the shape of a flighty Black-faced Bunting (“Shedloads” on Happy Island in '08 for one glorious “Bunting Hunting” day :0)

This general area hugging the western perimeter wall then quickly delivered a fly-catching Pallas's Warbler, a Great Tit and a Grey Wagtail. Moving further south noises overhead resolved themselves into a smart Yellow-bellied Tit in full spring regalia singing his little head off. The park train did nothing to put him off as it passed close by and added a Red-flanked Bluetail to my list (yet again no photo...this bird could be a nemesis in that department if it don't shape itself...

Of course Chinese Bulbuls had been in evidence since I entered the park but they had fellow travellers today...thrushes but what kind? Flighty is a kindness...the buggers wouldn't sit still for anyone. Brief perched views of unhelpful bits of anatomy. The long and short of it being I managed two relatively distant perched birds of the Dusky/Naumann's persuasion. The pics are brought to you by the magic of severe cropping but show two diff birds, one very plain, one showing a red mottling...I leave it to the experts / those who really care about these things to comment...

Continued walking brought more of the same...singing Pallas's Warbler were a feature of the more easterly limits of the park...nice. A briefly glimpsed raptor looked like a Buzzard but views were too short to nail it. Another feature of this region were the wedding photography groups...brides in white...grooms in...er...white...it was like a Miami Vice Convention in places (without the patent 3 day beard natch..)...guess if it's the fashion it's a brave man who doesn't confirm on the big day...isn't the groom largely superfluous anyway? It's all about...”her”...

Anyway...back with the birding...one wedding group were being serenaded by bathing munias (not they knew or cared...) I finally reached the waterfront...my map tells me I was looking at the River Huangpujiang and very nice too in a busy, polluted, working waterway kinda way...the only birdlife was two overhead alba wagtails and...gulls...I'm a fair-weather larophile...I'll start a thread on the id forum but I assume I've a choice of Mongolian or Vega here?

Onward...vigorous sparrow activity led me to another perimeter wall with a well attended Tree Sparrow colony...stepping off the path to have a gander brought me a posse of Olive-backed Pipits...at least 8 of these smart birds were high stepping through the grass while a couple of Pallas's Warblers gave it large and some munias did the bath thing...

Shady, mature evergreens with rhodendron stylee understorey promised...something...and delivered in the form of a confiding White's Thrush...oh yes! We kept station with each other as I walked gently through the gloom...Blackbirds, 1 Pale Thrush and a Long-tailed Shrike joining our stately procession.

By now my walk had taken me almost around the park and I found myself near the horse riding area where a tree was bedecked in festive colours courtesy of a mixed Brambling and Chinese Grosbeak flock..neat!

By now all this exercise and lack of liquid or sustenance was turning me into Stratford-esque, wraithe-like figure so refreshments beckoned...I sat me down to sip a bottle of cola (no Californian nanny state here I hope) when the previously “wonder why I haven't seen any...” Vinous-throated Parrotbills put in a suitably cute appearance...

And...that was that really..it was around 1430 and the continued good weather had seen the numbers in the park swell to “too many” so a swift exit was in order. Near the South exit I found a second Brambling/Grosbeak flock plus a second White's Thrush of the day. Walking back the (long) way I'd arrived netted me three more Long-tailed Shrike and a Moorhen...thus proving the scenic route pays off every time!

One random mammal for id please...red-bellied tree-rat not being a scientifically acceptable name if G**gl* is to be believed (as if...digression...for those wishing to learn some Finnish may I help you? Koh vee gay...Go F**k**' G**gl*...here ends the public service announcement)

Stay tuned for more fun and games...will he stop teething or is a visit to the dentist on the cards? Will he do any birding “the morra”?


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More of the 10/03 pics. First two are same bird, third is different. Likewise pics 4 & 5...diff birds...


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and some more...them pesky larids!


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still 10/03


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not quite finished yet...no excuses for all the White's pics... B :)


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and finally...cute parrotbills badly photo'd; the tree rat; the metro and...well...


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