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

McMadd

You should see the other bloke...
Saturday 24th March...Teaser

Today is team building day so I'm off out fairly soon...so...a few, distant teaser shots from yesterday's adventures...write up will follow soonish...the "alba" wagtail especially for Mike :t: and note the digger on the nature reserve...
 

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Frogfish

Well-known member
Hope you don't mind me putting this in here Mark ? Not worth a thread. It was taken a few days in Shanghai ;)

The-Peacockweb-XL.jpg
 

McMadd

You should see the other bloke...
Hope you don't mind me putting this in here Mark ?

Hi Frogfish/Kevin

I think you should start your own thread for your observations - the more active threads in the China section the more fun it is to read who's doing what. Go for it!

McM
 

McMadd

You should see the other bloke...
Wait until ya see me "Roo-bear"...and some bird stuff too...

Monday 26th March

So, got caught up in the team building yesterday and was too worn out to post Saturday's adventures. But I'm back on track today...

Seems I'm doing something right with the work thing in that I managed to find my way to our lunch rendezvous better than some of the native Shanghai-ers and that they also identified some of the more "out there" dishes before I tried them (or rather didn't)...maybe in time I'll see the attraction of chicken feet or "cows stomach lining" but not yet...and I've never tried tripe either so it's not "cultural snobbery"!!

Next to the ceramic studio where we could choose from blank plates, spoons..or bears...and then draw and paint patterns on them from the picture book style templates in front of us...or...one of us could go "off piste" and grab a bear and some red and white paint and create the next hot thing in the OT supporters shop...ladies an' gentlemen...I give you "The Roo-bear" (TM)...but you'll have to wait a couple of weeks while they fire and then deliver it to the office...but it's sooooo worth it...comes with lifelike bald spot...!

Right, on with Saturday...pause...cut...paste...

Island hopping...

A short exchange of texts on Friday evening saw me up bright an early on Saturday to ride the metro from Dapuqiao to Jinqiao Road on the number 6 line where Jocko was waiting for me at 0645 to begin the journey under and over the Yellow River to Chongming Dao and the “Dongtan Birds National Natural Reserve”

An uneventful journey barring one of the local drivers using the wrong side of the road at a junction (and inducing minor panic in our machine!) soon saw us arrive at the start of a rather muddy track that would take us out to the coastal marshlands beyond the cultivated fields we saw below us from our position on a raised dyke.

Birding started a little quietly as we slowly walked the track veering from side to side to try and keep a bit cleaner than otherwise would've been the case (and to avoid getting stuck in the mud or falling on our fundaments!) A male Black-crowned Night-heron slowly flapped out of some trees; several Oriental Turtle Doves clattered away and small stuff fitted ahead of us along the path...resolving into a few Black-faced Buntings, Chinese Bulbuls, a couple of Long-tailed Shrike, Daurian Redstarts. Meanwhile the fields across the irrigation channel held only 2 Great Egrets, seemingly the crane flock present as recently as the previous week had headed north.

Arriving at a water buffalo farm the marshes opened up before us and we strolled on towards a boardwalk of considerable workmanship, adding Crested Myna, many Tree Sparrows and 6 White-cheeked Starlings to our morning tally. Reaching the boardwalk it was apparent we were out of luck as it was locked and closed. That we could see a reasonable gull flock and distant flying waders didn't help much but luck at least brought the gulls closer as some, presumably, reserve staff walking the shore put them up. As birds passed overhead it seemed we had two “flavours” on offer...paler grey wings with less black in them and darker birds with more black present...and that's all I'll venture!

A flock of 5 calling Redshanks and 1 Little-ringed Plover were the only other highlights barring a distant hovering Kestrel. We turned to retrace our steps and spooked a Red-flanked Bluetail which shot into cover and never returned. Another Daurian Redstart and then some more buntings did the “rare bunting call” thing...and then posed for pictures...and very elegant they were too...in fact Yellow-throated (or Elegant) Bunting is what they were..several males indeed...sweet!

Another R-f Bluetail nearly posed for his picture but then remembered it was me he was posing for and shot off before I could get my act together...one day...!

Back at the car we drove to the reserve centre and paid our fees and quickly established that our credentials weren't sufficient to drive the 2km to the boardwalk complex at it's end. Good! We'd walk anyway! A few more Blackbirds, a Daurian Redstart, a couple of Pallas's Buntings and a small flock of Vinous-throated Parrotbills kept us amused as we enjoyed the warmth of the sun.

Then Jocko came up trumps as he recognised a call from the reeds fringing the water channel to our left and quickly showed me my lifer Reed Parrotbills...3 of them at least bouncing their way along the reeds investigating them for a meal as they went. Scope now with me in Shanghai, I put it into action and enjoyed stellar views of this huge-billed endemic. Of course as soon as thoughts of camera-action started they grew all shy and melted away but leaving a very satisfying memory.

On we strolled and our attention was drawn to an eruption of waterfowl that filled the air at the path's end and to our left. Those close enough seemed to be Eastern Spot-billed Duck in the main and we hurried on to the boardwalk to see what we could see.

The boardwalk here was also an impressive structure with at least 3 separate buildings included in it's structure. Tree Sparrows were much in evidence in the reedy rafters and alba wagtails flitted along ahead of us. The view over the reed beds was impressive and we settled down to see what was about...ducks and lots of 'em (not too big a surprise having just seen them in the air but...) A good selection of the familiar and the more exotic (to my newly arrived eyes at least)...Mallard, Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon, Common Teal, a cracking male Garganey and a few Pochard were mixed with the Eastern Spot-billed Ducks. Little Grebe were much in evidence too...moving along in packs. A few herons, mostly Little Egret but also 2 Intermediate Egret were also about.

We were not alone as two photographers said hello and clicked at the flying ducks with motor drives whizzing. Also some rather loud youngsters...it seems being out in otherwise quiet natural surroundings had freaked them out as they engaged in a shouting competition or that's what we judged all the racket to be at least! Didn't seem to bother the waterfowl who remained where they were bathed in glorious light. Grey Herons and Great Cormorants sporting smart breeding attire were off at a couple of hundred metres and we could see white shapes in amongst them...white shapes with spoon-shaped bills..! With black faces!! Our new photographer friend pointed to both species on the interpretive display boards and grinned...which was nice. Sadly...spoonbills don't often do much and this lot were indeed content to sit there being distant and obscured so not wholly appreciated on the aesthetic side of things by me...a further visit or several over the coming months to view them again is certainly in order...as is this site in general so a bit of a no-brainer!

A short chat with the ladies in the shop was unfruitful...the building had a second storey which would've allowed much better views of the birds but despite my purchasing a much needed bottle of cola we weren't getting upstairs today!

We decided to retrace our steps and bid our colleagues good day. We got half way back when I glanced behind to see the sky full again...with waders in evidence this time...a quick review and it was a split roughly 50:50 between Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit with the cause of all the trouble drifting slowly into view and picked up by Jocko...two raptors! A Peregrine was dive-bombing a larger bird...long-tailed and an instant puzzle for me...let's say my experience with Asian raptors is somewhat limited and when Jocko declared this bird to be the one species I'd missed the opportunity to grill in Spain several years previously I was not much the wiser! Bonelli's Eagle was the verdict but, again this day...and a bit of an unwelcome feature of the whole day, the combatants drifted off south before I could do anything to secure any sort of good views or record shots...frustrating!

We decided to give the place another half an hour and returned to our original location. Nothing much ensued and with the call of afternoon commitments ringing in our ears we turned and headed back to the car. An uneventful return journey saw Jocko drop me on the outer ring road to the south of the city and a quick taxi ride with much mirth as I mimed a seemingly rude explanation of wanting to get underground to the driver saw me back home for an afternoon of admin stuff once again.

So, 3 lifers: Reed Parrotbill, Black-faced Spoonbill and Bonelli's Eagle of which the parrotbills performed well, the spoonbills left me wanting more and the eagle wanting a rematch! It only goes on the list after Jocko talks me though it by email this evening!
 

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Gretchen

Well-known member
Seems an excellent day! (Don't quite know how you manage to focus on other things in the second half!) I'm quite fond of those elegant buntings too.

Little Grebe were much in evidence too...moving along in packs.

An impressive "pack" - not seen that yet myself. I've never seen more than a few at a site, and not largely together like ducks, so your pic was quite instructional.
 

Frogfish

Well-known member
I remember one day last year my wife and I went to the Chongming Island Dong Tan wetland bird watch conservation area. We arrived pretty late, around 09.00 if memory serves, and failed to see a single crane, egret or duck from any of their excellent walkways and lookouts. Later on returning to the entrance we asked why that was, only to be told that we needed to be there around 06.00 - 06.30 to see them as they commuted daily to and from the coast. Fine we said we'll do that next week, what time do you open ? 08.00 came the reply :-C :storm:
 

McMadd

You should see the other bloke...
Cheers Gretchen, cheers Dev - sorry you weren't with us...then there might have been pics to look at! Kevin, that's a cautionary tale if ever there was!!
 

McMadd

You should see the other bloke...
BBC...Blackbirds, Bulbuls and Century Park... Tuesday 3rd April

No birding at the weekend owing to my only having Saturday free. Sunday and Monday were office days while today, Tuesday, and tomorrow are days off. All this by way of combining the needs of the financial quarter end at work with the observance of the Ching Ming festival (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qingming_Festival)

Didn't have any big plans today and woke up feeling a little under the weather so decided on a recce trip to Century Park...not ideal timing to arrive around 1300 and I didn't have high hopes. I didn't disappoint myself at least! The park was busy and there were few quiet corners. Still a few interesting sights made for an enjoyable couple of hours.

Birds seen were mainly old friends: Blackbirds – males duelling throuhout the park; Chinese Bulbuls equally visible and vociferous; 2 Moorhen suffering the attentions of camera-toting locals; a couple of singing Pallas's Warbler put on a great show for me. A gang of Azure-winged Magpie scolded a cat. Tree Sparrows were common throughout the park. Spotted Doves favoured the quieter areas.

The only surprise was a dash of blue and red or was it turquoise and orange that zapped by me...a Kingfisher zooming through with no intentions of stopping for anyone...but not quite quick enough to avoid me adding him to my Shanghai list...

Not sure what tomorrow will bring...Nanhui again (Jocko having had a posse of Great Knot down there a few days ago) or somewhere new...

Plans are being made for hit 'n' runs over the coming weeks...more as they develop...
 

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McMadd

You should see the other bloke...
Here's one of them there waders...
 

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McMadd

You should see the other bloke...
You're kidding right? I'm not sure that would get through the rarities panel ;)

I hope you got stonking views and were so absorbed you forgot to take a shot!

I got stonking views over 3 of 4 days (Monday was yer actual pea-souper :0) but being a good lickle boy I kept me distance and didn't spook nuffin'...so much for mystery eh?!

McM
 

McMadd

You should see the other bloke...
Monday 26th March.
Another R-f Bluetail nearly posed for his picture but then remembered it was me he was posing for and shot off before I could get my act together...one day...!

Not sure what the form is on quoting oneself but...one day... B :)
 

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McMadd

You should see the other bloke...
Well, having just read your FB page, you did exceptionally well hey! A positive treasure chest of rare waders :t:

Cheers...it was quite a morning ;D If we'd turned round for the OP that was found as we were en route back to SHA...well..."one day" ;D
 

rockfowl

Mark Andrews
Cheers...it was quite a morning ;D If we'd turned round for the OP that was found as we were en route back to SHA...well..."one day" ;D

You have to save something, you are there for a while yet ;) and besides...there's still time.. says he hoping for a late showing in Beidaihe :-O
 
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