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China Birds (Nick Sismey) 2006 List (1 Viewer)


Nick Sismey
ChinaBirds 2006 List

Hi, I live in Derby, which is in Central England about 150 miles north of London. My goal in 2006 (as it was in ’04 & ’05 although I failed) is to see a bird a day, with 200 of them being seen in the UK, thanks to a number of trips I will make to China with work.

I am pleased to say I have now broken both targets for the first time with my final 2006 list standing at 410 (205 UK, 196 China, 2 Hong Kong, 1 Germany Note: Some UK birds first seen in China hence numbers don't add up to total) as of 29Dec06. My life list currently sits at 680.

I am already targeting 210 in 2007 in the UK and 375 overall.

I also hold an annual bird competition with my mate Daz each year to see who can see the most birds in the UK each year, which always sparks some good clean rivalry. Those birds annotated with an asterix means it is a lifer.

1 January 2006

My first venture out in 2006 was at dawn on New Year's day at the superb Attenborough Nature reserve, near Nottingham. This is basically old and new gravel pits with a wide variety of habitats including specially built reed beds, marsh land, large open areas of water, woodland, specially made scrapes and wastland all alongside the river Trent. Here I managed to pick up 57 birds during the morning.

2.Black Headed Gull-------Attenborough------------England
4.Canada Goose----------Attenborough------------England
5.Egyptian Goose---------Attenborough------------England
10.House Sparrow--------Attenborough------------England
13.Tufted Duck-----------Attenborough------------England
16.Great Crested Grebe---Attenborough------------England
18.Carrion Crow----------Attenborough-------------England
22.Little Grebe-----------Attenborough-------------England
25.Blue Tit---------------Attenborough-------------England
27.Mute Swan-----------Attenborough--------------England
28.Long Tailed Tit--------Attenborough-------------England
30.Great Tit-------------Attenborough-------------England
33.Reed Bunting----------Attenborough-------------England
35.Herring Gull-----------Attenborough-------------England
36.Grey Heron------------Attenborough------------England
39.Tree Sparrow---------Attenborough-------------England
40.Common Gull----------Attenborough-------------England
41.Ruddy Duck-----------Attenborough-------------England
43.Pied Wagtail-----------Attenborough-------------England
46.Song Thrush-----------Attenborough-------------England
49.Short Eared Owl-------Attenborough--------------England
53.Collard Dove------------Attenborough------------England
54.Mistle Thrush-----------Attenborough------------England
57.Willow Tit--------------Attenborough-------------England

On the way home I made a quick stop at some more disused gravel pits at Long Eaton without leaving the car...

58.Wigeon-----------------Long Eaton-------------England

And then stopped for a few minutes at some new workings at Aston-on-Trent, which unfortunately as they are still being worked you can only watch from the side of the A50....


Finally during the sprint home for lunch a flock of Golden Plover flew up from a field.

60.Golden Plover-----------Elvaston----------------England

No sooner had I arrived home and another was added to the list!


At the end of the day my wonderful and long suffering wife Sue (who walks the other way when I mention birds - as do my son and daughter) agreed that I could make the quick dash to Ogston reservoir near Chesterfield where there is a large gull roost. There were the normal common gulls there together with some less common ones. And thanks to some 50 other expert birders also being there I picked up a lifer

62.Lesser Black Backed Gull--Ogston----------------England
63.Great Black Backed Gull---Ogston----------------England
64.Glaucous Gull-------------Ogston----------------England
65.Caspian Gull*-------------Ogston----------------England
66.Iceland Gull-------------- Ogston----------------England

Finally the last bird of the day was at Alfreton on the roof of some buildings

67.Feral Pigeon---------------Alfreton--------------England

7 January 2006

The next venture out was the following Saturday for the last couple of hours of daylight. I wanted to bag a Water Rail so it was off to Attenborough again. After an hour of hunting I had been unsussesful so decided to join a couple of other birders who walked passed on the way to try and see the bittern coming into roost. No sooner had we set off a Merlin came straight through the trees in front of us. At the bird hide I had all but given up any hope of a bittern when a flock of noisy crows dashed across the top of the reed bed and a bittern dropped out of the flock into the reeds. A couple of minutes later and a second bird did the same thing. We think the crows thought the bittern was a raptor so were chasing it!


8 January 2006

The next day was another dawn raid, but this time north of Derby to Carsington reservor where there had been reports of both Red and Black Necked Grebes. I didn't actually know where either were specifically so they took a little while to find. A regular birder to Carsington was kind enough to spot the Red Necked Grebe for me near the dam, I had clearly missed it several times with my scanning. Then I slowly made my way up to the other end of the reservoir to the final hide and there were the two splendid Black Necked Grebes complete with piercing red eyes! I was also pleased to add three other birds to my 2006 list.

70.Red Necked Grebe------------Carsington----------England
72.Great Spotted Woodpecker---Carsington----------England
73.Black Necked Grebe----------Carsington-----------England

From Carsington it was the short trip to Cromford, parking in the Arkwright Mill car park next to the Church to try and spot a lifer, a Hawfinch. I had tried to see it on 1 Jan, after my quick trip to Ogston reservoir but it was too dark so I dipped. This time however I soon saw it atop a tree, what a truly splendid sight! I also picked up two other birds for the year!

75.Coal Tit----------------------Cromford-------------England

14 January 2006

The following Saturday the family visited the in-laws in Bourne, Lincolnshire which gave me the chance to make a very brief visit to Baston and Langtoft gravel pits, close to Bourne, where there is "always" some Red Crested Pochards; but not this time! Three more birds were added to the year list though on the way there!

78.Red Legged Partridge--------------Baston Fen---------England
79.Barn Owl-------------------------Baston Fen----------England
80.Green Woodpecker----------------Baston Fen----------England

15 January 2006

Sunday morning I decided to try out a new venue for me, Hoveringham gravel pits between Nottingham and Newark as the Bird Guide was reporting a Great Northern Diver. I made a quick stop at Holme Pierrepont rowing facility and added one bird to the year list.

81.Greylag Goose--------------------Holme Pierrepont------England

At Hoveringham it was a very similar situation to the Red Necked Grebe at Carsington, I was failing to pick it up; it was a case of not knowing exactly where to look. Again, as often is the case in the UK, it was not long before a local birder turned up and within seconds he found the diver, what a bird! I also picked up a couple more birds for the year.

83.Great Northern Diver--------------Hoveringham----------England

21 January 2006

Another week down and again it was a quick end of the day raid on Saturday to try and pick up the Great Grey Shrike at Walton-on-Trent, just the other side of Burton-upon-Trent. I dipped, particularly as I later found out I was totally in the wrong place! I did pick up a my first Buzzard of the year though!


22 January 2006

Sunday meant another early start, Eyebrook reservoir in Leicestershire my goal. While I arrived there at 0730 as dawn broke it was so foggy I couldn't see more than 20 metres so it was a matter of just sitting it out. This gave me a chance to explore the hedgerows and fields where I picked up two or three birds before, at 1030 the fog lifted and, there were excellent views of two drake Smews!


While watching the Smew a local birder showed me exactly where the Great Grey Shrike at Walton-on-Trent was so I decided to finish off the morning there. Some 40 odd miles later I found the place but no bird..again! I did pick up another for the year list though!

90.Meadow Pipit----------------------Walton-on-Trent-----England

27 January 2006

On Friday 27 Jan my birding pal Daz and I went on one of our dawn until dusk raids to the East coast to see if we could break our 96 birds in a day record, set around the same time last year. I'm sure we would if we did it later in the year but we both seem to get tied up with work etc as the year unfolds, we must try and get out in May this year. Anyway our rules are that both of us have to see the bird, sound is not good enough for the bird to be counted. We missed out on a lifer at Sandringham as there were no Golden Pheasants to be found, but we did pick up our first bird of the day as dawn was breaking at 0717; so it was then onto South Heacham, which notched up my 100th bird of the year, and then took the number through to 101. I love the coast this time of the year as there is just you and the birds except for the occasional weather worn walker.

91.Turnstone-------------------------South Heacham------England
92.Bar Tailed Godwit------------------South Heacham------England
93.Oystercatcher---------------------South Heacham------England
94.Curlew----------------------------South Heacham------England
95.Grey Plover------------------------South Heacham------England
96.Sanderling-------------------------South Heacham------England
97.Pink Footed Goose-----------------South Heacham------England
98.Brent Goose-----------------------South Heacham------England
99.Ringed Plover----------------------South Heacham------England
100.Common Scoter------------------South Heacham-------England
101.Knot-----------------------------South Heacham-------England

We then drove the pot holed coast track to North Heacham hoping for Purple Sandpiper but we dipped, just one more bird to add to the year list!

102.Linnet----------------------------North Heacham-------England

We were up to 42 birds for the day when we left North Heacham at 0921 and made our way to the cliffs at Hunstanton for the Fulmars, the Red Breasted Merganser was a bonus.

104.Red Breasted Merganser-----------Hunstanton----------England

Parked on the side of the road just as you exit Holme Next The Sea our count hit 50 for the day by 1026, the year count up to 106.

105.Marsh Harrier---------------------Holme Next The Sea----England
106.Stockdove------------------------Holme Next The Sea---England

There was no Lapland Bunting at Choseley but hundreds of Corn Buntings!

107.Hen Harrier-----------------------Choseley-------------England
108.Corn Bunting----------------------Choseley-------------England

The first lifer of the day came at Titchwell with the Black Brant

109.Black Brant*-----------------------Titchwell-------------England
112.Little Egret-----------------------Titchwell-------------England
113.Black Tailed Godwit----------------Titchwell------------England
114.Spotted Redshank-----------------Titchwell------------England
116.Mediterranean Gull-----------------Titchwell------------England

We ended the day at Holkham watching the spectacular site of thousands of Pink Footed Geese coming into roost, finishing the day on 90 birds with a Woodcock at 1705! No Shore Lark however!

117.Snow Bunting----------------------Holkham------------England

30 January 2006

Having spent 3 and a half hours without any luck on Sunday morning looking for the Great Grey Shrike I nipped out at lunch time the next day and immediately saw it, being back at my desk within the hour!

119.Great Grey Shrike---------------Walton-on-Trent----England

3 February 2006

On Friday I made another lunch time raid to Nottingham to try and find the Waxwings that had been showing on the Nottinghamshire website all week (I had only noticed it on Thursday night). There were already a couple of birders there, one had been there an hour without any luck. The one chap had to get back to work betting we would see one within 5 minutes of him leaving. He would have won his bet as one arrived within 2 minutes!! It was then time for me to get back to lunch!


5 February 2006

121. Barnacle Goose----------------Attenborough-------England

11 February 2006

A 0630 start on a very cold morning and at 0730 I arrived at Rutland Water (the first car in the car park - other folk must be less crazy) - which once was the largest reservoir in Europe built in the 70's and famous for the annual Bird Fair each August - for another early morning bird watch. I picked up nearly 60 birds but only added one new one for the year, missing the White Fronted Geese by minutes!

122. Water Rail--------------------Rutland Water--------England

Arriving back at lunch time I didn't check Bird Guides until the middle of the afternoon where it was reported that the Long Tailed Duck had been seen at Branston Water Park near Burton-upon-Trent again. I had dipped it the previous Monday so nipped out and was successful in a matter of seconds thanks to some other helpful birders!

123. Long Tailed Duck--------------Branston Water Park---England

On the way home I decided to call at Willington where there are some cooling towers still left from a long ago dismantled power station where a peregrine is often reported. The day was getting better as again I was successful although it did take a few more minutes to find and typically was on the furthest cooling tower away from the road! The telescope was definately needed here!

124. Peregrine---------------------Willington--------------England

18 February 2006

First ever trip to Derwent Dale in north Derbyshire today hoping to see Goshawk. Unfortunately dipped on this wonderful bird but being there at dawn on an icy morning without another soul in sight was great. Did pick four new birds for the year though!

125. Red Grouse-------------------Derwent Dale-----------England
126. Stonechat--------------------Derwent Dale-----------England
127. Jay--------------------------Derwent Dale-----------England
128. Dipper-----------------------Derwent Dale------------England

19 February 2006

A quick trip to Attenborough today added one more to the 2006 list

129. Red Crested Pochard----------Attenborough----------England

Tomorrow I leave for a three week trip to China so hopefully my year list will pick up somewhat

21 February 2006

First bird in China was a White Wagtail as we taxied to the gate at Guangzhou airport

130. White Wagtail ---------------Guangzhou ------------China

22 February 2006

At first light out of my hotel in Haikou, on Hainan Island, the first bird of the day were Swallows catching flies above the Palm trees along the beach

131. Swallow---------------------Haikou-----------------China

After breakfast a quick walk around the gardens added three more to the year list

132.Japanese White Eye----------Haikou-----------------China
133.Chinese Bulbul---------------Haikou-----------------China
134.Magpie Robin----------------Haikou-----------------China

Walking back from my morning meetings another was bagged at the airport

135.Silky Starling----------------Haikou-----------------China

After the afternoon’s meetings the customer took us to the local mangrove swamp where we chartered a boat and landed on a small island picking up the following. Although the Kingfishers are great the Greater Coucal was my favourite bird: -

136.Black Shouldered Kite-------Haikou------------------China
137.White Throated Kingfisher---Haikou------------------China
138.Long Tailed Shrike----------Haikou------------------China
139.House Swift----------------Haikou------------------China
140.Crested Myna--------------Haikou------------------China
141.Spotted Dove--------------Haikou------------------China
142.Greater Coucal-------------Haikou------------------China
143.Common Sandpiper---------Haikou------------------China
144.Black Capped Kingfisher----Haikou------------------China
145.Chinese Pond Heron--------Haikou------------------China
146.Fork Tailed Sunbird---------Haikou-----------------China
147.Great Egret----------------Haikou------------------China
148.Little Ringed Plover---------Haikou------------------China
149.Kentish Plover-------------Haikou-------------------China

Back at the hotel we walked across an area of wasteland with derelict buildings and sandy scrub making our way to a small stream where there were farmers with their Water Buffalo ploughing their fields and flocks of farm ducks were roaming free (note: We kept well away from these birds, just in case). We finally came across a golf course and then made our way back along the beach to the hotel with the following adding to the list. During this walk I picked two lifers, the first a flock of Scaly Breasted Munia stripping the seed pods off some tall grass stems and later a couple of Barred Buttonquails (which I didn't confirm until 25Mar06 thanks to Hainan from Birdforum) which we flushed out of some grass near a river. There was also a small brown warbler but I couldn’t identify it.

150.Blue Rock Thrush----------Haikou--------------------China
151.Scaly Breasted Munia*----Haikou---------------------China
152.Plain Prynia---------------Haikou---------------------China
153.Green Sandpiper----------Haikou---------------------China
154.Barred Buttonquail*-------Haikou---------------------China
155.Brown Shrike-------------Haikou---------------------China

23 February 2006

Next stop Guangzhou where I visited a park with a large lake near the China Hotel, this evening, where Black Crowned Night Heron and White Breasted Waterhen are guaranteed; was surprised to see the Red Billed Blue Magpie in the centre of Guangzhou though!

156.Red Whiskered Bulbul---------Guangzhou---------------China
157.Black Crowned Night Heron---Guangzhou---------------China
158.White Breasted Waterhen-----Guangzhou---------------China
159.Red Billed Blue Magpie--------Guangzhou----------------China
160.Common Tailorbird------------Guangzhou-----------------China

24 February 2006

A quick walk out at lunch time today over some rough ground at Guangzhou airport bagged my 160th bird of the year

161.Sooty Headed Bulbul---------Guangzhou----------------China

25 February 2006

Four of us including a local lady birder, Lool, left Guangzhou at 0800 hours heading for a three nature reserves near Gong Pin Reservoir close to the city of Shanwei, in Guandong Province, which was around 400km to the East of Guangzhou. Our first stop was after two hours at a service station at Nuhu, which overlooked arable and paddy fields and shrub, where we picked up the first 21 birds for the day, and four new ones for the year including a lifer, the Oriental Skylark

162.Masked Laughing Thrush------Nuhu---------------China
163.Oriental Skylark*-------------Nuhu----------------China
164.White Cheeked Starling-------Nuhu----------------China
165.Wood Sandpiper--------------Nuhu----------------China

An hour later we joined another group who were responsible for maintaining the three nature reserves where one more bird was added to the list, sitting on overhead cables in the small town of Hou Men situated on the coast, where we stopped for lunch.

166.Black Collared Starling--------Hou Men-----------China

After lunch we went down a tortuous single track road to a series of mud flats on the coast adding another to the year list

167.Black Faced Spoonbill--------Dong Wo Cun------China

The afternoon was spent in the first nature reserve, which consisted of fresh water Oyster / Shrimp beds and paddy fields, where two further lifers were added. A flock of Falcated Duck were out in the middle of one of the large lakes, which we had walked round to a special vantage point to see the Dalmation Pelicans.

Deeper into the reserve, in search of the Purple Swamphens, we came across a well know spot for them. It didn’t look like they were going to show after about 30 minutes of waiting and then suddenly one flew up out of the reeds and straight back down again; it may have been a fleeting glimpse but what a wonderful bird, the best of the day.

A good day in all with 50 birds spotted, 15 added to the year list and four lifers! I was also told that I was the first Westerner to visit this nature reserve, as the infrastructure was not in place to enable it to open to the general public.

168.Red Rumped Swallow------Dong Guan Lian An Wei---------China
169.Yellow Bellied Prynia-------Dong Guan Lian An Wei---------China
170.Greenshank---------------Dong Guan Lian An Wei---------China
171.Olive Backed Pipit---------Dong Guan Lian An Wei---------China
172.Dalmation Pelican---------Dong Guan Lian An Wei---------China
173.Caspian Tern-------------Dong Guan Lian An Wei---------China
174.Falcated Duck*----------Dong Guan Lian An Wei---------China
175.Purple Swamphen*-------Dong Guan Lian An Wei---------China
176.Black Faced Bunting-----Dong Guan Lian An Wei---------China

26 February 2006

We woke up at dawn this morning in the Huang Qiang He Men Administration Station of Gong Ping Dahu Provincial Natural Reserve of Guandong Province, which is basically a scientific nature lodge (?) where scientist stay who are logging all of the wildlife in this area of Guandong Province. It was very basic, with gecko on the walls keeping you company at night, but it was a roof over your head and ideal to be able to walk straight out and start birding in the middle of an unspoilt Chinese nature reserve the next day!

As there were no curtains you were woken by a tropical dawn chorus looking out over a large reservoir, which was still as a mill pond with flocks of egrets flying out to feed. The actual terrain was best described as being very similar to a very wide glen in Scotland.

From the roof of the building the first major year bird of the day was the Pied Kingfisher, well four to be precise, although we did spot 21 species before we left the lodge.

177.Pied Kingfisher----------------Gong Pin----------China

Walking towards the reservoir two further birds were logged.

178.Oriental Turtle Dove-----------Gong Pin---------China
179.Orange Flanked Bush Robin-----Gong Pin---------China

Then we were taken out on a boat, where we stopped in the middle of the reservoir to observe two Ospreys circling above us.

180.Osprey-----------------------Gong Pin----------China

Eventually we arrived at an Island where there were at least 20 Black Eared Kites effortlessly gliding over the tree tops, and a Yellow Browed Warbler tracking up and down the same trees

181.Black Eared Kite---------------Gong Pin----------China
182.Yellow Browed Warbler---------Gong Pin----------China

After lunch we went to the third nature reserve, another set of Oyster / Shrimp ponds, where three more year list birds were added to the list, and again a total of 50 birds were recorded for the day.

183.Spot Billed Duck---------------Dahu---------------China
185.Little Bunting-----------------Dahu---------------China

1 March 2006

Having gone two days in Chengdu without spotting a new bird due to work commitments and the weather a further one was added today as I left the Holiday Inn Lido in Beijing, where there were around 20 Azure Wing Magpies hanging around the hotel entrance.

186.Azure Winged Magpie---------Beijing--------------China

3 March 2006

First full day in Nanjing and during lunch time a walk around the airport picked up a White Rumped Munia typically tracking back and forth with nest material.

187.White Rumped Munia---------Nanjing--------------China

4 March 2006

Thanks to Birdforum I met up with Shrike Zhang today, a local Nanjing University student and keen birder who kindly agreed to take me around the local bird haunts. We first made our way across the vast Chang Jiang (Yangtze) River and onto the Lau Shan Mountain where we walked up a concrete road to a temple amongst an unspoilt mixed woodland where I added 12 to my year list and a lifer, a Yellow Browed Bunting.

188.Collared Finchbill-------------------Lau Shan-----------China
189.Yellow Billed Grosbeak--------------Lau Shan-----------China
190.Grey Capped Greenfinch------------Lau Shan-----------China
191.Venous Throated Parrotbill----------Lau Shan-----------China
192.Speckled Piculet-------------------Lau Shan-----------China
193.Black Throated Tit-----------------Lau Shan-----------China
194.Grey Headed Lapwing--------------Lau Shan-----------China
195.Dusky Thrush----------------------Lau Shan-----------China
196.Yellow Browed Bunting-------------Lau Shan-----------China
197.Hwamei---------------------------Lau Shan-----------China
198.Russet Sparrow-------------------Lau Shan-----------China
199.Yellow Throated Bunting-----------Lau Shan-----------China

After a make shift lunch amongst the tea plantations further down the mountain we made our way to Qui Li River which runs parallel to the Yangtze River, where I notched up my 200th bird of the year with a Daurian Redstart finishing the day with a total of 58 birds and sunburn!

200.Daurian Redstart-------------------Qui Li River----------China
201.Hoopoe---------------------------Qui Li River----------China

5 March 2006

Sunday was a slightly earlier start as we made our way to Purple Mountain, a park on the edge of Nanjing. It was good to get there early as later the place was absolutely heaving with people. Shrike Jiang and I initialled walked between the enormous Nanjing city wall and a small lake where I picked up 5 birds for the year including a lifer, the Scaly Thrush

202.Pallas's Leaf Warbler--------------Purple Mountain--------China
203.Scaly Thrush*--------------------Purple Mountain--------China
204.Grey Backed Thrush--------------Purple Mountain--------China
205.Grey Capped Pygmy Woodpecker--Purple Mountain--------China
206.Grey Headed Woodpecker---------Purple Mountain--------China

We then made our way into the Botanical gardens picking up a further four birds, two of which were also lifers, an Asian Barred Owlet calling from the top of a tree and several Greater Necklaced Laughingthrushes busying themselves in the undergrowth.

207.Yellow Bellied Tit-------------------Purple Mountain--------China
208.Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush*-Purple Mountain--------China
209.Asian Barred Owlet*---------------Purple Mountain--------China
210.Grey Wagtail----------------------Purple Mountain--------China

A big thanks to Shrike Jiang for a great weekend of birding, I have promised to return in the spring to hopefully see many more birds!

11 March 2006

No new birds in either Wuhan or Shanghai but a 12 hour delay flying home out of Guangzhou gave me a chance to visit the Yue Xiu Park where I had been shown previously where both Blue Throated and Great Barbets had nested. Within seconds of arriving at one of the trees in question I heard a Blue Throated Barbet calling and after a quick scan of the tree tops there it was. What a weird and wonderful call they make. No sign of the Great Barbet unfortunately.

211.Blue Throated Barbet------------Yue Xiu Park----------China

The delay really came up trumps when I picked up a lifer later on during the morning sitting in a tree on the side of the Expressway to the airport, a beautiful Brahminy Kite.

212.Brahminy Kite*-------------------Guangzhou-------------China

18 March 2006

Back in the UK for a week now my first venture out since leaving China was to a freezing Attenborough Nature Reserve today which added a Scaup to my year list


19 March 2006

Returning from a trip to Heathrow today along the M40 I saw my first of 13 Red Kites along the side of the motorway

214.Red Kite---------------Beaconsfield-------------------England

25 March 2006

A quick afternoon trip to Eyebrook Reservoir bagged a lifer with the Green Winged Teal being very obliging. Two minutes earlier I saw my first UK Osprey of the year and later a second fishing at Rutland Water. They certainly made up for the fact that I didn't see any in the UK in 2005!

215.Green Winged Teal--------Eyebrook Reservoir--------England

31 March 2006

First full day back in China and during lunch at a golf course near Chengdu I picked up one new bird for the year

216.White Browed Laughingthrush------------Chengdu----------------China

1 April 2006

Today I joined the first Chengdu Bird Society Bird Race organised by my very good friend Zaxixio and based at the Bai Tahu Reservoir around an hour from Chengdu. It was quite a large event with 13 teams including one made up of two American couples, who were teaching in the area. My team of four included a German who lived in Chengdu, Yan Shen one of my reps, and a local lady birder together with a judge who was there to confirm our sightings. We all met up in the University campus at 0800 and then bussed to Bei Hu Lake on the outskirts of Chengdu where the local dignitaries opened the event with many speeches together with a school girl dance. Being the only Englishmen in the event I was in demand to give a number of interviews.

From here we drove to Bai Tahu Reservoir with a police escort, however it was another 2 hours before we set off on the 24 hour race as there was lunch to be had, rules to be read out and further interviews!

Finally at 1430 hours the race was on. After all of the paraphernalia it was a rather disappointing afternoon with only 26 birds spotted, however I did pick up one lifer, a flock of Long Tailed Minivets.

217.Long Tailed Minivet*---------------------Bai Tahu-------------China
218.White Capped Water Redstart------------Bai Tahu-------------China
219.Black Redstart--------------------------Bai Tahu-------------China
220.Streak Breasted Scimitar Babbler--------Bai Tahu-------------China

2 April 2006

It was an 0430 hour wake up call this morning to ensure we made it from Chengdu back to Bai Tahu Reservoir to resume the bird race at dawn. The first hour revealed very little despite driving around the reservoir in a 4 x 4 searching for pheasants. The majority of the birds we saw came from one area of mixed woodland where I picked up no less than five lifers!

221.Spot Breasted Scimitar Babbler*--------Bai Tahu-------------China
222.Chinese Bamboo Partridge*-------------Bai Tahu-------------China
223.Rufous Capped Babbler-----------------Bai Tahu-------------China
224.Grey Cheeked Fulvetta-----------------Bai Tahu-------------China
225.Green Backed Tit*---------------------Bai Tahu-------------China
226.Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher*--------Bai Tahu-------------China
227.Tickell's Leaf Warbler*-----------------Bai Tahu-------------China

By 1130 it was time to leave the reservoir (although we started at 1430 we had to finish at 1200 hours for some reason) however we were flagged down by another team who were watching a pair of splendid Mrs Gould’s Sunbirds; another lifer and by far the best bird of the weekend! From there it was back to the main base for lunch and the award ceremony. We scored a total of 40 birds, the winning team surpassing 50. All in all it was a very well organised event but the quantity of birds was far less than I expected!

228. Mrs Gould’s Sunbird*---------------------Bai Tahu-------------China

8 April 2006

Unable to spare time for birding while in Shanghai and Beijing during the week it was great to get out again this morning while in Guangzhou. I had arranged to meet local birder Lool at Zhong Shan University at 8 am. Initially the birding was slow and while we heard a Plaintive Cuckoo on numerous occasions we never did see which was a shame as it would have been a lifer! It wasn’t actually until 1030 before I added anything to my year list.

229. Blyth’s Leaf Warbler---------------Zhong Shan----------------China
230. Fire Breasted Flowerpecker--------Zhong Shan----------------China

Then from 11:10 am through to 11:22 am we had a crazy 12 minutes where I picked up three lifers within 50 metres of each other. There wasn’t time to record the Blue and White Flycatcher before the shout went up for the splendid Orange Headed Thrush, which took my life list to 600! The Spangled Drongo’s were only spotted after a throw away line from another birder in the area who had just photographed them high in the trees.

231. Blue and White Flycatcher*-------Zhong Shan-----------------China
232. Orange Headed Thrush*----------Zhong Shan-----------------China
233. Spangled Drongo*----------------Zhong Shan-----------------China

Next stop was Long Dong Mountain Reserve on the outskirts of Guangzhou where I had wished I had taken my mosquito lotion and a long sleeved shirt! That was not the only inconvenience as later in the afternoon as we climbed up one of the jungle paths we had to wait until a rather large snake had finished with it!

As soon as we arrived we heard the Large Hawk Cuckoo calling, a bird I had missed last year despite hearing it all day. I was therefore very please to eventually see the bird as it took time out from skulking in the tree canopy, particularly as it was another lifer. We also picked up three more birds for the year out of a total of 33 for the day.

234. Large Hawk Cuckoo*--------------Long Dong-----------------China
235. Chestnut Bulbul-------------------Long Dong-----------------China
236. Scarlet Minivet--------------------Long Dong----------------China
237. Mountain Bulbul-------------------Long Dong----------------China

9 April 2006

At 7 am I met up with Lool again to visit Baiyun Mountain in Guangzhou. Birds again were scarce except for the usual common species. It wasn’t until 10:50 am that we spotted a Tristram’s Bunting, which made up for all the climbing, as it was a lifer!

238. Tristram’s Bunting*-------------- Baiyun Mountain -----------China

After lunch we moved to Yue Xiu Park near the China Hotel where we first of all heard a Blue Throated Barbet and after a short time saw a Great Barbet flying to a branch close to it’s nest hole high in a tree; another lifer!

239. Great Barbet*-------------------Yue Xiu Park----------------China

11 April 2006

Arriving in Guilin I paid a quick visit to a small woodland area next to the Lijiang River where there were a couple of flycatchers, the splendid Mugimaki Flycatcher being a lifer.

240. Red Throated Flycatcher------------Guilin-----------------China
241. Mugimaki Flycatcher*---------------Guilin-----------------China

13 April 2006

A “Business” cruise down the Lijiang River revealed one of the most famous landscapes in China, the Limestone hills / mountains, covered in vegetation and cloud. During the cruise five more birds were added to the year list, including a lifer, Collared Crows, which were dive bombing Black Eared Kite. My favourite however was the Blue Whistling Thrush, which I hadn’t seen for a couple of years.

242. Sand Martin------------------------Lijiang River--------------China
243. Collared Crow*---------------------Lijiang River--------------China
244. Plumbeous Water Redstart----------Lijiang River--------------China
245. Blue Whistling Thrush---------------Lijiang River--------------China
246. Asian House Martin-----------------Lijiang River--------------China

17 April 2006

Back in the UK an early morning bike ride, about a mile from my home, along the River Derwent in Derby added seven more birds to my 2006 UK list and three new ones for the year. I had already seen Swallows, Sand Martins, Grey Wagtails and Green Sandpipers in China however the Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and Blackcap were new. I also wanted to see how long it would take to see 40 birds, which were the number of types of birds we saw in the 24 hour bird race at the Bai Tahu Reservoir near Chengdu in China. To my amazement the 40th bird of the morning was spotted in 44 minutes! We are so lucky to have such a variety of birds in the UK!

247. Willow Warbler-----------------Derby--------------England
248. Whitethroat-------------------Derby--------------England
249. Blackcap----------------------Derby--------------England

18 April 2006

Another early morning rise to make a visit to Bardon Hill, the highest point in Leicestershire at 912 feet, which lies between Coalville and the M1, around 20 miles from my home. This is a large working quarry with gorse bushes and conifer plantations. My aim was for a very elusive lifer a Ring Ouzel, which had been reported recently in relative high numbers (5) on spring passage. Not knowing the area I had to rely on the excellent info provided by the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society website. As I wondered above the shear sides of the quarry, thankful for the robust fence with the strong gusts of wind coming across the open expanse my first new birds of the day for 2006 were a welcome pair of Ravens, my 250th bird of the year.

It was another 30 minutes before I settled in a sheltered area on the southern side of the quarry, which provided an excellent view of the whole landscape. Scanning an area of coarse grassland about 200 meters away, with the telescope, where I had seen some movement two Ring Ouzels were feeding being joined by two others! My first ever sighting of a Ring Ouzel and here I was with four in my ‘scope at once, birding heaven!

250. Raven------------------------Bardon Hill--------------England
251. Ring Ouzel*-------------------Bardon Hill--------------England

From there it was onto Attenborough Nature Reserve near Nottingham for another elusive bird the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, which I had never seen in the UK! Again the bird had been seen regularly recently although I had been trying two years to see it there! When I arrived another birder advised that he had seen all three UK species of Woodpecker there that morning so it sounded promising!

Waiting in the favoured area, where there are several dead trees, two or three Great Spotted Woodpeckers kept me company for 20 minutes or so until suddenly two tiny Lessor Spotted Woodpeckers arrived, danced up a dead tree and left just as quickly! What a day already and it was only 09:25 am!

252. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker--------Attenborough--------------England

After that anything was a bonus, so four Common Terns, a first for UK White Wagtail (but not first for the year) plus a Wheatear kept me smiling!

253. Common Tern---------------------Attenborough--------------England
254. Wheatear-------------------------Attenborough--------------England

Finally a quick trip to some more gravel pits at Long Eaton before lunch in search of the first Yellow Wagtails of the year failed to come up trumps but a Common Sandpiper took my UK 2006 list up to 147.

20 April 2006

During a game of golf at Rutland Water Golf Course a Yellow Wagtail showed it's face.

255. Yellow Wagtail---------------Rutland Water-----------England

Later in the day it was a quick and muddy bike ride into Bourne (Lincolnshire) Wood where you can always guarantee a Grasshopper Warbler and sure enough as soon as I arrived in the right area there were three birds calling. One almost immediately flew off but a second stayed close by climbing a long grass stem just in front of me.

256. Grasshopper Warbler---------Bourne------------------England

22 April 2006

A trip back to Lincolnshire to see the family initially resulted in the first House Martin of the year flying over the village of Edenham……….

257. House Martin------------------Edenham----------------England

…….and then by far the best bird of the day, a wonderful Tawny Owl sitting just 20 feet away on a wall in Hanthorpe.

258. Tawny Owl--------------------Hanthorpe---------------England

23 April 2006

A dawn raid on Attenborough Nature Reserve picked up the first UK Little Ringed Plover of the year as well as the first Sedge Warbler and Cuckoo for the year.

259. Sedge Warbler---------------Attenborough-------------England
260. Cuckoo----------------------Attenborough-------------England

29 April 2006

While I was disappointed to dip on the Lesser Scaup at Swithland Reservoir I did pick up the first Garden Warbler of the year at Groby Pool

261. Garden Warbler--------------Groby Pool-------------England

01 May 2006

What a wet start to May, it was absolutely pouring down when I walked to Hambleton Wood next to Rutland Water early this morning. Luckily it wasn't affecting the Nightingales because as soon as I arrived there were at least three calling and one right in front of me!

262. Nightingale----------------Rutland Water------------England

Then it was onto Eyebrook Reservoir to try and see the Garganey but no luck, however there were plenty of Arctic Terns and Swifts.

263. Arctic Tern----------------Eyebrook Reservoir--------England
264. Swift----------------------Eyebrook Reservoir--------England

Returning to Rutland Water the weather improved but the birding didn't with no further new birds for the year. Therefore on the way home for lunch I decided to make a quick dash to Swithland Reservoir again to see if I could see the Lesser Scaup at the second attempt. As luck would have it there was another birder there who knew exactly where it was and within minutes I had a new lifer in my scope!

265. Lesser Scaup*--------------Swithland Reservoir-------England

Finally nipped out for the last hour of light of the day, dipped on the Black Tern at Aston-on-Trent gravel pits but picked up a Reed Warbler at Ambaston gravel pits.

266. Reed Warbler---------------Ambaston-----------------England

Then drove slowly home in the twilighthoping to see a Little Owl but no luck as I got closer to home so gave up and started to speed up and would you know it one flew down from a telegraph post! A good end to the day!

267. Little Owl------------------Elvaston-------------------England

3 May 2006

A quick check on Birdguides indicated there was a Woodchat Shrike (which would be a lifer) at Trent Meadows Long Eaton so after dinner it was a dash along the A52. First of all it was spot the birders, of which there had clearly been many that day based on the flattened grass at the side of the single track road due to the number of cars that had been there earlier in the day. There were still plenty of birders leaving the site who kindly gave directions to the bird and more birders still at the site. As soon as I arrived a lady birder showed me the bird on her scope, so the whole trip took less than an hour which very much pleased my wife!

268. Woodchat Shrike*------------Long Eaton--------------England

7 May 2006

Fog greeted me this morning at 6am as I arrived at entrance to the Goyt Valley just north of Buxton in Derbyshire. Luckily the fog was only on the top of the moors. Once I dropped into the valley it cleared up, but it still didn't feel like May! The one bird I really wanted to pick up there was the Wood Warbler, however there was no sounds of a coin spinning on a hard surface anywhere! I did however pick up both Flycatchers, a Tree Pipit and finally a wonderful male Redstart. No Whinchat either!

269. Pied Flycatcher-----------------Goyt Valley----------England
270. Tree Pipit----------------------Goyt Valley----------England
271. Spotted Flycatcher-------------Goyt Valley----------England
272. Redstart-----------------------Goyt Valley----------England

Before making it home for lunch I also made a quick dash to Attenborough Nature Reserve to pick up my first Lesser Whitethroat I had seen in the UK!

273. Lesser Whitethroat-------------Attenborough--------England

12 May 2006

Earliest get up of the year for an almost dawn until dusk raid with my mate Daz. We met up at Rutland Water where we picked up 74 birds between 0556 and 1303 hours, with a Black Tern new for the year and Garganey new for the UK in 2006

274. Black Tern----------------Rutland Water--------------England

After a quick trip to Eyebrook we set off for Titchwell in Norfolk picking up a Turtle Dove along the A47 while crawling behind a tractor.

275. Turtle Dove---------------A47 (Near Wisbeach)--------England

Before turning into the Titchwell reserve we visited the drying barns at Choseley picking up another new bird for 2006, as well as some others that took our day total to 90.

276. Grey Partridge-------------Choseley-------------------England

At Titchwell the best bird of the day was the Purple Heron, although my mate missed it so we could note count it in our day list. I also picked up three more birds for the year and another UK one. We could not believe the weather though, it had been gorgeous all day, so much so we were pleased to get to the first hide to cool down, but then all of a sudden it changed, with the wind getting up and the temperature dropping by at least ten degrees. We were pleased to arrive at the second hide to warm up!

277. Purple Heron---------------Titchwell------------------England
278. Little Gull------------------Titchwell------------------England
279. Little Tern-----------------Titchwell------------------England
280. Sandwhich Tern-----------Titchwell------------------England

We finished the day on 110 birds, however we heard Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker, Bittern, Cetti's Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler and Goldcrest without seeing them so they were not counted.

19 May 2006

It was a very wet and windy Bempton Cliffs this morning but that did not stop me picking up the six birds always gauranteed there this time of year.

281. Gannet--------------Bempton Cliffs------------England
282. Kittiwake------------Bempton Cliffs------------England
283. Razorbill-------------Bempton Cliffs------------England
284. Guillemot------------Bempton Cliffs------------England
285. Puffin---------------Bempton Cliffs------------England
286. Shag---------------Bempton Cliffs------------England

Later in the morning I got absolutely soaked at the Fog Signal Station out on Flamborough Head, so much so I had to change in the car. It was all worth it though as 30 minutes later I spotted my first Great Skua from the car (I wasn't going to chance being out in the rain again!) at Thornwick Bay another part of Flamborough Head. That was my 183rd UK bird of the year equalling my best score in a year in the UK, with seven months to go, 200 could really be on this year in the UK!

287. Great Skua*--------Thornwick Bay------------England

29 May 2006

Battling inbetween the rain showers in the Goyt Valley this morning I set a new personal record of 184 UK birds in a year with the bird that sounds like a coin spinning on a hard surface, a Wood Warbler, which was extremley confiding flitting between some very open branches.

288. Wood Warbler------------Goyt Valley--------------England

31 May 2006

A full days birding today in Norfolk, although the first new bird for the year was a Hobby at 0553 hours flying alongside the car through the village of Northborough in Lincolnshire

289. Hobby-------------Northborough---------------England

First call in Norfolk was the Norfolk Wildlife Trust Reserve at Weeting Heath to try and pick up the elusive Stone Curlew that had me beaten in 2005. There was nothing showing in the Eastern hide except rabbits, with the vegetation much higher than last year due to the incessant rain in 2006. However moving to the Western hide, where the vegetation was much lower, I was over the moon to see a lifer walking around amongst the rabbits, followed up by a Wood Lark

290. Stone Curlew*------Weeting Heath--------------England
291. Wood Lark---------Weeting Heath--------------England

From there it was the short drive to the Lakenheath RSPB Reserve for the Golden Orioles. There were two birds singing but due to the wind it was vertually impossible to see them, with many a birder leaving disappointed.

Next it was onto Great Ryburgh and Swanton Novers raptor watchpoints, and while there had been reports earlier of Honey Buzzards I dipped at both places. The best memory from Great Ryburgh was two Hobbies chasing a Kestrel.

Then it was through the rain to Cley where the easiest birds of the day were four Ruddy Sheducks asleep on a bank. I hunted round for the Cetti's Warbler, with its explosive song, near the hides but the wind made it impossible to find the bird.

292. Ruddy Shelduck-----------Cley-------------------England

Next aim was to find a Montagu's Harrier, another lifer. No luck at the watchpoint north of North Creake but just a 30 minute wait at Beacon Hill near Burnham Market came up trumps with a fantastic male bird quartering the hedges. What a bird, it looked to me like a racing version of a Hen Harrier!

293. Montagu's Harrier*--------Beacon Hill-------------England

The weather started to improve at Titchwell with the sun coming out and the wind finally dropping. I spent an age watching the massive flock of Common Scoter but did not spot any of the three Velvet Scoter reported, or the Curlew Sandpiper and Whimbrel I needed for my 2006 list.

Before heading off to Wolferton triangle for Nightjar and Golden Pheasant I decided to check out the reed bed hide at Titchwell where I was very pleased that I did as I picked up another lifer a Cetti's Warbler skulking in the bushes near the hide!

294. Cetti's Warbler*-----------Titchwell---------------England

Final stop was Wolferton at around 2115 hours where after a few minutes I found some other birders confirming I was in the right place. It was only a few minutes fly swotting before we heard the first bird starting to chur and then ten minutes later one flew across and sat on the telegraph wires above us giving excellent views of a bird I had tried to see several times but failed. This was the icing on the cake to a long day, leaving me just nine birds away from my goal of seeing 200 birds in the UK this year with seven months to go!

295. Nightjar*-----------------Wolferton--------------England

02 June 2006

A quick trip to the pools at Alvecote near Tamworth bagged a Slavonian Grebe, the first I had seen since 1980. I thought I was going to dip as there was no sign of the bird near the Pretty Pigs pub, where two other birders were equally as disappointed. But decided to go to the other makeshift car park at the other end of the pool down a single track lane where I found another birder who put me straight onto the bird! There are so many helpful birders in the UK, which is part of the fun of birding.

296. Slavonian Grebe----------------Alvecote-------------England

03 June 2006

Travelling on the bus from the plane to the terminal in Frankfurt I picked up another bird quartering the airfield

297. Black Kite--------------Frankfurt----------------Germany

04 June 2006

The first day in Beijing was spent fighting jetlag so it was a trip to the woods around Heavenly Palace and then to farmland, villages and lakes close to the airport where I picked a couple of lifers as well as nearly standing on a metre long green snake! The Indian Cuckoo took a while to find as we followed its call to a tall tree, but it wasn't until it flew that we saw it. The Black Naped Orioles were tracking between the tree tops disappearing amongst the leaves and branches .

298. Indian Cuckoo*---------Beijing------------------China
299. Black Naped Oriole*-----Beijing------------------China

10 June 2006

What a day today turned out to be, adding 28 birds to my year list and no less than 23 lifers!

We had driven the four hours (140km) from Chengdu to Wolong, where the Giant Panda are found, on Friday night, ready for an early start Saturday morning. There we nine of us in the team, which included Zaxixio the President of the Chengdu Bird Watching Society, Mr Wei Qian, another member of the same Society and Dave Siems and avid birder from Tasmania who had seen over 4,000 birds to date!

After leaving the hotel, which was at just under 6,500 feet, at 0430 hours, we set off in the two vehicles to climb to just over 14,000 feet. Dawn broke an hour later giving spectacular views over the Sichuan Mountains. The first bird was new to 2006 but not a lifer, however the next one most certainly was, a superb Chinese Monal with it’s iridescent colours shimmering in the early morning light amongst the shrub land. Dave was over the moon, even more so when we saw a second bird a couple of minutes later, which I managed to photograph as it flew down from a large rock.

300. Elliot's Laughingthrush--------------Wolong----------------China
301. Chinese Monal*--------------------Wolong----------------China

We then made our way up above the tree line where I picked up five more lifers, the two Thrush’s and the bright red Rosefinch the most impressive

302. Upland Buzzard*-------------------Wolong----------------China
303. Rosy Pipit--------------------------Wolong----------------China
304. Buff Barred Warbler*---------------Wolong----------------China
305. Chestnut Thrush*------------------Wolong----------------China
306. Kessler's Thrush*------------------Wolong----------------China
307. Blandford's Rosefinch*-------------Wolong----------------China

We were now getting towards 14,000 feet and everyone was taking advantage of the oxygen cans we had brought along. The first high altitude birds we saw were a flock of Yellow Billed Chough, very similar to those in the UK except for the colour of their bill.

308. Yellow Billed Chough*--------------Wolong----------------China

Next we started to hear Tibetan Snowcock calling, the lead car seeing two right in front of it as it turned a hairpin, the rest of us taking another ten minutes before we saw three at the top of a ridge.

309. Tibetan Snowcock*----------------Wolong----------------China

Just before we reached the top of the pass I stopped the car as I could see a very large bird circling overhead, it was a bird I had always wanted to see, a barn door sized Lammergeier, I punched the air with joy! Within five minutes of spotting this magnificent bird three more lifers were added to the list, the pure blue Grandala, the pure white Snow Pigeon and second barn door of a bird a Himalayan Griffin!

310. Lammergeier*----------------------Wolong----------------China
311. Grandala*--------------------------Wolong----------------China
312. Snow Pigeon*----------------------Wolong----------------China
313. Himalayan Griffin*------------------Wolong----------------China

An hour after passing over the top of the pass, which was at 14,355 feet, we stopped in the next valley for a walk along the road just after the tree line began. Down a rock slide we spotted a White Throated Redstart on a dead tree and then below the bushes behind us some Streaked Rosefinches, both lifers!

314. White Throated Redstart*----------Wolong----------------China
315. Streaked Rosefinch*----------------Wolong----------------China

Then, just as we were moving down the road a flash of pink flew over our heads. Following it to a rock face I immediately cheered as I had spotted my first Wallcreeper, another bird I had always wanted to see. The Tit shown below immediately followed this up.

316. Wallcreeper*----------------------Wolong----------------China
317. Rufous Vented Tit-----------------Wolong----------------China

Although it was only 1030 hours it was time for an early lunch. Dave didn’t eat too much as he was struggling with the altitude and remained in the car. After lunch Zaxixio, Wei and I checked out the local woodland where I picked up two more lifers!

318. Chinese Leaf Warbler---------------Wolong----------------China
319. Large Billed Leaf Warbler*-----------Wolong----------------China
320. Beautiful Rosefinch*----------------Wolong----------------China

We then started to make our way back to the hotel to only stop within a couple of hundred yards to see a big black Steppe Eagle sweep overhead.

321. Steppe Eagle*---------------------Wolong----------------China

A rest stop added a further lifer

322. Golden Spectacled Warbler*---------Wolong----------------China

Another rest stop by a fast flowing stream and another bird for 2006

323. Yellow Bittern -----------------------Wolong----------------China

The final stop produced yet another lifer deep in the undergrowth besides the road.

324. Indian Blue Robin*--------------------Wolong----------------China

After arriving back at the hotel and before dinner three of us did a quick recce of the surrounding mountainside and village, with two more lifers being ticked off.

325. Grey Backed Shrike*------------------Wolong----------------China
326. Grey Bushchat*-----------------------Wolong----------------China

Before dinner we decided Dave needed to get back down to a sensible altitude as he was struggling even with the oxygen so one of the cars was despatched back to Chengdu with Dave.

After dinner three of us made a final check around the village and a flock of Fork Tailed Swifts produced my 23rd lifer of the day, followed by England beating Paraguay in their opening game in the World Cup and the news that Dave was much better now that he was back in Chengdu!

327. Fork Tailed Swift*-------------------Wolong----------------China

11 June 2006

A more sensible 0600 hour start on Sunday with a walk around the Wolong Hotel and up through the dense vegetation on the mountain immediately behind the hotel looking for Golden Pheasant. So steep was the climb I was out of breath within minutes due to the altitude and was pleased when we started to walk across rather than up, the calling of Great Hawk Cuckoos and Chinese Leaf Warblers ringing in our ears.

The first new bird of the day was White Collard Yuhina, two giving us just enough of a view to enable us to identify them. Thirty minutes later there was a flash of yellow in the undergrowth and a Golden Pheasant made its hasty retreat. A pair of Short Billed Minivet gate crashing our observation of some gorgeous Mrs Gould’s Sunbirds followed this. All three birds were lifers!

328. White Collared Yuhina*--------------Wolong----------------China
329. Golden Pheasant*-------------------Wolong----------------China
330. Short Billed Minivet*-----------------Wolong----------------China

29 June 2006

After only spending a week back in the UK I had to return to China for a five day trip to Nanjing. I was able to squeeze in a few hours birding this evening at the Lau Shan Mountain with BirdForum member and good friend Shrike Zhang.

The heavens opened as we set off from the centre of the city but the rain had stopped by the time we had arrived up on heavily forested mountain. First stop was at an Egret colony, odd half way up a mountain! There I picked up two new birds for the year together with a lifer, the nervous Ashy Drongo!

331. Chinese Sparrowhawk---------Lau Shan-------------China
332. Ashy Drongo*----------------Lau Shan-------------China
333. Cattle Egret------------------Lau Shan-------------China

Further up the mountain at a temple we were greeted by not one but a family of birds I had always wanted to see since I first opened the pages of “A Field Guide to the Birds of China”, the wonderfully long tailed Asian Paradise Flycatcher. Another lifer in the books

334. Asian Paradise Flycatcher*----Lau Shan-------------China

Our main reason for being in that area however was to try and see a Fairy Pitta. We soon heard one calling and just as it started raining again, spoiling the mosquitoe party, the male and female Fairy Pitta flew down onto the road just ahead of us. It may have been raining but the sun was certainly shining on us; lifer number three for the day!

335. Fairy Pitta*------------------Lau Shan-------------China

As the rain was getting harder with a thunder and lightning show keeping us on our toes, we decided to take shelter further up the hill in the Temple.

From there two lifers appeared simultaneously, the Tiger Shrike seeing off the Cuckoo Shrike as it came too close to its nest! A beautiful white headed Black Bulbul also took shelter in the tree opposite from the incessant rain!

336. Cuckoo Shrike*--------------Lau Shan-------------China
337. Tiger Shrike*----------------Lau Shan-------------China
338. Black Bulbul------------------Lau Shan-------------China

As the rain slowed somewhat we decided to chance it with umbrella’s to walk down the mountain. While most of the birds seemed to be doing the sensible thing by hiding from the rain three more lifers made themselves available to be ticked. I was particularly pleased with the Forest Wagtail as that was another curiosity I had always wanted to see.

339. Swinhoe's Minivet*------------Lau Shan-------------China
340. Yellow Rumped Flycatcher*----Lau Shan-------------China
341. Forest Wagtail*---------------Lau Shan-------------China

We decided the rain was no longer fun so left the mountain for the 30 minute drive to the Qui Li River which runs alongside the great Yangtze. The heavens finally decided to be kind to us and the rain ceased, with a nice breeze from the Yangtze keeping us cool. No more lifers however, eight was going to be the lot. We did pick two further birds up for the year though, the Lesser Coucal sitting in a tree on the edge of the Yangtze, the Jacana where Jacana’s can always be found in a Lotus pond!

342. Lesser Coucal---------------Qui Li River----------China
343. Pheasant Tailed Jacana------Qui Li River------------China

A big thanks to Shrike for setting up the trip at such short notice!

05 August 2006

Very little birding since 29June06 and no new birds, hopefully a family holiday to China and Hong Kong (bit like a busman's holiday!) will add to the list. When I get back I have booked a Shearwater and Skua cruise out of Bridlington (my first) and then return to China for three weeks early Sep where I hope to get to Beidahe at the end of the month.

While I wait I thought I would add some of my first photo attempts, I am waiting for a Sigma 50-500 zoom to arrive then hopefully I can practice some more!

Photo's attached are

White Browed Laughingthrush - Chengdu
Pied Wagtail - Brands Hatch
Vinous Throated Parrotbill - Chengdu
Grey Heron - Attenborough
Long Tailed Shrike - Shanghai


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Nick Sismey
06 August 2006

After not picking up a new bird for the year in over a month a very confiding Yellow Legged Gull sitting on a bouy near the Visitor Center at Attenborough Nature Reserve leaves just seven birds needed in the UK to make my first 200 in a year!

344. Yellow Legged Gull.................Attenborough.................England

I was also pleased with the photo of a young Dunnock

20 August 2006

Managed an early morning visit to Hong Kong Park on the island this morning, but even then it was so humid, water was dripping off me. Best bird of the morning was an Asian Paradise Flycatcher but three new ones for the year were as follows: -

345. Yellow Crested Cockatoo---------Park--------------Hong Kong
346. Rose Ringed Parakeet------------Park--------------Hong Kong
347. Jungle Crow----------------------Park--------------Hong Kong

25 August 2006

Joined fellow Birdforum member Ray (Menlip) today in Guangzhou to go birding in a mountain jungle area called Shatian. The weather was very changeable thanks to a typhoon warning near Hong Kong with several heavy rain showers and when the sun came out the humidity going off the scale. We were also joined by another birder Sarah who knew the area very well. The time of year and weather did not lend itself to good bird watching but I did pick up one new one for the year.

348. Red Billed Leiothrix------------Shatian-----------China

It was great meeting Ray and Sarah for the first time, I hope to be able to go birding with them again in the future.


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Nick Sismey
3 September 2006

Now today was one of those birding days I will never forget, it started with my first ever sea cruise out of Bridlington organised by the RSPB on the MVYorkshire Belle. While it had been a wet start to the day it wasn't cold and by the time we all lined up on the north key the sun was out and the sea relatively calm. Befriending Andrea and John in the car park they showed me the ropes and we were soon sailing out into the bay. Straight away I saw a lifer, an Arctic Skua skimming low over the water followed by a Manx Shearwater, which I hadn't seen for 27 years!

349. Arctic Skua*------------Bridlington----------England
350. Manx Shearwater------Bridlington----------England

After checking out a Red Throated Grebe we sailed further out with chum being thrown off the back of the boat attracting another lifer, and the best bird of the trip, a Pomarine Skua, which circled the boat long enough for me to snap up the photo's attached

351. Pomarine Skua*---------Bridlington---------England

While we were out in the bay we picked up Guillemot, Razorbill, Gannet, Shag, Cormorant, Kittiwake, Greater and Lesser Black Backs and Herring Gull plus Common Tern and Scoter, but unfortunately no Sooty Shearwaters. Still I was more than happy when I got back to the harbour!

Next stop was Filey Brigg, where Andrea and John showed me where the Roseate Tern (another lifer) were (there were 29 reported) and we also picked up three Purple Sandpipers!

352. Roseate Tern*-----------Filey Brigg---------England
353. Purple Sandpiper---------Filey Brigg---------England

From there it was a quick stop at Blacktoft Sands where, on a beautiful late summers evening I picked up my final lifer of the day a Curlew Sandpiper which was joined by a Wood Sandpiper, which was my 200th UK bird of the year. This was the first time I had ever seen 200 birds in the UK in one year so was over the moon!

354. Curlew Sandpiper*--------Blacktoft Sands----England

My 201st UK bird was a Spotted Crake a little later from another hide. When I arrived at 1830 one guy said he had been there since 1330 and that the bird had not been seen since 0730. There had been a hide full of people all afternoon but no sign of the bird and so the numbers had now reduced to just three other birders. For him it was a lifer which had continually eluded him during many attempts. At 1835 the bird showed, he was ecstatic, and so was I as I had only had to wait for 5 minutes! That is just so typical of birding!

355. Spotted Crake-------------Blacktoft Sands----England


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Nick Sismey
10 September 2006

A week after recording 200 plus birds in the UK for the first time in a year I found myself on the coast just south of Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport in an area called Binhai, where I would reach my goal of 365 (or a bird a day) birds in a year for the first time. There was a man made sea wall that stretched for miles, and behind it a superb wetland, half covered in reeds, half mud and open water. It was an absolute haven for wading birds. Mike (Viator) from BirdForum had recommended it, but unfortunately he could not make it. It could have been a real headache as waders are not my forte but thanks to a new Sigma 50-500mm lens I had bought I was able to photograph a number of birds (not just waders) and Jane and Mike from BirdForum were able to identify them, which I greatly appreciated. Now that I know what the birds were I am able to update my year list.

Accompanied by three of the staff from our Shanghai office and Wilson Xue, who wasn’t a birder but liked to photograph wildlife and new the area, our first stop was just as the reeds finished where a small pool produced my first lifer of the day, and probably my best photo of the day.

356. Broad Billed Sandpiper*---------------------Binhai----------------China

Moving slowly along the pools and mud two more lifers, both forms of Stint fluttered around us. While they initially flew away as soon as you stopped moving they grew in confidence and settled down just feet away. This was birding paradise, even if at the time I did not know what I was looking at!

357. Red Necked Stint*---------------------Binhai----------------China
358. Long Toed Stint*---------------------Binhai----------------China

There was still more waders that I didn’t know, I just hoped the photo’s would be good enough for them to be identified; indeed they were with another lifer in the bag.

359. Sharp Tailed Stint*---------------------Binhai----------------China

The next bird I was able to identify myself as a Phalarope, a quick check in the Field Guide to the Birds of China confirming which one, yet another lifer. They were a bit like London buses, once I saw one there were over a hundred spinning around on the top of the water.

360. Red Necked Phalarope*---------------------Binhai----------------China

Next it was a large flock of noisy Terns, as we passed an outflow of water, identified by Jane and Dave as another lifer: -

361. White Winged Black Tern*---------------------Binhai----------------China

Now the waders were getting further away from us, but I was still able to get a good enough photo for the identification of the next bird.

362. Marsh Sandpiper---------------------Binhai----------------China

The next two birds I wasn’t able to photograph, but the first was quite easily recognised, the second a form of Quail, that kept blasting out of the cover on the bank, flew just like the Japanese form pictured in the book and I was convinced of same once corresponding with Dave.

363. Little Green Heron---------------------Binhai----------------China
364. Japanese Quail*-----------------------Binhai----------------China

The bird that took me to my goal of 365 birds in a year was an old friend that always seems to outwit me in the UK, the bird that took me passed was one that was normally always a certain at Titchwell, but alas no more!

365. Whimbrel------------------------------Binhai----------------China
366. Black Winged Stilt---------------------Binhai----------------China

The next bird, another lifer, was again confirmed by the ever informative BirdForum members, it wondering along way out across the mudflats so a photo was difficult.

367. Lesser Sand Plover*---------------------Binhai----------------China

Then the piste de la resistance, a bird very rare to this area of China, which took two photo’s to be identified. Characteristically for a Wheatear it fluttered and walked some 20 metres in front of us as we progressed along the bottom of the sea wall.

368. Isabelline Wheatear*---------------------Binhai----------------China

We completed the day by walking around an area of grass which was being grown to supply the local golf course. There were a large number of Wagtails, both Yellow and White together with a couple of unknown type of Snipe. The final bird for the day list was a Plover very similar to the Golden that we get in England in Summer plumage, it’s type being confirmed again thanks to the BirdForum experts.

369. Pacific Golden Plover*---------------------Binhai----------------China

Wow, ten lifers in a day, a big big thanks to Mike (Viator) for suggesting we visit this area near Shanghai, to Wilson Xue for directing us, and to Edward Li, Chen Bo and Robin Zheng for accompanying us without dying of boredom!! Also thanks to all from BirdForum who helped me identify the birds, without your help it would have been a bad day!


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Nick Sismey
Further photo's attached taken on 10 September 2006


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Nick Sismey
16 September 2006

The account of today’s birding I doing in my hotel room at the foot of Nan Ling National Forest Park, around 300km north of Guangzhou. It is very basic, yet clean but is only costing each of us £1.50 per night, and we all have our own rooms! The scenery is very reminiscent of Guilin with the rounded mountains covered in trees.

After a late morning start from the China Hotel in Guanzhou, five of us set off for a weekend birding in the north of Guangdong Province. Lool, the famous lady Guangzhou bird watcher, together with another birder Mr Lei Jin Yu, joined Hannah Lee (from our Guangzhou office), our driver and I for the 300km trek.
After around a four hour drive we arrived in the mountains where we stopped to check out what looked to be three black birds on some power lines. Once we had the bins on them we knew they were Dollarbirds, a great start to the weekend as it was a lifer!

370. Dollarbird*-----------------------Nan Ling-------------------China

As we tried to get closer to the Dollarbirds a flock of bee eaters circled over head. Close inspection identified my second lifer in almost as many minutes!

371. Blue Throated Bee Eater*--------Nan Ling-------------------China

We then made our way to our hotel in a village situated at the bottom of the mountainous Nan Ling National Forest Park, where we parked the car. Before dinner we went for a short walk picking up an Asian Brown Flycatcher flitting between the trees that lined both sides of the road, lifer number three.

372. Asian Brown Flycatcher*--------Nan Ling-------------------China

Dinner was outside on the edge of the main square of the village, the single street light our only source of illumination. While I couldn’t make out what I was eating it tasted good. An early night was then in the offing, although with the noise from the kids playing in the street outside…..and now the fireworks (!) I am not sure how early it will be before I fall asleep!


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Nick Sismey
17 September 2006

Thanks to a pillow filled with rice that was as hard as concrete, despite going to bed at 10pm and having 8 hours sleep when we awoke at 6am I felt worse than I did after a long haul flight. But that is the quaintness of a £1.50 hotel room!

We soon set off up the mountain, covered in trees of all kinds, and after about an hour of driving up a single track road we were stopped (and many of us woken up) by the sound of Minivets. Three Grey Throated Minivets were chattering away to each other. Not only was it a lifer but I was also able to get a reasonable photo of one of them.

373. Grey Throated Minivet*-------Nan Ling------------------------China

Walking still further up the mountain in glorious sunshine we then came across to large flocks of Striated Yuhina’s. Like the Minivet it was a lifer and again I was able to photograph them.

374. Striated Yuhina*-------Nan Ling------------------------------China

The next hour was quite uneventful as we tracked up and down and round the mountain, but then a Grey Treepie shot passed us. . We stopped to look for it when several others flew past, what a wonderful bird, another lifer.

375. Grey Treepie*-------------Nan Ling------------------------------China

Following this we parked up at a small gate house and walked along one of the fast flowing rivers. Lool was walking ahead of me and suddenly shouted Slaty Backed Forktail (well the Chinese version) quickly showing me the bird in the book. It would have been another lifer had I seen it but it flew off downstream. It would take a good 30 minutes of looking before I found it feeding on a moss covered stone in the river under a overhanging rock.

376. Slaty Backed Forktail*-------Nan Ling---------------------------China

It was just after lunch by now so we made our way back down to the village where we set off on another tour of the fields and river there. We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry during that particular walk as Hannah fell a couple of metres off a wall, which gave away under her, luckily caught by a large amount of soft vegetation, and Lool was charged by a cow as she was carrying an orange bag (see picture). However I did pick up another lifer just before these two “activities” a Hill Prinia working it’s way along a small river.

377. Hill Prinia*---------------Nan Ling------------------------------China

Now that early evening had set in we started to make our way back to Guangzhou, but not before stopping where we had seen the Dollarbirds and Blue Throated Bee Eaters the day before. Sure enough they were still there, as was a raptor, which we were not certain about. However, as usual, posting a photo on BirdForum came up with the answer, another lifer, from two Mikes. Thanks chaps

378. Crested Goshawk*-------Nan Ling------------------------------China

We arrived back in Guangzhou at 10pm where I literally dived head first into the bath! What a fantastic weekend, thanks to Lool and Lei Jin Yu's expertise, for Hannah organising it and our driver for doing all of the hard work!


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Nick Sismey
23 September 2006

Today’s birding really started with the four hour drive from Beijing with one of my reps Yan Shen together with birders Mr BM Li and Miss Tian Zhu (Ge Ge) to an extremely Chinese hotel on the suburbs of the coastal city Tianjin.

I was very pleased to leave that hotel at 0530 hours this morning, the sooner I had seen the back of it the better, I can still smell the musty odour now!

It took us around 20 minutes to get to the coast where there were enormous man made shell fish beds sharing the landscape with rigs pumping oil into the Chinese economy. The tide was just on the ebb and it was warm enough not to need a sweater. The first bird I saw, once dawn had passed, was a lifer, which flew straight over our car.

379. Black Tailed Gull*--------------------Tianjin------------------China

The 14th bird of the day that we ticked off was not a lifer but new for 2006, as it flew from one small bush to another

380. Dusky Warbler----------------------Tianjin-------------------China

The next very much was, preening itself in the middle of one of the empty shell fish beds, I had not even registered the bird before in my mind!

381. Heuglin’s Gull*----------------------Tianjin------------------China

The best bird of the day then revealed itself as we walked back along the levee of the large river, it’s shocking ruby throat standing out against the dull background, another lifer in the bag!

382. Siberian Rubythroat*---------------Tianjin-------------------China

Two more birds were added to the 2006 list before we arrived at a small group of buildings that I was amazed to find people living in. I don’t know why I am still amazed the time I have been travelling to China!

383. Gull Billed Tern--------------------Tianjin--------------------China
384. Meadow Bunting------------------Tianjin--------------------China

Over the next hour I slowly became more and more incensed at the total waste of life as we found miss net after miss net along purpose built corridors full of birds that were simply left to die, all because the locals wanted to catch Siberian Rubythroats for the market.

Ge Ge and B M Lee had come prepared with pocket knives to both release captured birds that were still alive and to destroy the nets. I soon became very much involved in both activities.

The first net had two large birds entangled, they turned out to be a lifer for me, but absolutely not the way I would want to see a bird for the first time. We initially didn’t even think they were alive, but luckily when we got to them they very much were, they had just given up! I must take my hat off to both Ge Ge and B M Lee to the care in which they took to release the birds despite their captives doing everything they could to prevent them from helping them; it was talon’s and beaks drawn at dawn (well a couple hours later!)

385. Oriental Scops Owl*------------------Tianjin------------------China

The next four birds I added to my 2006 list were all set free from the miss nets, but we counted over 120 birds that had died and left to rot. We made absolutely sure no parts of those nets could be used again. Photo’s of several of the birds released are attached.

386. Arctic Warbler-----------------------Tianjin------------------China
387. Radde's Warbler*--------------------Tianjin------------------China
388. Chestnut Flanked White Eye*--------Tianjin------------------China
389. Thick Billed Warbler*----------------Tianjin------------------China

Both the Brown Shrike and Thick Billed Warbler (the 40th bird of the day) were the worst for wear with the latter trailing one of its legs!


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Nick Sismey
23 September 2006 (Continued)

More photo's of the birds rescued


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Nick Sismey
23 September 2006 (Continued again)

More pictures of birds rescued and seen.

As we left the area a bird I had not seen for 23 years when I visited the Carmargue in France showed itself.

390. Wryneck------------------------Tianjin----------------------China

This was followed by a bird I had thought I had already seen in 2006, evidently not!

391. Black Drongo--------------------Tianjin----------------------China

We then headed in land to an extensive reed bed interspersed with stretches of water and dry land. We stopped near some more buildings amongst some trees where I guessed our purpose! Before we checked the miss nets we were able to view another superb lifer (my 100th for 2006) for me high up on a power cable looking like a washed out Hobby!

392. Amur Falcon*------------------Tianjin-----------------------China

Not only did we find miss nets, we also found birds that had been caged placed in trees near the miss nets to attract more of their species. Picking up another lifer really didn’t register as that important at the time as I helped to release all the live birds from both the nets and the cages. The worst sight was a small cage containing three frightened Chestnut Flanked White Eye’s with an equal number dead and left to rot in the bottom of the cage. Once all of the birds were released the equipment was left in such a state it could not be used again.

393. Common Rosefinch*------------Tianjin-----------------------China

We then headed off to a long straight concrete road that went straight through the reed beds on each size. We met up with a few more Chinese birders from Beijing here, equipped with their Swarovski scopes and binoculars. It was so hot at this point, the heat coming straight off the concrete into your face. It was worth it though as a lifer started calling in the reeds before showing itself while another bird I had only seen once previously, in France in 2005, showed up later in the walk

394. Black Browed Reed Warbler*----Tianjin-----------------------China
395. Bluethroat---------------------Tianjin-----------------------China

After lunch, which I was horrified to see was at the hotel we had stayed at the previous night but turned out ok, we set off to another area of open water. By now there was not a cloud in the sky, a simply beautiful day except for the dust and diesel smoke emitted by the thundering lorries. Making our way to where there was a large flock of gulls another lifer was added to my list, in fact there were a number of these birds mingled in with the Black Headed and Black Tailed Gulls.

396. Relict Gull*--------------------Tianjin-----------------------China

Our final push for the day, as the sun started to set was yet another large shell fish lagoon, which was simply brimming with waders, plovers, gulls and cormorants. But by far the largest numbers of birds were Grey Herons; there must have been several 100!

Walking a little way along the sea wall another Siberian bird caught our attention on the edge of the lagoon.

397. Siberian Blue Robin-------------Tianjin----------------------China

Then came along my penultimate lifer of the day, flitting amongst the vegetation.

398. Two Barred Warbler*----------Tianjin----------------------China

Finally, sitting to watch the sun set, we carefully scrutinised the waders and plovers Ge Ge providing the 75th bird of the day!

399. Temmink’s Stint---------------Tianjin----------------------China

It had been a wonderful day for birds but a bad one for mankind, I will never forget the awful sight of those helpless birds in those miss nets!


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Nick Sismey
24 September 2006

Slightly later start at 0600 hours from a much better hotel, although still only £7 a night! We covered much of the ground we visited the previous day’s afternoon but didn’t pick up anything new for the year.

Then setting off back to the main road we came across a flock of around 80 birds, which were new for 2006. These remain one of my favourite species since first seeing a Collard Pratincole in Greece many years ago. I was pleased it was such a bird that took me to 400 birds for the year!

400. Oriental Pratincole-------------------Tianjin---------------------China

There were no more birds to add to the list thereafter, however we saw several more Amur Falcons, two Purple Heron’s and nearly a thousand Avocet’s along the main river, a sight I will never forget! A big thanks to Ge Ge and BM Lee for a wonderful weekend (except for that first hotel!) and to Yan Shen for driving us everywhere along roads that really shouldn’t be used by cars! We recorded 84 birds over the two days, they are listed below in alphabetical order.

1. Amur Falcon 2. Arctic Warbler 3. Avocet 4. Bar Tailed Godwit 5. Black Browed Reed Warbler 6. Black Crowned Night Heron 7.Black Drongo 8. Black Headed Gull 9. Black Tailed Godwit 10. Black Tailed Gull 11. Black Winged Stilt 12. Bluethroat 13. Broad Billed Sandpiper 14. Brown Shrike 15. Caspian Tern 16. Chestnut Flanked White Eye 17. Chinese Bulbul 18. Common Rosefinch 19.Common Sandpiper 20. Cormorant 21. Curlew 22. Curlew Sandpiper 23. Dunlin 24. Dusky Warbler 25. Green Sandpiper 26. Greenshank 27. Grey Heron 28. Grey Plover 29. Gull Billed Tern 30. Hen Harrier 31. Heuglin's Gull 32. Hobby 33. Hoopoe 34. Japanese Quail 35. Kentish Plover 36. Kestrel 37. Lesser Sand Plover 38. Little Egret 39. Little Grebe 40. Little Owl 41. Little Ringed Plover 42. Little Tern 43. Magpie 44. Marsh Sandpiper 45. Meadow Bunting 46. Olive Backed Pipit 47. Orange Flanked Bush Robin 48. Oriental Pratincole 49. Oriental Scops Owl 50. Oriental Turtle Dove 51. Pacific Golden Plover 52. Pallas's Leaf Warbler 53. Purple Heron 54. Radde's Warbler 55. Red Necked Stint 56. Red Rumped Swallow 57. Red Throated Flycatcher 58. Redshank 59. Relict Gull 60. Sand Martin 61. Sanderling 62. Shelduck 63. Siberian Blue Robin 64. Siberian Rubythroat 65. Snipe 66. Sparrowhawk 67. Spotted Dove 68. Spotted Redshank 69. Stonechat 70. Swallow 71. Temminck's Stint 72. Thick Billed Warbler 73. Tree Sparrow 74. Tristram's Bunting 75. Two Barred Warbler 76. Whimbrel 77. White Cheeked Starling 78. White Wagtail 79. White Winged Black Tern 80. Wood Sandpiper 81. Wryneck 82. Yellow Browed Warbler 83. Yellow Throated Bunting 84. Yellow Wagtail


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Nick Sismey
25 November 2006

I had not been planning any more trips to China this year, but then a couple of weeks into November, after completing the annual 24 Scalextric race I run on a 233 foot eight lane replica of the Le Mans circuit, which Team USA won again with a new Word Record, my boss told me I had to go for another week or so.

Therefore on Wednesday 22 Nov 06 I flew to Hong Kong to pick up my Chinese Visa as it had lapsed and then on Friday evening headed to Chengdu in China.

Saturday morning I and one of my reps Albert Jiang met up with Zaxixio who is the President of the Chengdu Bird Society and his lovely wife.

We drove to what is known as Duck River at Guang Han, just over an hour outside Chengdu where we met up with many more members of the Chengdu Bird Society. The weather was overcast and cool.

To cross the river to where the main birds were we had to cross over a railway bridge, which was rather interesting, see photo.

The first new bird for 2006 was a flock of Ferruginous Pochards (Ducks), I had only seen single birds previously so this was a real treat!

401. Ferruginous Pochard---------------Guang Han-------------China

It was not until we had been walking for an hour that the next showed up camouflaged against the river bank.

402. Long Billed Plover-----------------Guang Han--------------China

That would be the last new bird of the year for the day, I will list all the birds we saw later.

However before the day was out Zaxixio said we had been invited to visit an organisation that was trying to introduce birds to the people of Guang Han. It was very interesting how they were going about it but when we arrived Zaxixio seemed to have celebrity status. They took us out to where there were birds but they seemed more interested in Zaxixio than the birds. We were followed round with two people with TV camera's and others with still camera's. It seemed more like a circus than a bird watch, you can see Zaxixio's reaction in the third picture below!

26 November 2006

The next day we went Dujiangyan, a famous irrigation site, developed a couple thousand years ago, which enabled farming to take place in area's of Sichuan Province that otherwise would not have been possible. Michael Zhang, another of my reps joined us this time together with a Taiwanese birder.

We spent the majority of our time up the mountains around Dujiangyan, although unfortunatley we could not drive as high as we had wanted due to some road works.

Again I will list all the birds we saw later but I did pick up five new birds for 2006 including a lifer the White Crowned Fortail darting from covered rock pool to covered rock pool. The weather was very wet to start the day but it gradually improved as the day wore on - more info to follow

403. Blue Fronted Redstart---------------Dujiangyan-----------China
404. Slaty Bunting-----------------------Dujiangyan-----------China
405. White Crowned Forktail*-------------Dujiangyan-----------China
406. Yellow Browed Tit------------------Dujiangyan-----------China
407. Chestnut Bellied Rock Thrush--------Dujiangyan-----------China


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Nick Sismey
29 December 2006

The final outing for 2006 took me first to to Welney in Cambridgeshire, where I was hoping for the two near certainties Welney is famous for, it’s two species of swans, made famous by Peter Scott. It again came up trumps with a large flock, holding both species, feeding in a grass field behind the fantastic new visitor centre. This increased both my overall and UK count for 2006 to 409 and 203 respectively.

408. Whooper Swan--------------------Welney--------------------England
409. Bewick Swan----------------------Welney---------------------England

From here it was onto Titchwell where, despite the weather, there was very little parking space. On the way to the sea I had one of the best views I have ever had of a Water Rail as it walked and swam along one of the small dykes. At the top of the beach I was rewarded with another first for the year, thanks to another kind birder who pointed out the bird to me amongst the Common Scoter. I would never have found it otherwise

410. Red Throated Diver-------------Titchwell------------------England

From there it was literally a two minute stop at Blakeney Quay where one of the current rarest birds in the UK at present, a Black Eared Kite, was showing well with some Marsh Harriers. If all birds were that easy to see I doubt birding would have quite the attraction! While it was a first for me in the UK I had already seen them many times in Hong Kong.

The final stop of the day was Stubb Mill to see the Common Cranes. After parking at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust I managed to walk down two wrong roads before realising where I should have been, losing nearly 30 minutes. Note for future reference, “read the instructions more carefully”. As luck would have it a local farmer gave me a lift down to the raised platform, which to my surprise I had to myself! Another birder did turn up a little later in his car, risking the wrath of others but there were no others so we had the place to ourselves. Unfortunately this included the cranes, as they did not show, so we had to be content with the 27 Marsh Harriers displaying in front of us, the most I had ever seen in one go! I did also get a lift back to the car park!

Overall it was a good day though with 66 species (see below) seen (not heard!), starting and finishing with an owl, a Tawny in the morning and a Barn in the evening. The Tawny was actually in the same tree in the evening as it was in the morning! Must remember that for the first week of 2007!

1.Barn Owl, 2.Bewick Swan, 3.Blackbird, 4.Black Eared Kite, 5.Black Headed Gull, 6.Black Tailed Godwit, 7.Blue Tit, 8.Brent Goose, 9.Canada Goose, 10.Carrion Crow, 11.Chaffinch, 12.Collard Dove, 13.Common Gull, 14.Common Scoter, 15.Coot, 16.Cormorant, 17.Curlew, 18.Feral Pigeon, 19.Fieldfare, 20.Great Crested Tit, 21.Great Tit, 22.Grey Heron, 23.Goldcrest, 24.Goldeneye, 25.Golden Plover, 26.Goldfinch, 27.Great Spotted Woodpecker, 28.Greenfinch, 29.Guillemot, 30.Herring Gull, 31.House Sparrow, 32.Jackdaw, 33.Kestrel, 34.Lapwing, 35.Lesser Black Backed Gull, 36.Little Egret, 37.Long Tailed Tit, 38.Magpie, 39.Mallard, 40.Meadow Pipit, 41.Marsh Harrier, 42.Mistle Thrush, 43.Moorehen, 44.Mute Swan, 45.Oystercatcher, 46.Pheasant, 47.Pied Wagtail, 48.Pink Footed Goose, 49.Redshank, 50.Red Throated Diver, 51.Ringed Plover, 52.Robin, 53.Rook, 54.Shelduck, 55.Shoveler, 56.Sparrowhawk, 57.Starling, 58.Stock Dove, 59.Tawny Owl, 60.Tree Sparrow, 61.Tufted Duck, 62.Turnstone, 63.Water Rail, 64.Whooper Swan, 65.Wigeon, 66.Woodpigeon.

I wish all Bird Forum Members a very Happy New Year. Thanks to those of you who have helped me identify so many new birds in 2006, I am sure I will be calling on your expertise again in 2007.

For me 2007 starts similar to 2006 with a trip to Attenborough, followed by other Trent Valley pits before moving onto Carsington Water and finally Ogston Reservoir’s gull roost, on 1 January, but this time with my mate Daz. That first day saw 67 birds kick off my 2006 list, I hope to beat that in 2007. Following this Daz and I intend to repeat my trip today, next Friday. Then the following weekend I am off to China for three weeks with work with one weekend booked at the famous Dongting lake, followed by the second in Sanya, on the southern tip of Hainan Island. What would we do without birds!
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