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China Birds (Nick Sismey) 2007 List (1 Viewer)


Nick Sismey
This is the second year I have recorded my year’s list on Bird Forum, my current total for the number of birds seen (not heard – I agree with Peter Kaestner on that) this year is 398 both in the UK and Worldwide as of 30December2007. This includes 200 in the UK (seeing over 100 birds in the first week of a year for the first time), 236 in China (some China birds I had already seen in the UK) and 17 in Hong Kong.

In 2007 my targets were again 200 in the UK and 365 Worldwide, the latter made possible due to a number of scheduled trips to China through work.

I am pleased to say I surpassed the 365 mark on 20September2007 in Hong Kong, and my UK200 on 30December2007 at Draycote Reservoir.


My current Life List is 740, China List 425 and UK List 235

New birds to my Life List are marked in bold.

1 January 2007

At 0658 hours my day started waiting at the bottom of my drive for my mate, David Salisbury, to pick me up for a New Years Day birding at Attenborough Nature Reserve (Notts), Carsington Reservoir (Derbys) and Ogston Reservoir (Derbys). Across the road were my first two birds of the year using the light from a street lamp to feed on a lawn; dawn was still an hour away!

1.Song Thrush----------------------------Derby-------------------England

Arriving at Attenborough I had to copy the two birds above, making use of a street lamp to see to write down the name of the next bird we saw.


The next ten birds I just had to guess what I was writing as it was still relatively dark! I could just about make them out when light finally arrived, with blue skies, but high winds.

4.Canada Goose------------------------Attenborough------------England
5.Mute Swan---------------------------Attenborough------------England
12.Grey Heron--------------------------Attenborough------------England
13.Great Crested Grebe-----------------Attenborough------------England

While we failed to see the Bittern opposite the Delta Hide (twice!) we did pick up a number of other birds in the area, the Willow Tit and Treecreeper being the best pick of the next bunch.

16.Black Headed Gull-------------------Attenborough-----------England
19.Tufted Duck------------------------Attenborough-----------England
20.Little Grebe-------------------------Attenborough-----------England
30.Blue Tit-----------------------------Attenborough-----------England
31.Great Tit----------------------------Attenborough-----------England
32.Willow Tit---------------------------Attenborough-----------England

We also dipped on Water Rail and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker but walking along the Trent, the Delta Wood and passed all other ponds down to the Erewash Field produced another 21 birds

34.Lesser Black Backed Gull--------------Attenborough-----------England
38.Collared Dove------------------------Attenborough-----------England
39.Long Tailed Tit-----------------------Attenborough-----------England
41.Greylag Goose-----------------------Attenborough-----------England
43.Common Gull-------------------------Attenborough-----------England
44.Pied Wagtail-------------------------Attenborough-----------England
45.Tree Sparrow------------------------Attenborough-----------England
46.Egyptian Goose----------------------Attenborough-----------England
48.Meadow Pipit------------------------Attenborough-----------England
49.House Sparrow----------------------Attenborough-----------England
50.Mistle Thrush------------------------Attenborough-----------England
51.Feral Pigeon-------------------------Attenborough-----------England

After refuelling, ourselves not the car, with self prepared doorstop sandwiches and coffee, which was as usual too sweet we moved onto the gravel pits at Long Eaton. Wigeon is always a certain there, and sure enough it was as if they were waiting for us! Sharp eyed David then spotted a Green Woodpecker’s roller coaster flight the other side of the main pit.

55.Wigeon------------------------------Long Eaton--------------England
56.Green Woodpecker-------------------Long Eaton--------------England

Making our way down to the end of the lane we met up with a birder we had seen earlier at Attenborough, whose telescope’s tripod legs we threatened to break as he smirked about the fact that he had had very good views of the Bittern minutes after we had left the Delta Hide! He did point out some Fieldfares to us as if to apologise……..we of course accepted!

57.Fieldfare----------------------------Long Eaton--------------England

Thirty minutes later we arrived at Carsington Reservoir Sheepwash car park where we picked up our next bird on top of a tree.


We then made our way down the Paul Stanley hide where we picked up two great birds in the trees above the hide.


In the hide we soon saw our third grebe species of the year

61.Black Necked Grebe-----------------Carsington--------------England

Then, thanks to some expert gull watchers in the hide we picked up one of the more specialist gulls on the island in the middle of the reservoir.

62.Yellow Legged Gull-----------------Carsington--------------England

Followed by two more common gulls and an introduced duck

63.Herring Gull------------------------Carsington--------------England
64.Ruddy Duck------------------------Carsington--------------England
65.Great Black Backed Gull-------------Carsington--------------England

Another birder we had been speaking to earlier then arrived to confirm that the Great Northern Diver was near the Yacht Club, so we made a quick dash spotting (no pun intended) the second woodpecker species of the day in the trees as we left the hide.

66.Great Spotted Woodpecker----------Carsington--------------England

Try as we might we could not see the diver, but then a couple of more experienced birders arrived and found it for us in a matter of minutes! Like all walks of life, however good you think you are at something there are always others who are better, it is rather humbling!

67.Great Northern Diver----------------Carsington--------------England

It was now just after 1500 hours with the light going fast, and rain on its way. However we decided to make the dash to Ogston Reservoir to see the gull roost. Luckily Matlock Bath and Matlock itself were not too busy and so we arrived at Ogston before the light disappeared altogether. Unfortunately the rain had started in earnest and so after five minutes we decided to pack up for the day.

By the end of the day I had recorded exactly the same number of birds as this time last year thanks to the help from so many great birders. David’s total for the day was 70 as he had also seen a Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk and Snipe!

4 January 2007

A late night trip from Derby to the village of Manthorpe, near Stamford in Lincolnshire, was rewarded with two owls.

68.Little Owl-------------------Wymondam-----------------------England
69.Barn Owl--------------------Manthorpe-----------------------England

5 January 2007

Today’s birding trip was a mirror of the last trip of 2006, exactly a week earlier, the aim to increase my year list to over 100 in the first week of the year for the first time.

First stop was Welney, in Cambridgeshire, for the swans and sure enough both species were out feeding in the fields

70.Whooper Swan--------------Welney--------------------------England
71.Bewick Swan----------------Welney--------------------------England

It wasn’t until driving past Heacham in north Norfolk that the next year birds appeared on arable farmland, the first a Norfolk specialty these days!

72.Grey Partridge---------------Heacham-----------------------England

Entering Hunstanton, the next birds were busily feeding on a playing field


A quick look on the beach and groins in Hunstanton, hoping for Purple Sandpiper provided eight more year birds, but no sandpipers!

78.Bar Tailed Godwit------------Hunstanton---------------------England
79.Ringed Plover----------------Hunstanton---------------------England
81.Brent Goose-----------------Hunstanton---------------------England

Then onto one of the most visited RSPB reserves in the UK, Titchwell, which as usual came up trumps with 19 more birds added to the year list, with a Ruff being the 100th bird of the year! The highlights included:-

• The shear number of Red Throated Divers on the sea together with a couple of Great Northern Divers, it was the first time I had both bird species in the scope at the same time!
• A Water Rail swimming across a small brook towards me.
• A Bearded Tit showing well for many birders to see.

84.Pink Footed Goose---------------Titchwell---------------------England
85.Little Egret----------------------Titchwell---------------------England
88.Golden Plover--------------------Titchwell---------------------England
90.Water Rail-----------------------Titchwell---------------------England
91.Black Tailed Godwit--------------Titchwell---------------------England
92.Common Scoter-----------------Titchwell---------------------England
93.Red Throated Diver--------------Titchwell---------------------England
95.Grey Plover----------------------Titchwell---------------------England
102.Bearded Tit---------------------Titchwell---------------------England

Then it was the hour and half drive to Stubb Lane near Hicklin to try again to see a lifer, the Common Cranes. The previous week there had only been one other birder and myself and no cranes. Today, just as I arrived at the raised platform, where there were twenty other birders, nine cranes flew across the horizon. A few minutes later four more flew on front of us.

What incredibly wonderful birds to finish a great trip to Norfolk, the numerous Marsh Harriers, and escaped Harris Hawk the last birds seen before the light disappeared.

103.Common Crane----------------Stubb Mill-------------------England
104.Marsh Harrier--------------------Stubb Mill------------------England

Later a quick trip out picked up the final bird of the day flying up into a tree near Manthorpe

105.Tawny Owl----------------------Manthorpe-----------------England

The final count for the day was 80 species, including 36 new birds for the year and one lifer.

Avocet, Bar Tailed Godwit, Bearded Tit, Bewick Swan, Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Black Tailed Godwit, Blue Tit, Brent Goose, Bullfinch, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Collard Dove, Common Crane, Common Gull, Common Scoter, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Eider, Egyptian Goose, Feral Pigeon, Fieldfare, Fulmar, Goldeneye, Golden Plover, Goldfinch, Great Northern Diver, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Grey Partridge, Grey Plover, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Kittiwake, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Linnet, Little Egret, Magpie, Marsh Harrier, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Moorehen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pink Footed Goose, Pintail, Pochard, Razorbill, Redshank, Red Throated Diver, Ringed Plover, Robin, Rook, Ruff, Sanderling, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Snipe, Starling, Stonechat, Tawny Owl, Teal, Tufted Duck, Turnstone, Water Rail, Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Woodpigeon.

6 January 2007

Before returning to Derby I had a slow drive from Manthorpe (Sounth Lincolnshire) to Baston and Langtoft gravel pits this morning. The first new year bird I picked up was a flock of Corn Bunting sharing a telegraph wire with a flock of Linnets halfway between Manthorpe and Wilsthorpe; the shear number of birds was very reminiscent of Choseley drying barns near Titchwell.

106. Corn Bunting---------------------Wilsthorpe------------------England

The other side of Wilsthorpe there was a large flock of Chaffinch with one of two Yellowhammer mixed in; year bird number two!


At Baston and Langtoft pits the first Reed Bunting of the year made itself known on the top of a hedge

108.Reed Bunting----------------------Langtoft----------------------England

I then received a call from fellow Bird Forum member Wrexile1 (Josh Jones) who was also birding the same area, his local patch. It was great to meet him again I had met him three or four years ago before I knew about Bird Forum. Together we picked up my next year bird on one of the lakes

109.Red Creasted Pochard-------------Langtoft-------------------England

After a too short visit to the pits I needed to make my way back to Derby but picked up another bird feeding on a fen field on the way home.

110.Red Legged Partridge-------------Baston---------------------England

Finally, later in the day when back in Derby another year bird shot across the car and into a garden


Total birds for the day was 48

Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Collard Dove, Coot, Cormorant, Corn Bunting, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Greylag, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Lapwing, Linnet, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Moorehen, Mute Swan, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, Red Legged Partridge, Reed Bunting, Robin, Rook, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock Dove, Teal, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Yellowhammer.

15 January 2007

Thanks to some traffic jams on the M40, on my way to Heathrow this morning, dawn broke just as I was travelling past the Stokenchurch junction, just north of London, where there were several red kites gliding over the motorway

112. Red Kite------------------M40 (Nr Stokenchurch)-------England

16 January 2007

Most unexpected place to spot next bird was in Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport terminal while catching up on my e-mails. A Chinese Bulbul started calling, and after much tracking down it was spotted high up in the roof! That is twice now that the Chinese Bulbul has been the first Asian bird of the year!

113. Chinese Bulbul------------Chek Lap Kok------------------Hong Kong

Arriving in a wet and cold Nanjing at around 1330 hours, the Airport Expressway was the first chance to look for birds, Crested Myna being in abundance on the leafless trees and power cables, together with White Wagtails marching around the toll booths as Joseph Yang, one of my reps, drove me to the Sheraton hotel; every now and then a Spotted Dove made a kamikaze dash across the road.

114. Crested Myna-------------Nanjing--------------------------China
115. White Wagtail-------------Nanjing--------------------------China
116. Spotted Dove-------------Nanjing--------------------------China

After a quick wash and brush up we were off to Purple Mountain near Nanjing by 1500 hours; both being wrapped up against the cold. A short cut delayed us due to some road works but after 30 mins we entered the park. Immediately a flock of Yellow Billed Grosbeaks, the king of finches, were busying them in a small tree,

117. Yellow Billed Grosbeak------Purple Mountain (Nanjing)------China

Parking near the Front Lake, which, like many parts of rural China is slowly being surrounded by buildings we walked where we could until we came across a large gate, picking up two new birds for the year on the same tree!

118. Orange Flanked Bush Robin--Purple Mountain (Nanjing)------China
119. Daurian Redstart------------Purple Mountain (Nanjing)------China

Arriving at another car park further up the mountain near the Rear Lake, two birds caught my eye, they were both Grey Treepies, only the second time I had seen the bird.

120. Grey Treepie----------------Purple Mountain (Nanjing)------China

The next six birds were all together on a couple of trees as we walked down one of the very noisy board walks; it was a mad five minutes!

121. Grey Headed Woodpecker----------Purple Mountain (Nanjing)------China
122. Red Billed Blue Magpie-------------Purple Mountain (Nanjing)------China
123. Grey Capped Pygmy Woodpecker--Purple Mountain (Nanjing)------China
124. Black Throated Tit----------------Purple Mountain (Nanjing)------China
125. Pallas Leaf Warbler---------------Purple Mountain (Nanjing)------China

Walking between the massive historic city wall and the Rear Lake there were very few birds of note, but just as we approached the car park again a flock of Vinous Throated Parrotbills made themselves know and minutes late the harsh cries of Masked Laughingthrush filled the air as they flew across the road, concluding the day.

126. Vinous Throated Parrotbill---------Purple Mountain (Nanjing)------China
127. Masked Laughingthrush-----------Purple Mountain (Nanjing)------China

Joseph and I then joined fellow Bird Forum member Shrike Zhang for a very welcome meal!

17 January 2007

Walking to the China Eastern Jiangsu Airlines canteen, at Nanjing airport, at lunch time, added two more birds to the year list

128. Long Tailed Shrike--------------------Nanjing-------------------China
129. White Cheeked Starling---------------Nanjing-------------------China

18 January 2007

Wondering around the garden of a restaurant near Chengdu airport a couple of White Browed Laughing Thrush darted between the bushes.

130. White Browed Laughing Thrush--------Chengdu------------------China

19 January 2007

A Plain Prinia zipped between two tall lumps of grass on some rough ground near Guangzhou airport today.

131. Plain Prinia------------------Guangzhou----------China

This evening flew from Guangzhou to Wuhan with Lool, one of the leading bird watchers in Guangzhou. At Wuhan met up with Joseph Yang, one of my reps and our taxi driver Mr Ming, who drove us the 300km to Yueyang, a “small” city of just under 1 million situated near the infamous Dongting Lake. In December birders from all over China “flock” here for the annual bird race, which I have so far missed due to work commitments and bird flu in 2005.

The word quaint could be used to describe the hotel, named the Country Hotel, at £5.50 per night, but only when you are reading this, actually staying here is anything but quaint, but there is a bed and running water so what more could you want. I am quite sure once we are out near the lake tomorrow all of this will be forgotten, until tomorrow night of course!

20 January 2007

After finally getting to sleep when the large Coca-Cola sign outside my fourth floor window was switched off and I got used to the air conditioning until wheezing and banging it seemed like no time at all when the alarm went off at 0545. One good thing about that time, being 8 hours ahead of the UK, it gives you a chance to ring back to the family.

It was pitch dark, cold and raining when we set off for a wood on an island near the edge of the lake. Thirty minutes later, as dawn broke, the rain stopped but it was still very misty

In the gloom the larger birds we easier to pick out, the beautiful Blue Whistling Thrush the first new one for the list, followed by a couple of more common birds.

132. Blue Whistling Thrush-----------Dongting Lake-------------------China
133. Azure Winged Magpie-----------Dongting Lake-------------------China
134. Collard Finchbill-----------------Dongting Lake-------------------China

The Black Faced Bunting was skulking in some undergrowth, the Hwamei’s that had been the main stay of the dawn chorus finally showing themselves.

135. Black Faced Bunting------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
136. Hwamei------------------------Dongting Lake-------------------China

Walking between some large trees, Dusky Thrushes and a large flock of Yellow Bellied Tits were busying themselves, the tits sounding like Nuthatches the way they were attacking the seed pods.

137. Dusky Thrush------------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
138. Yellow Bellied Tit---------------Dongting Lake-------------------China

All cultivatable ground was covered in tea plantations, here a male and female Tristram’s Bunting were spotted.

139. Tristrams Bunting--------------Dongting Lake-------------------China

Monkey’s lined the trees as we continued through the wood, the single Brambling being a new bird to Lool. Beyond their a flock of up to twenty Jays let everything else know we were about!

140. Brambling---------------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
141. Jay---------------------------Dongting Lake-------------------China

Making our way to the edge of the wood we walked down to the edge of the lake, being careful not to touch the water due to the worm that can infect you if you do! The only new bird was the Little Bunting.

142. Little Bunting------------------Dongting Lake-------------------China

Before we left the wood we went searching for Long Eared Owls that were know to roost in some of the bigger trees. There were no owls but a Peregine Falcon trying to take on two Buzzards was a nice plus; together with the Brown Shrike.

143. Peregrine Falcon---------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
144. Brown Shrike-------------------Dongting Lake-------------------China

We then made our way to a small restaurant after crossing mile after mile of marshland. The restaurant was just inside one of the enormous levees, built on a small hill (which would be come an island when the lake flooded) with a raised walkway from the levee. While waiting the hour for the food to be produced (they clearly had not heard of fast food) five more birds were added to the year list

145. Greenshank-------------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
146. Kingfisher---------------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
147. Water Pipit-------------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
148. Hoopoe-----------------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
149. Olive Backed Pipit-------------Dongting Lake-------------------China

Finally finishing lunch we drove along one the levees, which was covered in trees and bushes on the one side, with a Black Crowned Night Heronry where two levees came together; Grey Capped Greenfinch sharing the facility!

150. Grey Capped Greenfinch--------Dongting Lake-------------------China
151. Black Crowned Night Heron-----Dongting Lake-------------------China

Further along the levee we stopped for the last time picking up several new birds in the trees, mud and lake, the best by far being the Oriental Stork, which was a lifer. There were four of them mixed in with the Spoonbills.

152. Green Sandpiper---------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
153. Red Billed Starling--------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
154. Spoonbill----------------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
155. Oriental Stork--------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
156. Smew------------------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
157. Intermediate Egret------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
158. Oriental Skylark---------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
159. Oriental Turtle Dove-----------Dongting Lake-------------------China

Back at the hotel the owner insisted in bringing his teenage son, who spoke a little English, to my room to meet me. After a quick meal I fell asleep to the sound of singing somewhere in the hotel.

55 birds were seen in total, they are listed below:-

Azure Winged Magpie, Black Crowned Night Heron, Black Faced Bunting, Black Throated Tit, Blackbird, Blue Whistling Thrush, Brambling, Brown Shrike, Buzzard, Chinese Bulbul, Collard Finchbill, Coot, Cormorant, Crested Myna, Daurian Redstart, Dusky Thrush, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Grey Capped Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, Hoopoe, Hwamei, Intermediate Egret, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Little Bunting, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Long Tailed Shrike, Moorehen, Olive Backed Pipit, Orange Flanked Bush Robin, Oriental Skylark, Oriental Stork, Oriental Turtle Dove, Peregrine Falcon, Pheasant, Red Billed Starling, Redshank, Smew, Sparrowhawk, Spoonbill, Spotted Dove, Tristrams Bunting, Vinous Throated Parrotbill, Water Pipit, White Cheeked Starling, White Wagtail, Yellow Bellied Tit, Yellow Billed Grosbeak

21 January 2007

Not such an early start today, but like yesterday no breakfast except for a few biscuits and water that we had brought along ourselves. After a false start, which saw us return to the hotel as I had forgotten my camera and binoculars (!), we headed straight for the levee, passing several gangs of prisoners marching to work in the fields and rivers.

Once at the levee we walked down amongst some reed beds frightening three Spot Billed Ducks. Then came the tick, tick of a Dusky Warbler that nipped between clumps of reeds.

160. Spot Billed Duck---------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
161. Dusky Warbler-----------------Dongting Lake-------------------China

Probably the best bird of the weekend then came on the scene, 20 – 30 strong, the Chinese Penduline Tit, which was not only a lifer but according to the books not resident in that part of China. See photo attached, not brilliant but at least the bird can be identified.

162. Chinese Penduline Tit--------Dongting Lake-------------------China

We had to borrow some old pieces of wood (and I mean borrow, we had to return it!) to enable us to get across a small creak and onto the marshland where there were hundreds of duck and geese. The first flock of geese contained three species of goose, two of which I had not seem before, the Lesser and Bean

163. Lesser White Fronted Goose----Dongting Lake----------------China
164. Greater White Fronted Goose---Dongting Lake-------------------China
165. Bean Goose-----------------Dongting Lake-------------------China

Being the only one with waterproof boots I made my way across the marshland to the edge of the mud picking up the last two new birds of the day, the Swan Goose again being a lifer.

166. Kentish Plover-----------------Dongting Lake-------------------China
167. Swan Goose----------------Dongting Lake-------------------China

Lunch was then the order of the day before heading back to Wuhan for Lool to catch he flight. During lunch it cost just 1 Yuan for my muddy boots to be cleaned, but 10 Yuan swapped hands she did such a good job.

It was then the 300km drive home to Wuhan where, arriving on the outskirts of the city, we were surprised to see a flock of Rooks; the first time I had seen Rooks in China and a new bird to Lool.

54 birds were seen in total for the day, they are listed below:-

Avocet,,Azure Winged Magpie, Bean Goose, Bewick Swan, Blackbird, Black Crowned Night Heron, Black Headed Gull, Buzzard, Chinese Penduline Tit, Cormorant, Crested Myna, Curlew, Daurian Redstart, Dunlin, Dusky Warbler, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greater White Fronted Goose, Grey Capped Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Plover, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Hoopoe, Intermediate Egret, Kentish Plover, Lapwing, Lesser White Fronted Goose, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Long Tailed Shrike, Magpie, Mallard, Oriental Skylark, Oriental Stork, Pheasant, Pintail, Plain Prinia, Redshank, Rook, Shelduck, Shoveler, Smew, Snipe, Spoonbill, Spot Billed Duck, Spotted Dove, Swan Goose, Teal, White Cheeked Starling, White Wagtail, Wigeon, Yellow Billed Grosbeak.

The total number of birds seen over the weekend was 80. Thanks to Joseph Yang for coordinating the trip, to Lool for her expertise and Mr Ming for all of the driving!

23 January 2007

Having arrived at the Sheraton Hotel, situated on the beach, in Haikou, on Hainan Island, off the south coast of China, last night, I strolled around the gardens, along the beach to a small river before returning back to the hotel by road early this morning.

A flock of Japanese White Eye made themselves heard first as they flew between the tops of the palm trees, while Swallows made the most of the early morning flies. The Magpie Robin hopping around the lawn was my 92nd China bird of the trip, I couldn’t believe it had taken so long to see my first Magpie Robin, so common are they!

168. Japanese White Eye----------Haikou--------------------China
169. Swallow---------------------Haikou--------------------China
170. Magpie Robin----------------Haikou--------------------China

It wasn’t until I arrived at the small river that the next new bird of the year appeared a gorgeous White Throated Kingfisher, which was accompanied by my next bird the Chinese Pond Heron. The river was typically cluttered with garbage and behind yet more settlements were under construction.

171. White Throated Kingfisher---Haikou--------------------China
172. Chinese Pond Heron----------Haikou--------------------China

The next bird was a complete surprise, turning out to be a lifer, it looked for all purposes like a small white bellied Blackbird, but closer inspection as it skulked under the bushes showed that in fact it was a Japanese Thrush; nothing like a lifer before breakfast! There was a small brown warbler that I could not identify but on the way back to the hotel a Lesser Coucal flew across the path in front of me.

173. Japanese Thrush----------Haikou--------------------China
174. Lesser Coucal---------------Haikou--------------------China

After my meetings I managed another trek across the rough ground in front of the hotel heading inland, with one of my reps Huang Gang, it was an ideal birding area but would soon no doubt be developed.

Just as we entered some long grass a Japanese Quail left at a high rate of knots, we thought we had seen where it had landed but when we got there, there was no sign! However a Black Shouldered Kite soon took our attention as it hovered over some coniferous trees.

Before we left this area heading further inland over some huge sand dunes, to a small river and some farmers fields a lovely Blue Rock Thrush appeared on a small wall.

175. Japanese Quail-----------------Haikou-----------------China
176. Black Shouldered Kite----------Haikou-----------------China
177. Blue Rock Thrush---------------Haikou-----------------China

As we moved along the river and through the fields amongst the bemused farmers we could hear Black Collared Starlings calling, two appearing in a tree a couple of hundred yards away, my 100th bird in China for the year, not bad in a week. Then the fluidic sound of a Pied Kingfisher caught our attention as the bird flew down the river.

178. Black Collared Starling--------Haikou-----------------China
179. Pied Kingfisher----------------Haikou-----------------China

Both Common and Green Sandpiper were quite common, but the former was a first for the year, as was a Black Drongo hitching a ride on a water buffalo.

180. Common Sandpiper---------------Haikou-----------------China
181. Black Drongo-------------------Haikou-----------------China

Our final two birds before the long walk back were House Swifts busying themselves overhead and a Grey Wagtail mixing it with Pied Wagtails in one of the uncultivated fields.

182. House Swift--------------------Haikou-----------------China
183. Grey Wagtail-------------------Haikou-----------------China
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24 January 2007

Another quick walk through the hotel gardens, along the beach to the river picked up another lifer before breakfast, a female Olive Backed Sunbird mixing it with some Japanese White Eyes. The warbled phrases of the Japanese Thrush also came from high up in a group of trees but I couldn’t pick it out this time.

184. Olive Backed Sunbird--------------Haikou---------------------China

26 January 2007

Having driven the 300km from Haikou to Sanya on the 24th the next chance to do any birding was on Friday, before breakfast, picking up a Cattle Egret in some marshland with a Water Buffalo a few hundred metres from our hotel the Gloria Resort.

185. Cattle Egret-------------------------Sanya---------------------China

That evening while getting to terms with a Chinese tandem, two Common Myna settled on the hotel lawn, the first time I had seen them since 2004!

186. Common Myna----------------------Sanya----------------------China

27 January 2007

The tandem ride the previous evening discovered some great birding areas not far from the hotel with a Mangrove swamp and hillsides covered in eucalyptus trees. Therefore early the next morning I was soon amongst those Mangroves. The first new bird of the year was a splendid Black Capped Kingfisher (see photo – bit blurred)

187. Black Capped Kingfisher-------------Sanya----------------------China

This was quickly followed by a Long Toed Stint; sharing the same area of mud with a Kentish Plover

188. Long Toed Stint--------------------Sanya----------------------China

Then amongst the eucalyptus trees was an Asian Brown Flycatcher resting on a small branch

189. Asian Brown Flycatcher------------Sanya-----------------------China

My eye was then attracted to a large bird clambering through the branches, with that green bill revealing the unmistakable Green Billed Malkoha, with the meows of two Yellow Bellied Prinia keeping it company.

190. Green Billed Malkoha--------------Sanya-----------------------China
191. Yellow Bellied Prinia---------------Sanya-----------------------China

One of the most beautiful birds showed up next, flitting between trees, the Scarlet Backed Flowerpecker. While I just could not get a decent photo of it, an Olive Backed Sunbird was far more obliging (see photo). A Yellow browed Warbler also joined the party.

192. Scarlet Backed Flowerpecker-----Sanya-----------------------China
193. Yellow Browed Warbler-----------Sanya-------------------------China

Final birds of the morning were flying over the golf course opposite our hotel, Asian Palm Swifts

194. Asian Palm Swift----------------Sanya-------------------------China

This afternoon we took a taxi to the Sanya Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone to see the female Guanyin Buddha, which reaches 80 metres in height. Passing through the city of Sanya a Black Eared Kite drifted across the road

195. Black Eared Kite-------------------Sanya-----------------------China

Walking through the park where the Buddha was situated a party of Scarlet Minivets were displaying in a tall tree.

196. Scarlet Minivet--------------------Sanya-----------------------China


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28 January 2007

Sunday morning was basically a repeat of Saturdays, with an excellent bird to start the day, a Siberian Rubythroat skulking around some vegetation under a bridge.

197. Siberian Rubythroat ------------------Sanya---------------------China

This was a good omen as the four of the next five birds I saw were lifers, where BirdForum members kindly ID’d three of them for me. The Pale Thrush, which I had seen the previous day moving around some leaf litter near some derelict buildings, but had not been able to photograph it, was not a lifer. This was joined by two Black Throated Laughingthrush’s that were lifers; these were even more difficult to photograph, but I was at least able to ID them myself!

198. Pale Thrush ------------------------Sanya----------------------China
199. Black Throated Laughingthrush----Sanya----------------------China

While watching these I was also pleased to at last photograph the Scarlet Backed Flowerpecker.

Moving a hundred yards further along the road there was a small clearing with various trees and small dried up river where I picked up two quite superb lifers. The first arrived and disappeared in seconds; a White Throated Fantail, which landed on a branch, fanned its tail and disappeared back into the forest. What a bird to hit the 200 mark for the year with. The other, a Black Naped Monarch was far more obliging moving quickly along the dried up brook and displaying on some dead branches.

200. White Throated Fantail-----------Sanya----------------------China
201. Black Naped Monarch-------------Sanya----------------------China

The final bird of the day really had me perplexed, but as I said above BirdForum came to the rescue, a wonderful grey Shikra with red/yellow eyes!

202. Shikra ---------------------------Sanya----------------------China


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2 February 2007

Following an early flight from Tianjin to Hong Kong, I had twelve hours to kill before travelling home, therefore what best to do than go birding! First year bird was in the grounds of the apartment block that Huang Gang, the rep who accompanied me to Tianjin, lived, a Red Whiskered Bulbul calling from the fence surrounding the tennis court.

203. Red Whiskered Bulbul --------------Gold Coast--------------Hong Kong

We then travelled into Kowloon, taking Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island and Hong Kong Park. There we picked up two of the guaranteed birds, Yellow Crested Cockatoo’s and Rose Ringed Parakeet, which as usual could be found by the noise of their screetching.

204. Yellow Crested Cockatoo-----------Hong Kong Park---------Hong Kong
205. Rose Ringed Parakeet --------------Hong Kong Park--------Hong Kong

From the tower we looked down on a Common Tailorbird that was working its way across the top of a tree.

206. Common Tailorbird-----------------Hong Kong Park---------Hong Kong

We then took the Peak Tram up to The Peak, and made our way round one of the many forest walks where we found a Grey Backed Thrush that was making so much noise flicking leaves up in the air looking for grubs etc.

207. Grey Backed Thrush --------------The Peak---------------Hong Kong

4 February 2007

A family trip to a very sunny, warm and busy Dovedale today produced the first Dipper and Coal Tit of the year, while the drive home was rewarded with my 115th UK bird of the year, a Jay.

208. Dipper---------------------Dovedale---------------England
209. Coal Tit--------------------Dovedale---------------England

5 February 2007

While waiting in vain for over an hour to see the Bittern at Attenborough Nature Reserve I did pick up my 116th UK bird of the year a Kingfisher.

6 February 2007

First new 2007 UK bird of what was a gloriously sunny, but cold day was a Peregrine Falcon preening on Derby Cathedral this morning, the second a Green Sandpiper at Aston on Trent gravel pits seen a little later, from the A50 entrance, as entry for birders is forbidden; no sign of the reported Smew though!

My second attempt to see the Bittern at Attenborough Nature Reserve in as many days was rewarded with a good sighting, from the left hand side of the Delta Hide, behind the first row of reeds. There had been a heavy frost the previous evening so much of the water was frozen solid.

210. Bittern---------------------Attenborough------------------England

Next stop was Allestree Park to the north of Derby, having lived in the city for 27 years this was my first visit; my quarry Mandarin Ducks. Once I had spotted the lake from the car park and walked across the vast area of grass shared by numerous dog owners I soon came across a flock of 15 birds flying quickly around the lake making their whistling call.

211. Mandarin Duck-------------Allestree Park-------------------England

I then made a quick call at Cromford Mill but there were no Hawfinches and so moved onto Ogston Reservoir where there were six other birders, split into two groups braving the cold weather. The gull roost was clearly also feeling the cold as the birds were uncharacteristically tightly packed with a first year Glaucous Gull the only bird of any note.

212. Glaucous Gull--------------Ogston Reservoir----------------England


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11 February 2007

This morning my mate David Salisbury and I made the 45 minute drive from Derby to Hoveringham to try and see the American Wigeon that has been showing all year. We spent three hours there, walking through the flooded fields around the Sailing Pit, before we saw the bird. We had all but given up, having scanned enough Wigeon through our scopes to last a lifetime, when the bird flew in from the river Trent with around 20 other more common Wigeon! This the first time I had seen one for twenty years, but was a first for the UK. The attached picture certainly doesn’t do a great bird justice!

Earlier I saw my first UK Grey Wagtail for the year and another year bird, a Merlin flying onto a distant post.

213. Merlin------------------------Hoveringham-------------------England
214. American Wigeon-------------Hoveringham-------------------England

In all the morning produced a total of 60 birds: -

American Wigeon, Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Collard Dove, Common Gull, Coot, Cormorant, Dunnock, Egyptian Goose, Feral Pigeon, Goldeneye, Golden Plover, Goosander, Great Black Backed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Greylag, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Merlin, Mistle Thrush, Moorehen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pied Wagtail, Pochard, Redshank, Redwing, Robin, Rook, Shoveler, Skylark, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock Dove, Teal, Tufted Duck, Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Wren, Woodpigeon.


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18 February 2007

A late start today sprung a single Waxwing in Top Valley Road's Tesco car park in Nottingham. I certainly got some strange looks from Sunday shoppers while taking attached photo!

215. Waxwing------------------Nottingham---------------England

Dipped at Cromford Valley this afternoon with the Hawfinch but then moved onto Ogston Reservoir. As I turned right, just before the dam, along the road that takes you to the gull roost, there was a coach parked on the side of the road with a sign in the window "Wolverhampton RSPB Club". Between the bus and the gull roost there was a steady trickle of members walking back to the coach but many more still at the gull roost. I have to thank some of the more expert amongst them for pointing out the Mediterranean Gull and to all of them for being so enthusiastic about Ogston.

216. Mediterranean Gull--------------Ogston-------------England

After they all set off back to the bus the three remaining birders and I watched two Ravens twisting and turning in the sky and then someone cleverly spotted a second Iceland Gull (the first had flown off before I had seen it!).

217. Raven-------------------------Ogston-------------England
218. Iceland Gull--------------------Ogston-------------England

24 February 2007

A walk back through the park near my home in Derby, after being to the newsagents, picked up a couple of Nuthatch in a hole in a tree.

219. Nuthatch-------------------Derby--------------England

2 March 2006

A dawn until dusk raid of North Norfolk with my mate Daz produced six more birds to my 2007 year list and seven to my UK list.

The Carrion Crow is added to the list as for some reason I didn’t include it on my 1 January outing. I hadn’t realised until I went to list the birds seen today, which included a crow in Peakirk, where the late Peter Scott’s back up waterfowl reserve used to be situated before being closed some years ago.

220. Carrion Crow--------------------Peakirk-----------------------England

The Black Eared Kite at Snettisham took little effort as the bird flew in front of our car, making an already glorious sunny day even better! It surely must be one of the easiest birds for me to see, having seen it in less than 5 minutes last year at Blakeney Harbour and immediately upon arrival at Snettisham this year! Having already seen several in Hong Kong last month it only added to my UK list not year list.

Leaving Snettisham we heard a Marsh Tit calling on the side of the road in a large buch

221. Marsh Tit----------------------Snettisham-------------------England

It wasn’t until we got to Titchwell that another bird was added to the list, a Black Brant, which took some hunting amongst all of the Brent geese, especially as they were very flighty and separating into small groups.

222. Black Brant--------------------Titchwell----------------------England

There were then two Spotted Redshanks on the brackish marsh, one asleep and one feeding. Previous to that a Cetti’s Warbler kept on calling but not showing. Out on the sea were a small flock of Common Scoter, one drake Eider, a single Red Throated Diver and, new for 2007, a couple of Red Breasted Mergansers.

223. Spotted Redshank--------------Titchwell---------------------England
224. Red Breasted Merganser--------Titchwell---------------------England

Our final destination of the day was Holkham Gap where, once we had worked how to make sure we were not going to be cut off by the rising tied we walked left along the stone covered beach in hunt for Shore Larks. It was a wonderful mild evening, with the sun setting behind us, the full moon rising in front of us and large waves crashing against the beach. While we didn’t spot any larks a lone Snow Bunting flew past us and landed on one of the sand dunes.

225. Snow Bunting------------------Holkham----------------------England

What a great finish to the day, our 94th and last bird of the day, listed below: -

Avocet, Bar Tailed Godwit, Barn Owl, Black Brant, Black Eared Kite, Black Headed Gull, Black Tailed Godwit, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Common Gull, Common Scoter, Coot, Cormorant, Corn Bunting, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Egyptian Goose, Eider, Feral Pigeon, Fulmar, Goldcrest, Golden Plover, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Partridge, Grey Plover, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Owl, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Marsh Tit, Meadow Pipit, Merlin, Mistle Thrush, Moorehen, Mute Swan, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pink Footed Goose, Pintail, Pochard, Red Breasted Merganser, Red Legged Partridge, Red Throated Diver, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Ringed Plover, Robin, Rook, Ruff, Sanderling, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Snipe, Snow Bunting, Song Thrush, Spotted Redshank, Starling, Stockdove, Stonechat, Teal, Tufted Duck, Turnstone, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Wren, Yellowhammer

3 March 2007

A morning visit to Josh Jones local patch, Baston and Langtoft Gravel Pits produced my 137th UK bird of the year, a White Fronted Goose feeding with a number of Greylag Geese; having seen them in China earlier in the year could not add them to my year list . There were also numerous pairs of Red Crested Pochard in full mating plumage on one particular pit.

24 March 2007

The plan this afternoon was Rutland Water for the reported Smews, Eyebrook Reservoir for the Green Winged Teal, Ogston Reservoir for the Great Grey Shrike and finally Attenborough and the Cetti's Warbler.

As often happens with birding things didn't quite go to plan. Arriving at the xx fish ponds at Rutland Water, a long walk in the drizzle and strong winds produced no Smew, but I was happy to see a number of Sand Martins braving the weather over the lake.

226. Sand Martin----------------Rutland Water-----------England

Moving onto Eyebrook Reservoir the weather did not improve but more Sand Martins were joined by the occasional Swallow, not a new bird for the year but my 139th for the UK. It took a lot longer than I had hoped to find the Green Wing Teal, so while I was pleased as punch to finally find it, it was too late to continue my planned trip, another day maybe!

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

Hopefully I will be out in the UK again over the next two weeks but then I set off to China again, the trip taking me to Guangzhou (where I hope to visit a lake 300 km to the west), followed by Chengdu, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Nanjing, Tianjin (birding that weekend at the coast) Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Haikou, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. A crazy trip of 14 flights in just over two and a half weeks, doubling back on myself a couple of times.

30 March 2007

A work related team building day in a wood run by the Forestry Commission at Rosliston south of Burton-upon-Trent produced several Chiffchaffs, but not one Willow Warbler!

228. Chiffchaff------------------Rosliston----------England

Then an evening trip to Ogston Reservoir to seek out the Great Grey Shrike produced a couple of Little Ringed Plover on the mud in front of the gull roost (which produced two Glaucous and an Iceland Gull), a Scaup just to the left of the dam wall and finally the shrike in bushes just over the five bar gate off the main road.

229. Little Ringed Plover---------Ogston------------England
230. Scaup---------------------Ogston------------England
231. Great Grey Shrike----------Ogston------------England


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1 April 2007

Excellent morning at Attenborough Nature Reserve started with a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker feeding in trees just after the white bridge between the Works and Main ponds. The bird was calling just as I came over the bridge, and I was even able to get a resonable photo of it, many times you lose but this time I certainly won!

232. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker---------Attenborough------England

Seeing the woodpecker so soon meant I didn't have to decide whether to look for it or the Cetti's Warbler first! There was already a couple of birders out on The Bund listening for the warbler when I arrived but it would take another hour before we finally tracked it down. It was starting to be a good day as it came out from under a bush and started singing, but not long enough to take a photo!

233. Cetti's Warbler-------------------Attenborough---------England

It was then onto Colwick Country Park to find the pair of Smew that had been reported in the lake behind the Hall. This was my first ever visit there but after a couple of wrong turns I made it to the Hall. After parking the car on the road outside the Hall and asking directions a ten minute walk resulted in locating the pair sleeping under a fallen tree on the lake behind the Hall. They did come out for a short while giving me a chance to take these amateur photo's. Not a new bird for the year but my 147th UK bird

11 April 2007

Slow start to my latest China tour with only a Fork Tailed Sunbird in a park near the China Hotel in Guangzhou

234. Fork Tailed Sunbird-----------Guangzhou--------------China


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14 April 2007

Up at 6am in the Presidential Suit of Xing Fu (Happy) Hotel in Haifeng, a city 273km’s (4 hours) to the east of Guangzhou, which cost a staggering 240 RMB or £16! At breakfast I met up with the group I had travelled down with the previous night, Cai Chang and Hannah Lee from our Guangzhou office, Lool (the infamous Guangzhou birding lady) together with Mr Zeng Xiang Wu from the Haifeng Gongping Dahu Provincial Natural Reserve of Guangdong, who I had first met in 2006.

After breakfast our initial stop was the oyster beds near Haifeng, which produced the first of many Greater Coucals to grace us throughout the day

235. Greater Coucal-----------------------Haifeng------------------China

This was soon followed by a large flock of egrets, which included both Little and Great Egrets. A flock of Scaly Breasted Munia kept us company as they perched in the long grass while we were watching the egrets and then a Purple Heron broke from its feeding place flying off into the distance.

236. Great Egret-------------------------Haifeng-------------------China
237. Scaly Breasted Munia ----------------Haifeng-------------------China
238. Purple Heron -----------------------Haifeng--------------------China

While scanning in the direction that the Heron flew I picked up my first lifer of the day a graceful Eastern Marsh Harrier quartering the grassy walkways between the oyster beds. The sun was breaking through the clouds by now and the temperature began to sore.

239. Eastern Marsh Harrier------------Haifeng------------------China

A couple of miles further on a solitary Black Winged Stilt was feeding in a drained oyster bed, while Caspian Terns were fishing overhead.

240. Black Winged Stilt-----------------Haifeng--------------------China
241. Caspian Tern- --------------------Haifeng--------------------China

As we passed through a more rural area where the track thinned to a cars width I picked up my next lifer, a Brown Crake, having broken cover until it spotted us, quickly disappearing again. Red Rumped Swallows were also plying along the lane. Before setting off on the 180km drive further east, to the larger city of Shantou, we picked up several Wood Sandpipers in a paddy field.

242. Brown Crake ------------------Haifeng--------------------China
243. Red Rumped Swallow-------------Haifeng--------------------China
244. Wood Sandpiper-----------------Haifeng---------------------China

In Shantou we met up with a couple more birders kitted out with their Canon cameras and enourmous lenses, Mr Qiao Jie and Mr Zheng Kang Hua who took is for a lunch of squid, oysters, fish, shell fish and do fu (bean curd) as were by the sea.

Following lunch we made our way to the coast where a flock of Whiskered Tern’s flew over the sea wall, notching up my third and final lifer of the day. Soon after this three Purple Swamphen’s could be seen feeding on the mud around a mangrove island, what wonderful birds, a pity they were too far away for a good photo.

245. Whiskered Tern---------------Shantou--------------------China
246. Purple Swamphen -------------- Shantou --------------------China

As dusk fell and the enormous swarms of flies became even more intense (luckily they did not bite) we scoured a drained oyster bed picking up three more year birds. There were others but I couldn’t hand on heart say exactly what they were.

247. Lesser Sand Plover--------------Shantou --------------------China
248. Broad Billed Sandpiper-----------Shantou --------------------China
249. Curlew Sandpiper---------------Shantou --------------------China

From there it was onto another restaurant (boy the Chinese love to eat!) and then to the Huan Ying Guan Lin hotel in Shantou


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15 April 2007

Following another Chinese breakfast it was off to an area of scrub with large fish ponds and shear faced mountains. Walking in the heat across the sandy scrub as we approached a flooded Lool stopped suddenly having seen a large snake make its escape into the undergrowth. We thereupon decided to keep out of the long grass!

The first new bird of the year was a Sooty Headed Bulbul calling from the top of a bush, which was quickly followed by a Marsh Sandpiper feeding along the edge of one of the fish ponds, together with a White Breasted Waterhen peering out of the reeds.

250. Sooty Headed Bulbul --------------Shantou--------------------China
251. Marsh Sandpiper ------------------Shantou -------------------China
252. White Breasted Waterhen ---------Shantou -------------------China

As we arrived at the bottom of the mountain the trees grew far more dense, and sitting in one of these trees was a wonderful Crested Serpent Eagle, which proceeded to soar up onto a thermal, hopefully looking for our snake! A Black Eared Kite soon joined the eagle.

253. Crested Serpent Eagle ------------Shantou--------------------China

As we made our way back to the car across the open scrub again, a Richard’s Pipit kept itself just ahead of us.

254. Richard’s Pipit --------------------Shantou--------------------China

By the time we had returned to Guangzhou airport we had completed 1,111 Kms. We agreed next time to cover less mileage and see more birds!

19 April 2007

Having visited, Chengdu, Guangzhou (again), Wuhan, Nanjing (where I met up with fellow birder Shrike Zhang at Purple Mountain one evening hearing but not seeing Hawk Cuckoo’s) arriving at Beijing airport common Swifts were busying themselves around the terminal.

255. Swift -----------------------------Beijing --------------------China


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21 April 2007

Having landed in Beijing on Thursday night we had immediately made the two and a half hour drive to Tianjin, to the south east of Beijing, ready for a meeting the next day. This placed me in prime spot for a coastal bird watch this weekend. Late Friday night Yan Shen, one of my reps from Beijing plus an old birding friend Mr Li together with Mr Chen, picked me up and took me to another cheap hotel on the outskirts of Tianjin so we would be in position for an early start.

Nature provided my alarm clock this morning with a huge clap of thunder waking me at 0530 hours, ten minutes before I had planned to rise. At 6am we were all ready to go, by 0630 hours we were amongst the fish ponds near the sea wall at Binhai, with a high tide keeping the birds well in view.

The first new bird of the year was also a lifer, a couple of first year Mew Gulls amongst several Black Headed Gulls

256. Mew Gull ------------------Binhai -----------------------China

Even since my last trip here in September there had been more destruction of this wonderful coastal area, with virtually no vegetation for the incoming migrants as far as the eye could see plus the new sea wall that was only at the beginning of construction then was already over a mile out to sea, ready to start the process of more land reclamation.

With the high tide just beginning to ebb a large number of waders were feeding along the tide line. One in particular grabbed my attention the Great Knot, which were in large numbers, another lifer in the bag!

257. Great Knot ----------------Binhai -------------------------China

A Gull Billed Tern became the next year bird as it soared overhead, followed very shortly by my third lifer of the day, some Eastern Curlews flying onto the increasing exposed mudflats.

258. Gull Billed Tern ----------------Binhai -------------------------China
259. Eastern Curlew-------------Binhai ------------------------China

As we moved up the coast a Daurian Redstart (1st picture attached) posed for its photo on a rope near a derelict building and a Kentish Plover proved equally obliging perched on the sea wall (2nd picture).

Black Tailed and Relict Gulls were fighting over a lug worm near the estuary while the clockwork motion of the Asian Dowitcher provided the next lifer of the day, a bird you could only dream of back in the UK; what a great name for a bird!

260. Black Tailed Gull---------------Binhai -------------------------China
261. Relict Gulls--------------------Binhai -------------------------China
262. Asian Dowitcher -----------Binhai -------------------------China

From here we then made the two hour journey up the coast to Jingtang Gang, which is the first land fall for birds migrating up the Chinese coast line after they have crossed the Bo Hai bay. It is roughly 50 miles south of the infamous Beidaihe birding area. Mr Li believed this area would better at this time of year. Another couple of weeks and Beidaihe would be the place to be!

After checking into the Dong Fang hotel and having lunch we set off to a couple of small renowned wooded areas, which were situated amongst hundreds of square miles of grey silt fields and fish ponds. It seemed almost incomprehensible that as far as the eye could see, these small oases were all the migratory birds had for rest and recuperation! Naturally they were full of birds, even this early during the migration season. By far the most common birds were the thrushes and leaf warblers, which you could just stand and watch arrive, exhausted from their long flights. Just before arriving there, Common Terns were spotted screaming over the road between fish ponds.

263. Common Tern--------------Jingtang Gang --------------------China

As we entered the spinney (it could hardly be called a wood) a Scaly Thrush (3rd picture) watched us from a small sapling while Dusky, Pale and Eyebrowed Thrushes feasted on the ground vegetation. While I had seen the Dusky and Pale earlier this year the Eyebrowed Thrush was yet another lifer.

264. Scaly Thrush ------------Jingtang Gang ---------------------China
265. Eyebrowed Thrush ----Jingtang Gang ----------------------China

Amongst the seemingly endless supply of Pallas Leaf and Yellow Browed Warblers Mr Chen spotted another lifer for me a Pale Legged Leaf Warbler, the darker head in contrast to its body most noticeable feature.

266. Pale Legged Leaf Warbler ---Jingtang Gang ----------------China

With only a couple of hours of daylight left we moved on to the second wood / spinney known as “Magic Wood” due to the number of surprises that have shown up there over the years. This turned out to be even smaller than the previous area nestled between a couple of small fish ponds. However it was again full of warblers, and buntings, a Yellow Throated Bunting being the next year tick although the best photo was of a Tristram’s Bunting (4th picture)

267. Yellow Throated Bunting -------Jingtang Gang -----------------China

The ticking sound of a Dusky Warbler soon directed us to the bird, which turned out to be a plus as the bird was sharing the same tree root as a Radde’s Warbler, year tick 268.

268. Radde’s Warbler --------------Jingtang Gang ------------------China

The final bird of the day was a weird and wonderful Wryneck, moving along one of the older tree branches.

269. Wryneck ---------------------Jingtang Gang ------------------China

From there it was back to the hotel for another Chinese meal and an early night!


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22 April 2007

Another 6am departure back to the two wooded areas visited the previous day. While there were still many leaf warblers the sunny weather seemed to have brought out the buntings with a Pallas Bunting being a lifer, the Chestnut Eared and Yellow Browed new for the year.

270. Chestnut Eared Bunting------Jingtang Gang -------------------China
271. Pallas Bunting------Jingtang Gang -------------------China
272. Yellow Browed Bunting-------Jingtang Gang -------------------China

There were also several more Wrynecks around, one sitting long enough to be caught on camera. As we were just leaving the woods Mr Li picked up a lifer, the Siskin shown in the attached photo.

Our final destination for the weekend was closer to the coast where there was still some remnants of what the area used to look like before the diggers had moved in. Close to the road a flock of Black Winged Stilts (photo 3) were noisily feeding with Marsh and Wood Sandpiper. These were followed by a lone Ruddy Shelduck feeding in a river

273. Ruddy Shelduck----------------Jingtang Gang-----------------China

Down a makeshift road the next bird of the day was also a lifer, with several Asian Short Toed Larks rising from the stony scrub either side of the road.

274. Asian Short Toed Lark-------Jingtang Gang-----------------China

The final bird of the day was a Temminck’s Stint feeding on a small pool beside the road

275. Temminck’s Stint--------------------Jingtang Gang------------------------China

We totalled 77 birds for the two days, a big thanks to Mr Li and Mr Chen for their expertise and to Yan Shen for providing the transport and arranging the trip.

Asian Dowitcher, Asian Short Toed Lark, Avocet, Bar Tailed Godwit, Black Crowned Night Heron, Black Eared Kite, Black Faced Bunting, Black Headed Gull, Black Tailed Godwit, Black Tailed Gull, Black Winged Stilt, Brambling, Buzzard, Chestnut Eared Bunting, Common Tern, Curlew, Curlew Sandpiper, Daurian Redstart, Dunlin, Dusky Thrush, Dusky Warbler, Eastern Curlew, Eyebrowed Thrush, Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe, Great Knot, Green Sandpiper,Greenshank, Grey Heron, Grey Plover, Gull Billed Tern, Hoopoe, Kentish Plover, Kestrel,Kingfisher, Knot, Lesser Sand Plover, Little Bunting, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Magpie, Marsh Sandpiper, Mew Gull, Olive Backed Pipit, Orange Flanked Bush Robin, Oriental Turtle Dove,Pale Legged Leaf Warbler, Pale Thrush, Pallas Bunting, Pallas Leaf Warbler, Pheasant,Radde's Warbler, Red Rumped Swallow, Redshank, Relict Gull, Ruddy Shelduck, Sanderling,Scaly Thrush, Shelduck, Siskin, Snipe, Spot Billed Duck, Spotted Redshank, Stonechat,Swallow, Swift, Temminck’s Stint, Tree Sparrow, Tristrams Bunting, White Cheeked Starling, White Wagtail,Wood Sandpiper, Wryneck, Yellow Bellied Tit, Yellow Browed Bunting, Yellow Browed Warbler,Yellow Throated Bunting.


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26 April 2007

An early morning walk to the beach, through the gardens of the Sheraton Hotel in Haikou, before the working day, produced three White Shouldered Starlings (1st picture) atop a palm tree, a nice lifer to start the day!

276. White Shouldered Starling--------Haikou-------------------China

With business for the day finishing mid afternoon I made my familiar trip across the scrub opposite the hotel towards the river, sand dunes and farm land that remains despite the rate at which new buildings keep popping up. The last time I was there in January they were just starting the makeshift accommodation for the migrant workers. Now there was a whole community living there, there had to be room for well over 100 families!

Once down at the river a pair of beautiful Cinnamon Bitterns flew down into the spread of green water plants on the inside of a bend, another lifer in books!

277. Cinnamon Bittern -------------Haikou---------------------China

While walking through the sandy fields several of the locals were intrigued to see a westerner in their midst. Four youths were fishing and delighted in calling out “Hello” every few minutes. When they caught up with me later they had to look through my binocs and camera. Soon after this I spotted a Little Green Heron, also fishing, at the side of a large duck pond.

278. Little Green Heron -------------Haikou------------------------China

After much chasing of two Bee Eaters, as they were very difficult to identify silhouetting overhead against the bright clouds, I was finally able to track them down to the top of an old tree and identify them as Blue Cheeked Bee Eaters, what fabulous birds

279. Blue Cheeked Bee Eater---------Haikou------------------------China

As the afternoon came to a close I could hear a couple of Indian Cuckoos calling from a wood on the opposite bank of the river. After dealing with a strange chap on a bike who found everything funny, my bird book, my binoculars, everything, I spotted one of the Cuckoo’s towards the top of a tree.

280. Indian Cuckoo-------------------Haikou------------------------China

It was a long, long walk back to the Sheraton Hotel; 45 minutes alone just walking along the beach, but could think of worst places to be, cold coke in hand!

28 April 2007

No new birds today at Hong Kong Park in Hong Kong Island but managed to take some photos of two of the most notable birds, the introduced Rose Ringed Parakeet and Yellow Crested Cockatoo plus a nice surprise, the iridescent Blue Whistling Thrush. As I was leaving the park it was nice to see the posters shown in the attached advertising the local birds!

30 April 2007

While waiting for my car to go through its MOT I spent some time cycling along the River Derwent in Derby towards Elvaston Castle, picking up four new summer birds for 2007: -

281. Whitethroat------------------Derby---------------England
282. Willow Warbler---------------Derby----------------England
283. House Martin-----------------Derby---------------England
284. Blackcap---------------------Derby---------------England

4 May 2007

First Swift in UK seen today flying over Derby, 152nd UK bird of the year

7 May 2007

An evening visit to Attenborough Nature Reserve bagged a Common Tern (new to UK) plus Reed and Sedge Warblers. Dipped on Garden Warbler due to strong winds making bird difficult to see. As evening drew to a close and wind dropped, Cetti's Warbler sounded so loud!

285. Reed Warbler-----------Attenborough----------England
286. Sedge Warbler----------Attenborough----------England


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11 May 2007

It was a 4am start today meeting up with my mate Dave Salisbury for a dawn until dusk bird watch to tree and beat our record of “seeing” 110 birds in a day. We started at the Egleton Reserve at Rutland Water where we were lucky to meet up with Tim Appleton, who is in charge of the fabulous reserves at Rutland Water and founder of the now famous Bird Watching Fair held each August. Tim helped us to build up our initial list with a Garden Warbler in a bush behind one of the bird hides being my first new bird of the year.

287.Garden Warbler------------------Rutland Water----------------England

By the time we left Tim it was 8am and we had 60 birds in the book. We then moved to Hambleton Wood to where two Nightingales were calling, one showing itself feeding amongst the leaf litter.

288.Nightingale----------------------Rutland Water----------------England

Next stop was to the far end of Rutland Water to Manton Bridge to pick up two Ospreys on a nest.

289.Osprey--------------------------Rutland Water---------------England

From here we moved to the damn wall and then dipped with Grasshopper Warblers, which were normally a dead cert at Bourne wood as trees and bushes were now growing where there had been long grass the previous year. Our 75th bird of the day, at 1205 hours were a pair of Barnacle Geese feeding with a large flock of Greylags at Baston and Langtoft pits.

290.Barnacle Goose-----------------Baston and Langtoft-----------England

The Choseley drying barns provided the next new bird of the year, well the telegraph wires near there, a couple of Turtle Doves producing the 83rd bird of the day.

291.Turtle Doves--------------------Choseley---------------------England

Titchwell was unusually quite, with the water in the lagoons being very high. However there were a number of Little Gulls and Little Terns that were new for 2007.

292.Little Gull-----------------------Titchwell---------------------England
293.Little Tern----------------------Titchwell---------------------England

Out on the beach a lone Whimbrel was the 100th bird of the day


The close of the day was very special at the heath land area at Wolferton with Woodcocks whistling and Nightjars reeling, several Woodcocks flying over in the dusk but just one Nightjar , our 105th and last bird of the day, lifting into the air before the rains came.


Our total count was as follows: -

Avocet, Bar Tailed Godwit, Barn Owl, Barnacle Goose, Black Headed Gull, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Brent Goose, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Common Gull, Common Sandpiper, Common Scoter Common Tern, Coot, Cormorant, Corn Bunting, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Egyptian Goose, Feral Pigeon, Fulmar, Gadwall, Garden Warbler, Goldcrest, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Plover, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, House Martin, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Gull, Little Ringed Plover, Little Tern, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Moorehen, Mute Swan, Nightingale, Nightjar, Osprey, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pink Footed Goose, Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, Red Legged Partridge, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Ringed Plover, Robin, Rook, Sand Martin, Sanderling, Sedge Warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stockdove, Swallow, Swift, Teal, Tree Sparrow, Tufted Duck, Turnstone, Turtle Dove, Whimbrel, White Fronted Goose, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Woodcock, Woodpigeon, Wren, Yellowhammer.

18 May 2007

On the way to pick up my son from the golfing range in Spondon a Hobby flew over fighting the strong gusts of wind

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20 May 2007

After a 4am alarm clock I turned into the Goyt Valley, off the A5004 just north of Buxton at 0520 hours where I wasn’t sure who was most surprised, the Short Eared Owl sitting on a post or me, a great start to the day!

298.Short Eared Owl---------------Goyt Valley---------------------England

It was another half an hour before I found one of the many Redstarts that were calling. Why is the first one always the most difficult to spot? Later I was able to take the attached “average” photo of another bird.

299.Redstart----------------------Goyt Valley---------------------England

Spotted Flycatchers were also calling from the tree tops, the first one bagged just 20 minutes after the Redstart my 300th bird of the year! But it then took an amazing three hours before I found a Pied Flycatcher, I could find none in the area’s I had found them before but eventually found a nest box with a female feeding young. I really must brush up on my detective skills!

300.Spotted Flycatcher------------Goyt Valley--------------------England
301.Pied Flycatcher----------------Goyt Valley-------------------England

Almost straight after the Pied Flycatcher was pencilled in I heard my first Tree Pipit of the day, sitting atop a tall tree.

302.Tree Pipit----------------------Goyt Valley-------------------England

Unfortunately there were no Wood Warblers calling so I then set off in search of Whinchat amongst the heather and bracken and sure enough, sharing the same area with Stonechat, were several Whinchats (the attached photo was taken later). A bonus was a reeling Grasshopper Warbler looking unusually yellow in the sunlight, singing on top of a clump of heather, shimmering in the heat haze.

303.Whinchat----------------------Goyt Valley--------------------England
304.Grasshopper Warbler-----------Goyt Valley--------------------England

After a last unsuccessful hunt for Wood Warblers I set off towards Axe Edge to pick up several Red Grouse, watching a Red Kite being chased by a Curlew across the Mooreland near the A537.

305.Red Grouse--------------------Axe Edge-----------------------England

The final birding of the day was along the A54 towards Congleton, turning off at Allgreave to look for Ring Ouzel and Wheatear. Only the latter showed, several Blackbirds giving me false hope!


Nine new birds for the year had to be good, but as always I would have loved to have added Wood Warbler and Ring Ouzel to the list, this is the second time I have dipped on the latter this year.


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3 June 2007

A second trip to the Goyt Valley, on a beautiful spring morning, produced the Wood Warbler I had failed to pick up a couple of weeks earlier. It even allowed a quick photo.

307.Wood Warbler-------------------Goyt Valley------------------England

Later in the day a juvenile Ring Ouzel was perched on top of a hillock in the Danebower disused quarry, off the A54 between Buxton and Congleton, just over the Cheshire border, after photoing this young Meadow Pipit

308.Ring Ouzel-----------------------Danebower Quarry------------------England

12 June 2007

Not in the best of circumstances, but picked up the first sighting of a Cuckoo on the way to a funeral in Lincolnshire



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25 June 2007

While waiting for the conference room to open, on the first morning of my latest trip to China, at the Guanfang Hotel in Lijiang, Yunnan Province, we made a quick visit to Elephant Hill at the eastern edge of Black Dragon Pool Park as recommended by MikeinHK. First new bird of the year was a single Godlewski's Bunting feeding amongst the Relict Pines.

310.Goldweski's Bunting----------------Lijiang----------------China

Later a flock of 5 or 6 Black-streaked Scimitar Babblers where noisely moving through the pine trees. I would not have positively identified these without the help of BirdForum members so thanks to all for explaing the recent split and providing me with a lifer!

311.Black-streaked Scimitar Babbler----Lijiang-------------China


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26 June 2007

A Russet Sparrow was feeding young in a nest, down a large piece of Bamboo, supporting a sappling at the foot of the Black Dragon Mountain near Lijiang.

312.Russett Sparrow----------------Lijiang------------------China

Taking a chair lift to over 4,000 metres to a glacier, Alpine Accentors and Red Faced Rosefinches (a lifer) were hopping around the scree, the former feeding young. They were totally unfazed by the number of people walking up the wooden stairs, breathing heavily on their oxygen cans. (The people not the birds!)

313.Alpine Accentor-----------------Lijiang------------------China
314.Red Faced Rosefinch------------Lijiang------------------China


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26 June 2007 (Continued)

At the bottom of the chair lift a couple of Large Billed Crows were moving between the pine trees

315.Large Billed Crow-------------Lijiang------------------China

29 June 2007

With the Conference and Away Day finished by Friday lunch time it was time for some more birding, so we set off on the 25 minute drive to Lashi lake. Being mid summer and the lake being very low, there was not a lot about, several Zitting Cisticola flitting amongst the grass the only tick of the year.

316.Zitting Cisticola -------------Lijiang------------------China

We then went back to Elephant Hill at the Black Dragon Pool Park, in Lijiang, to have another search amongst the Relict Pines. A superb Verditer Flycatcher was doing what it does best, catching flys from a branch.

317.Verditer Flycatcher ---------Lijiang------------------China

Seconds later a lifer appeared for a split second and was then gone amongst the trees and grave stones, a Black Breasted Thrush, what a splendid bird!

318.Black Breasted Thrush--------Lijiang----------------China

The final bird of the day was an Ashy Drongo feeding a young bird

319.Ashy Drongo -------------------Lijiang----------------China

Looking forward to driving through the mountains from Lijiang via Dali to Kunming this weekend!


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30 June 2007

Albert Jiang and I set off at 8am on a beautiful morning from Lijiang, heading towards Dali in Yunnan province. After a couple of hours driving along the valley we stopped of near a small fishing pond and quarry close to a mountain, where there were a number of Burmese Shrike’s (1st photo) scolding each other amongst the pine trees, my first lifer of the day!

320. Burmese Shrike-------------Lijiang to Dali------------------China

After another hour we took another rest from driving walking through some scrub on a hillside. There were a number of birds I couldn’t identify through their calls as they skulked through the undergrowth but a pair of Brown Breasted Bulbuls added to my year list.

321. Brown Breasted Bulbuls -------Lijiang to Dali--------------------China

Following lunch it took us a number of wrong turns before we reached the chair lift near the old city of Dali at the foot of the Cangshan Mountains. The chair lift took nearly 30 minutes to travel just over a kilometre up the mountain where there were splendid views of Dali and its lake. (2nd photo below with Albert Jiang)

Black Headed Greenfinch (3rd photo) were flying around the Temple buildings while a split species of the Golden Spectacled Warbler, a Grey Crowned Warbler, another lifer (4th photo) was moving between the deciduous woodland further up the mountain, towards the mountain lodge we were going to stay in that night. Each step up the steep path was an effort with the altitude being just over 8,500 feet.

322. Black Headed Greenfinch ------Cangshan Mtn, Dali---------------China
323. Grey Crowned Warbler -----Cangshan Mtn, Dali-------------China

After visiting the wonderful lodge (meal for two plus accommodation £13 total!), totally unexpected in China, we went down to the mountain path that stretches 18 miles along the Cangshan Mountains. I soon came to realise that this was one of the best places I had ever birded in China, with birds everywhere, no pollution, no people and spectacular views, I was truly in heaven. Next up was a Chestnut Bellied Rock Thrush sitting motionless on top of a pine tree, the 5th photo below, taken the next day.

324. Chestnut Bellied Rock Thrush----Cangshan Mtn, Dali------------China


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30 June 2007 (continued)

The next three birds took some identifying initially as I had never seen them before, all being lifers, but after some investigation work as they moved through the canopy they were all ticked, all wonderful birds in their own right. Only managed to get reasonable pictures of the second two birds in the fading light

325.Rufous Vented Yuhina----------Cangshan Mtn, Dali-------------China
326.Black Headed Sibia-------------Cangshan Mtn, Dali-------------China
327.Chestnut Tailed Minla----------Cangshan Mtn, Dali-------------China

In a particular good area, caught by the sunlight a Yellow Bellied Fantail moved frantically up the side of a small mountain stream

328. Yellow Bellied Fantail ---------Cangshan Mtn, Dali---------------China

In the same area, looking over the railing onto a bare area a stunning Gold Naped Finch was feeding with its mate, what a bird, even Albert (a non birder) was able to identify it in the bird guide. (3rd photo)

329.Gold Naped Finch--------Cangshan Mtn, Dali---------------China

White Collared Yuhinas (4th photo) and Black Browed Tit’s (5th photo) were everywhere, the second bird (a young bird) another lifer .

330.White Collared Yuhina------Cangshan Mtn, Dali-----------------China
331.Black Browed Tit-------Cangshan Mtn, Dali---------------China

The final bird of the evening was a real find, although there were plenty around, with their “loud, piercing whistle of 2-3 well spaced notes of decreasing pitch” giving them away in the undergrowth. A tiny Pygmy Wren Babbler (lifer) flew across the stream, quickly disappearing again to produce it’s well rehearsed call!

332.Pygmy Wren Babbler ------Cangshan Mtn, Dali-----------------China


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