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China Birds (Nick Sismey) 2009 List (UK, China, Hong Kong & ?) (1 Viewer)

ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
Where does the time go? This is already the fourth year I have recorded a year list on birdforum. My current total for the number of birds seen this year is 380, both in the UK and Worldwide, as of 29November2009.

My UK goal for 2009 is to hopefully beat my 2008 total of 220, again with the help of both Steve Whiteley and Dave Salisbury (DAS). A tougher challenge will be to beat my Worldwide record, set in 2008, of 443 as I currently have no planned overseas trips apart from business trips to China and Hong Kong. We will just have to see what the year brings I guess!

My current records are as follows:

-------------------UK-----Holland----China----Hong Kong----World

2009------------209--------4--------189--------113---------380
2008-------------UK-220, China-177, Hong Kong-99, Finland-17, USA-84, Canada-22, WW-443
2007-------------UK-200, China-249, WW-398
2006-------------UK-205, WW-410
2005-------------UK-183, WW-358
2004-------------UK-157, WW-276

Life-----823
China---460
UK------255
 
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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
1January2009

As DAS and I left Derby for Attenborough, near Nottingham, at 7am there were still New Year revellers making their way home on what was a dark, freezing morning. Parking up near the football field in Attenborough the first bird of the year, as we left the car, was a Robin at 07:24, which found us rather than us finding it, being so tame. That is a different first year bird for each year since I first kept a year list back in 2004!

1. Robin----------------------------------Attenborough-----------------England

The aim was to get to the Brick Hide to spot the Bittern. No luck however, but we did pick up several other birds on the way and while waiting though.

2. Mallard-------------------------------Attenborough----------------England
3.Jackdaw-------------------------------Attenborough----------------England
4.Rook-----------------------------------Attenborough----------------England
5.Tufted Duck---------------------------Attenborough----------------England
6.Mute Swan----------------------------Attenborough-----------------England
7.Great Crested Grebe-----------------Attenborough-----------------England
8.Pochard-------------------------------Attenborough-----------------England
9.Blackbird------------------------------Attenborough-----------------England
10.Goosander---------------------------Attenborough-----------------England
11.Canada Goose-----------------------Attenborough-----------------England
12.Cormorant---------------------------Attenborough-----------------England

Andrew Przeslak joined DAS (Photo 1 – DAS in front) and I at the hide spotting a very greedy (or lucky) Grey Heron (Photo 2) trying to eat two fish at once. Luckily when it dropped the smaller fish it lay on the ice for the heron to pick up at its leisure!

13.Grey Heron----------------------------Attenborough-----------------England

More birds flew passed and DAS spotted the Reed Bunting we could all hear but were struggling to see, in the reeds (where else!).

14.Black Headed Gull--------------------Attenborough------------------England
15.Greylag Goose------------------------Attenborough------------------England
16.Magpie--------------------------------Attenborough------------------England
17.Woodpigeon---------------------------Attenborough------------------England
18.Reed Bunting-------------------------Attenborough-------------------England

DAS and I left Andrew to stake out the Bittern setting off for more birds around the Delta Wood and lakes. Two of the best were the Great Spotted Woodpecker and Treecreeper

19.Carrion Crow-------------------------Attenborough-------------------England
20.Great Tit------------------------------Attenborough-------------------England
21.Moorehen-----------------------------Attenborough-------------------England
22.Blue Tit-------------------------------Attenborough-------------------England
23.Wren----------------------------------Attenborough-------------------England
24.Dunnock------------------------------Attenborough-------------------England
25.Chaffinch-----------------------------Attenborough-------------------England
26.Bullfinch------------------------------Attenborough-------------------England
27.Goldfinch----------------------------Attenborough--------------------England
28. Coot---------------------------------Attenborough--------------------England
29.Great Spotted Woodpecker---------Attenborough--------------------England
30.Treecreeper-------------------------Attenborough---------------------England
31.Starling------------------------------Attenborough---------------------England
32.Coal Tit-------------------------------Attenborough--------------------England
33.Long Tailed Tit-----------------------Attenborough--------------------England

As we closed on the feeding station a Goldcrest flew across the path in front of us and then we scoped a Willow Tit on the bird table.

34.Goldcrest-----------------------------Attenborough--------------------England
35.Willow Tit----------------------------Attenborough---------------------England

Walking back to the car for our own refreshments we picked up a couple more ducks on Works Pond, despite it being virtually entirely frozen, as well as birds in the village and on the football pitch.

36.Gadwall------------------------------Attenborough---------------------England
37.Teal-----------------------------------Attenborough--------------------England
38.Redwing------------------------------Attenborough--------------------England
39.Collared Dove-----------------------Attenborough---------------------England
40.Greenfinch---------------------------Attenborough---------------------England
41.House Sparrow----------------------Attenborough---------------------England
42.Fieldfare------------------------------Attenborough--------------------England
43.Egyptian Goose----------------------Attenborough---------------------England
44.Mistle Thrush------------------------Attenborough---------------------England

A little later Church Pond added four more to the list

45.Shoveler-----------------------------Attenborough---------------------England
46.Common Gull------------------------Attenborough---------------------England
47.Little Grebe--------------------------Attenborough---------------------England
48.Goldeneye----------------------------Attenborough--------------------England

At the visitors centre several Pied Wagtails were feeding while across the Coneries lake we picked out a lone Ruddy Duck that took us to 50 birds by 10:41am

49.Pied Wagtail-------------------------Attenborough---------------------England
50.Ruddy Duck--------------------------Attenborough---------------------England

On the way to Kingfisher Hide, for the Tree Sparrows at the feeding station, several Lapwing were on Wheatear Field

51.Lapwing-----------------------------Attenborough---------------------England
52.Tree Sparrow-----------------------Attenborough---------------------England

Walking back to the car, alongside Wheatear Field, two more birds were added to the list, the latter thanks to a tip off from Andrew who had failed to see the Bittern! Another new year bird flew overhead.

53.Pheasant----------------------------Attenborough---------------------England
54.Stonechat---------------------------Attenborough---------------------England
55.Herring Gull-------------------------Attenborough--------------------England

Next stop was Long Eaton gravel pits where the whistling Wigeon are but guaranteed; we heard them well before seeing them.

56.Wigeon------------------------------Long Eaton-------------------------England

A little further along the road, close to the final smaller pit, a Snipe flew over just as DAS spotted the doves. At the end of the lane where a new pit is being dug a Kestrel passed through.

57.Snipe--------------------------------Long Eaton-------------------------England
58.Stock Dove-------------------------Long Eaton-------------------------England
59.Kestrel------------------------------Long Eaton-------------------------England

Along the A50 we pulled into the entrance of the Aston-on-Trent gravel pits, where all birders at banned! From the gates we picked up a couple more for the day and year!

60.Great Black Backed Gull-----------Aston-on-Trent---------------------England
61.Lesser Black Backed Gull----------Aston-on-Trent---------------------England

Leaving the A50 for Alvaston a Buzzard was keeping watch in a tree, while in the adjacent field a flock of Golden Plover kept our year list ticking over.

62.Buzzard-----------------------------Alvaston-----------------------------England
63.Golden Plover----------------------Alvaston-----------------------------England

Into the centre of Derby we circled the Cathedral in search of the Peregrine only to spot it watching us from a tall crane the other side of the inner ring road! It was not the only thing watching us as several passer-bys were amused by our antics!

64.Peregrine---------------------------Derby--------------------------------England

Next it was Allestree Park, a certainty for Mandarin (Photo 3) but no Lesser Spotted Woodpecker this time!

65.Mandarin----------------------------Allestree-----------------------------England

As we drove along the Carsington Reservoir dam road there were a number of Feral Pigeons resting on the outflow building roof.

66.Feral Pigeon------------------------Carsington Reservoir----------------England

At the visitors centre we startled a Song Thrush on the way to Stonecutters Island for the Great Northern Diver, which we luckily got onto straight away before even starting to cross the causeway. This also took us to 68 birds for the day beating our previous best of 67 in 2006 and 2007 on the first day of the year.

67.Song Thrush------------------------Carsington Reservoir-----------------England
68.Great Northern Diver---------------Carsington Reservoir----------------England

By now we were in contact with Steve Whiteley, who was down at Cromford looking for the Hawfinches, which was our next target. But before then DAS got onto a Redshank.

69.Redshank---------------------------Carsington Reservoir------------------England

At Cromford, as we waited for Steve to finish off a snack in a near by café we heard and then spotted two Dipper on the river by the Church.

70.Dipper-------------------------------Cromford-------------------------------England

There were several birders there but no sign of the Hawfinch; we did however add two more birds to the year list.

71.Nuthatch-----------------------------Cromford-------------------------------England
72.Grey Wagtail------------------------Cromford--------------------------------England

As the light was fading DAS and I moved onto Ogston Reservoir, along some pretty tricky roads due to the temperatures, where a group of birders were watching the gull roost, which is much smaller now as the local refuse pits have been discouraging birds via various means. No white winged gulls showed so we moved along the road a short distance to wait for the Woodcock. Sure enough they didn’t let us down, although I missed the first once, relieved to see the second!

73.Woodcock---------------------------Ogston----------------------------------England

Back in Derby DAS and I parted our ways, after our most successful start to a year yet. Following a quick bite to eat I then left for my mothers in Lincolnshire where I lucked in on a Tawny Owl during the journey. An hour of hunting the lanes later failed to pick up any Barn Owls!

74.Tawny Owl--------------------------South Witham--------------------------England
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
2January2009

Day two started the same way day one ended with an owl, a Little Owl flying alongside my car at Tipps End, deep into the fens, close to Welney. It was little more than an unmistakable silhouette as it flew up and over my bonnet against the cold winter dawn sky.

75.Little Owl-----------------------------Tipps End-----------------------England

Passing through the village of Welney and over the Old Bedford River bridge there were little or no birds on the frozen wetlands, not a swan in sight! Having driven passed the Wildfowl Refuge Centre to the where the swans are normally grazing again there were no swans to be found but two more birds were added to the year list, the Barn Owl quartering along a dike, occasionally pouncing on suspected prey.

76.Red Legged Partridge----------------Welney-------------------------England
77.Barn Owl------------------------------Welney-------------------------England

I therefore drove through to Ten Mile Bank looking for any grazing swans, without luck. Then, as I had my window open (and the car heater on full blast – not very eco friendly I might add!), I heard some Whooper Swans (Photo 1) calling, three birds flying overhead. Just as I was ticking those off however there was better to come, two Common Cranes followed them in the same direction. I have to admit I let out a loud “Yes!” Normally I have to search for cranes.

78.Whooper Swan-----------------------Ten Mile Bank------------------England
79.Common Crane-----------------------Ten Mile Bank-----------------England

Returning back towards Welney there were suddenly several flocks of swans leaving the refuge. Setting up my scope at the side of the road I picked out several Bewick Swans. I also spotted where they were grazing, along way off the beaten track, behind a private farm with no access to the general public. Then the rains came (Photo 2) so I set off for the coast!

80.Bewick Swan--------------------------Welney-----------------------England

Wolferton was the next stop. Just before taking the first turn into the triangle, off the A149, my attention was drawn skyward as a skein of Pink Footed Geese flew over. They were all I added to my list there as after a 45 minute stake out, with another car about 200 yards up the road facing me (really did feel like a stake out!), there was no sign of the Golden Pheasants!

81.Pink Footed Goose--------------------Wolferton---------------------England

Arriving at Hunstanton the Oystercatchers were on the usual school playing field, just after turning right at the main round-a-bout as you enter the town, and the Turnstones were mixing it on the grassy promenade, while Fulmar wheeled up from the cliffs; three easy ticks from the car in the rain!

82.Oystercatcher------------------------Hunstanton--------------------England
83.Turnstone----------------------------Hunstanton--------------------England
84.Fulmar-------------------------------Hunstanton--------------------England

Turning off the A149 at Thornham several Curlew were feeding across the fields

85.Curlew------------------------------Thornham----------------------England

Then it was onto Titchwell where you could see why it is one of the most visited RSPB reserves, the car parks at bursting point! I sneaked a spot for the car and joined the masses along the West Bank path.

Over the salt marsh, to the left, a brilliant white Little Egret stood out against the drab vegetation while a lone Brent Goose fed in the small pool and a Marsh Harrier cruised over the distant reed beds.

86.Little Egret-------------------------Titchwel-------------------------England
87.Brent Goose-----------------------Titchwell-------------------------England
88.Marsh Harrier---------------------Titchwell-------------------------England

Further along the path three more year birds were feeding in the fresh marsh

89.Shelduck---------------------------Titchwell------------------------England
90.Avocet-----------------------------Titchwell------------------------England
91.Pintail------------------------------Titchwell------------------------England

Several birders were gathered near the reed beds in between the two hides watching Bearded Tits (Photo 3), which in the wind were a pain to photograph with not only the reed heads they were feeding on moving to and fro but also the reeds in front of them obscuring them; but in the sun I had to get one good picture!

92.Bearded Tit-------------------------Titchwell----------------------England

Passing the brackish marsh several Black Tailed Godwits were feeding.

93.Black Tailed Godwit---------------Titchwell-----------------------England

At the beach the wind was blowing even stronger and the tide was ebbing away. There must have been as many birders out on the beach as birds! The closest bird was a Sanderling (Photo 4), which seemed totally unconcerned of the continuous birder traffic!

94.Sanderling-------------------------Titchwell-----------------------England

Out at sea a Shag was feeding in the surf while several Red Breasted Merganser were a little further out.

95.Shag-------------------------------Titchwell------------------------England
96.Red Breasted Merganser---------Titchwell------------------------England

With my camera well hidden from the blowing sand I wondered East along the beach spotting a Bar Tailed Godwit along the shoreline. A flock of 20 Snow Bunting (always a wonderful sight!) then passed me and disappeared as quickly as they arrived, blending in perfectly with the stony beach. A single Grey Plover was also feeding with the Godwits and Oystercatchers.

97.Bar Tailed Godwit-----------------Titchwell------------------------England
98.Snow Bunting----------------------Titchwell------------------------England
99.Grey Plover------------------------Titchwell------------------------England

The 100th year bird would be a Common Scoter. When I mean “a” I really mean over a thousand. I had never seen so many scoter before. They were a long way out, to the west of the wind farm, initially circling in one vast flock and then breaking off into one long line passing in front of the wind farm. They must have taken a good couple of minutes to pass by such was the size of the flock. Unfortunately they were too far out to look for white wing bars!

100.Common Scoter-------------------Titchwell----------------------England

While taking a break from the scope to rest my eyes I notice Dunlin moving along the shore line; back on the scope the tell tale arched back gave away a Red Throated Diver as it landed near the wind farm, to be lost for ever in the waves.

101.Dunlin------------------------------Titchwell----------------------England
102.Red Throated Diver---------------Titchwel-----------------------England

Finally succumbing to the cold I retreated back along the path just in time to join three birders who had just chanced on a bobbing Jack Snipe on an island in fresh marsh. It gave excellent views including a good comparison to a common snipe right next to it!

103.Jack Snipe-------------------------Titchwell----------------------England

The final new bird for the year was a Ruff from the Island Hide then it was to the warmth of the car, another dip at Wolferton and back to Lincolnshire.

104.Ruff--------------------------------Titchwell-------------------------England

More to follow............
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
3January2009

A slightly more sedate start to the day today with the first call being Eyebrook Reservoir where four male and a red head Smew (Photo1) were very obliging from the car park at the foot of the hill, after Stoke Dry.

105.Smew-----------------------------Eyebrook-------------------------England

Two birders mentioned that there were Siskins in the alders near the bridge. To my delight there were also Redpoll amongst the flock!

106.Siskin-----------------------------Eyebrook-------------------------England
107.Redpoll ---------------------------Eyebrook-------------------------England

Further round the reservoir I got talking to a guy who was miss-netting, he advised me of a Short Eared Owl haunt on the Great Easton to Rockingham road. I had only seen one at a distance in 2008, at Swallow Moss, so was hoping for better views this year. When I arrived there were already some birders there but no owls reported. Two more birds were added to the year list though.

108.Yellowhammer-------------------Great Eastern--------------------England
109.Meadow Pipit---------------------Great Eastern--------------------England

These birders recommended at trip to the village of Blatherwycke for Marsh Tit and Red Kite just 10 minutes up the road. Just as I arrived at the bridge over the stream at the end of the lake a Kingfisher took fright. It took a little longer to spot the Marsh Tit but I eventually found it on a feeder.

110.Kingfisher------------------------Blatherwycke---------------------England
111.Marsh Tit-------------------------Blatherwycke---------------------England

Driving round the lake a Red Kite flew out of a tree; having stopped the car to get a better view of the kite two Jay’s were squabbling in a tree on top of the hill behind the road.

112.Red Kite-------------------------Blatherwycke----------------------England
113.Jay-------------------------------Blatherwycke----------------------England

Next stop was Rutland Water but another quick visit to the owl area produced a Green Woodpecker but again no owls.

114.Green Woodpecker-------------Great Eastern---------------------England

At the Rutland Water Bird Watching Centre there were reports of two Black Necked Grebes on the North Arm. Having always dipped there previously I was not too optimistic. A long search again produced nothing although there was a large flotilla of various water birds out there. Then I noticed three birders on the far shore watching something so put my scope on full magnification and searched along the far bank, underneath the trees. Sure enough a small grebe appeared in the far distance, although I had to watch it for several minutes before I was able to convince myself it was a Black Necked. Several other birders then arrived who I put onto the bird and they agreed the sighting.

115.Black Necked Grebe------------Rutland Water-------------------England

On the way back to Derby I called at Holme Pierrepoint and ended the day dipping on the Lesser Scaup! Life can be tough sometimes, although I couldn’t grumble with my year count to date!
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
4January2009

Having decided to go to Cromford for the Hawfinch and Darley Dale for the Waxwings this afternoon a phone call to Steve took me to Holme Pierrepoint first to meet up with him and hopefully the Lesser Scaup as it had been seen that morning.

Driving up alongside Steve on the A52 dual carriageway we arrived at Holme Pierrepoint together; a bit risky stopping there on the A52 trying to get up onto the verge as it is a quick road but no harm done. There were already three other birders (Photo 1) there, two of them friends of Steve, who put us straight onto the bird!

116.Lesser Scaup-------------------Holme Pierrepoint-----------------England

Where to go next? I was aiming to still go to Cromford and Darley Dale while Steve was off looking for Ruddy Shelduck and Bittern but the birders said that they had seen Waxwings at both Rufford and Edwinstone. They both looked easier destinations to get to from the east of Nottingham so I set off there.

As I arrived at Ruford the sun came out but it was still bitterly cold. I walked around a lot of the grounds, as were many families, but could see any Waxwings that were reported in the trees around the car park. After a while I called up Steve to report that there were no Waxwings. He exclaimed “There wouldn’t be, you should be looking for Hawfinch there, that is what they had seen that morning, the Waxwings were at Edwinstone”, “ Ah, that would explain it”, I said sheepishly! Being the afternoon the Hawfinch were also nowhere to be seen so I moved onto Edwinstone but couldn’t find where the Waxwings had been reported (Note: Must buy a Derbyshire AtoZ) so decided to go to my original destinations after all!

Cromford was quiet again, but arriving at Darley Dale the Waxwings (Photo 2) were in exactly the same tree that I had first seen the species way back in 2004 (can’t believe it was that long ago, seems only yesterday!). They were coming down to feed on apples giving excellent views although by now a little dark to get good photos.

117. Waxwing------------------------Darley Dale-----------------------England
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
11January2009

A gentle morning drive to Cromford produced a Sparrowhawk circling over the A6 at Ambergate, while two Raven were wheeling over the Church once I arrived at Cromford (Photo 1).

118.Sparrowhawk----------------------Ambergate---------------------England
119.Raven------------------------------Cromford-----------------------England

There were three other birders also looking for the Hawfinch at Cromford, but the trees, near the bridge over the Derwent, were void of anything for the first 30 minutes or so. We then decided to wonder onto the playing field next to the river as I had seen a flock of odd birds fly through. Viewing the tree line behind us we spotted a bird right on top of one of the tallest trees, which thanks to one of the other birders scopes (I had left mine in the car) proved to be a Hawfinch. We immediately returned to the bridge where the bird flew down into a Yew tree where we were able to view it feeding. Several other birders turned up during this time who we put onto the bird.

120.Hawfinch----------------------------Cromford----------------------England

On the way back to Derby I dipped on Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at Allestree Park and White Fronted Goose at Kedleston Hall!

After lunch I visited the Erewash field at Attenborough, dipping on both Linnet and Skylark but was very surprised to see a Bewick Swan (Photo 2) fly over!

As the evening was drawing in I made my way to the Brick Hide for the Bittern. After around 20 minutes (1550 hours) a shout went up from one of the other birders in the hide that a Bittern was flying in from the right over the reeds. Sure enough the bird gave excellent views as it looked for its roosting spot. Another local then spotted a second bird that had climbed up the reeds to the left of the hide, which gave wonderful views through my scope for a number of birders who visited the hide.

121.Bittern---------------------------Attenborough----------------------England
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
17January2009

Heavy rain showers turned into a blue sky as Steve and I arrived at Park Hall Country Park in Stoke this morning, we thought we had arrived at Crufts with the number of dogs about! A ten-minute walk took us to the coniferous wood where Long Eared Owls regularly roost. Within seconds of arriving two birds could be seen at the top of the usual tree (Photo 1) although branches and the height impeded any good photos. Steve (Photo 2) had to set his scope up at a ridiculous angle to get views of the birds as they preened.

122.Long Eared Owl------------------Park Hall Country Park-----------England

This would be the only addition to the year list, as a couple of hours spent at Swallow Moss produced no further birds during the morning.
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
25 January 2009

With Cossington Meadows, south of Loughborough just off the A6, falling approximately half way between our homes DAS and I decided to meet up there, at 9am. The recent wet weather had left the River Soar very high with the grassed flood plain impassable in places. Just as we set off along the western bank of the river, heading south, another birder “John” pulled up and asked if he could join us as he was a novice at this game.

Walking across a couple of fields we spotted a large flock of geese, which include several White Fronted Geese, our main quarry for the morning!

123. White Fronted Goose------------Cossington Meadows-------------England

As the corner of the field was flooded we headed back to the road and the canal toll path where two Linnets gave me another year tick.

124.Linnet-----------------------------Cossington Meadows-------------England

Another local birder then joined us but nothing more turned up for the next couple of hours until DAS and I were the only ones left. We then spotted a couple of Brambling amongst a flock of Chaffinch high in a tree next to an area of sweet corn that had been left to seed.

125.Brambling-----------------------Cossington Meadows--------------England
 
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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
01 February 2009

A gentle mid morning drive to Eyebrook Reservoir (Photo1), in Leicestershire, produce the annual Green Winged Teal. Three other birders were already there on the North shore, and between us we found the bird asleep amongst several common Teal. The obvious vertical white stripe was only just visible thanks to other birds asleep to the side of the bird.

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

Two trips to Great Eastern (the 3rd and 4th in 2009!) failed again to pick up a Short Eared Owl, however up to four Barn Owls (Photo 2) in my vision at one time kept me occupied through the snow flurries. One bird even pounced on prey close enough to me for a photo through the gloom!

Next stop China, where I am hoping to be birding around Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Haikou before travelling to Mai Po in Hong Kong.
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
03 February 2009

Taxiing into Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, on my way to Bejing, my Dutch bird list stands at "2" as both Carrion Crows and Common Buzzards were feeding on the large expanse of grass available to them!
 

ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
04 February 2009

After landing at Beijing airport one of my reps, Julia Li, drove another of my reps, Jack Luo and I to the high speed train station (Photo 1). During the drive through Beijing’s busy streets Common Magpie’s were my first Chinese bird of the year, followed quickly by several Large Billed Crows flying between the skyscrapers

127.Large Billed Crow--------------------Beijing--------------------China

The 30-minute (203MPH!)train journey to Tianjin produced nothing more than magpies and crows, but then after another rep, Selina Xing, picked us up a flock of Black Headed Gulls were resting on a frozen river and a Tree Sparrow was feeding off what little, dust covered, frozen, vegetation there was downtown.
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
06 February 2009

Driving between offices in Tianjin a flock of Daurian Jackdaws (Photo 1 – taken early morning on 7th Feb) flew over the motorway quickly followed by a White Wagtail moving between the edges of the frozen fishponds

128.Daurian Jackdaw--------------------Tianjin--------------------China
129.White Wagtail-----------------------Tianjin--------------------China
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
07 February 2009

The day started at 7am meeting up with fellow Birdforum member Xiaoming, otherwise know as Li Ming, for the first time, in the lobby of The Great Wall Sheraton hotel in Beijing where we were in turn met by Julia Li, one of my reps who was kind enough to provide us with transport for the day ahead.

We then set off North-East into the mountains to Baihe, around 100km away. Before reaching Baihe we met up with four other birders at a motorway toll station, Mr Li Hai Tao (BMLee) and Ms Tian Zhu, who I knew well having birded with them several times, plus Mr Chen Liang who I had met before and Mr Li Xin (who saw over 600 birds in China in 2008!).

Once off the motorway, onto the G111, the mountains (Photo1 – note old part of the Great Wall winding itself up the mountain) lay ahead of us. White Cheeked Starlings flew overhead just after I took the above photo.

130.White Cheeked Starling-----------------Baihe-------------------China

We had an unbroken blue sky over us once we left the smog of the city, and while most of the frequently damned river was frozen (Photo 2) the winter sun kept the temperature above freezing except in the shade! Here a flock of Grey Capped Greenfinch (Photo 3) tinkled in the bushes on the side of the mountain, while a single Dusky Thrush sat high up in a tree.

131.Grey Capped Greenfinch----------------Baihe-------------------China
132.Dusky Thrush--------------------------Baihe-------------------China


Further along the river, which had not been damned, we turned off to find a flock of Meadow Buntings (Photo 4) feeding off what little vegetation there was, while a splendid Crested Kingfisher (Photo 5) sat looking at us from a utility cable strung across the river

133.Meadow Bunting-----------------------Baihe-------------------China
134.Crested Kingfisher---------------------Baihe-------------------China
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
First of all thank you to whoever just rated this Thread

07 February 2009 (continued)

As we walked along the road under the shadow of a mountain, the temperature dropped noticeably. Godlewski's Buntings (Photo 1) and Plain Laughingthrushes (Photo 2) were calling from the bushes covering the steep slopes.

135.Godlewski's Bunting------------------Baihe-----------------------China
136.Plain Laughingthrush-----------------Baihe-----------------------China

Then a shout went up from further along the road that there were Ibisbills (Photo 3) in the river (Photo 4). When we arrived we found three birds, two males and a female based on the mating routine that they were going through. You can never tire of seeing Ibisbill as the birders shown in Photo 5 can verify!

137.Ibisbill------------------------------Baihe-----------------------China
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
07 February 2009 (continued)

Across the river from the Ibisbill, Red Billed Blue Magpie’s (Photo1 – taken on 8th Feb) noisily moved amongst the trees.

138.Red Billed Blue Magpie-----------------Baihe---------------------China

We then set off through and over (there is a massive new road being constructed through the valley!) the mountains heading for Labagomen. After around 30 minutes of driving we stopped both cars to view a barn door sized Black (Cinereous) Vulture circling with two Black Storks (Photo 2). A little further along the G111 another vulture (Photo 3) was being mobbed by Large Billed Crows.

139.Black (Cinereous) Vulture ------------Labagomen----------------China
140.Black Stork--------------------------Labagomen----------------China

As we moved deeper into the mountains a Siberian Accentor was in a tree near a smaller valley while a Chinese Nuthatch (Photo 4) was feeding in the trees (Photo 5) in another small valley.

141.Siberian Accentor--------------------Labagomen----------------China
142.Chinese Nuthatch--------------------Labagomen----------------China

I also picked up a European Nuthatch, the first I had seen in China, my 444th Chinese bird!
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
07 February 2009 (continued)

A team photo (Photo1 - Left to Right, Ms Tian Zhu, Mr Li Xin, Mr Chen Liang, Mr Li Hai Tao, Mr Li Ming and Julia Li) before the next bird, which turned out to be a White Browed Chinese Warbler; Seems odd seeing warblers in mid winter! Almost at the same time a large flock of Vinous Throated Parrotbills flew threw.

143.White Browed Chinese Warbler---------Labagomen---------------China
144.Vinous Throated Parrotbill--------------Labagomen---------------China

In the same trees were Little Bunting (Photo 2) and a single Grey Headed Woodpecker

145.Little Bunting-------------------------Labagomen---------------China
146.Grey Headed Woodpecker -------------Labagomen---------------China

Walking along the road my first Hawfinch (Photo 3) in China sat high up in a tree taking in the late afternoon sun (China bird 445). Must have a different metabolism to the British one’s who only seem to show up in the morning!

With no further birds around we made our final stop high up in the Yun Men Mountains (Photo 4) where a Chinese Sparrowhawk wound its way up from the frozen valley floor.

147.Chinese Sparrowhawk ----------------Yun Men Mountains--------China

After thanking the rest of our party for a great day which totalled the 37 birds shown below Julia, Li Ming and I made our way back into the Beijing sunset (Photo 5) for a meal at a Mongolian restaurant near the airport with the rest of the Beijing team:-

Black Stork, Black Vulture (Cinereous Vulture), Brambling, Buzzard, Chinese Nuthatch, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Crested Kingfisher, Daurian Jackdaw, Dusky Thrush, Godlewski's Bunting, Goldeneye, Goosander, Great Tit, Grey Capped Greenfinch, Grey Headed Woodpecker, Hawfinch, Ibisbill, Kestrel, Large Billed Crow, Little Bunting, Little Grebe, Little Owl, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Tit, Meadow Bunting, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Plain Laughingthrush, Red Billed Blue Magpie, Siberian Accentor, Tree Sparrow, Vinous Throated Parrotbill, White Browed Chinese Warbler, White Cheeked Starling, Wren
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
08 February 2009

Another 7am start, with Fred Li, another of my reps based in Beijing, kindly picking me up from the same hotel before joining Li Ming at the Beijing Botanical Gardens, passing the aptly named Birds Nest Olympic Stadium on the way, as we headed North West.

Once Li Ming was with us we set off to Shidu (Photo1), a mountain canyon around 60km from the outskirts of Beijing. Winter is by far the best time to visit as in summer it is overrun with people. I have been coming here for 5 years now and the transformation since I first went there is incredible with buildings going up everywhere and new roads and bridges replacing old. Luckily the birding is still pretty good however.

While still on the motorway I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of Azure Winged Magpies amongst the thousands of common Magpies (and I mean thousands – Bejing must be Magpie capital of the world!). Just off the motorway several Spotted Doves were on the utility lines.

148.Azure Winged Magpie-----------------Beijing--------------------China
149.Spotted Dove------------------------Beijing--------------------China

Arriving at the start of the canyon, we stopped at the first bridge just in time to see a Brown Dipper dive into the waterfall next to the bridge. It was bitterly cold at this point with a breeze and the sun hours away from reaching the canyon floor.

150.Brown Dipper-------------------------Shidu---------------------China

We then moved onto bridge three and walked downstream (Photo 2) where a male and female Plumbeous Water Redstart (Photo 3) were feeding.

151.Plumbeous Water Redstart------------Shidu---------------------China

Two Black Stork were feeding in the river, too far away to get a decent photo, while Goosander flew over, and the most abundant finches were Godlewski's Buntings and Brambling, all seen the previous day. There were also two more Brown Dippers feeding the other side of the river together with a Water Pipit. While the latter was a new bird for the year, beyond it were a flock of lifers, Hill Pigeons, feeding on the little remaining vegetation left by the new bridge construction!

152.Water Pipit---------------------------Shidu---------------------China
153.Hill Pigeon-------------------------Shidu---------------------China

Walking back to the car two Greater Spotted Woodpeckers (Photo 4) caught our eye high up in a tree.

Nothing more here so it was onto the 4th bridge, with mechanical hammers ringing off the side of the canyon as yet another bridge was under construction. Walking upstream away from the hammers we found a solitary Long Billed Plover (Photo 5) on the edge of the ice.

154.Long Billed Plover----------------------Shidu---------------------China
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
08 February 2009 (continued)

Negotiating the ice and stones crossing the river (who needs bridges?) a Green Sandpiper (Photo 1) shrieked as took off up into the air in front of us startling us all, but luckily we all kept our footing

155.Green Sandpiper---------------------Shidu----------------------China

While Fred went off to locate a local restaurant Li Ming and I took on the hammers in search of one of my all time favourite birds, a White Capped Water Redstart (Photo 2). It is a hot spot for these gorgeous birds and it did not let us down!

156.White Capped Water Redstart--------Shidu----------------------China

After lunch we continued up river a couple of miles to another hot spot (Photo 3), this time for Chukar (Photo 4) which again did not fail us and provided me with my second lifer of the day. They were feeding quietly on a small piece of land squeezed between the far shore of the river and the shear face of the canyon.

157.Chukar---------------------------Shidu--------------------China

Ok had to put the picture of the Black Stork, mentioned earlier, in as well, such wonderful birds

More to follow.......
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
Thanks to the second person for ranking this forum, much appreciated

08 February 2009 (continued)

Mid afternoon we decided to visit Li Ming’s local patch at the Beijing Botanical Gardens (Photo 1 – Left to Right Li Ming and Fred Li) where the first bird to add to my year list was a Chinese Bulbul, my 51st Chinese bird of the year, usually it is the first!

158.Chinese Bulbul----------------Beijing Botanical Gardens------------China

Deeper into the park two new year birds followed in quick succession, a male and female Yellow Billed Grosbeak together with a flock of Collared Finchbills (Photo 2)

159.Yellow Billed Grosbeak---------Beijing Botanical Gardens------------China
160.Collared Finchbills-------------Beijing Botanical Gardens------------China

Our final bird of the day was heard well before being seen, a Crested Myna, calling to it’s mate who duly joined it as we arrived.

161.Crested Myna-----------------Beijing Botanical Gardens-----------China

We then climbed part way up the mountain with little or nothing about except of course Magpies, so we returned to the car whereupon I thanked Li Ming for a great weekend and we parted company to keep in touch through Birdforum of course.

The last three photos are of birds seen over the weekend but photographed after the report, a Dusky Thrush, a Common Buzzard and a Tree Sparrow.

Below lists the 36 birds seen today.

Azure Winged Magpie, Blackbird, Black Stork, Brambling, Brown Dipper, Buzzard, Chinese Bulbul, Chukar, Collard Finchbill, Crested Myna, Dusky Thrush, Godlewski's Bunting, Goosander, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Green Sandpiper, Grey Capped Greenfinch, Grey Headed Woodpecker, Hill Pigeon, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Large Billed Crow, Little Grebe, Long Billed Plover, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Tit, Plumbeous Water Redstart, Red Billed Blue Magpie, Spotted Dove, Tree Sparrow, Vinous Throated Parrotbill, Water Pipit, White Capped Water Redstart, Wren, Yellow Billed Grosbeak
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
10 February 2009

The first birding experience of the day happened way up on the 26th floor (my room is on the 56th of 59!) of the new Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park Hotel (Photo1) during breakfast when a Peregrine Falcon left the roof of the opposite building, just before 7am, in search of prey. Later in the day I saw the same bird return with a pigeon.

After our team meeting on the 59th floor I spent lunchtime in Zhongshan Park (Photo 2) next to the hotel. The park was heaving with people but luckily I was able to find a relatively quiet spot (Photo 3) where the first bird turning over the leaf litter was a Pale Thrush (Photo 4). While I was still writing this up in my notebook I noticed another bird move into my periphery vision. Looking up it was a delightful Orange Flanked Bush Robin (Photo 5)

162.Pale Thrush--------------------Zhongshan Park------------------China
163.Orange Flanked Bush Robin------Zhongshan Park------------------China
 

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