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China Birds (Nick Sismey) 2010 List (UK, China, Hong Kong & ?) (1 Viewer)

ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
13 June 10

While waiting security clearance to go airside at Urumqi airport a Starling took my 2010 China list to 91.

14 June 10


Monday through to Wednesday were holidays in China so Roger Xie, from Guangzhou, and I took advantage of this is to make a couple of Xinjiang birding trips. It was a hot day in Urumqi (Photo1) when we left for the Gobi Desert (Photo 2) with Ning Bo, who had taken us into the mountains near Urumqi the previous October.

The first year bird of the day was also a lifer, a pair of Desert Wheatears (Photo 3 – a juvenile taken later in the day) resting on the fence alongside the road. Minutes later we stopped for a comfort break where a Crested Lark (Photo 4) appeared on the same fence, which separated the road from desert. There were also several Cuckoos (Photo 5) perched on the electronic wires above the fence.

262.Desert Wheatear-------Gobi Desert - Fu Kang County--------China
263.Crested Lark---------------Gobi Desert - Fu Kang County-----------China

More to follow…..
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
14 June 10 (continued)

Black Eared Kites (Photo 1) and Common Buzzards were regularly seen along the highway

264.Black Eared Kite------------------Gobi Desert - Fu Kang County---------------China

A different kind of buzzard caught my eye on a telegraph post as we moved further into the desert (Photo 2). The bird turned out to be another lifer, a Long Legged Buzzard (Photo 3) of which there were many as we continued deeper and deeper into the desert.

265.Long Legged Buzzard--------Gobi Desert - Fu Kang County--------------China

We then turned off the main drag (Photo 4 – Ning Bo and Roger) where Asian Short Toed Larks were the most common lark

266.Asian Short Toed Lark-----------Gobi Desert - Fu Kang County-------------China

More to follow….
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
14 June 10 (continued)

Some ten miles along this very bumpy road we arrived at a watering hole (Photo1) where Saxual Sparrows (Photo 2) and Desert Finches (Photo 3), a lifer, were taking advantage of the cooling water.

267.Saxual Sparrow-------------Gobi Desert - Fu Kang County----------------China
268.Desert Finch-------------Gobi Desert - Fu Kang County------------China

Ning Bo tried his best to try and give me the best chance of photographing both species in the garden of the nearby Water Station where hosepipes had been left running for the birds, positioning a chair for me in the shade of a tree. The locals were very bemused by this particularly as the birds never came, the watering hole having quenched their thirst!

Before we returned to the car Roger spotted an owl, a closer look resulted in a Little Owl (Photo 4). I was both surprised to see the same bird we see in England in the middle of the Gobi and disappointed that it was not a new species of Chinese owl.

Taking a rutted dirt road away from the Water Station a juvenile Great Grey Shrike (Photo 5) was skulking in a bush, a new Chinese tick and my 100th 2010 China bird.

More to follow….
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
14 June 10 (continued)

The Gobi certainly threw up some different topography, salt pans (Photo 1) soon appearing alongside the road.

A few meters up the road Ning quickly stopped the car as a Pallas Sandgrouse (Photo 2) was resting on top of the small levee separating the road from the desert. What a wonderful bird, one that I had always wanted to see, and here it was without a care in the world sitting less than 4 metres from the car, just within my camera’s focus. Ahead of us was the mother bird with young disappearing over the levee.

269.Pallas Sandgrouse------Gobi Desert - Fu Kang County-------------China

Next stop was lunch at a small village dominated by the local oil company that is extracting oil (Photo 3) all over the desert. It was literally an oasis (Photo 4) amongst a dry and barren landscape

While Ning had a sleep Roger and I climbed the hills (Photo 5) behind the village that gave unbroken views across the desert. A lone Shore Lark was feeding up there, together with several more Asian Short Toed Larks.

270.Shore Lark----------------Gobi Desert - Fu Kang County-------------------China

Walking back into the village a Kestrel flew over while a Collared Dove was calling from the top of a building taking my China ticks for the year to 104

More to follow….
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
14 June 10 (continued)

After waking Ning were set off back to Urumqi. Soon after leaving the village I spotted a small lake (Photo1) across the desert. Ning decided his 4x4 could make it across the desert to the lake where Little Ringed Plover were running along the shoreline and a pair of Ruddy Shelduck (Photo 2) noisily showed their disdain for our intrusion.

As we stopped besides the lake five Rose Coloured Starlings burst from a bush and left the area, a bird I always hope to see in that part of the world, in fact the only place I have seen these type of birds, the previous time 6 years earlier. What a great bird!

271.Rose Coloured Starling----------Gobi Desert - Fu Kang County------------China

Roger and I walked the shore line of the lake. Several Pallas Sandgrouse flew in for a drink, but surprisingly there were no more bird species!

Back at the road Roger and I had to find Ning a place he could get his 4x4 back onto the road (Photo3) he being unable to get back onto the road where he had got off.

Once we were back on we headed for Urumqi watching the Tianshan Mountains (Photo 4) changing colours as the sun headed west. As we came over one hill the mountains had turned a spectacular pink (Photo 5) in the last throws of the sun’s rays.

We arrived back in Urumqi at 0100 hours after a great day which included four lifers!
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
15 June 10

The following day, at 0830, we again met up with Ning at the hotel but this time set off for the Nan Shan Mountains (Photo1).

Soon out of Urumqi we stopped to check out a pair of cuckoos chasing each other across the road. While they turned out to be the same variety we have in the UK I did pick up on a warbler calling in a bush that sang like and had the same jiz as a common Whitethroat at a distance. Closing on the bird I soon realised it definitely wasn’t a whitethroat but a lifer, a Barred Warbler (Photo 2). What a great bird!

272.Barred Warbler--------Nan Shan Mountains----China

The local authorities had built a brand new road (Photo 3) to the mountains which had a minimum height barrier to stop trucks using it, Ning’s 4x4 just creeping under the height restrictor. Crossing a very large dry and deep river bed via a new bridge we came across a Wheatear feeding amongst the short grass and stones on the far bank, a first for China.

Heading towards the foothills Ning stopped in a small village (Photo 4) where another lifer was singing from a farm house roof top, a Rock Sparrow (Photo 5)

273.Rock Sparrow-------Nan Shan Mountains-------China

More to follow….
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
15 June 10 (Continued)

On the same roof as the Rock Sparrow was a gorgeous Rufous Tailed Rock Thrush (Photo 1), while House Sparrows and Linnets (a first for me in China) also fed on the loose grain around the village.

274.Rufous Tailed Rock Thrush---------Nan Shan Mountains------------China

Leaving the village I soon asked Ning to “Tin” (stop) so I could photograph a Whitethroat (Photo 2), another new Chinese tick.

Before he even got into third gear I shouted “Tin” again as a beautiful Pied Wheatear (Photo 3) was busying itself on the other side of the road, three lifers in 90 mins!

275.Pied Wheatear-------------------Nan Shan Mountains-------------China

We then headed further up the valley (Photo 4) towards the mountains (Photo 5) but found the road up in various places making progress very slow. Therefore we decided to retrace our steps and make our way to a lake closer to Urumqi as our 5 hour flight to Guangzhou was that evening. We did pick up a Blue Rock Thrush dashing into the roof space of a farm house as we left the valley though.

276.Blue Rock Thrush-------------------Nan Shan Mountains--------------China

More to follow………..
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
15 June 10 (Continued)

We soon arrived at the hills that I climbed back in October, which were then covered in snow, but were now a lush green (Photo1) with Pine Buntings (Photo 2) singing from gorse bushes.

277.Pine Bunting---------------------Nan Shan Mountains----------------------China

Lunch then beckoned so Ning took us to a small village (Photo 3) where House Martins were feeding young in nests of mud stuck to every building.

Just a couple of miles from the village Ning brought us to a wonderful lake (Photo 4) which was home to another lifer, White Headed Ducks (Photo 5).

278.White Headed Duck----------Nan Shan Mountains----------------------China

You really had to know you way around the area as the lake was hidden away from any main road and you would never know about it unless someone told you. At the moment it is unspoilt but being so close to Urumqi I just hope development does not swallow it up as it was truly idyllic.

More to follow………..
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
15 June 10 (Continued)

Roger and I walked the circumference of the lake which had large reed beds (Photo1) to the East and South which hosted a Great Reed Warbler (Photo 2). Normally I would be adding the bird to my year list had one not been camped out near Ilkeston near Derby for a month!

Black Necked Grebes in full breeding plumage were feeding young, while Pochard, Mallard and Coot were mixing it with Ruddy Shelduck. Hundreds of swifts could be seen over the lake occasionally joining into a single large flock before dispersing again.

As we got to the North shore several Black Winged Stilts (Photo 3) were feeding in the shallows with Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers (Photo 4)

279.Black Winged Stilt---------------------------Urumqi--------------------------------China
280.Kentish Plovers------------------------------Urumqi-------------------------------China

Time to leave for the airport came all too soon, which was just 30 minutes away. We thanked Ning for a great two days and headed for the terminal. Leaving Urumqi (Photo 5) it was great looking through the photos from the last two days and reflecting on the 8 lifers and 7 other birds I added to my China list, which now stood at 483 birds.
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
16 June 10

Having arrived in Guangzhou from Urumqi, after a 5 hour flight, during the early hours of the morning it wasn’t until 9am before I made it to Yue Xiu Park Photo 1 near my hotel (China Hotel). After the dryness of Urumqi the humidity in Guangzhou was almost unbearable.

After 30 minutes of perspiration around the park, moisture covering all of the flora and me, a Common Tailorbird revealed itself in the middle of a large tree, quickly followed by a Hwamei (Photo 2).

281.Common Tailorbird--------------------Yue Xiu Park (Guangzhou)-----------------China
282.Hwamei--------------------------------Yue Xiu Park (Guangzhou)----------------China

I then came across a Red Whiskered Bulbul (Photo 3), and, a new sighting for me in Guangdong Province, a Red Billed Blue Magpie, each separated by a further 30 minutes.

283.Red Whiskered Bulbul------------------Yue Xiu Park (Guangzhou)----------------China
284.Red Billed Blue Magpie-----------------Yue Xiu Park (Guangzhou)----------------China

A quick visit to another park, the China Hotel is spoilt with nearby parks, Liu Hua Park (Photos 4 & 5) produced just one more year bird, a Yellow Bellied Prinia. Unfortunately the best area of the park which included an undeveloped island in the middle of one of the two large lakes was off limits as it was being developed! Large dumper trucks thundering across a temporary causeway, no doubt it will all be finished the next time I visit!

285.Yellow Bellied Prinia---------------------Liu Hua Park (Guangzhou)---------------China
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
19 June 10

The last birding of this business trip took us to Qi Ao Island just off the coast of Zhuhai to the West of Guangzhou. Old birding friend Lool and Bird Man joined me. Again it was so hot, the humidity soaring as the sun crossed the sky. We only stayed a couple of hours as the birding was pretty poor in such temperatures, the only new birds I added being a Sooty Headed Bulbul and a Masked Laughingthrush. To cap it all I deleted my photos by mistake, leaving me annoyed!

286.Sooty Headed Bulbul----------------Qi Ao Island (Zhuhai)----------------------China
287.Masked Laughingthrush-------------Qi Ao Island (Zhuhai)----------------------China

Overall I shouldn’t complain, it had been a great business/birding trip, the opportunities open to me while I visit different customers around China are incredible. When I sit back and realise what I have done in three weeks I appreciate just how fortunate I am, adding 134 China year birds, 93 new year birds and 11 lifers! I have to thank everyone who helped me arrange all of these birding trips, and hopefully I will be back for more before the year is out!
 
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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
3 July 2010

A family day out to North Wales added Gannet to my year list

288.Gannet--------------------Rhyll---------------------------Wales


Total UK Mileage in 2010 = 2,881.2
 

ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
11 July 10

Having visited my father in South Lincolnshire to watch the British Grand Prix on the TV, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to make a quick dash to Titchwell (Photo 1) to see a lifer, the Buff Breasted Sandpiper (Photo 2 – Badly digiscoped). Almost in the same shot was a Pectoral Sandpiper, providing two excellent birds within seconds of each other!

289.Buff Breasted Sandpiper------------Titchwell------------------England
290.Pectoral Sandpiper-----------------------Titchwell---------------------England

Several Spotted Redshank were also feeding in the far corner of the freshwater marsh

291.Spotted Redshank------------------------Titchwell--------------------England

Fred Li, the same Fred Li who went birding with me in the mountains near Beijing the previous month, was over in the UK for training. He couldn’t get over the wonderful sandy beach (Photo 3) at Titchwell and the idyllic countryside (Photo 4) in that part of England.

Several Sandwich Terns (Photo 5) raced along the shore line, some feeding young others racing back to their nests with fish.

292.Sandwich Tern------------------------------Titchwell------------------------England

This leaves me on 199 UK birds for the year!!

Total UK Mileage in 2010 = 3,236.7 miles
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
07 August 2010

Steve and my first birding in August took us to Idle Valley Nature Reserve at Lound in Nottinghamshire, my first visit. Our quarry (!) was the Baird's Sandpiper, which would be a lifer for me and my 200th UK bird of the year.

We first found the birders (Photo1) and soon after spotted the bird (Photo 2 - best of a bad bunch of digi-scoped shots) which had paired up with a Dunlin. Both birds were feeding along a muddy spit a good 100 yards away, disappearing behind the slighly elevated spits at times. However with the scope on full magnification you could easily make out the birds tell tail elongated appearance from the side and oval squat appearance from the front and rear

293.Baird's Sandpiper---------Idle Valley NR------------England

We then walked further along the dirt track to the open fields (Photo 3) where a pair of Turtle Doves took my UK year list to 201!

294.Turtle Dove------------------Idle Valley NR-------------England

Total UK Mileage in 2010 = 3,348.5 miles
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
14 September 2010

Wow a month since my last update, my other hobby - www.dhorc.co.uk - having taken up all my spare time.

Steve called me last night to tellme about the Wryneck at Heanor but it was my son's 21st so that took priority.

Managed to get out to see it today though, what a bird and so tame. The kids playing football on the green had to chase it away so they could play!

A new UK tick

295.Wryneck-------------------Heanor------------------England

Back to the Scalextric this weekend where we are building a corporate track at the Rockingham Motor Speedway on Saturday and then another corporate track at the British Touring Car Championship meeting at Donington Park on Sunday.

The following weekend is our annual boat trip off Bridlington so hopefully more birds then. It is also looking like a China, Hong Kong and Singapore trip business trip later in the year |=)|
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
26 September 2010

The good news today was that DAZ, Steve and I didn’t have to get up at some crazy hour to catch the 8am sailing of the Yorkshire Bell from Bridlington for the “Skua and Shearwater” cruise. The bad news was that the sailing had been cancelled due to the unfavourable weather forecast!

When we arrived at Filey Brigg we could see why with the driving rain and the white horses out at sea. We were very pleased to be on dry (wet actually) land. Once we had built up our fat reserves we headed out onto the Brigg (Photo 1) where the waves were crashing against the rocks and sea foam was gathering knee deep in places. It wasn’t until we were at the far reaches of the peninsula (Photo 2) that we found the birds we were hoping for, three Purple Sandpipers (Photo 3) feeding on the spray washed rocks

296.Purple Sandpiper---------------Filey Brigg-------------England

DAZ had already hit the deck on the way out, and I had filled one of my boots with water slipping off one of the rocks into a deep pool so it was with trepidation that we returned to the beach. We had no further adventures however, well not in that way. Just as we reached the beach we spotted several birders up on the Brigg proper watching something. Above the sound of crashing waves and wind we heard them shout “Wryneck”. We were off, this would be a lifer for DAZ!

Having negotiated the steep steps unscathed DAZ settled down for the long wait while Steve and I looked out to sea for Sooty Shearwaters, over 250 having been reported through already. DAZ waited and we kept on trying to make distant juvenile Gannets into Sootys!

“There” DAZ shouted, he had seen his bird move through a large bush, he was very pleased! Almost at the same time I shouted “Sooty” and DAZ was in two minds on where he should be, in the end he saw the bird through my scope just after Steve!

297.Sooty Shearwater-----------------Filey Brigg----------England

That was our birding day, well at least as far as ticks were concerned. We did some more sea watching off Flamborough Head and then dipped on both Yellow Browed Warbler and Barred Warbler in the hedge near North Moor Farm but did pick up a female Redstart and Pied Flycatcher readying themselves for their trip across the North Sea. Our warm car seemed the far more sensible journey home……
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
30 October 10

Having not been birding for over a month due to other commitments I was pleased that I was able to join Steve at 0645 this morning for the drive to Cley-next-the-Sea to hopefully see a couple of lifers. With two hours of driving under our belts we called in at Flitcham, just off the A148 between Kings Lynn and Fakenham to see if there were any Rough Legged Buzzards (another lifer), but we were too early. Refreshed we continued onto Cley (Photo1).

We had certainly picked a great day for birding the light was superb although we didn’t think so when we visited the three hides in the centre of the marsh as the sun was directly in our eyes when trying to check out the flock of Golden Plover for our first lifer of the day. Therefore we moved round to the hide opposite where we managed excellent views of the very flighty flock. The birds must have exploded into the air 6 or 7 times before they settled long enough for us to see our target species the American Golden Plover (Photo 2) which kindly stood at the front of the flock long enough to get a record shot. Steve also picked up his first Green Winged Teal of the year, although it slept all the time we were there!

298.American Golden Plover-----Cley-next-the-Sea-----England

From here it was the long walk to North Hide close to the shingle beach where we quickly locked onto the Grey Phalaropes, a lifer for both of us. One separated and came close enough for a record shot (Photo 3). Out at sea a single Guillemot was feeding amongst the Red Throated Divers and Common Scoter, while on the beach a flock of 20 Snow Buntings fed feverously.

299.Grey Phalarope--------------Cley-next-the-Sea------------England
300.Guillemot------------------------Cley-next-the-Sea--------------England

By the time we returned to the car the wind had dropped and we were pleased to shed our coats. There had been some excitement at the beach before we left as a Albatross sp had been reported. We didn’t join the mad rush

Just before 3pm we arrived back at Flitcham (Photo 4) where one birder had been waiting for over two hours for the Rough Legged Buzzard. Within minutes of our arrival one splendid bird flew across our line of site and before we knew it we had seen our third lifer of the day!

301.Rough Legged Buzzard----------Flitcham---------------------England

To finish off a wonderful day a large skein of Pink Footed Geese (Photo 5) flew over us on their way to their roost at Holkham, a fantastic sight that just typifies Norfolk.
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
18 November 10

My KLM flight touched down at Changi Airport, Singapore (Photo1) at 1700 hours this evening after a 13 hour flight from Birmingham, via Amsterdam. Being my first visit to Singapore I was hoping for a good number of Lifers between today and Sunday when I left for Guangzhou.

I had arranged a couple of birding trips over the weekend with fellow Birdforum member Mike Hooper (Viator) who is currently working in Singapore.

Travelling to the hotel my first lifer flew across the highway, a House Crow (Photo 2 – taken on 20Nov10)

302.House Crow------------------Changi-----------------Singapore


The second were Javan Myna (Photo 3 – taken on 19Nov10) feeding on the grassy banks all along the highway

303.Javan Myna---------------------Changi--------------Singapore

After checking into the Shangri-La Hotel (Photo 4) I took advantage of the remaining light to wonder around the local district. It is always amusing walking through the lobby of these hotels with your binoculars and camera, folk don’t half look at you strangely!

Immediately I left the hotel grounds another Lifer, a Blue Crowned Hanging Parrot (Photo 5) flew noisily into a nearby tree. A split second later, it was gone!

304.Blue Crowned Hanging Parrot----Orange Grove Road----Singapore

More to follow......
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
18 November 10 (Continued)
Walking through the local suburbs, there were a variety of buildings from apartment blocks to various sizes of houses with various sizes of gardens, intersected by flood water channels. A noisy flock of Asian Glossy Starlings (Photo 1 – Juvinile taken 19Nov10) congregated on a large TV aerial readying themselves for the night ahead. My fourth lifer of the day

305.Asian Glossy Starling---------Orange Grove Road-------Singapore
As the night drew in I picked up three other birds for my Singapore list though I couldn’t claim as Lifers, a Spotted Dove (Photo 2 – taken 19Nov10), a White Breasted Waterhen (Photo 3 – taken 19Nov10) feeding in one of the culverts and an Asian Brown Flycatcher (Photo 4) high up in a tree. The latter was new for the year though.

306.Asian Brown Flycatcher---------Orange Grove Road--------Singapore

That evening I joined some colleagues for my first Gin Sling in Raffles (Photo 5) and a late night meal hoping that I had beaten the dreaded jet lag by not succumbing to the need for sleep too early.
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
19 November 10

After a day in the office, and seemingly cured of any jet lag I made the most of the remaining light to visit the Botanical Gardens, which were just a ten minute taxi ride from the hotel.

Javan Mynas were everywhere as I strolled passed the visitor centre. I soon came across a small lake (Photo1) but my attention was drawn to a fruiting tree which was full of birds. Koels (Photo 2) were gorging themselves on the fruit as were gorgeous Pink Necked Green Pigeons (Photo 3), my first Lifer of the day.

307.Pink Necked Green Pigeon----Botanical Gardens--------Singapore

Working through the birds and ever changing shape of the tree as flocks of Asian Glossy Starlings, Common and Javan Mynas stripped the branches of fruit a Lineated Barbet (Photo 4 – photographed later) another Lifer and a Hill Myna (Photo 5 – also photographed later) joined the fervour.

308.Lineated Barbet-------------Botanical Gardens--------Singapore
309.Hill Myna----------------------Botanical Gardens---------Singapore

More to follow…….
 

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