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Panjin Birding by the Old Fat Man (1 Viewer)

MKinHK

Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
A double tick day - Great stuff Owen! nice pix of the grebes too!

Love the pic of the young Little Grebes on the back - it's clear that is absolutely not what they were designed to do!

Cheers
Mike
 
Congrats Owen. Love the Grebes out of water shot. They look funny and very unusual to see them out on the land like that indeed. Horned Grebes are always nice. Nice pics.
 

Owen Krout

Well-known member
Persistence pays off as I decided to take a tour of the local marsh area despite it being too foggy to bother with taking a camera with me. It was really intended to be more of some exercise than any serious birding. However, as I was walking through a city park, which runs along the edge of the marsh, I had a Grouse suddenly break from a tree immediately behind me. Close enough to make me shy away as it passed withing a meter of me at head height. From my hunting days fifty years ago in Pennsylvania I was immediately sure it was a Grouse and even automatically called out "Grouse!" for my nonexistent hunting partners. That wing beat sound, color, size and shape triggered the ID faster than cognizant thought occurred. I even automatically found my hands assuming the grasp of a shotgun and starting to raise it. I was able to view it clearly as it made a zig-zag through the trees and circled back around behind me and settled into the dense cover of the reeds. Luckily, after getting back home the exact ID was easy as only Hazel Grouse is found here and it fit what I saw. For those that are thinking it was just a female pheasant, I thought of that and I did get an excellent view of the tail, which was much shorter than a pheasant and was fanned out to help it maneuvered through the trees.

Another lifer! I imagine that they are not all that rare actually, but rather just reclusive enough that they are not seen often. Much like the Red-Necked Pheasant which I know to be common here as I hear them crowing often, but it is a rare treat to actually get one out in the open.
 
Nice record Owen. I've only seen Hazel Grouse in Liaoning at very high elevation in forest (Phoenix Mountain near Dandong). The way you described it reminded me of Japanese Quail as well. I've also seen Daurian Partridge once in a similar manner. Quite an experience to have one fly right past your head!
 

Owen Krout

Well-known member
Hi, Tom. I was surprised at finding a Grouse here. It would have seemed to be more at home in Anshan. I wonder if the three tropical storms in a row might of pushed some birds west.
 

Owen Krout

Well-known member
Oct 29

My wife had a meeting to go to in Dawa, Panjin, so I decided to tag along and go over to the Donghu (East Lake) city park. Nothing too special, but I did manage to snag some nice photos.

There were more gulls on the small lake than I have ever seen before as I found two groups for about 50 total Black-Headed Gull. A few Little Grebe were mixed in with them, which makes the first time I have seen anything but gulls on the lake itself.

In the wooded portions I did find some nice Yellow-Bellied Tit that were busy harvesting pine nuts. A few Japanese Tit were scattered about in the willows nearby. Also one of the Oriental Magpie foraging nearby popped over to get a closer look at what I was doing. Meanwhile a couple of Grey-Headed Woodpecker were chasing each other around and I got a shot of one taking a peak around a tree trunk to see if I still had the camera on him.

Dawa city has added a small artificial wetland to the south end of the park and although I was dubious about it when it was under construction, I have to say that it turned out very well. It really does do a good job of conveying the feeling of the wetlands that once covered the entire area. There were a pair of Little Grebe hiding in the reeds and many Azure Winged Magpie foraging about the area. I also snapped a shot of the last Water Lily still holding out despite the morning frosts.

As I was leaving the area, I noticed another area where the foot/bicycle path runs past another small wetland restoration and stopped long enough to pick up a great shot of a Eurasian Coot.

Donghu Park, Liaoning, CN
Oct 29, 2020 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
3.5 kilometer(s)
12 species

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 6
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) 3
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 1
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 50
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 2
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 60
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 9
Yellow-bellied Tit (Periparus venustulus) 10
Japanese Tit (Parus minor) 20
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 4
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 20
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) 4

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S75579855
 

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Owen Krout

Well-known member
More pnotos

The Grey Headed Woodpecker and E. Coot photos
 

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Owen Krout

Well-known member
BTW, after two days of dealing with the bureaucracy and a short lecture on how they can't keep doing this, I did get my visa extension approved. They promised another four months. I'll see then, but now they have my passport until November 10th. That rules out an interesting offer of a White Monkey job where I was offered a free trip to Dandong on November 3rd to be the Bairen on the tour that they would use for advertising. My wife has decided to go herself as she has never been to Dandong and says we'll go later after I get my passport back.

Anybody have any tips or hints for Dandong?
 
Hi Owen,

Dandong is a great birding destination. The Yalu Jiang (River) from the ocean to the Great Wall section there can be really good for ducks in the winter. Male Smew can be seen along main road along the river there as well as many others. The grounds around the great wall section are good for birding with Brown-eared Bulbul as noisy residents and Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker almost easy towards the top. Beijing Babbler also seen here. A walk between where the great wall goes up from the parking lot and where it comes down around the other side of the mountain is always worth your time. Hazel Grouse have been seen near the top and I've found Godlewski's Bunting there once. The mudflats east of Dandong around the Yalu Jiang delta are great for waders and host Nordmann's Greenshank every spring. Spoon-billed Sandpiper have also been seen on these mudflats in spring. Phoenix Mountain (a ways west of Dandong) is good for woodpeckers, nuthatch, Varied Tit, Cinerous Vulture, Eurasian Jay, and Hazel Grouse. There should be enough data on ebird from the Dandong area to see what can be expected and when. I'm happy to provide more information if needed.

Tom
 

Owen Krout

Well-known member
Hi Tom, Sounds great! I should be able to pick up several new ticks from what your saying. Somehow I had missed that there is a Great Wall section there. It should be easy enough to convince my wife to stop there.
 

Owen Krout

Well-known member
I have been lax in reporting here lately as I just did some hikes here locally where the police recognize me since I was without the physical copy of my passport and visa. I did pick them up two days ago though and got another four month extension until March.

Nevertheless, I did note some little things that might be of interest. The weather here is holding at remarkably mild for this part of the world, which, or course, tends to make the migration somewhat sluggish. Nothing unusual, but I have been seeing a lot more Eurasian Coot moving through than I normally see.

One walk on a morning with strong south winds hindering migration progress produced at least 100 Chinese Bulbul noisily chattering away in the bushes and trees. The strong winds apparently caused a fall of migrants since the mild temps didn't encourage them to move along. I am sure that if I had made a point of casting about I would have found many more as the area seemed to be full of them.

On the same walk, I deviated some to investigate an odd call that sounded almost like a Great Spotted Woodpecker, but not quite. What I found was an Azure-Winged Magpie that was trying an imitation. I am sure that it was indeed deliberate as just as I was about to walk off it gave a "rattle" call, but a modification of the usual rattle they make. I was surprised that it actually did sound a lot like a GSWP drumming. Not perfect, but good enough as indeed a very agitated acting male GSWP came rocketing in and landed on a dead tree within a meter of the AWM! He was looking all about trying to find the intruder to his territory. The AWM gave what could only be described as it's version of a laugh and flew off leaving the confused GSWP frantically searching for the intruder.

I wanted to get out today and yesterday, but a combination of my arthritis being flared up and really strong north winds followed by really strong south winds the next day and smokey skies from agricultural burning have discouraged me from doing much at the moment.
 

Owen Krout

Well-known member
General November

A few of the, even if not especially notable, but interesting photos that I gathered in November.

I have often observed and even photographed Coot as they took off, running across the surface of the water to gain enough speed to get airborne. What I hadn't noticed before was them running across the surface as they land. I caught this pair as they came down onto the surface a week ago or so. Video would be better in this case, but I am really bad at video anyway and working with the 600mm lens doesn't help.

Where the big, heavy, narrow field of view lens does help is trying to figure out what that is from 500m away. After getting home and cropping heavily, I finally decided it was just an unusual (at least for what I have ever seen here before) white coloration on a Grey Heron. Caught him out in the open at at least that range and then later a little closer but standing in deep shade. Still far enough out that even in the binoculars I didn't notice the Eastern Spot-Billed Duck in the foreground.
 

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Chaofan Feng

New member
China
Hi Owen, I'm a birder in Shenyang.and I saw your records on Ebird. May I have your wechat number, so we can easily exchange birds information. My wechat number is 18940289863.
 

Owen Krout

Well-known member
Hi Owen, I'm a birder in Shenyang.and I saw your records on Ebird. May I have your wechat number, so we can easily exchange birds information. My wechat number is 18940289863.
Greetings Chaofan Feng! I have been following your ebird posts lately and it looks like you are have found some good locations in Shenyang. I would really like to encourage you to start a thread for Shenyang in the China forum. We need more people posting from such an under reported area.
 

Owen Krout

Well-known member
Just a brief end of the year posting. Despite all the restrictions on where I could get to this year, I still managed a reasonably good 2020.

I reported 118 species to ebird in 2020 and 18 of those where new tics for me. In a really good year I would expect another 50 or so species and I know of at least a half dozen more new tics that I probably would have picked up if I could have gotten to where they were reported. That all brought me up to 228 species reported from Liaoning and my total life list is now up to 429.

That is reported since I started keeping a list in 2015. My mother was a birder and insisted on my being able to identify anything she pointed out. ("What is that?" "I don't know, Mother." "Well, look it up and let me know!") Therefore I do have more from my long ago Pennsylvania days that are not officially on my list. So long ago and now spotting Old World birds that I have had to relearn everything again.

For the new year, I have matters that will compel me to return to the USA temporarily once the vaccine is available to peons like me and I intend to do some widespread birding while I am there. Maybe this time I'll catch the Sandhill Crane and Whooping Crane during migration. Hopefully, in another year I can be much closer to breaking the 500 mark.

For now Old Man Winter has definitely taken up residence here and with readings like the high of -13° the other day I have to acknowledge that I am not as young as I used to be and stay in where it is at least reasonably warmish.
 

Owen Krout

Well-known member
Probably won't make it that far east, Jeff. I stay with my brothers when I'm back in the US and they both live and work in Kansas. My Father got transferred to Kansas in 1968 and I rarely get back to Bedford County anymore. Anyway according to what one considers "near" Bedford County may or may not qualify anyway. By Kansas standards it is not very far, I used to drive 60 miles one way to work everyday there! I'm more likely to bird along the Texas Gulf Coast or Cheyenne Bottoms or Quivera National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas. Then again, I am known for long, impromptu wanderings, so I'll keep you in mind just in case.
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
Hey Owen,

Yeah, Bedford county is not "near" by my standards. In fact, I've only been through there on the way to West Virginia, and those times were over 30 years ago. I've never even been to parts of Western PA.

And even I'd recommend Quivira if you have the choice. When I was supporting our plant in Wichita, I'd head there on pretty much every visit.
 

Owen Krout

Well-known member
Yeah, Quivira is awesome. I was there twice in 2019. Both times were rainy days, but that had the advantage of mostly having the place to myself. Only saw some other birders briefly one time. Cheyenne Bottoms just north of there is another great area even less developed and with even fewer people visiting. Both are to be highly recommended during the migrations.

Fifty years ago Bedford County was the least populated in the state and the only reason anybody went there was for hunting. It was remote and isolated at that time. I was amazed on my first time back for my 40th high school reunion. Where there had been only our house now has five families living there. The whole area seemed to have grown similarly.
 
And I have no idea if you Facebook or not, but if you do and don't mind a bit of noise, I'd recommend the Kansas Birding Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/KSbirds It runs from new backyard birders to Christmas Bird Count summaries to decades old KOS meeting photos. But it's a great adjunct to the KS ABA mailing list and you'll see the Whooping Cranes and oddities like Yellow-eyed Junco and Varied Thrush and this autumn's Woodcock yard list craziness.
 

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