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Panjin Birding by the Old Fat Man (1 Viewer)

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Thanks for the tip, dipper, but this is the only social media that I regularly use. No Facebook or Twitter account by choice, though if I did, that is one that I would probably participate in whenever I am in their area.

We came to China "temporarily" to attend our daughter's wedding 10 years ago. :rolleyes: Since then I've split my time about 50/50 up until travel became inadvisable.
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
February 10th & 11th, 2021

The latest 'requested' stay at home being lifted I got out for some badly needed exercise and to clear my head with some birding. Not much to be seen but a few hints of the migration beginning. Late nights and early morning since the first have brought definite calls from our Little Owl that nest in an adjacent building. So far I haven't made a visual sighting, but it is nice to anticipate seeing the young un's as they learn to fly.

This week found overall birding rather sparse, but then, as my wife and I were walking through a city park, I sighted a flock of Waxwing come out of another park at a distance. While I was observing them with the binoculars, another flock flew up to join them. As they did a wide circle a third flock came up out of a village and also joined in! Then to cap it off as my wife was insisting they were pigeons they turned and landed in the very top of a tall tree right next to where we were standing! Luckily, we weren't standing under the tree as they had obviously been stuffing themselves on some fruit/berries and their droppings literally sounded like rain falling into the leaf litter and onto the walkway pavement. It looked like they might have found trees that still had some mulberries. Closer observation revealed about 75 Bohemian Waxwing and 25 Japanese Waxwing. I only had my backup camera and they were so high up that it was impossible to get a good angle, but I did get some definite ID quality photos. This BW was having a bad hair day.

Also spotted recently was a Hen Harrier riding very high on the strong southerly winds that we had for about five days moving north on migration. I only got a reasonably certain ID because it briefly descended to quickly circle an adjacent marsh before climbing back to altitude and disappearing as it continued north. The first few of the Chinese Bulbul returning from further south have started to arrive also. We can expect large numbers moving through and setting up residence in the next few weeks. Also a few Hoopoe stuck around through the unusually cold winter and were spotted. How they manage to find enough of their usual fodder to stay alive through the winter like this one, I don't know.

On the 11th I managed to find 8 Oriental Magpie searching through a patch of reeds that had recently burned and in another area between two villages a flock of about 40 Azure-Winged Magpie searching through the leaf litter in a small park.

Open waters of any kind are still heavily frozen over, but within the next three weeks there should start to be enough open water to encourage the spring migration of waterfowl, waders and such.
 

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Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Things are still slow here in Dongbei as the, even for here, unusually cold winter is being stubborn about releasing it's grip. Last week we started having some days with a few hours in the afternoon managing to struggle to above freezing. On Friday last the family insisted upon everybody going down to Yingkou for the street festival. The first time the government here has officially sanctioned such activity in over a year and hence, being China, resulted in a huge crowd. I am totally out of my element in such things, besides which I just didn't think it was a wise thing to be doing just yet.

Widespread agricultural burning of rice paddies and marsh reeds was underway and coupled with all the fireworks smoke the air was filled with heavy, eye burning smoke. However, as we crossed the bridge over the Da Liao river just at sunset large flocks of geese popped in and out of the smoke as they wheeled over the area. I had no binoculars and the visibility was so poor that I was not able to make any certain ID, but I believe they were Tundra/Bean Goose. They were apparently looking for open water to set down on for the night but everything including what is normally shipping channel in the Da Liao is still frozen solid. I saw a couple of flocks wheeling down towards the marshes but the fireworks that were just starting to erupt frightened them away. All together I am certain of seeing at least 150 geese and there were most likely many more given the poor visibility.
 

Gretchen

Well-known member
February 10th & 11th, 2021

The latest 'requested' stay at home being lifted I got out for some badly needed exercise and to clear my head with some birding. Not much to be seen but a few hints of the migration beginning. Late nights and early morning since the first have brought definite calls from our Little Owl that nest in an adjacent building. So far I haven't made a visual sighting, but it is nice to anticipate seeing the young un's as they learn to fly.

This week found overall birding rather sparse, but then, as my wife and I were walking through a city park, I sighted a flock of Waxwing come out of another park at a distance. While I was observing them with the binoculars, another flock flew up to join them. As they did a wide circle a third flock came up out of a village and also joined in! Then to cap it off as my wife was insisting they were pigeons they turned and landed in the very top of a tall tree right next to where we were standing! Luckily, we weren't standing under the tree as they had obviously been stuffing themselves on some fruit/berries and their droppings literally sounded like rain falling into the leaf litter and onto the walkway pavement. It looked like they might have found trees that still had some mulberries. Closer observation revealed about 75 Bohemian Waxwing and 25 Japanese Waxwing. I only had my backup camera and they were so high up that it was impossible to get a good angle, but I did get some definite ID quality photos. This BW was having a bad hair day.

Also spotted recently was a Hen Harrier riding very high on the strong southerly winds that we had for about five days moving north on migration. I only got a reasonably certain ID because it briefly descended to quickly circle an adjacent marsh before climbing back to altitude and disappearing as it continued north. The first few of the Chinese Bulbul returning from further south have started to arrive also. We can expect large numbers moving through and setting up residence in the next few weeks. Also a few Hoopoe stuck around through the unusually cold winter and were spotted. How they manage to find enough of their usual fodder to stay alive through the winter like this one, I don't know.

On the 11th I managed to find 8 Oriental Magpie searching through a patch of reeds that had recently burned and in another area between two villages a flock of about 40 Azure-Winged Magpie searching through the leaf litter in a small park.

Open waters of any kind are still heavily frozen over, but within the next three weeks there should start to be enough open water to encourage the spring migration of waterfowl, waders and such.
Been overwhelmed with moving (now located in Iraqi Kurdistan), so just seeing this. Not a bad set of sightings for Feb up north!

Very nice to see both waxwing species together. I wonder if they were interspersed in the trees or if they segregated themselves. Do the flocks fly like pigeons? I wonder if your wife's guess was at all merited.

Ah, the return of Chinese Bulbuls... I'm amazed that I seem to have come to a place of almost no bulbuls! (There are other familiar friends, as well as new ones).
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Well, that's quite a change in venue! Best of luck in your endeavors and in your birding.

It immediately turned bitter cold again just after finding the Waxwing and just now is starting to warm back up again. Here's hoping for the ice to start to break-up in the next week or so and kickoff the spring birding.

As to your questions: The two species do tend to segregate somewhat, but it is not strange to find them totally mixed together either. This was a pretty typical case in that they were generally split between two adjacent trees with mingling where the two flocks were closest together.

My wife's assumption that they were pigeons was not out of line as the WW do fly in tight flocks and very fast, like pigeons. The first sighting was from approximately 400 meters and she didn't have the binoculars. They immediately didn't look right to me as they looked smaller and more compact. She is only a casual birder at the best, so not a bad guess actually. She is a keyboard instrument musician and a vocal artist, which I am definitely not. We all have our own areas of interest and/or expertise.
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Catching up with March 2021

March was producing little of interest until this last week when temperatures suddenly jumped to being above freezing, even overnight most of the time. Just to hit the highlights before that:

On the 9th I spent three hours doing a slow five km circle around the good areas close to home and it was mostly uneventful as the ice was still predominating with only a small percentage of open waters to be found. I did, however, manage to find a flock of 15 Naumann's Thrush in the city park within sight of our apartment and the outlier of 3 Red-Billed Starling nearby. Somebody must have released some caged RBS.

It wasn't until I made my way around to the XuFu marsh area that I heard some Reed Parrotbill foraging in the reeds along the edge of the marsh and was able to move up close enough to get a few decent shots of them through the still standing reeds in an area that escaped being burnt off. I am sure of at least 10 individuals, but it is probable that many more were hidden further away and out of sight.

Even more impressive was that the binoculars revealed that the large area that had been burnt off had Oriental Magpie scattered all over it scavenging for whatever they could find on the freshly revealed and in some spots still smoking ground. An Eurasian Kestrel passed overhead and although it didn't show any interest and seemed to be just transiting through, it caused alarm calls to sound and revealed at least 50 OM rose up to quickly find shelter in the trees around the edges of the marsh. It is only rarely that I see large flocks of OM.

Just to top things off, it also caused small flocks of both Tristram's Bunting and Pallas's Bunting to move into the wooded area where I was standing and stay long enough for a quick observation.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 2
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 50
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 6
Reed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis heudei) 10
Red-billed Starling (Spodiopsar sericeus) 3
Naumann's Thrush (Turdus naumanni) 15
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 80
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) 1
Pallas's Bunting (Emberiza pallasi) 8
Tristram's Bunting (Emberiza tristrami) 8
 

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Owen Krout

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Gedalou Reservoir March 12

With the ice starting to break up I managed to make a trip out to one of the most reliable migration producing areas in the form of Gedalou Reservoir. There was more open water than I expected with only about 20-25 hectare still covered in more or less solid ice. I went in on the south end of the lake and immediately was greeted with an estimated 300 Black-Headed Gull about evenly split between those resting on the ice and those fishing in the nearby waters. A few of what appeared to be some probably Mongolian Gull where seen, but were staying so far out that I couldn't get a good enough look to be certain of ID.

A few Tufted Duck mixed in with BHG and small numbers of Common Merganser moved in and out of the area. The BHG were making attempts at stealing fish from the Merganser, who were being very successful with every dive, but to no avail as the CM would simply dive away and thus thwart the attempted thefts. A couple of small groups of Mallard drifted down in formation to land on the open waters as I was observing.

Eight Gray Heron stood hunched on the edge of the ice. They are always the first of the heron/egret to appear in the spring and the last to leave in the fall.

Some interesting human and bird behavior noted as there were quite large fish (carp ?) that had been trapped and frozen into the ice due to the unusually cold winter we had. They were thawing out of the ice and people were actively patrolling the shoreline looking for frozen fish. One group explained that they were gathering them to feed to their ducks. Not something that I would have thought about. Meanwhile further out and on the slushy edges the BHG where pecking at the fish as they were becoming exposed.

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 15
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) 8
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) 30
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 300
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) 7
Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) 8
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 10
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 30
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) 6

A single Eurasian Kestrel was patrolling the area, but I never saw it make any attempt at catching anything. I now notice that I failed to include it in my ebird report, so will have to correct that.
 

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Owen Krout

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March 19 - Gedalou Reservoir

I made a return to Gedalou Reservoir on the 19th knowing that it will always have some interesting visitors this time of year. I was greeted by a flock of about 30 Eurasian Coot just offshore as soon as I brought the lake into view. Good start!

I scanned the lake with the binoculars and despite the rather poor visibility due to heavy pollution lately, I could make out several large flocks of ducks floating, both groups 700m or so away. I started hiking that way and in the process I was able to locate about 20 Mongolian Gull, clustered on an outlying pond. In the process of getting some shots to let me verify Mongolian or Vega, I stumbled on one small pond that for whatever reason was were the mixer was in progress.

This small pond produced Northern Shovler, Gadwall, Falcated Duck, Eastern Spot-Billed Duck, Mallard, Northern Pintail and Common Pochard. The 75 or so ducks were mixed together and seemingly randomly scattered about. Usually, I'll find only one or maybe two species of duck together on one of these quite small ponds and then each carefully sticking to its own section.

Moving back to the main lake, I was able to find the ubiquitous Black-Headed Gull scattered about resting on the lake. A fair piece of hiking managed to get me closer to the black appearing masses floating out in the middle of the lake close to a kilometer away and to improve the sun angle to where I could finally make out that there were three massive flocks of Common Pochard resting on the lake. Those three groups of an estimated 500 each plus a final slightly smaller group found just as I gave it up for the day brought the final estimate to 1800 for the day.
Also steadily arriving and leaving were small groups of Common Merganser, a few Mallard and Eastern Spot-Billed Duck. Also arriving were Great Crested Grebe who would land out in the middle of the lake and then were slowly working their way to the shoreline to start claiming territories. The original group of Eurasian Coot caught up to where I was just as I was ready to leave and joined in with a larger flock.
While I was up on the main lake a good size flock of Northern Pintail flew in circled once and then headed over to what looked to be the already crowed side pond that I had investigated earlier. A good size flock of 12 Azure-Winged Magpie swung by to follow me for awhile, which is something new for Gedalou as although there are large numbers of Oriental Magpie nesting around there, AWM have been scarce there in the past.

I spotted three Tern making early appearances, but they stayed at distance and although I think they may have been White-Winged Tern, I just couldn't get a good enough look to be sure and hence didn't count those. The camera simply refused to auto-focus on the small, white, fast moving birds against a bright white, smoky sky and they were moving much to fast for any hope at manual focusing.

Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 40
Gadwall (Mareca strepera) 10
Falcated Duck (Mareca falcata) 6
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope) 20
Eastern Spot-billed Duck (Anas zonorhyncha) 10
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 20
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) 25
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) 1800
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) 50
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) 10
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) 1
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 80
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 75
Herring Gull (Mongolian) (Larus argentatus mongolicus) 20
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 12
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 5
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) 5
 

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Owen Krout

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Some more photos from Gedalou
 

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Owen Krout

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MAR-24

Despite a quiet hike around home territory on the 16th, I did have a couple of interesting finds. In a wooded path I noticed two Yellow-Billed Grosbeak, a male and a female, eyeing each other from adjacent trees. Unusual as they are normally seen in flocks.

The really interesting observation was that the Eurasian Kestrel nest I had found before in a nearby park is definitely in use. An attempt at a Kestrel nest in this park was made last year, but I was observing when the Azure-Winged Magpie decided it had to go and started dismantling it. The Kestrel moved about a 100 meters away and attempted another nest over the next couple of weeks, but eventually abandoned that nest also when it was still little more than a platform looking more like a Heron or Egret nest. They have reoccupied that second nesting location this year and have built up a regular fortress this time. Being better than twice the size of a normal Magpie or Kestrel nest, the nest completely occupies the section of transmission line tower it was built in and is deep enough that I have observed both of them disappear down into it together and be completely out of sight. They didn't just use twigs this time either. They built using rather substantial pieces of branches for birds of their size. I returned later with camera in hand and couldn't get a good shot of either of the Kestrel, but did get enough to show their impressive castle in the sky.
 

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Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
MAR-25

I had an all round bad day birding yesterday, but with one bright spot, so worth sharing the basics at least. I had planned an early morning outing to the Panjin Wetland Park, but the evening before my wife announced that she had arraigned to pay for an "expert" to take me out to the Shuantaizi Estuary wetlands, which is the IBA site CN052. He had assured her that he knew where we could see "many, many" cranes. I couldn't pass that up, so I willingly changed my plans.

Sure enough he showed up at 9 o'clock in the morning but things immediately starting going astray. Unknown to me, we were to take a detour to pick-up two of my wife's friends who wanted to tag along. The problem was nobody had thought about pre-arraigning when and where to pick them up. So an hour was wasted in the large village trying to find each other. That finally being resolved, the journey resumed again with us headed to the north side of CN052.

He was, even for China, a really bad driver, among other things not seeming to grasp the concept of which side of the narrow roads we were often on he was supposed to be driving on. This was especially nerve wracking as there was a large proportion of large, overloaded trucks involved. At least one didn't get bored as he repeatedly failed to find the sure fire place to observe and proceeded to get lost in the process for the next three hours. Each time resulted in lengthy delays as everybody couldn't figure out on their phones where they were or even precisely where they were going. Of course multiple phone calls and loud arguments only made it obvious that none of them had any idea where they were or where they were going. A stop at a village to ask directions led to a volunteer to lead the way on his motorcycle. That resulted in being led down a narrow dirt lane at the back of the village. The odyssey came to a halt again there when he veered off to a foot path through the rice fields where our car obviously wasn't going to go. Apparently this was prearrainged as people immediately blocked the was back with their scooters and we had to purchase some produce before we could leave. His mission accomplished our village "guide" then drove off with a big smile on his face. I carry enough of a mental map that I was able to tell them where some major landmarks were in relation to us, but everybody brushed it off as I couldn't possibly know that. Finally I got exasperated enough to just insist on calling the whole thing off and bossy enough that he finally followed my directions. When we got back to an area they all recognized it was an amazed, "How did we get here?" from everybody.

It being half past one at this point, I was asked where I wanted to go instead. Not wanting a repeat performance, I chose easy to find destinations and suggested either the Panjin Wetland Park or Gedalou Reservoir. No, that wasn't good enough everybody decided and another 15 minutes of consulting phones and they decided we would go to the south end of the wetland. OK, I had been there before and it was at least of interest. An hour later they were lost again. Again I knew the general direction to get back home, so directed them that way. When they suddenly realized where they were, another plan was hatched despite my asking to just give up and go home. So off to Honghaitan despite my protesting that it wouldn't be worth the entry fee at this time of year. No, they assured me that it was free right now. Of course it wasn't.

All right, we can try the nearby Erjigo harbor. The tide would be coming in and might reveal some interesting finds. Lost again. At that point I realized we were near a Red-Crowned Crane rescue operation that I had visited several years ago and managed to direct him to it. The facility has deteriorated badly and shrunk in size with a new tourist facility being constructed right next to it. We parked and workers directed us to walk down the road several hundred meters to see the birds. The result was that I got separated from the rest as I was observing some Mongolian Gull and Pied Avocet on a large pond and they headed straight to the Red-Crowned Crane cages. Within 15 minutes of arrival they managed to get ordered to leave the premises due to their loud and obnoxious behavior around the cranes, so that being my ride, I left too. I did manage to find a very tame Daurian Redstart on my way out.

At that point I called an end to the outing and despite being within what proved to be only about 5km from his home, our "guide" got lost again. He refused to listen to my directions until he finally found a trucker stopped and out of the cab and was able to direct us in the right direction.
 

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MKinHK

Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
Hi Owen

That small pond at Gedalou with all the ducks in their breeding finery sounds wonderful!

Your expert guide ... not so much!

I’m interested in the magpies demolishing the kestrel nest. Not something I’ve heard of previously.

Cheers
Mike
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Hi Mike,

I personally observed the Magpie assault on the Kestrels in action. I had observed the Kestrel flying in and had followed them to where they were constructing a nest. I was trying to get a decent photo of the Kestrel in action when the Azure-Winged Magpie arrived and after some time spent in yelling at each other and the Kestrel making a few screaming passes, the AWM finally harassed the Kestrel into leaving. Several of them then started literally pulling the twigs out and dropping them off the side to the ground. The AWM can be quite aggressive about territory and I have also observed them driving Oriental Magpie away from an established nest and then dismantling it. They also seem to have some kind of grudge towards Gray-Headed Woodpecker. The feeling is apparently mutual as it is not unusual to see either species trying to drive the other off.

I don't know if this is typical for AWM everywhere or if it is behavior unique to this local area.

Interestingly, the next transmission tower to the west of the Kestrel fortress is currently occupied by an active Oriental Magpie nest and the two seem to just ignore each other.
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
MAR-26

A day after the odyssey was solid overcast but I figured things had to get better, so I tried a run at the Panjin Wetland Park. Things were slower than I had hoped with no ducks or egret to be found, but still with enough to be found to make it interesting at least. Even the gull were in fairly short supply, but after being greeted by 20 or so Azure-Winged Magpie, I started checking out the water and had a low flying Mongolian Gull make a pass close enough that I thought it was going for the binoculars I had in hand. Altogether there were about 10 of them out on the water. What was in really surprisingly small numbers were the 20 or so Black-Headed Gull busily fishing. I did make out 5 Saunder's Gull mixed in for my first definite sighting this year.

Attracted by their calls, I moved over into the wooded area of the park and managed to locate a small flock of 8 Bohemian Waxwing. While back there I didn't find any bunting as expected, but did locate a couple of Great Spotted Woodpecker and two Spotted Dove. A single Oriental Magpie followed me around, but nothing else of interest showed other than a dozen or so Tree Sparrow.

I returned back to the water and managed to find 13 Eastern Spot-Billed Duck. Moving on a bit further to get close enough to their favorite roosting spots, I was able to count 115 Great Cormorant, mostly roosting on transmission towers. Scattered along the shoreline were 3 Great Crested Grebe.

I was only in for an hour at this point and had only covered about 1.5 km of the usual 6 km circle that I normally do there, but the sky had quickly turned dark enough that the street lights had come on along the bridge where I had come in and the sky was developing a definite yellow tint. I am more could have been found further to the east, but with the temperature also dropping, I decided not to push my luck and took the shortcut trail out to catch a taxi and head back home. Another Mongolian dust storm? I don't know, but it was twilight dark and yellow skies all day today. There's always tomorrow, which is supposed to be sunny, so maybe I'll try for one of the lakes where there are usually almost no people around.

 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
MAR-29

An absolutely gorgeous day so I managed to hire a nephew to take my wife and I to Rongxing Reservoir. This is another of the large man made lakes close to as big as Gedalou, but with no vehicular access to the road around the lake rim and almost no humans to be seen. Most people will even argue that there is no such lake. All that makes for one of my favorite places to spend time. Birding results can be spotty, but usually at least good during migration. I found that almost all the village that was on the edge of the lake is gone now and the housing development that took its place is almost entirely empty. As a result the usual over tended "garden" along the rim road has been let go and is now much more dense brush on the outer edge of the road. That is great for wildlife, but although I could hear large numbers of birds rustling in the brush and reeds just beyond, it was almost impossible to get a line of sight on any of them.

My wife and our nephew were openly dubious about the trip being worth while, but were immediate converts. I knew where the lake comes closest to the highway, so I had him park there and we walked up the berm to the lake. As soon as we crested the rim there were at least a hundred Common Coot directly in front of us milling about in the shelter from the wind. NT4A7435.jpeg

A few White Wagtail foraging along the water's edge added to their delight.
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Further out on the water I found a small number of Common Goldeneye scattered about.

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Eastern Spot-Billed Duck made several passes overhead coming up out of the reeds around the lake and Common Merganser. Common Pochard and Great Crested Grebe were both floating far out, mostly sleeping.

Eastern Spot-Billed Duck.jpeg

Great Cormorant were scattered all about and I eventually found that a small island out in the lake that was originally supposed to be a tourist attraction that immediately failed and now has become a roost for the Cormorant and Magpie.

Common Cormorant.jpeg

This was always a known nesting location for Chinese Penduline Tit, but now that it is almost entirely deserted and without all the over gardening new nests in progress were scattered everywhere in the willows that line the lake edge. Some of them even have extra work put into non-functional weaving which I assume serves to advertise how good that male is at weaving nests.

Penduline Tit nest in progress.jpeg

Penduline Tit art work.jpeg

A Ring-Necked Pheasant cock hiding in the dense brush waited until we were only about 5 meters away before letting out a loud crow and scaring the living daylights out of my wife, who was closest to him. We never saw him but could hear him running away through the brush. About an hour later she got another start as she moved to the very edge and as she raised her arm to point out some Azure-Winged Magpie two Ring-Necked Pheasant hens broke right at her feet.

Numerous Reed Bunting and Chinese Penduline Tit were rustling about in the brush and reeds but were very shy and though with great effort I could pick them out with the binoculars, none of the pics were worthwhile. Surprisingly and unusual for Rongxing, there were very few gull about. A couple each of Mongolian Gull and Black-Headed Gull were all there was to be seen. I did find my first egret of the year with nine Intermediate Egret and one Great Egret.

RongXing Reservoir, Liaoning, CN
Mar 29, 2021 9:45 AM - 11:45 AM
Protocol: Traveling
9.0 kilometer(s)
20 species

Eastern Spot-billed Duck (Anas zonorhyncha) 12
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) 10
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) 10
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) 12
Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 3
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) 20
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 125
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 2
Herring Gull (Mongolian) (Larus argentatus mongolicus) 2
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) 50
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 1
Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia) 9
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 18
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 2
Chinese Penduline-Tit (Remiz consobrinus) 25
Daurian Redstart (Phoenicurus auroreus) 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 25
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) 8
Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) 25
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) 5
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
March-31

Seeing that some great results were being reported for Yingkou, I decided to check on the little fishing harbor at Erjigo, which is just across the mouth of the Daliao river from Yingkou. There was a very high tide and it would still be receding when I arrived and Erjigo is one of the few places where one can not only consistently find Saunder's Gull, but actually get quite close to them for photos. There are huge mud flats exposed at low tide, so always a good chance at finding some good birds. It is possible to get there via bus transfers, but to my surprise my very frugal wife decided to get a taxi. Through family connections we we are able to call in and there is usually a driver who will take what I consider a low fee to ferry us around for half a day or so and at least taxi drivers generally don't get lost.

It was a good call as though there were not any huge flocks as have been reported lately, the mix was nice and both my wife an driver were impressed enough to take over my binoculars and my wife even started spotting and pointing things out for me to photo.

Although some gulls could be heard, a few Kentish Plover were all there was to be seen as we first walked up to the water's edge, but handing my wife the binoculars to view the little fellows was were I lost control of them as she was delighted at the colors.
Kentish Plover.jpeg

As soon as we reached the harbor itself we found the Saunder's Gull at their favorite spot on the mud. Besides the visual clues, they have a very distinctive call, an eek, rather quiet compared to other gulls.
Saunder's Gull (2).jpeg

Saunder's Gull (5).jpeg Saunder's Gull (4).jpeg

A few Black-Headed Gull were also about and small numbers of Mongolian Gull were to be spotted staying well away from the shoreline.

Pied Avocet were the next to attract attention as they foraged the mud at the very edge of the water. A very few Dunlin not only were mixed in, but seemed to be actively sticking close to the Avocet who were up on the mud itself.
Pied Avocet w- Dunlin.jpeg Pied Avocet w- Dunlin (1).jpeg Pied Avocet (2).jpeg

At about this point one of the Saunder's Gull decided that I was too close to their area and after making a couple of low warning passes it actually made one where it smacked me on the head. Luckily I was wearing my Stetson, so no harm done.

Next up on the wife's excited, "picture - picture!" orders while pointing at what she had spotted in the bins, were some Eurasian Oystercatcher. The bright colored bill and feet where the feature exciting both her and our driver. I got a good shot of one looking back at us with a look conveying something like, "What is wrong with those people?"

Eurasian Oystercatcher (2).jpeg

At the end of the day my wife proclaimed the Common Shelduck that came flying in at about this time to be her favorite. One even struck a pose for me as I grabbed some photos.

Common Shelduck (2).jpeg Common Shelduck (1).jpeg Common Shelduck.jpeg

Both Eurasian and Far Eastern Curlew were scattered thinly and fairly evenly across the mudflats. Most were too far out to be sure of species, but I extrapolated from the from the closer in ones in flight to arrive at a probable 15 Eurasian and 35 Far Eastern in sight.

In addition, the very long range photo of what I could only ID as ducks, revealed enough on close inspection to be 23 Garganey resting on the exposed mud far out from shore.

On my way out I spotted 2 Common Redshank working along the banks right up next to the fishing boats. Common Redshank.jpeg


Panjin, Erjiegou Fishing Harbor, Liaoning, CN
Mar 31, 2021 11:15 AM - 1:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
12 species

Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) 25
Garganey (Spatula querquedula) 23
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) 10
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) 20
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) 5
Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis) 25
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) 15
Dunlin (Calidris alpina) 5
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) 2
Saunders's Gull (Saundersilarus saundersi) 50
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 15
Herring Gull (Mongolian) (Larus argentatus mongolicus) 10
 

MKinHK

Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
Sounds like migration is really kicking in Owen. Sounds like you need more visits to reservoirs that don't exist!

Oystercatcher and Shelduck are both pretty rare down here - the shots of both are wonderful.

What an honour to take one upside the head from a Saunders's Gull! I never knew they were so feisty.

Cheers
Mike
 

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