• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Panjin Birding by the Old Fat Man (1 Viewer)

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Hi Owen, just getting caught up a bit - you've had excellent outings, and it's so encouraging to hear about the WeChat group!

It's hard to single out individual sightings or pictures, but I'm very impressed about the lovely rock thrush, and love the pond heron picture. (The cocoon was fascinating too!)

Hope there's a bit more good spring left for you!
Hey Gretchen, I hope your getting settled into your new surroundings OK. I'm checked your account as a follow and am awaiting further news from you.
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
May 18, 2021

A slower week than I would have liked due to both rain and warnings to avoid groups of people. Since we live directly across the street from two government run schools and two private schools next to them, that pretty much applies. Apparently an abundance of over caution as it turns out.

The 18th I snuck out for a few kilometers in the immediate area where there are always very few people anyway. A good move as a northerly wind had apparently encouraged some migrants to make a stop over. In particular, there were Flycatchers everywhere. The largest group was a flock of at least 30 Chestnut-Flanked White-Eye. The foliage is now dense enough to make it difficult to get eyes on anything prone to hiding and although rather vocal, these little fellows were quite shy. In fact the same could be said for the 15 Asian Brown Flycatcher! I only had my backup camera, so ended up shooting a lot of frames but only a few were really salvagable. It just doesn't do well with autofocus when there is a lot of clutter obstructing the shot and there definitely was.

Chestnut-Flanked White Eye.jpeg IMG_8617.jpeg IMG_8630.jpeg IMG_8714.jpeg

Fifteen or more Asian Brown Flycatcher were in the same area and being even shier, with no good photos resulting and a couple of Taiga Flycatcher flitted about never stopping long enough to get a shot at them.

Luckily, a little later, I had my binoculars and while puzzling over is that a Grey-Streaked Flycatcher or a Dark-Sided Flycatcher a DSF cooperatively landed within a few feet of what was the GSF and settled the issue with one of each! The DSF then disappeared while I was getting a photo of it's cousin.

Grey-Streaked Flycatcher.jpeg

Meanwhile Ring-Neck Pheasant were crowing in the nearby wetland area. Moving that way I found a couple of Spotted Dove and a single Brown Shrike but just as I went to get some photos a pair of Eurasian Kestrel zoomed overhead and everything dove for the nearest heavy cover. I did manage a few Yellow-Browed Warbler and Tree Sparrow before moving on to check out the marsh.

The rain had plenty of water in the marsh, but only a few Black-Crowned Night-Heron and one Great Egret were found in the marsh itself. Meanwhile one Purple Heron slowly flapped it's way overhead on it's way to somewhere else. A group of about 10 Oriental Magpie were scattered about on the marsh. The air over the marsh was thick with at least 80 Barn Swallow.

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 2
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 3
Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) 2
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 10
Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 2
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) 1
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 10
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 80
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 2
Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) 5
Chestnut-flanked White-eye (Zosterops erythropleurus) 30
Gray-streaked Flycatcher (Muscicapa griseisticta) 1
Dark-sided Flycatcher (Muscicapa sibirica) 1
Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica) 15
Taiga Flycatcher (Ficedula albicilla) 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 10
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
May 19 & 22, 2021

Tried again this time convincing my wife that we weren't going to drop dead if we went out for some exercise. Unfortunately, the Flycatchers had moved on with the wind shifting back to a prevailing southerly. Only a few notables with 30 or so Azure-Winged Magpie that found us interesting after we stopped to watch some nest construction underway. Also I managed to get a good view through the binoculars of a Ring-Neck Pheasant crowing loudly on the other side of the marsh. I pointed it out and once my wife managed to find him standing out in the open, throwing out his chest and beating his wings as he crowed, she was absolutely delighted and kept the binoculars. Just as we were leaving I found a couple of Chinese Penduline Tit constructing a nest in a willow right next to the marsh and thought I was never going to drag the wife away as she made use of the purloined binoculars at close range.

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 2
Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) 2
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 2
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 30
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 2
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 10
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 5
Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) 5
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 20
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
May 24

It rained heavily yesterday and though the marsh has even more water, I found nothing particularly interesting. However the trip was my wife's idea as she wanted me to get some pictures of the Chinese Penduline Tit. Maybe the birth of a new birder as she was still keeping the binoculars and though she had no idea what anything is, other than Magpie and Hoopoe, she was eagerly actually looking for things to point out and demand an ID. :) I led her to where I was sure a Ring-Neck Pheasant was hiding and sure enough she managed to spot it moving through heavy cover. I also managed to find some Red-Rumped Swallow that were building nests in the overhang outside the little local grocery and the idea that there was more than one kind of Swallow finally sunk in.

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 4
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 1
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 1
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 7
Chinese Penduline-Tit (Remiz consobrinus) 2
Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) 1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 50
Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) 6
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 8
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 25
 

Attachments

  • Chinese Penduline Tit w- nest.jpeg
    Chinese Penduline Tit w- nest.jpeg
    1 MB · Views: 2
  • Chinese Penduline Tit (2).jpeg
    Chinese Penduline Tit (2).jpeg
    1.2 MB · Views: 2

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
May 24

It rained heavily yesterday and though the marsh has even more water, I found nothing particularly interesting. However the trip was my wife's idea as she wanted me to get some pictures of the Chinese Penduline Tit. Maybe the birth of a new birder as she was still keeping the binoculars and though she had no idea what anything is, other than Magpie and Hoopoe, she was eagerly actually looking for things to point out and demand an ID. :) I led her to where I was sure a Ring-Neck Pheasant was hiding and sure enough she managed to spot it moving through heavy cover. I also managed to find some Red-Rumped Swallow that were building nests in the overhang outside the little local grocery and the idea that there was more than one kind of Swallow finally sunk in.

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 4
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 1
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 1
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 7
Chinese Penduline-Tit (Remiz consobrinus) 2
Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) 1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 50
Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) 6
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 8
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 25
Your good deed for the year, fledging a new birder. Good on you!
 

Gretchen

Well-known member
May 19 & 22, 2021

... I pointed it out and once my wife managed to find him standing out in the open, throwing out his chest and beating his wings as he crowed, she was absolutely delighted and kept the binoculars. Just as we were leaving I found a couple of Chinese Penduline Tit constructing a nest in a willow right next to the marsh and thought I was never going to drag the wife away as she made use of the purloined binoculars at close range....
Sounds like it's time to get a second pair of binoculars ! My husband still doesn't feel very interested to look through my binoculars, but once in a while I think he is glad to have had a look.
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Try, try again
May 28

OK, I'll try a quick overview of the most interesting highlights of the last week after failing the attempt several times.

I returned from an out on the 28th and popped the flashcard into the reader to download the photos only to have Mac Photos fail to even detect the flash card. Nuts, I thought, my first flashcard failure. That card is almost 5 years old, so not totally out of line. Then, when I decided to at least enter a report here, as I finished everything froze and after a long pause just dropped out of the website. When I came back, everything I had done was lost. Frustrated and tired at that point, I decided to try again the next day.

The next day we went out again and upon return, typed up another report while offline intending it for here and went to download my photos to include a few. Mac Photos detected the new card but said there were no files. I lost that report after I dumbly did a restart without saving anything. After trying several things it occurred to me to try reading the card by directly connecting the computer to the camera. Eureka! That was a slower method than the card reader normally was, but it worked. Finally, I realized that the problem was a card reader that is going flaky. At any rate, I finally managed to recover both sets of photos.

So, for the 28th (again):

I now will have to post many of my ebird reports as two people in the party as my wife is the one pushing to go out and look for birds. She is still at the stage where everything is new and she can't ID most things, but at least everything isn't a sparrow and she is actually quite good at describing what she sees in the bins. I'm doing my part by trying to find things that will be especially appealing to encourage her.

We started out to check on the Penduline Tit nest, but construction activity meant we would have had to make a long detour to get there, so I convinced her to try the city park a kilometer to the south where the Kestrel are nesting. That plan went astray after I spotted some Whiskered Tern orbiting over the river to the west and diverted to the wetland area there. Unfortunately, development has recently claimed a pond and surrounding reeds in that area. I decided to check on the adjacent sister pond that, so far at least, has remained untouched. It is on the back property of a factory of some sort and hence enclosed with a wrought iron fence, so I climbed up on the concrete base to get a better, slightly elevated view. To my surprise, my never get off the pavement, wife waded through the reeds and mud and popped up next to me demanding her turn with the binoculars. A couple of Eurasian Moorhen and a Little Grebe were puttering about on the pond making good encouraging targets for the newbie. With a little more effort, I managed to find some Black-Crowned Night-Heron almost hidden in the reeds on the edge of the pond. Meanwhile, numerous Oriental Reed Warbler were calling noisily from the reeds. That is encouraging as two years ago all the ORW had suddenly mysteriously disappeared from the area. The with Zitting Cistola had already suddenly disappeared the year before that and I still am not finding any. Both used to be very common in the reeds here.

Common Moorhen.jpeg Black-Crowned Night-Heron.jpeg

Ring-Necked Pheasant crowed from nearby fields and the Common Cuckoo were very active and calling loudly from an elevated area covered with trees.

Approaching thunderstorms were rumbling, so, moving quickly, we started out to where we could grab a taxi before the rapidly approaching rain arrived. It was then that we got lucky as a group of eight Hoopoe flew across the road right in front of us and I was able to quickly locate the two parents and six youngsters foraging right along the edge of the road amongst the trees. My wife was absolutely delighted and I managed to quickly snap some photos and get a short video as what I assume to be the male stood over watch up in the trees and the female was leading the flock of children around demonstrating how to probe for food.

Hoopoe.jpeg Hoopoe family.jpeg IMG_8927.jpeg
View attachment MVI_8958.mov

With the thunder rumbling we had to cut that short and grab the first taxi we could.

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 4
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 1
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) 5
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) 2
Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) 25
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 7
Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 11
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 1
Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 1
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) 1
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 5
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 6
Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) 20
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 20
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 1
Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) 5
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 50
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
May 29, 2021

My wife was eager to check on the Chinese Penduline-Tit again, so off we went. My new birder promptly started to show me up as she spotted the first three species of the day with Chinese Bulbul, Brown Shrike and Spotted Dove. :oops:(y) The nest looks to be finished now and one CPT showed up briefly and looked like it might have been passing food to a mate inside the nest.

Being most of the way there already, we moved on to the marsh where Ring-Necked Pheasant were calling loudly all about. She was disappointed not to be able to see one, but I made up for it by spotting a pair of Black-Winged Stilt which she got a good look at through the binoculars. A Reed Parrotbill cooperated by popping up out of the reeds to nibble on some seeds close enough for a good view. Meanwhile a Black-Crowned Night-Heron and Chinese Pond Heron were skulking in the reeds not making good photo candidates, but still good in the bins. The Vinous-Throated Parrotbill were flitting about too quickly for a photo with the rig I had with me and meanwhile I got a laugh at the wife trying to get a look through the bins at the Barn Swallow zooming all around us.

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 6
Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) 3
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) 5
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) 2
Chinese Pond-Heron (Ardeola bacchus) 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 1
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) 5
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 6
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 10
Chinese Penduline-Tit (Remiz consobrinus) 1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 25
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 7
Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) 2
Reed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis heudei) 2
Vinous-throated Parrotbill (Sinosuthora webbiana) 4
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 30
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) 5
 

Attachments

  • Black-Winged Stilt.jpeg
    Black-Winged Stilt.jpeg
    1.6 MB · Views: 3
  • Reed Parrotbill.jpeg
    Reed Parrotbill.jpeg
    1.3 MB · Views: 3

Gretchen

Well-known member
Try, try again
May 28

OK, I'll try a quick overview of the most interesting highlights of the last week after failing the attempt several times.

I returned from an out on the 28th and popped the flashcard into the reader to download the photos only to have Mac Photos fail to even detect the flash card. Nuts, I thought, my first flashcard failure. That card is almost 5 years old, so not totally out of line. Then, when I decided to at least enter a report here, as I finished everything froze and after a long pause just dropped out of the website. When I came back, everything I had done was lost. Frustrated and tired at that point, I decided to try again the next day.

The next day we went out again and upon return, typed up another report while offline intending it for here and went to download my photos to include a few. Mac Photos detected the new card but said there were no files. I lost that report after I dumbly did a restart without saving anything. After trying several things it occurred to me to try reading the card by directly connecting the computer to the camera. Eureka! That was a slower method than the card reader normally was, but it worked. Finally, I realized that the problem was a card reader that is going flaky. At any rate, I finally managed to recover both sets of photos.

So, for the 28th (again):

I now will have to post many of my ebird reports as two people in the party as my wife is the one pushing to go out and look for birds. She is still at the stage where everything is new and she can't ID most things, but at least everything isn't a sparrow and she is actually quite good at describing what she sees in the bins. I'm doing my part by trying to find things that will be especially appealing to encourage her.

We started out to check on the Penduline Tit nest, but construction activity meant we would have had to make a long detour to get there, so I convinced her to try the city park a kilometer to the south where the Kestrel are nesting. That plan went astray after I spotted some Whiskered Tern orbiting over the river to the west and diverted to the wetland area there. Unfortunately, development has recently claimed a pond and surrounding reeds in that area. I decided to check on the adjacent sister pond that, so far at least, has remained untouched. It is on the back property of a factory of some sort and hence enclosed with a wrought iron fence, so I climbed up on the concrete base to get a better, slightly elevated view. To my surprise, my never get off the pavement, wife waded through the reeds and mud and popped up next to me demanding her turn with the binoculars. A couple of Eurasian Moorhen and a Little Grebe were puttering about on the pond making good encouraging targets for the newbie. With a little more effort, I managed to find some Black-Crowned Night-Heron almost hidden in the reeds on the edge of the pond. Meanwhile, numerous Oriental Reed Warbler were calling noisily from the reeds. That is encouraging as two years ago all the ORW had suddenly mysteriously disappeared from the area. The with Zitting Cistola had already suddenly disappeared the year before that and I still am not finding any. Both used to be very common in the reeds here.

View attachment 1388381 View attachment 1388380

Ring-Necked Pheasant crowed from nearby fields and the Common Cuckoo were very active and calling loudly from an elevated area covered with trees.

Approaching thunderstorms were rumbling, so, moving quickly, we started out to where we could grab a taxi before the rapidly approaching rain arrived. It was then that we got lucky as a group of eight Hoopoe flew across the road right in front of us and I was able to quickly locate the two parents and six youngsters foraging right along the edge of the road amongst the trees. My wife was absolutely delighted and I managed to quickly snap some photos and get a short video as what I assume to be the male stood over watch up in the trees and the female was leading the flock of children around demonstrating how to probe for food.

View attachment 1388383 View attachment 1388382 View attachment 1388384
View attachment 1388385
Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 11...
Wonderful to see a family of Hoopoe - I've never seen that!

So glad you have a birding partner! My husband has become an excellent "non-birder" - and actually is the first to sight about half the birds we see, so I definitely list all the ebird submissions with him as a party of two :) Your wife however, seems to have truly been bitten by the bug!
 

MKinHK

Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
Great stuff Owen - that family of Hoopoes is truly special!

Delighted to hear your wife ha been bitten by the birding bug - hopefully that means more birding and less non-birder expectation management for you!

Cheers
Mike
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
June, 2021

Summer is the rainy season and this year in spades! The latter half of June through until now have been averaging about five days a week with at least intermittent showers and often outright downpours. Between that and other obligations I have not had a lot interesting enough to post anything here.

Besides the rain itself and the accompanying mud, the heat and abundant rain have resulted in luxuriant foliage and tall dense reeds in the marshes that provide enough cover to hide most of the birds. The reeds in the marsh yesterday were dense and have reached 2-2.5 meters in height. At any rate I have reached the point of having obtained a count of 230 for Liaoning, which means that, especially with the current restrictions on mobility, adding anything new is going to be fairly rare. Therefore I spend more time dwelling on the unusual or just downright interesting during my hikes.

One thing in the early summer that is always of interest is the trees being full of fledglings (or nearly fledged) youngsters with their parents delivering food and scolding anyone nearby. The Brown Shrike seem to be especially abundant this year. However it is the Azure-Winged Magpie that are in greatest numbers and noisy and aggressive about defending their young, with raising their young being as much of a community activity as everything else they do. I found a couple of youngsters who still couldn't fly being guarded in a dark corner of a city park. They were making a lot of noise until I approached and some warning calls from the adults caused them to become quite still and quiet.

Azure-Winged Magpie fledglings.jpeg

Another day and I encountered a barely fledged AWM that fly short distances, but lacked any control. When I started taking pictures one of the adults swooped by and caused it to fly, but it promptly face planted into a nearby tree.
Azure-Winged Magpie (fledgling) (1).jpeg NT4A9876.jpeg


Another day and my wife spotted a particularly plump and disheveled looking NT4A9792.jpeg AWM fledgling being fed by several very thin looking adults.

A visit to Donghu Park in Dawa found an unlikely visitor in the form of a Yellow Bittern hiding in the reeds of around a small pond. This is literally in the middle of a city and a very popular park, so I doubt it stayed around much longer.

Yellow Bittern.jpeg

Though I am not often seeing the woodpeckers in the area, I have found evidence they have been hard at work. This is not two trees, but one trunk that what I believe to be a particularly ambitious Gray-Headed Woodpecker has excavated all the way through to get at an ant colony. I have encountered several trees in the area near home like this or nearly completely through.

Woodpecker's work - probable Grey-Headed Woodpecker.jpeg NT4A0174 (1).jpeg

During a visit to the marsh, I had a Chinese Penduline Tit come right up next to me several times. It was fully aware of me, but didn't seem to be at all concerned.
Chinese Penduline Tit (1).jpeg

During the same visit, a Eurasian Cuckoo was in the area and landed on a railing nearby, but after a couple of calls what I have termed the local anti-Cuckoo militia appeared to chase him off. These three stayed to establish their claim while two more chased the Cuckoo away.
The anti-Cuckoo militia.jpeg

That patch of marsh is always home to several Eastern Cattle Egret and Chinese Pond Heron both of which were evident.

NT4A0276.jpeg
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
August & September 2021

August was mostly spending time trying to ID disheveled looking juvenile birds and confusing birds in molt.

Tailless Magpies or forked tail looking Chinese Bulbul for instance.
Chinese Bulbul.jpeg
Also the loss of about one-third of the remaining local marsh to development has changed a good source of birding from being literally within sight of home to a minimum of a kilometers hike away. Hence not as motivated to just pop out for an hours worth of birding since only such as Azure-Winged Magpie, Chinese Bulbul and Tree Sparrows are likely to be seen. On the positive side the development deprived the AWM of one of their better nesting and foraging city parks, so they added our apartment complex to their regular territory. Since we have two mature trees right outside our patio door they now show up three or four times a day in their territory patrols and to snatch berries off some bushes my wife has planted.
IMG_9108.jpeg

Additionally, all the marsh resident birds from the areas being filled in moved over to the adjacent marsh area still remaining. This means that Chinese Pond Heron, Black-Crowned Night-Heron, Moorhen, Common Coot, Little Grebe and hoards of Oriental Magpie are now crowded in tightly enough as to be squabbling over territory and hence easily observed.
Little Grebe.jpeg Connon Coot.jpeg Common Moorhen.jpeg
Fortunately, nearly constant rains and a fairly mild August have kept the marsh in better condition than any time I have seen before. During one excursion I discovered an area just at the edge of the marsh with the ground literally crawling with freshwater crabs. First time I've seen them out of the water like that.

I did pick up a new species in a flock of Japanese Quail who broke practically at my feet and moving too fast for a photo. Probably escaped or turned lose from the remanents of a village that was recently finally cleared out for new apartment construction. Previously my wife had occasionally purchased quail eggs from the village roadside vendors. They are native to this area and are now wild, so I counted them.

September is continuing wet and mild and produced the first hints of migration. Barn Swallows are steaming south right now, a group of Asian Brown Flycatcher were to be found near home for one day and even ten Black-Crowned Night-Heron were observed wheeling southward in a circle that looked when they first appeared at a distance to be possible Buzzards. As they approached closer it was obvious what they actually were.
NT4A1150.jpeg

I got an opportunity for a quick one hour look at the Shuangtaizhi Wetlands and although there was not the variety or numbers that I had hoped for, I did get a few excellent photos. A female Black-Crowned Night-Heron was chilling out along the water's edge and took exception to a male which flew too close. She spent the next ten minutes chasing him about until he gave up and left the area and she settled back down again. Of particular note is the extra long deformed toe evident on the male.
Black-Crowned Night-Heron (fem.).jpeg Black-Crowned Night-Heron.jpeg Black-Crowned Night-Heron (1).jpeg

Not the best of shots, but these three images are from a set of nine taken over three seconds of a Great Cormorant that suddenly splashed down directly in front of me, dove quickly and snared a good sized fish. I didn't have any time to dial in any adjustments, just pull up the camera, focus and fire away.
Great Cormorant.jpeg Great Cormorant (1).jpeg Great Cormorant (2).jpeg
The Cormorant where abundant along with several Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, and Gray Heron.
Great Egret.jpeg

Rain predicted for all this week, but as soon as the weather (and hence my arthritis) cooperates, I hope to get a trip or two a week to more promising locations to observe waterfowl and shorebirds as they pass through over the next eight weeks.
 

Attachments

  • NT4A1150.jpeg
    NT4A1150.jpeg
    282.2 KB · Views: 1
  • Connon Coot.jpeg
    Connon Coot.jpeg
    477.6 KB · Views: 1

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Just to mention a couple of interesting visits to Gedalou Reservoir. On September 23rd and October 8th, 2021. The trip on the 23rd was a lot of walking for little return with the lake itself being empty of anything except for numerous Barn Swallow passing over, as their migration is heavily underway. A few Chinese Bulbul, a couple of White Wagtail and the usual inquisitive Oriental Magpie were all there was to be found.
White Wagtail.jpeg

That is until deciding to pack it up and head out. Leaving through a different route than going in, which drops down to pass behind the fish ponds and through some rice fields, I was immediately rewarded with a huge flock of Tree Sparrow and a small flock of Reed Parrotbill, who seemed interested in checking out what I was up to.
Reed Parrotbill.jpeg

The rice fields proved to be the find of the day with Little Egret, Intermediate Egret, Great Egret, Gray Heron and Pond Heron everywhere! At first I thought it to be another blank for the day until the Pond Heron started popping up out of the rice. Then a few Gray Heron flew high overhead and the Egret heads suddenly starting popping up like periscopes out of the ditches running through the rice. The half hour at the end of the outing was delightful enough to make it worth the effort.

Chinese Pond Heron.jpeg Gray Heron.jpeg Little Egret.jpeg Up periscope.jpeg

Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 3
Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) 5
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 25
Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia) 5
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) 4
Chinese Pond-Heron (Ardeola bacchus) 3
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 2
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 30
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 50
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 10
Reed Parrotbill (Calamornis heudei) 10
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 300
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) 2
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
On October 8th I decided to make another try at Gedalou Reservoir as it is normally productive during migration. This time I tried starting at the rice fields which had been so interesting on my last trip. However, this time there was no activity at all, except for the rice paddies swarming with fresh water crabs.
NT4A1817.jpeg
As soon as I arrived at the edge of the lake itself I was rewarded with large numbers of Barn Swallow using the flat calm surface of a small fish pond to skim of the surface to bathe and then perch on the electric lines to groom and dry off in the sun.
Barn Swallow.jpeg

Nearby an overgrown patch of ground hosted some rather elusive Black-Faced Bunting. I never was able to get a good focus through the weeds with the camera, but was able to use the binoculars to get a good visual ID. I'm sure of seeing at least ten, but all the activity deeper into the weeds indicated there were probably many more. Across the road from them were a large flock of Tree Sparrow in another overgrown patch.

Nearby Chinese Bulbul and Yellow-Browed Warbler in a tree line along a drainage ditch attracted my attention until I noticed a steady stream of Oriental Magpie in loose groups flying overhead, all headed from north to south. I stood there for about 15 minutes counting the slow, steady stream and counted 220 individuals before they finally finished! This is the second time I have observed this behavior at Gedalou, but I still was not able to determine for sure what was causing it. One possibility is that it was just as the automatic fish feeders were kicking in and farmers were out restocking the feed bins. Possibly the Magpie have figured out a way to manage to steal some of the fish food pellets during these times?

The lake itself was again rather disappointing with only small numbers of Black-Headed Gull, a few Great Crested Grebe and a couple of Gray Heron which circled about. One small, recently drained, fish pond did produce three Little Egret and 20 Intermediate Egret.
Little Egret.jpeg
The pond is rather blocked from easy viewing and while working at viewing it I happened to turn around to just get a quick look and snap a few quick shots of 13 Bean Goose making a low pass and disappearing from view behind the trees. The shorter looking bills looked to be Tundra Bean-Goose.

Bean Goose.jpeg

Tundra Bean-Goose (Anser serrirostris) 13
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) 3
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 25
Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) 2
Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia) 20 Flock feeding on a recently drained fish pond
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) 3
Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) 220 Loose overflight moving north to south - counted at least 200 over about 15 minutes
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 100
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 10
Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) 20
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 50
Black-faced Bunting (Emberiza spodocephala) 10 Probably many more - very reclusive - could be heard rustling as feeding as well hidden in reeds
 

Attachments

  • Great Crested Grebe (1).jpeg
    Great Crested Grebe (1).jpeg
    933.4 KB · Views: 2

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Sometimes ignorance pays off. On October 12th the weather and tide charts being promising, I decided to undertake a trip to a previously unscouted but highly promising location. At it's southern most extent the Liaohekou Nature Reserve reaches the very northern most shore of the Liaodong Bay. Several years back a local acquaintance told me about it and tried to take me there but got lost on the way. Having done some further study recently, I found some information indicating the location of a visitor center located on the shoreline. Based on that, we hired a car and driver and managed to convince him to follow my directions to this place he had never heard of. After some delay due to road closures for construction with no detour indicated which resulted in several tries at alternate routes where the roads just petered out, we found a way around and indeed did find the way in.
NT4A2450.jpeg

The driver slowed to a crawl as we passed through an open gate and what appeared to be a deteriorating, abandoned guard station where the road changed to a narrow poorly maintained dirt "road". Seeing no signs of life, he decided it was OK to proceed and almost immediately vast mudflats came into view bordered by numerous interconnected large ponds. The ponds would probably be brackish as they were right next to the mouth of the Daling River where it enters the Bay. Five hundred meters in I was excitedly calling to stop right here and let me out as masses of birds appeared on the ponds and in the air over the mudflats.

After some quick scans with the binoculars I spotted a sign nearby which seemed to be placed to indicate a narrow pathway onto the embankments between ponds. Looked perfect to me so ignoring my wife's shouted warnings of it being "dangerous", I followed the path through some tall weeds and quickly arrived at some excellent viewing locations. Far-Eastern Curlew, Eurasian Coot, Pied Avocet, Great Cormorant, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Shelduck and more all demanding my attention at once!
Common Shelduck w- Pied Avocet.jpeg Common Shelduck w- Common Cormorant.jpeg Common Shelduck.jpeg Eurasian Oystercatcher.jpeg Far-Eastern Curlew & Eurasian Oystercatcher.jpeg Far-Eastern Curlew w- Gray Heron.jpeg Great Cormorant.jpeg

To further the excitement, as I was wondering what had suddenly caused all the commotion with the Pied Avocet, which were flying about in an evasive manner, an Eastern Marsh Harrier suddenly plunged down and snagged a Coot that was standing right at the water's edge.

I spent probably 45 minutes snapping pictures and just enjoying the view when while moving location I spotted some small unknown bird staying in the weeds just ahead of me only popping up for a brief low flight forward to better cover if I got very close. Intrigued, I probably spent another 15 minutes trying to get a better view and observing. Photos proved impossible but I got several good looks. Very small with a reddish brown looking back and blackish tail which could be briefly seen running on the ground most of the time. Only quiet "chert" vocalizations. After much head scratching research once I got back home, I finally opened what I should have started with, Tom Beeke's Birds of Dalian and bingo, he had photos of my mystery bird - Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler! Now I really understand why they are so rarely reported.

Finally my wife was yelling at me from the road about "water coming". Oh, yeah, the tide! Our delays in transit had cut into my anticipated time. Hurried back to the car and sure enough, the mudflats were now covered with water and a Great Crested Grebe ignored us from just a few meters away.
Great Crested Grebe.jpeg

We then moved on down to the coastline and indeed, there was the visitor center and a small parking lot, but it looked to be long abandoned. The tide waits for no one and indeed the anticipated mudflats there were now covered. Therefore after a quick check around that area produced only a few White Wagtail, Oriental Magpie and Barn Swallow so we moved back to the ponds, which although also losing much of their mudflats, where still hosting many resting birds. At this point closer observation with the binoculars and later analysis of photos revealed Falcated Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Little Grebe, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, and a few Black-Winged Stilt.

By this point truck drivers headed to the nearby oil rigs were smiling and waving to me and a couple stopped to ask if I was Russian. Apparently the driver lost a bet as the rider immediately demanded his payment.

At that point the tide was reaching full and my wife had plans for her afternoon, so we started back out but spotting some large white birds which just didn't look right for Egret, I halted things again and got out to investigate. Good thing I did, as the odd "Egret" turned out to be Eurasian Spoonbill as soon as I got closer and put the binoculars on them! As I was enjoying that view, four more flew over in the background.
Eurasian Spoonbill w- Great Egret.jpeg Eurasian Spoonbill.jpeg

Time really being up, we proceeded on out to find the gate down and the "abandoned" guard post now manned. I hadn't been hiding our presence at all and I am sure they knew what I was doing and just decided to ignore us as they just waved and lifted the gate after a brief delay. Subsequent discussions with local birder Chaofan Feng informs me that I just got lucky as they normally don't allow even Chinese citizens in.

There being too much to focus on everything, I'm afraid that I neglected the Gulls. I can say there were at least Saunder's Gull, Black-Headed Gull and Common Gull. Sorry about that Lancy :rolleyes:

Some more random photos:
Eastern Spot-Billed Duck.jpeg Far-Eastern Curlew & Eurasian Oystercatcher.jpeg Far-Eastern Curlew w- Gray Heron.jpeg

Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) 300
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 10
Falcated Duck (Mareca falcata) 4
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope) 10
Eastern Spot-billed Duck (Anas zonorhyncha) 25
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 6
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 5
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) 3
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 50
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) 4
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) 100 Clearly observed with photos - probable undercount
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) 125
Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis) 75 Clearly observed with photos
Saunders's Gull (Saundersilarus saundersi) 25
Common Gull (Larus canus) 25
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) 6
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) 100
Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) 15
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 5
Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia) 5
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) 20
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) 6
Eastern Marsh-Harrier (Circus spilonotus) 1
Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler (Helopsaltes certhiola) 1 Very small - Reddish brown back - black tail - Stayed hidden in ground cover and only flushed briefly when very closely approached - Mostly remained on the ground, preferring to run rather than fly. Only vocalization was brief soft cherts.
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 200
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) 3
 

Lancy Cheng

Well-known member
Sometimes ignorance pays off. On October 12th the weather and tide charts being promising, I decided to undertake a trip to a previously unscouted but highly promising location. At it's southern most extent the Liaohekou Nature Reserve reaches the very northern most shore of the Liaodong Bay. Several years back a local acquaintance told me about it and tried to take me there but got lost on the way. Having done some further study recently, I found some information indicating the location of a visitor center located on the shoreline. Based on that, we hired a car and driver and managed to convince him to follow my directions to this place he had never heard of. After some delay due to road closures for construction with no detour indicated which resulted in several tries at alternate routes where the roads just petered out, we found a way around and indeed did find the way in.
View attachment 1410335

The driver slowed to a crawl as we passed through an open gate and what appeared to be a deteriorating, abandoned guard station where the road changed to a narrow poorly maintained dirt "road". Seeing no signs of life, he decided it was OK to proceed and almost immediately vast mudflats came into view bordered by numerous interconnected large ponds. The ponds would probably be brackish as they were right next to the mouth of the Daling River where it enters the Bay. Five hundred meters in I was excitedly calling to stop right here and let me out as masses of birds appeared on the ponds and in the air over the mudflats.

After some quick scans with the binoculars I spotted a sign nearby which seemed to be placed to indicate a narrow pathway onto the embankments between ponds. Looked perfect to me so ignoring my wife's shouted warnings of it being "dangerous", I followed the path through some tall weeds and quickly arrived at some excellent viewing locations. Far-Eastern Curlew, Eurasian Coot, Pied Avocet, Great Cormorant, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Shelduck and more all demanding my attention at once!
View attachment 1410337 View attachment 1410338 View attachment 1410339 View attachment 1410340 View attachment 1410341 View attachment 1410342 View attachment 1410343

To further the excitement, as I was wondering what had suddenly caused all the commotion with the Pied Avocet, which were flying about in an evasive manner, an Eastern Marsh Harrier suddenly plunged down and snagged a Coot that was standing right at the water's edge.

I spent probably 45 minutes snapping pictures and just enjoying the view when while moving location I spotted some small unknown bird staying in the weeds just ahead of me only popping up for a brief low flight forward to better cover if I got very close. Intrigued, I probably spent another 15 minutes trying to get a better view and observing. Photos proved impossible but I got several good looks. Very small with a reddish brown looking back and blackish tail which could be briefly seen running on the ground most of the time. Only quiet "chert" vocalizations. After much head scratching research once I got back home, I finally opened what I should have started with, Tom Beeke's Birds of Dalian and bingo, he had photos of my mystery bird - Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler! Now I really understand why they are so rarely reported.

Finally my wife was yelling at me from the road about "water coming". Oh, yeah, the tide! Our delays in transit had cut into my anticipated time. Hurried back to the car and sure enough, the mudflats were now covered with water and a Great Crested Grebe ignored us from just a few meters away.
View attachment 1410344

We then moved on down to the coastline and indeed, there was the visitor center and a small parking lot, but it looked to be long abandoned. The tide waits for no one and indeed the anticipated mudflats there were now covered. Therefore after a quick check around that area produced only a few White Wagtail, Oriental Magpie and Barn Swallow so we moved back to the ponds, which although also losing much of their mudflats, where still hosting many resting birds. At this point closer observation with the binoculars and later analysis of photos revealed Falcated Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Little Grebe, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, and a few Black-Winged Stilt.

By this point truck drivers headed to the nearby oil rigs were smiling and waving to me and a couple stopped to ask if I was Russian. Apparently the driver lost a bet as the rider immediately demanded his payment.

At that point the tide was reaching full and my wife had plans for her afternoon, so we started back out but spotting some large white birds which just didn't look right for Egret, I halted things again and got out to investigate. Good thing I did, as the odd "Egret" turned out to be Eurasian Spoonbill as soon as I got closer and put the binoculars on them! As I was enjoying that view, four more flew over in the background.
View attachment 1410350 View attachment 1410351

Time really being up, we proceeded on out to find the gate down and the "abandoned" guard post now manned. I hadn't been hiding our presence at all and I am sure they knew what I was doing and just decided to ignore us as they just waved and lifted the gate after a brief delay. Subsequent discussions with local birder Chaofan Feng informs me that I just got lucky as they normally don't allow even Chinese citizens in.

There being too much to focus on everything, I'm afraid that I neglected the Gulls. I can say there were at least Saunder's Gull, Black-Headed Gull and Common Gull. Sorry about that Lancy :rolleyes:

Some more random photos:
View attachment 1410352 View attachment 1410353 View attachment 1410354

Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) 300
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 10
Falcated Duck (Mareca falcata) 4
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope) 10
Eastern Spot-billed Duck (Anas zonorhyncha) 25
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 6
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 5
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) 3
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 50
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) 4
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) 100 Clearly observed with photos - probable undercount
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) 125
Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis) 75 Clearly observed with photos
Saunders's Gull (Saundersilarus saundersi) 25
Common Gull (Larus canus) 25
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) 6
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) 100
Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) 15
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 5
Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia) 5
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) 20
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) 6
Eastern Marsh-Harrier (Circus spilonotus) 1
Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler (Helopsaltes certhiola) 1 Very small - Reddish brown back - black tail - Stayed hidden in ground cover and only flushed briefly when very closely approached - Mostly remained on the ground, preferring to run rather than fly. Only vocalization was brief soft cherts.
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 200
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) 3

There being too much to focus on everything, I'm afraid that I neglected the Gulls. I can say there were at least Saunder's Gull, Black-Headed Gull and Common Gull. Sorry about that Lancy :rolleyes:
Haha! Thank you for "nomination", Owen🤣 it's hilarious that I'm on my way to gull watching!
Good news earlier this year for listers was the change of taxonomy of Common gull complex. The American Mew Gull became a full species. Contrary to when Thayer's gull was lumped in Iceland and everyone lost a species, everybody got an extra species this time. I assume the Common gull in Panjin is Kamchatka and it should be safe to stay as a subspecies for a while 😅
 
Some great species there Owen. That Liaohekou Nature Reserve sounds like a place to revisit for sure. Is that the one that has Red-crowned Cranes? Good numbers of Oystercatchers and Avocets. Congrats of the Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler! Another small warbler to look out for that spends a lot of its time on the ground is the Lanceolated Warbler. Almost mouse like in its habits.
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Some great species there Owen. That Liaohekou Nature Reserve sounds like a place to revisit for sure. Is that the one that has Red-crowned Cranes?
Hi Tom, Indeed the Liaohekou is noted for Red-Crowned Crane, in an area just north-east of this one. However, I've still not managed to catch them.

As it turns out. unknown to me at the time we did have a contact for getting in touch with the Director of the Reserve (or whatever the official title is). That led to contacting him to ask about the current restrictions and to ask about permission to have access for "research" purposes. Boiled down to the essentials, it was, "So that was you. Well, no, all access is closed due to Covid. I'll just ignore it this time, but don't do it again."

So, now I'm back to figuring out a new location to find migrating shorebirds. Chaofan Feng, I hope your still following this thread. Do you have any suggestions for where to go right now in the immediate Panjin area? What about the Jinzhou area just across the Daling river from Liaohekou? Or is that restricted also?
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Sorry for the long absence. November I was occupied with family so much that I didn't get out much and December has been pretty unproductive. Unfortunately, a hike this week revealed that another of my favorite local haunts is now under heavy development.

However, one good thing to report is that our continued efforts have finally born some fruit. Just within the last week we finally had some success with attracting some birds to the feeder. We had put out some cracked corn this time and some Brown-eared Bulbul showed up noisily investigating, coming close, but not sure. Finally one landed and tried some to be quickly followed by two more. The next day they had finished the handful of corn I put out and one of them actually flew up to the window next to the door and pecked on it. I gave them some more corn, as they still don't touch anything else I've tried. The next morning some Azure-winged Magpie showed up. They were politely taking turns at the corn, maybe two at a time. Now I have two Oriental Magpie coming every morning about 08:00 and often the same pair again in the afternoon. They chase off the Azure-winged Prior to feeding. Last night we had pork ribs, so I saved one piece that had a lot of fat on it and put it out with a chunk of boiled potato and a boiled egg. The first OM Magpie to the feeder this morning looked everything over, pecked at all three and then tried to fly off with the piece of rib, dropped it and then just ate it off the ground. Seemed to be a big hit. His mate tried the potato and the egg, but didn't take a lot of either.

Side note: I'm not a fan of the snowfall effects. I find it distracting and I am just generally not a fan of such things.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top