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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Panjin Birding by the Old Fat Man (1 Viewer)

That was my first impression, just seemed unlikely this late (early?) in the season. Strong cold front supposed to arrive late today/tomorrow but if I get warm spell I'll go check out the reed beds where they were earlier.
I got back out today after a week of a fierce head-cold which has kept me inside during the cold wave. Not that I would have been really inclined to be out much anyway given the temperatures.

Just a short jaunt and only turned up some Magpie and Tree Sparrow along with one Grey-Headed Woodpecker and 2 Spotted Dove. About another month until things start to pick up again here.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Jan 26, 2016 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
5 species

Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) 2
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 1
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 20
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 9
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 20

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S27131187

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)


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We had some very nice weather today with it almost reaching freezing and with no wind, so I decided to make the 10 kilometer Grand Tour which takes in about half of the areas that I commonly bird. Large areas of nothing at all, but did come up with a few nice ticks.

I hadn't anymore than walked out the gate than (8) Long-Tailed Tit made an appearance just inside the grounds of the large boarding school, which being closed right and hence without hoards of students about provides some new territory to forage. I walked on to the irrigation canal and stopping to scan the flock of about (50) Tree Sparrow proved worthwhile as mixed in with them where (20) Brambling and (2) Elegant Bunting. Getting a picture proved harder than one might have expected though due to the (18) Azure-Winged Magpie who were noisily objecting to my presence. I twice had one who sat perched less than 5 meters away giving me the "Churrr.." call and waited until I aimed the camera at flock of Brambling then quickly flew down, buzzing the Brambling and sending them scattering.

Proceeding south along the canal for a couple of Kilometers yielded only (10) Little Bunting, (4) Elegant Bunting and (4) Rustic Bunting. Unfortunately, the next 4 kilometers yielded only (10) Rustic Bunting, again mixed with (50) Tree Sparrow and two Falcon that I heard at close range but did not see until it was too far away to be sure of an ID, probably Eurasian Kestrel. Ended on the little city park right next to home and unusually it yielded nothing today.


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Not a lot to report, but I did manage to come up with some good photos this week. It is looking like the first few scouts of the migration are starting to show up.

During one walk where I went further north toward the city center than I have before I ran into a small flock of Olive-Backed Pipit and while working to get a verification photo I was surprised to look up and see I was surrounded by a group of (4) Eurasian Treecreeper. First time I have ever seen more than two at a time. One got so close that I had to quickly switch to the close focus mode and gave me an excellent shot. The first shot is a more typical spotting. Can you find Waldo? The second is the up close opportunity. A flock in which I counted (48) Brambling seems to indicate they are starting to move back north.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Feb 2, 2016 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
10.0 kilometer(s)
9 species

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 1
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 33
Coal Tit (Periparus ater) 3
Japanese Tit (Parus minor) 3
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) 6
Eurasian Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) 6
Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni) 5
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) 48
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 58

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S27261197

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

The next day was just close to home and not a lot to see, but did produce my first female Daurian Redstart of the season and some great shots of a male Eurasian Kestrel that has returned to his hunting grounds after being gone for the coldest of the weather. The only problem with this was forcing myself to delete so many shots!

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Feb 3, 2016 11:45 AM - 2:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 kilometer(s)
7 species

Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 1
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 28
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 2
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) 21
Daurian Redstart (Phoenicurus auroreus) 1
Meadow Bunting (Emberiza cioides) 5
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 65

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S27276090

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)


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As I said, the kind of problem you like to have, too many great shots.


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Seeing the chance to escape the Spring Festival crowd in the house, I went out to see what I could find despite the fireworks. It didn't pan out exceptionally well, but this time I got some great shots of an Eastern Buzzard.

Everything was very flighty due to all the fireworks and only after getting out did it dawn on me that I had left my bins at home. As a result I had a couple of brief sightings that I unfortunately couldn't positively identify. Firstly there were what I am reasonably certain were five Larks. However they only exposed themselves from the overgrown grass they were hiding in very briefly a couple of times and I didn't get the camera up in time. About 80% certain of probably Eurasian Skylark or possibly Crested Lark. Nothing else seems to work for the size, general shape and habitat. The other was a Thrush size and shape but all black. I had a good shot with the camera but a misfire when I tried. Turns out I had switched it off. Lord only knows why. Possibly an Eastern Blackbird but seems out of place for this time of year, or Common Starling, but a single bird would be really odd for them. No white slash on head, so not a Siberian Thrush.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Feb 7, 2016 11:15 AM - 1:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 kilometer(s)
8 species

Eastern Buzzard (Buteo japonicus) 1
Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 1
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 4
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) 3
Naumann's Thrush (Turdus naumanni) 1
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 112

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S27348724

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)


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Owen, excellent Eastern Buzzard pictures. Very good chance the larks were Eurasian. Was the black bird possibly a Brown-eared Bulbul? They could look very dark depending on the lighting. The only other possibilities I can think of is a rook or crow but that wouldn't fit the size... Dusky Thrush maybe? It also is amazing that you have a Hoopoe staying in your area for the entire winter -- really cool!

Tom, I had a flock of Light-Vented Bulbul males making their appearance earlier than I expected yesterday, so although I haven't recorded one yet, a Brown-Eared Bulbul would definitely be a possibility. The lighting was not the best. More Naumann's Thrush are moving back into the area as well, but at this point I doubt I would have missed the white markings on the head of a Dusky Thrush, a year ago, I might have.

The presence of a few Hoopoe through the winter surprises me also and last winter caused eBird to send an email on several occasions suggesting I had to be mistaken but I have enough photos that they have accepted it now. I still find it amazing that they survive given their feeding habits. The ground has been frozen solid since mid November and sometimes is snow covered. Just now starting to thaw a bit in areas with lots of sun light as the temperatures are finally managing to struggle to above freezing and even rain forecast for tonight.

We had people doing some work at the apartment, so I decided to take a longer hike with the dog so she wouldn't be raising everyone's stress level by barking at them constantly. Not to mention her stress level.

I went over to the irrigation canal which is now dry except for the collapsed ice sheet that formed back in November when it had a couple of meters of water. Proceeding south along the canal. Covered about 6 kilometers but found almost everything I spotted in one area of about 50 meters radius. Surprisingly, no Tree Sparrow at all. All the fireworks appear to have pushed them into a few very large flocks, so you either see very large numbers or nothing.

The Grey-Headed Woodpeckers were the first to appear. There were two males arguing and fighting over the attention of one female who was doing her best to look unimpressed. There were a couple of more woodpecker sightings but I was unable to be sure of identity through the brush although I think it was another Grey-Headed and one Great-Spotted.

A pair of Hoopoe were spotted in a new area, so I am sure I am seeing the beginnings of migration back north now.

Treecreeper are still surprising abundant in that area with being able to see three at once. Again a probability of more based on calls that I wasn't able to visually ID.

One very angry Japanese Tit came in very close to object to the dog's presence with a total of three spotted.

The big find showing migration activity was (10) male Light-Vented Bulbul. They were still bunched up together in one small area not having spread out along the canal as they will and were very actively singing and making their demonstration flights.

Looking at my report I see I need to make a correction as I left out the two Winter Wren, one of which was singing loudly. How such a little bird can be so loud is amazing.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Feb 11, 2016 9:15 AM - 1:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
6.0 kilometer(s)
12 species (+1 other taxa)

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 4
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 12
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 4
Coal Tit (Periparus ater) 2
Japanese Tit (Parus minor) 3
Eurasian Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) 3
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 10
Dusky/Naumann's Thrush (Turdus naumanni/eunomus) 1
Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni) 6
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) 5
Rustic Bunting (Emberiza rustica) 6

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S27420885

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)


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Some interesting records indeed - I'm equally amazed by your Hoopoes and impressed by your buzzard pix

It strikes me that your black thrush is as likely to be a Chinese Blackbird as anything else.

I remember seeing Light-vented Bulbul in Beidaihe in 1991 when it was something of rarity - very interesting to see you documenting it further north as a wintering bird.

Mike, the climate here is not as pleasant as Dahlian, but still quite a bit milder than is typical for Liaoning. This year was somewhat harsher, but normally only January is really persistently bitter cold. I assume that is the major reason for seeing species that the books say shouldn't be here. A small flock of L-V Bulbul, probably first year birds as they were hanging together without any competition or displaying, hung around until the real cold set in but the ones I am spotting now are definitely breeding males staking out territory. Rain today but hopefully I can get out again tomorrow.
All optimistic thinking aside, it seems that winter is not done with us yet in Panjin. We woke up to the attached yesterday and ended up with something like 10cm of snow as well as quite a bit of wind. Unfortunately not able to see if it caused a fall as I managed to throw my back out clearing snow off the patio. The threat of taking me to the hospital was thrown out but I managed to stall long enough to get where I could stand up by myself. Maybe I'll have more to see once I get to where I can do more than shuffle around the apartment. I did see five Tree Sparrow this morning out this same window.


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Good morning Owen!

I'm a lapsed BirdForum poster based in Shenyang: Liaoning, Shenyang aka 辽宁沈阳

I've been following your reports on eBird for awhile now, and greatly admire your dedication to the field!

You're only 120 minutes by car away from me. I'd love to drive down on a Friday night in the Spring and do a Saturday session with you. |:d|

Take care of your back and keep up the great work! :t:
Good to hear from you, Andrew. Sounds like a plan. We have an extra bed. Unfortunately, the fast trains, which are only an hour, go to the North Panjin train station which is closer to JinZhou than to us since we are actually just south of Panjin Shi. There are some good areas nearby that we can try come spring. Yingkou and or Gedalou Reservoir for migrating water birds. Maybe we could catch the cranes. I have tried several times and it was always, "Oh, they were here yesterday, but not today." I was teaching at Shenyang Aerospace University (Hang Kong Hang Tian DaXue) until the government decided that I was too old for a work permit. Too bad we didn't meet then.

Hooray! Back in action again. :t: I took a jaunt about the neighborhood to test out my back and all went well other than there being few birds in evidence. The only thing of significance was a mischief of (25) Azure-Winged Magpie.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Feb 18, 2016 12:15 PM - 1:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 kilometer(s)
6 species

Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 1
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) 25
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 3
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) 7
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) 5
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 12

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S27662991

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)


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No new actors today and nothing outstanding. I did spot some sure signs of Spring coming though. There were some ladybugs on our outside window ledge and this little spider scrambling along the foot path. Unfortunately, also still 45-50 cm of ice. I didn't get a good photo, but these fellows were on their way to drop some explosives down the ice fishing hole. About the third shot apparently cracked the ice as it sent them all scrambling.

Panjin, Dawa County, Liaoning, CN, Liaoning, CN
Feb 19, 2016 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
4.5 kilometer(s)
10 species

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 2
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 1
Coal Tit (Periparus ater) 2
Japanese Tit (Parus minor) 3
Eurasian Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) 4
Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) 4
Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni) 8
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) 6
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 35

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S27681055

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)


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Almost had the problem of how do you report zero birds to Ebird. Yesterday morning started out at -20 with a stiff wind at 06:00 and never got above -12 so I took a day off. Having reached a sweltering +1 by this afternoon I decided to give it a try. A quick 50 meters to the city park yielded nothing at all, so I decided to move to where I have some small numbers but reliable. A kilometer later I still had a blank. Not even the usual Tree Sparrows in evidence. Not to be pessimistic I decided that just north of there were almost always a Grey-Headed Woodpecker or two and a small number of Little Bunting as well as the usual Sparrows. Another kilometer and again nothing. Not being one to give up I kept going, but finally at three kilometers in I decided that enough was enough and headed home having circled back in that general direction anyway. While almost home and actually wondering how to report Zero I finally came across (12) Chinese Bulbul all males starting to show some territorial displaying and feeding on sumac berries. Finished up with nothing else and about 3.5 kilometers of good exercise.
Almost had the problem of how do you report zero birds to Ebird... Finished up with nothing else and about 3.5 kilometers of good exercise.

I was thinking that the absence of birds is interesting too, though I suppose that being birds they've just relocated a little ways away where there was food they hadn't gotten to yet.

I think 3.5 km of exercise is certainly a good thing! :king:

A decision to extend my range to 4.5 km on the 26th yielded on (5) Little Bunting & (5) Common Magpie. Discouraging enough that I didn't get out again until today. It was warmer, though windy and was at least a little more encouraging.

(6) Common Magpie scattered about
(4) Coal Tit in a city park where they have been absent for the winter
(13) Chinese Bulbul colorful and doing some territorial display
(55) Tree Sparrow in two flocks. Still remarkably quiet for Sparrows
And the prize going to a new lifer which I submitted to the ID forum and which appears to be (5) Water Pipit who were foraging in one of the swampy reed-beds. See what you all think here as it does fit the description of the Water Pipit well including habitat, however Brazil lists it as an accidental to this area.


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