Birding Shanghai in September 2022 – 10,000 Birds


If you’re an ornithologist who for no matter cause needs to go to Rome, it’s possible you’ll wish to contemplate asking for a grant to write down a paper on “The Feeding Conduct of the Black Kite (Milvus migrans) within the Garbage Dump of Rome”

In keeping with this paper, nearly all of Eurasian Kestrel discovered breeding in city websites in Israel used open-type nests, particularly flower pots on windowsills. This isn’t actually an possibility at Nanhui although.

The third raptor of the month was the Black-winged Kite.

The fourth and final was the Crested Honey buzzard – a gorgeous male. The title is a puzzle although – even the HBW states that the hen has “small or no crest”. These images had been taken on Sep 26, indicating that the birds handed Shanghai slightly late (in keeping with the HBW, “autumn migration from early to late Sept”).

The Japanese Paradise Flycatcher is listed as Close to Threatened. The continuing destruction of Nanhui, the place the species can steadily be seen on migration, definitely won’t assist.

A very latest (2022) paper describes the migration route of a Blue-and-white Flycatcher. The hen “spent 5 months on Mindoro Island within the Philippines throughout the non-breeding season and migrated via Taiwan, the Chinese language east coast, and the Korean peninsula” and on to the Russian Far East (indicating a sure lack of solidarity with Ukraine).

That is the darkish blue grownup male (additionally proven on prime of this publish).

The feminine.

An immature male, nonetheless finding out how one can work on its blue coloration.

Judging from the facial features of this White-shouldered Starling, I might slightly not have an irritated hen of this species as a roommate.

The Black-collared Starling was once fairly uncommon right here however has just lately been seen extra steadily. The naked yellow pores and skin round and behind the eyes provides it a barely vulture-like look.

The Crimson-billed Starling is sort of widespread in Shanghai.

As is the White-cheeked Starling.

Predictably, the Wikipedia article on the Asian Stubtail is brief and thus ends with the standard sentence of such entries: “This Cettiidae-related article is a stub. You possibly can assist Wikipedia by increasing it.” I’m not positive they’re conscious of their very own joke there.

Opposite to widespread perception, the hen is definitely named for its stubby tail slightly than after its discoverer, the Welsh naturalist James Stub (1734-1783).

Chinese language researchers have really been capable of establish particular person Asian Stubtails on the idea of their songs (supply).

When Crimson-necked Phalaropes cross Shanghai in autumn, a black-and-white photograph is adequate, because the crimson necks of the breeding plumage are gone. A bit unfair to Shanghainese birders, I really feel.

The species has reversed intercourse roles, with the males doing the incubating. Nonetheless, for many of females, that is extra theoretical than actual – in a examine, solely 8% of females really discovered a second mate. And that isn’t attributable to time restrictions – pair bonds lasted a mean of 11 days …

Just a few (apparently pretty ruthless) Pied Avocets have discovered from cuckoos and parasitize their very own species (supply).

In one other paper, the creator shies away from calling Pied Avocets silly however hints at this in a slightly indirect method: “sub-optimal habitat choice by Pied Avocets attributable to an incorrect evaluation of the potential for profitable replica”. Sounds a lot nicer.

Had I not seen this Purple Heron land the place it did, I doubt very a lot I might have seen it in any respect – and it’s not a small hen.

Eurasian Bitterns equally attempt to keep out of sight.

The Gray Heron just isn’t as invisible, although it normally flies off the second a digicam is turned on it.

Just like the state of affairs amongst people, amongst Gray-capped Greenfinches, “high-quality people favor to mate with one another” (supply).

Does a barely boring-looking hen such because the Asian Brown Flycatcher deserve a paper that’s considerably extra boring? Apparently, the authors of this paper suppose so. Or possibly they’re fairly enthusiastic about clarifying that Muscicapa latirostris is the unsuitable title for this hen whereas Muscicapa dauurica is true.

For some butterflies, this hen just isn’t boring however slightly the equal of a Nice White Shark.

Even amongst boring birds, there’s some stage of variation – see this Gray-streaked Flycatcher.

And because the aggressive panorama for greyish flycatchers is sort of aggressive, evolution or god (relying in your background and considering) has additionally supplied a goth model which is aptly named Darkish-sided Flycatcher.

Perhaps an knowledgeable might even title the colourful breakfast this hen has simply had.

The photograph under reveals a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler until, after all, it reveals a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler. Your alternative.

Another for these in search of out boring ornithological papers is to learn this one on the entire mitochondrial genome of Oriental Pratincole. We always remember that you just, the reader, have a alternative.

The Gentle-vented Bulbul was once restricted to Southern China however has expanded its vary up to now few a long time. Whereas that alone just isn’t notably attention-grabbing, plainly the newer, extra Northern populations have completely different dialects with far fewer songs – one thing that the authors of this paper name the “founder impact”. Form of like Darwin’s finches, simply with sounds, not hen species …

The juvenile bulbuls have the standard “washed a bit too lengthy” look that juvenile birds apparently appear to search out trendy.

In Frequent Snipes, apparently, the wing form is correlated with the migration technique of particular person birds. In a examine, birds with wings tailored for environment friendly migration (pointed/concave wingtips) stayed for shorter instances on the stopover website than snipes with a wing form tailored for predator evasion (rounded/convex wingtips).

In keeping with the HBW, the Chinese language Grosbeak is “broadly trapped for the cagebird commerce in China”. Disgrace on the trappers.

Almost certainly, it is a Frequent Cuckoo. An unlucky position mannequin for some avocets.

Evidently a variety of ornithological analysis relies on fascinated about what is smart from an evolutionary standpoint, after which checking whether or not this really the case. An instance is this examine displaying that certainly, cuckoo eggs are stronger than the eggs of the host species.

Right here’s one other cuckoo present process a pre-flight verify.

The Chinese language title of the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher is Bai mei ji weng, “white-browed flycatcher” – sounds a bit counterintuitive at first however is smart on condition that the considerably similar-looking Narcissus Flycatcher additionally has a yellow rump however a yellow forehead.

Some extra flycatchers: Mugimaki Flycatcher

… and Taiga Flycatcher.

eBird describes the Siberian Blue Robin as a “slender, long-legged songbird with a ‘crouched’ profile. Undecided I can see the ‘crouched’ however hey, it’s a lovely hen.

Little Egrets had been really talked about in a latest version of The Economist – in an article highlighting their elevated inhabitants in Britain. Poor Britons – Brexit didn’t shield them from being invaded by birds from the continent.

The Inexperienced Sandpiper is one other hen with a reputation that makes one marvel concerning the sanity of early naturalists. The e-book “Australian Chook Names – A Information” wrily remarks that the title is “Greatest defined by a vivid creativeness – in the best gentle it would seem greenish-brown …”. The Latin species title ochropus just isn’t that a lot better – it means pale yellow-footed, which whereas not completely unsuitable just isn’t a robust characteristic of the species both.

In our common part of birds that went out with out carrying an umbrella (possibly they’re male birds with a silly notion – just like mine – that carrying an umbrella is type of effeminate), right now we’ve got Gentle-vented Bulbul (once more) …

White-cheeked Starling

Oriental Magpie-robin

… and Brown Shrike.

Shrikes are recognized to impale a few of their victims to eat them later. Almost certainly, that is what the photograph under reveals.

Certainly, the German title of 1 shrike species (the Crimson-backed Shrike) is “Neuntoeter”, “Killer of 9”, which is derived from the folks thought that the hen would first kill 9 prey gadgets earlier than consuming one. Effectively, belief the Germans to provide you with a legend like that.

Nanhui shrikes in September included Brown Shrike

Tiger Shrike

Bull-headed Shrike

… and naturally the resident Lengthy-tailed Shrike.

The Ashy Drongo is one other candidate for a future (in all probability not forthcoming) version of a publish on cartoon birds.

Although after all, many bugs will fail to spot the humor of such a publish.

In becoming with its pure habitat, this Blue Rock Thrush posed on a pile of concrete pillars stacked up subsequent to the highway. No less than one hen that also feels at residence at Nanhui.

In distinction, this Whimbrel would in all probability slightly stroll on mud than on concrete. Not straightforward at Nanhui as of late although.

This juvenile Black-naped Oriole might even have been born in Shanghai as this species breeds right here in summer time.

Whereas the male Siberian Thrush appears elegant, the feminine (proven right here) is a lot better camouflaged.

The juvenile male doesn’t fairly attain the class requirements of the grownup male.

In keeping with “The Chook Title E-book”, the title of the Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla) “originated within the late 1500s, within the compound formation of the phrases wry and neck, the phrase wry which means ‘distorted, contorted or twisted to 1 facet’.” The e-book additionally states that “The Historical Romans and Greeks traced the hen’s mythological origins to a sorceress named Lynx who was remodeled right into a wryneck as punishment for a spell she solid on Zeus.” Lesson discovered for all of us: don’t solid spells on Zeus.

When wrynecks resent being photographed, they sometimes point out this with their tongue.

Sure, the Oriental Dollarbird was the duvet star of final month’s Shanghai publish however I noticed it once more this month, and it’s such a gorgeous hen …

On the finish of September, the primary winter guests arrive in Shanghai – such because the White’s Thrush.

In distinction, the Yellow-breasted Bunting solely passes via on migration. The HBW states that “many cease in Yangtze Valley (China) to moult” – in the event that they ever want a photograph illustrating this, possibly they will use this one?

The opposite data on this species is way sadder. It’s listed as Critically Endangered, and the HBW explains why: “Flocks roosting in reedbeds are flushed after which caught in mist-nets, cooked and bought as meals (described as ‘sparrows’ or ‘rice-birds’); this apply, beforehand restricted to small space of S China, has turn out to be extra widespread … As well as, annually, in China, 1000’s of males are killed, stuffed and bought as mascots, their presence within the residence being believed to carry happiness to the human occupants.” A bizarre idea of happiness introduced on by killing harmless birds, when you ask me (which after all no one does).

A Chinese language pal informed me that some folks in China now catch and eat Little Buntings as an alternative. I wonder if this counts as progress.

Economist articles normally finish with a predictable and slightly lame joke or wordplay. This weblog publish ends with the photographic equal of this method (Frequent Sandpiper).


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