Skip to content

Birding Shanghai in April 2024

    If I needed to outline spring from a Shanghai birder’s perspective, I must say that for me, it begins on the day I see my first colourful flycatcher – like this male Narcissus Flycatcher. So, for me, spring started on April 16.

    I solely noticed the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher two days later, so it didn’t fairly make it into the “First colourful flycatcher of the spring” honor position.

    The one who named this chicken apparently cleverly selected the identify Yellow-rumped Flycatcher to differentiate the chicken from the Narcissus Flycatcher, which can also be yellow-rumped. In Chinese language, this chicken known as White-browed Flycatcher, which introduces some (presumably undesirable) logic into the world of chicken names.

    The third within the Nanhui assortment of gloriously coloured flycatchers is the Blue-and-white Flycatcher.

    Okay, the phrase “superb” doesn’t fairly apply to the feminine, I’m afraid.

    One other Nanhui journey additionally introduced a Northern Boobook, which eBird properly describes as a “slender brown owl with comically expressive golden eyes”.

    Whereas one would suppose that such a fierce-looking chicken primarily lives off bigger prey, this isn’t the case. In a single research cited within the HBW, 99% of prey objects had been bugs, and the remaining 1% was nearly completely birds.

    Not stunning then {that a} pair of Mild-vented Bulbuls (photograph close to the tip of this publish), when seeing the owl at Nanhui, couldn’t cease complaining about it. It didn’t appear to trouble the owl a lot although.

    You can even see the owl not shifting a lot in a brief video. Oh, the joy. The clacking sound within the background will not be a digital camera however the sound of the irritated bulbuls. Although the sound of the automotive will not be the sound of a bulbul imitating a automotive however an precise automotive.

    The Siberian Blue Robin is one other indicator of spring for me.

    To be sincere, each the robin and the flycatchers proven above remind me of the easter eggs I hunted for as a baby – the identical robust colours in entrance of a inexperienced background, identical time of the yr (be happy to insert your individual Proust Madeleine reference right here) …

    Bluethroats apparently are good at imitating different birds. In Alaska, they had been discovered to imitate 30 completely different species (supply). To my data, no Bluethroats have participated within the Eurovision Track Contest to this point although, possibly as a result of in that contest the imitation of different individuals’s work must be obscured a bit.

    Whereas this singing displays their extra romantic aspect (sure, I’m anthropomorphizing now, and in a foul means, however I have to make a hyperlink to the subsequent factoid that’s completely different from my standard “and now for one thing utterly completely different”), they can be cold-hearted calculators of their very own (or higher, their genes) pursuits.

    When meals for feeding their chicks is brief, they deal with the most important chicks – it’s certainly the mother and father making the selection to deal with the massive chicks reasonably than the chicks combating amongst themselves, as reported in a research. The technical time period right here is “parental provisioning guidelines” – what ornithologists say after they need to describe which chicks get fed.

    In one other paper on Bluethroats with the considerably offputting title “Ecological constraints on extra-pair paternity within the bluethroat”, the authors anthropomorphize as properly – by utilizing the time period “unattractive males” to explain a subgroup of male bluethroats (a subgroup that’s, as you possibly can guess, characterised by being of a barely lower than stellar look) – although they solely use the time period in inverted commas.

    The Eurasian Hoopoe doesn’t solely look cool but additionally feeds on the pine processionary moth, a forest insect pest (supply). Win-win, apart from the moth.

    Some hoopoe people should like chicks lots, even resorting to double brooding. Who’re these weirdoes?

    Apparently, the 2 primary elements influencing double brooding are the person high quality of the breeder and the timing of the primary clutch.

    Crimson-flanked Bluetails make shorter stopovers throughout spring migration (common 1.7 days) than in autumn common 3.4 days). Whereas the conclusion appears pretty established now, the paper nonetheless places it within the standard wordy and cautious assertion:

    “The shorter minimal stopover period of each species in spring might point out a sooner migration than in autumn, suggesting a time-minimizing technique in spring to achieve the breeding grounds as quick as doable.” Additional down within the paper, it is usually acknowledged that “the solar might have risen this morning, which can consequence within the surroundings changing into brighter throughout daytime”.

    When not migrating, some Crimson-flanked Bluetails spend their spare time being eaten by Japanese Sparrowhawks, as described right here.

    Not the worst option to die, to be eaten by such a pretty chicken as a Japanese Sparrowhawk

    The Handbook of the Birds of the World and its on-line model nonetheless haven’t managed to arrange a species account for the Amur Stonechat – there’s a separate web page for the species, however all the knowledge on there’s for the Widespread Stonechat. Perhaps they’ve determined to boycott species with Russian-sounding names as a option to protest towards Putin’s insurance policies.

    Anyway, the male is sort of beautiful with its black head, whereas it’s usually mentioned of the feminine that it has a ravishing soul.

    Male Bramblings additionally look very enticing at the moment of the yr. Their souls are much less enticing, although – in response to a paper, in wintering bramblings, when men and women forage collectively, males are inclined to forage within the heart of the roost and dominate females of their entry to meals.

    Conveniently, the authors of that paper captured the bramblings they measured at their college campus – a great way to scale back journey bills (hashtag #frugalornithologicalresearch), but additionally a warning to bramblings in every single place to higher keep away from such locations.

    I often don’t write about nationalists, mammals, Donald Trump, and leaf warblers (properly, I assume I generally do) – however I’ll make an exception for the Yellow-Browed Warbler

    … and the Dusky Warbler.

    It appears to me that the Crimson-billed Starling is getting an increasing number of frequent in Shanghai (and apparently additionally in South Korea, see right here) – not dangerous provided that it’s fairly a pretty chicken. Although many images – similar to this one obtainable commercially for under USD 25 for private use – don’t present how enticing this chicken actually is. Higher have a look at the one in my publish – it’s higher, and it’s free …

    The HBW and eBird appear to disagree on the scale of the Crimson-billed Starling: whereas eBird describes it as a “medium-sized starling”, the HBW talks of a “massive and social starling”. Perhaps the HBW researchers are smaller than the eBird ones and thus understand the scale of the chicken otherwise.

    Each eBird and the HBW agree that the Black-collared Starling is a big starling although.

    It isn’t that troublesome to see the critically endangered Yellow-breasted Bunting in Shanghai in autumn. Nevertheless, it doesn’t look practically as enticing then because it does in spring – after I noticed it for the primary time this April.

    Evil individuals in Southern China catch the chicken and eat it.

    The photograph of a relative of the Gray-capped Greenfinch is featured in an article on how being round birds is linked to lasting psychological well being advantages. In case you are affected by despair, you simply have discovered another excuse to go birding.

    For the Manchurian Bush Warbler, eBird reveals glorious style by choosing considered one of my images as the primary illustration.

    Additionally as video

    eBird doesn’t appear to be very excited concerning the Buff-bellied Pipit, calling it a “drab songbird of open nation”. I heard that the pipit tried to get a extra favorable assessment from eBird by inviting them to an all-expenses-paid luxurious journey to Indonesia, however eBird refused. Apparently, the requirements of eBird are a bit greater than these of Clarence Thomas.

    However after all, Clarence Thomas had an awesome excuse that will positively have helped different rulebreakers in lots of courtroom circumstances (and definitely would have satisfied Thomas himself, had a defendant made such a declare): “I didn’t know the foundations”.

    There may be additionally a boring video of the chicken right here.

    The Crimson-breasted Flycatcher proven within the photograph under clearly lacks a pink breast and thus additionally has to in the end be categorized as boring.

    What retains the endangered Chinese language Yew awake at night time? (That’s the form of phrasing you utilize when you’ve gotten been a administration marketing consultant for too lengthy) Properly, after all, it’s the dispersal effectivity of various chicken species consuming your fruit. Thus, the Crimson-billed Blue Magpie is a favourite amongst these small bushes as it’s a good seed disperser (supply).

    It is usually an excellent disperser for causonis japonica, a vine plant. A paper taking a look at dispersal of this plant factors out that seed dispersal distance elevated with chicken physique and tail lengths – which certainly ought to make the magpie a favourite.

    It additionally appears cool.

    Crimson-billed Blue Magpies are sometimes eaten by snub-nosed monkeys. The gory particulars are outlined in a paper describing that the monkeys eat the top of the chicken first however reject the wings. That is the form of paper proven to naughty magpie chicks by their mother and father:

    “A sub-adult male [snub-nosed monkey] immediately drove away one other chicken [a Red-billed Blue Magpie ] that was close to him. The chicken escaped into tangled vines … and couldn’t rise quickly from the bottom. One grownup male and one sub-adult male ran over to catch this chicken. The chicken ran erratically among the many thorns. … One sub-adult male caught the chicken when it bumped into him, and at the moment, the opposite looking males stopped their chase. The captor monkey killed the chicken … by biting off its head”.

    Eurasian Woodcocks are more likely to be killed by people than by snub-nosed monkeys. The truth is, web sites similar to this one appear to supply bundle excursions simply to kill woodcocks. Generally what needs to be restricted to the darkish internet could be very a lot out within the open.

    In response to one supply, one canine used for looking woodcocks is even named after the species – the (in any other case reasonably cute) cocker spaniel (with the “cocker” coming from the woodcock).

    On the constructive aspect, two pals of mine independently commented on the video of a woodcock (taken at Nanhui) “A dancing chicken!” and “Actually like its rhythmic dance”.

    Apparently, Eurasian Woodcocks have advanced their vibrant white feather patches (which as frequent for this weblog publish should not really proven) for visible communication in conditions with low gentle – in reality, a research discovered that woodcocks have the brightest white feathers ever measured.

    A number of extra birds with out factoids, simply because I just like the images: A Mild-vented Bulbul

    Swinhoe’s White-eye

    Chinese language Grosbeak

    Black-faced Bunting

    Widespread Kingfisher

    … and Black-winged Kite.

    Nanhui additionally has some waders and is now the primary vacation spot for individuals who like to observe each plastic trash and Whimbrels on the identical location. Guide your trip now.

    On the identical location, you may additionally get a glimpse of the near-threatened but additionally reasonably boring-looking Gray-tailed Tattler (which apparently has brief toes, as indicated by the species identify of brevipes) …

    … and the much less threatened however extra creatively designed Ruddy Turnstone.

    Lastly, in my very own compound, just some meters away from my condominium, Chinese language Blackbirds are breeding – although with out a lockdown, I’m spending much less time on them this yr than final yr.