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Birding Shanghai in September 2022 – 10,000 Birds


    In case you are an ornithologist who for no matter motive needs to go to Rome, it’s possible you’ll need to contemplate asking for a grant to put in writing a paper on “The Feeding Conduct of the Black Kite (Milvus migrans) within the Garbage Dump of Rome”

    In accordance with this paper, the vast majority 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 – an exquisite male. The identify is a puzzle although – even the HBW states that the fowl has “small or no crest”. These images had been taken on Sep 26, indicating that the birds handed Shanghai moderately late (in line 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 ceaselessly be seen on migration, definitely is not going to assist.

    A very current (2022) paper describes the migration route of a Blue-and-white Flycatcher. The fowl “spent 5 months on Mindoro Island within the Philippines throughout the non-breeding season and migrated by means of 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 high of this publish).

    The feminine.

    An immature male, nonetheless finding out tips on how to work on its blue coloration.

    Judging from the facial features of this White-shouldered Starling, I’d moderately not have an aggravated fowl of this species as a roommate.

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

    The Purple-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 may assist Wikipedia by increasing it.” I’m not certain they’re conscious of their very own joke there.

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

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

    When Purple-necked Phalaropes cross Shanghai in autumn, a black-and-white picture is adequate, because the purple 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 truly discovered a second mate. And that isn’t on account of time restrictions – pair bonds lasted a mean of 11 days …

    A number of (apparently pretty ruthless) Pied Avocets have discovered from cuckoos and parasitize their very own species (supply).

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

    Had I not seen this Purple Heron land the place it did, I doubt very a lot I’d have seen it in any respect – and it isn’t a small fowl.

    Eurasian Bitterns equally attempt to keep out of sight.

    The Gray Heron isn’t as invisible, although it often flies off the second a digital camera is turned on it.

    Much like the scenario amongst people, amongst Gray-capped Greenfinches, “high-quality people desire to mate with one another” (supply).

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

    For some butterflies, this fowl isn’t boring however moderately the equal of a Nice White Shark.

    Even amongst boring birds, there may be 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 pondering) has additionally supplied a goth model which is aptly named Darkish-sided Flycatcher.

    Possibly an professional might even identify the colourful breakfast this fowl has simply had.

    The picture under exhibits a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler except, in fact, it exhibits a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler. Your alternative.

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

    The Mild-vented Bulbul was once restricted to Southern China however has expanded its vary previously few a long time. Whereas that alone isn’t significantly fascinating, 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”. Type of like Darwin’s finches, simply with sounds, not fowl species …

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

    In Widespread 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 web site than snipes with a wing form tailored for predator evasion (rounded/convex wingtips).

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

    More than likely, it is a Widespread Cuckoo. An unlucky function mannequin for some avocets.

    Plainly quite a lot of ornithological analysis is predicated on enthusiastic about what is smart from an evolutionary standpoint, after which checking whether or not this truly the case. An instance is this examine exhibiting that certainly, cuckoo eggs are stronger than the eggs of the host species.

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

    The Chinese language identify of the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher is Bai mei ji weng, “white-browed flycatcher” – sounds a bit counterintuitive at first however is smart provided 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 fowl.

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

    The Inexperienced Sandpiper is one other fowl with a reputation that makes one surprise in regards to the sanity of early naturalists. The e book “Australian Fowl Names – A Information” wrily remarks that the identify is “Finest defined by a vivid creativeness – in the best gentle it’d seem greenish-brown …”. The Latin species identify ochropus isn’t that significantly better – it means pale yellow-footed, which whereas not completely improper isn’t a powerful function of the species both.

    In our common part of birds that went out with out carrying an umbrella (perhaps they’re male birds with a silly notion – much like mine – that carrying an umbrella is sort of effeminate), at the moment we now have Mild-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. More than likely, that is what the picture under exhibits.

    Certainly, the German identify of 1 shrike species (the Purple-backed Shrike) is “Neuntoeter”, “Killer of 9”, which is derived from the people thought that the fowl would first kill 9 prey objects 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 (most likely not forthcoming) version of a publish on cartoon birds.

    Although in fact, many bugs will miss out on 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. A minimum of one fowl that also feels at dwelling at Nanhui.

    In distinction, this Whimbrel would most likely moderately stroll on mud than on concrete. Not simple at Nanhui lately although.

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

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

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

    In accordance with “The Fowl Identify Guide”, the identify 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 Historic Romans and Greeks traced the fowl’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 an exquisite fowl …

    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 by means of 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, perhaps 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 offered as meals (described as ‘sparrows’ or ‘rice-birds’); this follow, beforehand restricted to small space of S China, has grow to be extra widespread … As well as, annually, in China, hundreds of males are killed, stuffed and offered as mascots, their presence within the dwelling being believed to convey happiness to the human occupants.” A bizarre idea of happiness introduced on by killing harmless birds, should you ask me (which in fact no one does).

    A Chinese language pal instructed me that some individuals in China now catch and eat Little Buntings as a substitute. I wonder if this counts as progress.

    Economist articles often finish with a predictable and moderately lame joke or wordplay. This weblog publish ends with the photographic equal of this formulation (Widespread Sandpiper).