Birding Tianmashan, Shanghai in January 2023 – 10,000 Birds

In Salinger’s “Catcher within the Rye”, there’s a point out of a fictional story titled “The Secret Goldfish”. Principally, it’s a few boy who doesn’t let anyone have a look at his goldfish as a result of he purchased it together with his personal cash. Generally I really feel a bit like this about winter birding on Shanghai’s Tianmashan hill. In my case, my secret is paid for with a little bit little bit of birdseed (purchased with my very own cash).

Shanghaibirding describes the Brown-headed Thrush as “a scarce passage migrant by way of northern and central coastal China, together with Shanghai” – provided that I solely noticed it as soon as on Tianmashan, that’s most likely appropriate, although the date (January 09) appears quite late for a migrant.

Sadly, when searching for “Brown-headed Thrush Analysis” on Google, no less than the primary ten entries all check with the Brown-headed Cowbird (which I used to be probably not searching for) – a superb illustration of the quite uneven protection of various fowl species relying on their proximity to international locations offering grants for ornithological analysis.

Three Chestnut Bulbuls appear to winter on Tianmashan this yr – considerably shocking provided that the HBW calls the species a year-round resident in an space no less than a number of hundred kilometers south of Shanghai. Me, I might not thoughts such a spread extension as this bulbul is sort of enticing.

The decision of this bulbul appears fairly just like that of the Collared Finchbill to me, although provided that I grew up listening to various and impartial music quite than to fowl track, this isn’t a really significant commentary.

The Rufous-tailed Robin seen at Tianmashan is one other species that one wouldn’t essentially anticipate right here in January. Whereas it’s a pretty widespread autumn migrant in Shanghai, eBird signifies that the migration must be accomplished by the tip of November.

After all, given the typically complicated covid journey restrictions in China, it’s doable that the fowl in query merely didn’t dare to journey any additional south for worry of ending up in quarantine someplace.

A significant attraction of Tianmashan – no less than for me – is the by now pretty common winter presence of Frequent Rosefinch.

Only some of the rosefinches present male plumage – not shocking as first-year birds by no means do. As well as, most of the males appear to be yearlings quite than older males – the ratio between these can really be utilized to estimate the life expectancy and survival charges, as described right here. Survival charges are fairly low at round 44%.

Whereas Chinese language wish to sing in Karaoke bars, male Frequent Rosefinches produce other preferences. In keeping with one research, they most popular bushes, rivers, and reed beds, however prevented open agricultural panorama and anthropogenic areas (which presumably contains karaoke bars).

The Speckled Piculet has the species identify of innominatus, or “not named” – do I spot a contradiction right here?

Anyway, it’s a very cute little woodpecker that eBird calls “distinctive, tiny”.

Its drum sound will be surprisingly loud for a fowl this measurement.

The fowl in these images must be a feminine provided that it lacks the rufous brow of the male.

Totally different from most locations in Shanghai, Tianmashan has fairly a little bit of bamboo – apparently, the piculet is usually related to this plant and might also construct its gap in bamboo.

If I ever get round to making ready the last word photographic “Information to the lovable fowl species of China”, it is not going to solely cowl the piculet but in addition actually have a number of pages on the Black-throated Bushtit

… in addition to the Silver-throated Bushtit.

Each bushtit species sometimes are supported by helpers when breeding (supply). Totally different from the Black-throated Bushtit males, the Silver-throated males appear to be jerks as they don’t take part in incubation. What do the males do whereas their companions are incubating? One potential clue comes from the truth that extra-pair paternity is way increased within the Silver-throated Bushtit than within the Black-throated one (although to be truthful, this presumably additionally requires cooperation from the females of the species).

Kudos to eBird for describing the fowl as an “energetic little fowl with a tennis ball physique and a protracted tail”.

One other particular entry into this information would be the Rufous-faced Warbler. To cite Paris Hilton: “The one rule is don’t be boring and costume cute wherever you go. Life is simply too quick to mix in.” One thing that this warbler takes to coronary heart. (Actually, it’s a lot cuter than Paris Hilton).

This yr, Tianmashan additionally has some Yellow-browed Buntings wintering a tiny bit north of the wintering vary indicated by the HBW.

The HBW recommends not utilizing Yellow-browed Buntings as inside designers, stating that their nests are “messy-looking, with dry straw typically protruding of sides of principal part of cup”. Alternatively, most likely extra attention-grabbing than simply getting IKEA furnishings.

In distinction, Tristram’s Bunting appears to be a bit extra discerning in constructing its nest – the HBW factors out that it usually makes use of horsehair for lining the nest, and that an essential issue for its nest-site choice is the presence of herbs.

If you’re bored with watching motion motion pictures, check out one minute of non-action by a feminine Purple-flanked Bluetail.

As I continuously point out, science is sort of fantastic. For instance, this paper factors out that migrating Bramblings want to feed in a habitat wherein they’re much less prone to get killed.

If seeing the photograph beneath of a Japanese Tit you anticipate one other sleazy joke from me, you’ll be disillusioned this time. You pervert.

After not a single reader made any constructive feedback on my video of a White’s Thrush ingesting, in fact, my response is to simply publish a hyperlink to one other such video.

For those who see a resident Eurasian Siskin that’s fairly fats, it most likely implies that there aren’t any predators round. A paper illustrating the tradeoff between ravenous and being killed in contrast the load of resident siskins with or and not using a sparrowhawk close by. Provided that the sparrowhawk is absent the siskins can afford to get fats.

Opposite to my regular behavior, I cannot attempt to switch this discovering into the human world as I’m too afraid of being accused of fat-shaming.

The Eyebrowed Thrush has the Latin identify obscurus, that means “darkish, dusty”. Whereas the HBW lists the species as “Least concern”, BirdingAsia has a paper with the worrying title “Ongoing slaughter of Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus in Sumatra: one other species heading for oblivion?”

eBird is impressed by the species: “A protracted, barely curving white eyebrow offers this species a chic, subtle look”. It even appears to be like form of elegant when ingesting.

Given its colour and look, the Pale Thrush may simply have the identical Latin identify. As an alternative, it’s pallidus, “pale”. The HBW states that it is not uncommon in Shanghai in winter, and certainly my impression is that it’s by far the most typical thrush at Tianmashan.

If the Gray-backed Thrush was a bit extra focused on fame and fortune, it might instantly fireplace its advertising and marketing division and rebrand itself. How about “Fireplace-flanked Thrush”?

“I do know what you’re considering” just isn’t solely a quote from a most likely these days quite uncool US TV sequence (Magnum P.I.) but in addition my private assertion concerning your response to seeing yet one more photograph of White’s Thrush. “AGAIN?” Sure, certainly. It nonetheless is a cool fowl wanting a bit like a reptile.

And as regular, the publish ends not with a bang however with a whimper – or quite, some extra images of species that I don’t actually have something attention-grabbing to say about in the mean time, such because the

Gray-capped Greenfinch

Pallas’ Leaf Warbler

Swinhoe’s White-eye

Vinous-throated Parrotbill

… and the White-rumped Munia.

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