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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Birding Shanghai in Could 2023 – Half 1 – 10,000 Birds

Could is a busy month for birds migrating by way of Shanghai – and naturally, final Could was fully missed because of the lockdown. So, I spent loads of time birding this month, and to maintain this publish at a manageable size, it largely solely covers the primary half of Could.

It begins with a hen I final noticed (and wrote about) in December final yr, the Gray-headed Canary Flycatcher.

It shouldn’t actually be in Shanghai however apparently, it’s not superb at studying its distribution map on the HBW web site.

The HBW describes the Gray Treepie as a “somewhat drab brownish-grey treepie”, which sounds a bit too unfavourable to me.


I prefer it for its simply recognizable vocalizations which eBird describes as follows: “Raucous, with a various repertoire; squawks and chatters loudly, but in addition whistles tunefully”.

Frankly, the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher (video) doesn’t seem like a lot – however it’s uncommon at Nanhui and listed as Susceptible. The video is notable for the hen principally refusing to maneuver in any respect.

The hen on the photograph is among the estimated 3500-15,000 people nonetheless alive in keeping with the HBW – a daunting thought given the (too) massive variety of people, of which there are about 1 million instances extra (and naturally, every of which weighs 5000 instances greater than the flycatcher).

Notice to different species: higher don’t depend on mature major forests, as this may occasionally result in extinction. Additionally, don’t smoke as it’s not good on your well being.

If you happen to like to look at Black-winged Stilts, check out this video. If you happen to don’t, simply have a look at the photographs or take a time machine again to the final century.

Voltaire as soon as acknowledged that the Holy Roman Empire was on no account holy, nor Roman, nor an empire”. Taking a cue from him (in any case, on his deathbed, when a priest requested him to resign Devil, he apparently replied “Now, now my good man, that is no time to be making enemies”), I want to level out that the Black-winged Cuckooshrike is neither black-winged, nor a cuckoo, nor a shrike.

Actually, different names for it are lesser gray cuckooshrike or darkish gray cuckooshrike, scoring a minimum of one right merchandise out of three.

The Chinese language title additionally describes it as “anhui”, or darkish gray.

Radde’s Warbler is migrating by way of Shanghai, and it’s truly the primary time I’ve consciously seen it right here. This says extra about my lack of ability to distinguish between warbler species than in regards to the rarity of the hen – however the hen was kindly singing.

Nonetheless, the power to determine a leaf warbler by music is a worrying growth on the highway to turning into a really nerdy birder. It’s in all probability all downhill from right here. What’s subsequent? Identification of subspecies?

Through the breeding season, some Cattle Egrets seem like teenage women who’ve simply found the existence of make-up, and consequently massively overdo it. However what do I do know in regards to the style preferences of Cattle Egrets. Possibly they like this Barbie doll look.

The Black-tailed Godwit is Close to Threatened, although not fairly as threatened as Nanhui, the place the development areas get nearer and nearer to the final remaining fields.

In case you are an individual who can get enthusiastic about subspecies (I’m not amongst them – I plan to disregard subspecies a minimum of till I retire from work), chances are you’ll need to have a look at a paper on a proposed new subspecies of Black-tailed Godwits.

The Massive Hawk-Cuckoo feels like a great species for me to get an honest video regardless of my restricted abilities – the HBW states that when foraging, it usually stays “nearly immobile for lengthy intervals”.

The primary hosts for this parasitic cuckoo are the White-browed Laughingthrus and the Chinese language Babax – a paper causes that the latter one is a newer addition to the species being deceived into elevating little hawk-cuckoos because the babax has a decrease price of egg rejection.

Not solely does this species instantly parasitize different species but in addition metaphorically, by imitating the sparrowhawks in its look and thus deterring potential predators.

That is additionally mirrored within the Latin species title of sparverioides, which simply means sparrowhawk.


Whereas to my information the Massive Hawk-Cuckoo solely migrates by way of Nanhui, the Frequent Cuckoo stays right here in summer season and appears for host species, significantly the Oriental Reed Warbler.

Whereas having someone else increase your chicks like a beautiful technique to me, it’s not with out risks. A paper reviews on how a feminine Frequent Cuckoo was mobbed and killed by Oriental Reed Warbler hosts.

The photographs of the lifeless cuckoo printed within the paper wouldn’t look misplaced in a horror film for a cuckoo viewers. And the main points described will not be encouraging for potential nest parasites both: “The cuckoo emitted wailing cries and suffered deadly bodily trauma from the frantic pecking and scratching by a number of ORWs, and finally the extended and sustained aggressive mobbing led to the dying of the cuckoo”. So, in case you consider dropping off your child with some unsuspecting host dad and mom, ensure that to not be seen and depart shortly afterward.

And don’t appeal to as a lot consideration to your self because the Frequent Cuckoo in this video.

The Journal “Advances in Ophthalmology & Visible System” isn’t a daily supply for bird-related data. Nonetheless, in 2017, the journal printed a paper with the (spoiler alert!) title “A Peck of Affection or a Peck of Aggression: Case Report of an Eye Harm Because of the Black-naped Oriole“. By which a Chinese language man in Singapore picks up a juvenile Black-naped Oriole, which in flip assaults the affected person’s left eye inflicting extreme ache and tearing. Sadly, the implicit query posed within the title of the paper isn’t answered, and (the person in all probability having gotten bored of all of the fuss in regards to the hen assault) “subsequently affected person was misplaced to follow-up”.

That appears a little bit of a waste from the facet of the person – I can think about Eric Hosking by no means had to purchase drinks for himself after having misplaced a watch to an owl assault …

In any case, at Nanhui, the Black-naped Orioles are among the many shyest of birds – no hazard for the eyes of birdwatchers right here.

The Journal of the Bombay Pure Historical past Society isn’t significantly delicate to the emotions of kingfishers, calling them a “stockily constructed birds”. The Black-capped Kingfisher is among the many extra enticing ones, which isn’t a straightforward feat amongst this hen household.

Confusingly, the HBW lists the species as Susceptible and marks its conservation standing as Not Globally Threatened (Least Concern) – a stronger give attention to precise particular data may need been useful.

Birdlife Worldwide – which presumably focuses extra on birds than the HBW does – lists the species as Susceptible: “Though this species has an especially massive vary and certain exceeds 10,000 mature people, the inhabitants pattern seems to be lowering with occupancy and reporting price developments suggesting fast declines inside the previous three generations”.

Just a few male Siberian Rubythroats have been nonetheless round at Nanhui within the first half of Could as a substitute of heading to their breeding areas, presumably being equally unenthusiastic in elevating younger as me.

The Latin title Calliope calliope feels like a little bit of an overkill to me (no “so good they named it twice” for me), however the reference to “Calliope, fine-voiced chief of the Muses, who presided over eloquence and heroic poetry” (HBW) is effectively deserved given the good and somewhat jazzy music of the hen. If you don’t imagine me, please pay attention right here to what’s in all probability my favourite of all hen music recordings.

Sidenote: the recording is ascribed to Siberian Rubythroat (Calliope calliope calliope), giving extra urgency to my level about overkill in hen names … The third calliope within the title is a bit puzzling although, because the HBW calls the species monotypic.

There are additionally a couple of movies of the hen right here and right here and right here – the final one is definitely a Siberian Rubythroat not solely listening to passing vehicles but in addition to Chinese language Grosbeaks.

In fact, if you don’t like the colour pink, we are able to additionally provide a blue hen – the Siberian Blue Robin. Right here at 10,000 Birds, we always remember that you simply, the reader, have a alternative.

In line with the HBW, meals introduced by Siberian Blue Robins to nestlings in Japan was 36% grownup bugs, 28% insect larvae, 18% spiders, and 18% unidentified (I believe the final largely being unhealthy quick meals with the discriminating labels ripped off).

Bugs appear to even be the principle meals merchandise of Brown Shrikes, as this video additionally exhibits. Individuals who love moths might need to chorus from watching it although.


The somewhat elegant-looking Tiger Shrike additionally largely feeds on bugs however was not sort sufficient to let me take a video or photograph of this (the species thinks that such recordings might end in a unfavourable public picture). It was okay for me to take a video of it doing nothing a lot although. Higher flip off the sound whereas watching the video as my functionality of getting respectable sound on movies continues to be very restricted.


In the meantime, the native resident bully of a shrike – the Lengthy-tailed Shrike – is busy assuring that the custom of bullying the smaller birds may be continued for one more era.


Just a few extra birds with out phrases – however don’t overlook, 1001 phrases are value multiple image.

Yellow-browed Bunting

Hair-crested Drongo

Black Drongo

Oriental Magpie

Noticed Redshank

Swinhoe’s Minivet


White-throated Rock Thrush (feminine)


Narcissus Flycatcher (video)

Japanese Thrush, feminine (video)

Black-capped Evening Heron (video)

Gray-streaked Flycatcher (video)

Brown-breasted Flycatcher (video)

Lastly, within the dismissive “Different” part, at present we’ve a mammal and a non-mammal, each seen at Nanhui.


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