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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Birding Shanghai in Might 2024

Might is the month by which spring migration principally involves an finish in Shanghai. The month begins with many birds and ends with only a few – however a few of these are fairly spectacular. So, significantly close to the top of Might, we’ve the standard combination of boredom and pleasure that birdwatchers all around the world are aware of.

To defend itself from being accused of being boring at dinner events, the Brown-breasted Flycatcher proudly factors to its orange ft. Very similar to a Chartered Accountant proudly exhibiting his small tasteful ankle tattoo.

Fittingly, eBird calls it a “boring however quite cute flycatcher”.

Final month, I confirmed you a Chestnut Bunting. Right here’s one other one.

Apparently, the species identify rutila means “pink, golden pink, reddish yellow”, which sounds a bit like a contradiction in itself.

But it surely appears to be like quite enticing.

As does the Chinese language Pond Heron. For these with a morbid streak, I recommend trying out the paper “Genetic Characterization and Pathogenesis of Avian Influenza Virus H3N8 Remoted from Chinese language Pond Heron in China in 2021″.

The HBW distribution map of the Masked Laughingthrush reveals it to be widespread in Shanghai – in actual fact, it’s quite uncommon.

The English identify “Masked” makes extra sense than the scientific identify perspicillata, or “spectacled” (except with spectacles you imply these wrap-around sun shades most well-liked by pimps {and professional} bullshitters).

The species is a cooperative breeder – chicks from earlier breeding makes an attempt assist citing the following batch of chicks, like baby-sitting youngsters, although the latter usually are not associated to the children they babysit and likewise primarily do it for cash, so I suppose these two issues usually are not actually comparable in any respect.

If there ever was a misnamed fowl, it’s the white-faced morph of the Black Bulbul.

It’s well-known that chicks of this morph instantly begin having an id disaster when combining the information of their species identify with the data gathered from a glance within the mirror.

Happily, this isn’t a difficulty for the White-shouldered Starling.

Apparently, the fowl can heat itself if it will get chilly. After all, in a scientific paper, this discovering is phrased in another way: “These knowledge present that white-shouldered starlings exhibit excessive phenotypic flexibility in metabolic changes and digestive operate beneath temperature acclimation, in keeping with the notion that small birds address the vitality challenges introduced by a chilly setting by modulating tissue operate in a approach that will have an effect on BMR.” Hurray for science.

Richard’s Pipit is a quite aristocratic-looking pipit. If the tree sparrows ever begin a revolution, this species is more likely to be among the many first to be lined up in opposition to a wall and shot.

Curiously, Richard’s Pipit appears to be one of many comparatively few species touring from East to West quite than from North to South, and likewise establishing new migration areas (supply). Vagrancy could also be a mechanism to determine such new areas.

Japanese Sparrowhawks usually are not vegetarians. As those that usually are not into defending the setting would in all probability prefer to level out, “Folks don’t kill birds. Birds kill birds”.

“I don’t want a gun to kill birds”

Based on the second modification of the structure established amongst Japanese Sparrowhawks, the correct to kill different birds can’t be denied.

I do know I simply revealed a separate submit on the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher. Nonetheless, a couple of days after the publication, I noticed one other one – and because of the lack of a functioning time machine, I couldn’t incorporate these new photographs into the sooner submit. So, listed here are some extra photographs. Consider them because the bonus tracks on a CD that’s launched a couple of months after the unique launch (to make keen followers spend extra money).

Edvard Munch, “The Scream”, Ornithological Model


“I’d by no means put on such an extended tail if the females weren’t so bloody picky”

“Look after a spider?”

The Yellow-rumped Flycatcher principally nests in cavities of tree trunks.

The principle purpose for breeding failure is just not predation, i.e., the chicks being eaten (supply).

Somewhat, it’s competitors from different cavity nesters (assume eviction out of your residence, or learn “Evicted: Poverty and Revenue within the American Metropolis” by Matthew Desmond if you wish to be taught concerning the US equal).

Whereas the primary species photograph on the HBW web page was taken by me, it isn’t superb. The one under is best.

I do know I additionally confirmed some photographs of the Oriental Scops Owl final month. However I’m not going to apologize for exhibiting some extra.

Let’s face it: should you don’t like owls, we can’t be pals anyway.


The Bluethroat photographs this month primarily give attention to the feminine – my small contribution to girls’s rights (and a stark distinction to my April submit).



If a male Daurian Redstart is nonetheless seen at Nanhui in mid-Might, probably, its need to breed is just not increased than mine.

Siberian Rubythroat: ditto.

This fowl remains to be at the very least 1000 km away from its breeding grounds.

Possibly it thinks that not having chicks will assist the setting, however I suppose that actually solely applies to people.

Brown Shrikes are usually identified for his or her beautiful style in meals, and when arriving at in an unfamiliar metropolis, I usually ask them for eating recommendation. Nonetheless, as this photograph reveals, they’re additionally completely able to having fun with hearty avenue meals.


For some purpose, seeing a Forrest Wagtail in Shanghai remains to be type of fascinating – primarily as a result of it’s a considerably uncommon sight. It’s a quite boring fowl although.

The Gray-crowned Warbler doesn’t solely look considerably much like Alstroem’s Warbler but additionally is called after a useless ornithologist, Edward Gray-Topped (*1955). Surprisingly, he stored this double identify even after his extremely acrimonious divorce from Alicia Topped, a feted however considerably capricious trend mannequin.

A current abroad customer was shocked to listen to that Giant-billed Crows are a rarity in Shanghai.

There was extra on them in a current Hokkaido submit, the place they’re some of the widespread fowl species.

The Lesser Coucal has lately checked out a reputation change and requested me for recommendation. So, I appeared up synonyms for “Lesser” and got here up with the next (supply):

  • insignificant

  • minor

  • a notch beneath

  • backside

  • bush

  • bush-league

  • dinky

  • much less necessary

  • low

  • decrease

  • minor-league

  • nether

  • second-fiddle

  • second-string

  • slighter

  • small

  • small-fry

  • small-time

  • subjacent

  • subordinate

  • third-string

  • undersized

We then agreed that none of those alternate options actually characterize a serious enchancment from the present identify.

In distinction, the Mugimaki Flycatcher is kind of proud of its identify stating that it offers it “a sure unique aura which performs effectively with the females of the species”.

Just like the Bluethroat proven above (and naturally many different species), the species identify of the Siberian Blue Robin, cyane (darkish blue) solely applies to the male.

However to that it applies very effectively certainly.


Radde’s Warbler: a warbler that at the very least has the decency of being midway straightforward to determine because of its attribute track. Must be a task mannequin for different warblers.

Sure, it is a snipe. I’m afraid if I informed you which of them snipe, I must kill you.

That is in all probability a Taiga Flycatcher. Until it’s a Crimson-throated Flycatcher, by which case it isn’t a Taiga Flycatcher.

Sure, I don’t significantly like photographs of giant flocks of Shorebirds both.




A punk Rufous-tailed Robin

For causes not fairly clear to me, the identify of this fowl is Blue Rock Thrush (regardless that it isn’t significantly blue – extra greyish-blue and reddish) …

… whereas this fowl known as White-throated Rock Thrush (regardless that it has a way more convincing blue coloration and solely a tiny white spot on its throat).


And at last, a Whimbrel in its typical habitat on a concrete wall.




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