Thursday, 28 May 2015

Temples, Magic Woods and mudflats

5 May 2015, South-eastern China - Day 3

Yang Kou and Dong Tai



Started early at the Temple Woods. It was a bright, smog free and unusually clear morning with blue skies and sunshine: not ideal for migrant arrivals....

We entered the woods with a few Yellow-browed, Eastern Crowned and Claudia's Warblers for company. As we carefully moved through the woods we found yesterday's stunning male Narcissus Flycatcher and female Mugimaki Flycatcher still in residence. More Phylloscs at the far end of the wood and a Hoopoe flew through, landing briefly before moving out to the turf field.


Claudia's Warbler
Claudia's Warbler
Claudia's Warbler
Eastern Crowned Warbler
Eastern Crowned Warbler
Eastern Crowned Warbler
Eastern Crowned Warbler
Eastern Crowned Warbler
Eastern Crowned Warbler
Hume's Warbler
Hume's Warbler
Pale-legged Warbler
Female Mugimaki Flycatcher
Female Mugimaki Flycatcher
Female Mugimaki Flycatcher
Female Mugimaki Flycatcher
Female Mugimaki Flycatcher
Male Narcissus Flycatcher
Male Narcissus Flycatcher
Male Narcissus Flycatcher
In the isolated patch of cover in the field were a nice array of new arrivals - a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, a superb male Mugimaki Flycatcher, 2 Pallas's Warbler, a Hume's Warbler, and several Japanese Tits.  Tristram's Buntings followed as did an increasing number of Olive-backed pipits, some of which showed really well. Two more Hoopoe, a Siberian Blue Robin flushed beside the Temple, a male Pale thrush, 2 Eyebrowed Thrush, and then as we walked around the edge a stunning male Siberian Thrush flew out of a bush and back into cover where we managed some close but obscured views. 


Eyebrowed Thrush
Vinous-throated Parrotbill
Vinous-throated Parrotbill
Hume's Warbler
We tried to relocate it but only flushed a Rufous-tailed Robin before returning around the edge. Without warning the Sibe Thrush reappeared beside the path and flew back into its original hiding place where more views were obtained as it hopped around above a stunning male Siberian Rubythroat! At this stage it was incredibly difficult to know which siberian stunner to give attention to. Suddenly the thrush was flushed (there were two other birding groups in and around this tiny patch of trees) and we followed it carefully getting some superb views as it moved through the bushes and even fed on the ground.

Siberian Thrush
Dream bird - male Siberian Thrush
Siberian Thrush

Siberian Thrush
Siberian Thrush
Siberian Thrush
It proved fairly approachable and even fed on the ground
Stunning!
The Yellow-rumped Flycatcher tried to get my attention with good views before a couple of Tristram's Buntings showed at point blank range and a small flock of Olive-backed Pipits walked along a path. 

Tristram's Bunting
Tristram's Bunting
Tristram's Bunting
Olive-backed Pipit
Olive-backed Pipit
Olive-backed Pipit

It was now time for breakfast which we had by the van - jam sandwiches and boiled eggs never tasted so good!

Next we drove to the magic wood but instead of entering we walked the road on the other side. Here we found a bright adult male Mugimaki Flycatcher and a Two-barred Greenish Warbler among the Yellow-browed's, Eastern Crowned and Claudia's. Also several Grey-streaked Flycatcher fed in the bare trees below the road. Manchurian Bush Warblers were singing, Nightingale like, along the roadside and at least 30 Chinese Grosbeaks fed in the shrubs. 

Brown Shrike
Chinese Grosbeak
Chinese Grosbeak
Chinese Grosbeak
Grey-streaked Flycatcher
I heard a number of birds scolding something near some bamboo and suggested to Gary there might be an Owl nearby. I glanced into the bamboo patch and in a hole in the centre an Oriental Scops Owl looked back!

Oriental Scops Owl
Oriental Scops Owl
As we walked back Nick heard a Siberian Rubythroat calling which was tempted into view with a tape. It gave stunning views on the edge of the hedge.


Male Siberian Rubythroat responds to the playback
And then he comes right out!
Ouch!
Wow!
OMG!
What a beauty!
Dazzling
Great side profile
I love chats, and this one is particularly stunning
It eventually slipped back into cover, but not before one last view

Dong Tai



We headed north to Dong Tai, a high concrete sea wall over a huge shallow muddy estuary. The tide was a long way out so we worked the bank where a Tristram's Bunting and a Yellow-browed Warbler were found.


Tristram's Bunting
As the tide came closer we walked out onto the mud finding large flocks of waders. Dunlin, Sanderling, Knot, Great Knot, Grey plover, Turnstone and large numbers of summer-plumaged Red-necked Stint. As we searched the flocks we managed to find 2 Spoon-billed Sandpipers and a Nordmann's Greenshank before the tide rolled in and we were forced along with the waders to retreat.


Red-necked Stint
Standing on the seawall another Nordmann's flew past with Grey Plover as they headed for roost and several more were seen in the shallow water. Three Grey-tailed Tattler flew past. Saunders Gulls flew around the beach. 

Eurasian Curlew
Great Knot, Red Knot, Lesser Sandplover, Grey Plover and Dunlin
Three Grey-tailed Tattler fly to roost
Lesser Sandplover 
A Nordmann's Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover
Nordmann's Greenshank, Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit
Nordmann's Greenshank takes flight showing its white underwing
Over high tide we watched 4 Eastern Marsh Harriers all male and a male Pied Harrier quartering a large grassy field beside the sea wall. A Red-rumped Swallow flew past and a Tristrams and Chestnut-eared Bunting were seen in the grass. A large wader roost formed but were too distant to be easily checked, though at least 75 Terek sands were seen plus an Avocet and several Oystercatcher. Huge numbers of waders were seen as the tide dropped, flying right overhead in great flocks. 

Terek Sandpiper and Dunlin
Wader flocks




As the tide fell we walked back onto the mud to join the feeding flocks of waders. vast numbers of Red-necked Stint were feeding in the puddles and careful scanning found another full summer-plumaged Spoon-billed Sandpiper, which gave good views as it fed.

Summer plumaged Spoon-billed Sandpiper



A Pacific golden plover flew over calling and a few Sharp-tailed Sands and Broad-billed Sands were seen among the throng of Lesser Sandplover and Dunlins. Saunder's Gulls flew over the mud often quite close and a smart Oystercatcher gave good views.

Saunder's Gull



Oystercatcher
After enjoying the waders we walked a roadside hedge. I decided to go into the hedge and walk through the low cover below the trees - Gary joined me. We flushed a Pale Thrush, a female Blue and White Flycatcher, several Tristrams Bunting and then a tiny rufous and tailless ball of feathers that initially proved difficult to pin down as it fed low on the ground like a mouse. After a bit of effort we flushed it into a low bush - an Asian Stubtail.  Our final surprise came in the form of a Northern Boobook flushed from the trees and eventually pinned down in full view. Great end to a great day!

Asian Stubtail
Asian Stubtail
Asian Stubtail
Asian Stubtail
Asian Stubtail
Northern Boobook - previously known as Brown Hawk Owl