Monday, 25 August 2008

Final China Post on BB Extra!...

The only time I use a fork. Scrutiny of other pics will see chopsticks constantly...

The footpath up the great wall is not for the faint health and safety barriers here...

Mr Biggs. A low point in his birding career.

Above - Tristrams Bunting 'spot the ball'...see where they are looking? theres one in there...

Above - Rob, Rich and Andy getting some air after a slog around the island. This is our hut. 5 star accomodation eh.

Above - Mr Biggs on the far left. The person far right in red is Klaus Malling Olsen the author of many i.d works including 'Gulls: an identification guide'.

Above - Freddy Kruger takes some notes. Something not many people do nowadays...

Above - Yours truly and Ipin. Me having an attack after seeing a Needletail...

Sock tree in flower...

Above - A fat, crap Lars Johnsson.

Above - Richie, Luxemburger and Rutter in contemplative mood...

Party Time - From the left -Luxemburger #1, Ipin, Tom, Andy, Jesper (standing), me, Rob, Rutter, Richard and Lux #2.

Above - Rutter and Tom, silly Buddas. Thats them in the front.

Above - As the early starts take a toll, JWR decided that he would just go to bed ready for the off...

And finally a happy ending from all...

The End.

Monday 19th May

Our last morning birding before the flight home. We took to Beijing Botanical Gardens with a full crew, well except for Ipin Roppa who decided on a lie in. Big mistake...

Above - 'Real' Pekinese dogs were roaming the car park at the Botanical Gardens.

Above - Black 'red' Squirrels peered down at us.

Above - A nice idyllic oriental scene.

Above - From the top, Azure winged Magpies, Grey capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Crested Myna and Chinese Grosbeaks collecting nesting material.

And what a morning walking the lovely gardens and gazing up at the Fragrant Hills. Plenty of biurds too including a few new to the list...

Azure winged Magpie 30+ common as muck.
Red billed Blue Magpie 1
Crested Myna 2 at the nest.
Black Drongo 5
Indian Cuckoo 1 watched singing its unusual call quite unlike our birds.
Grey capped Pygmy Woodpecker 6
Arctic Warbler 6+
Oriental Honey Buzzard 58+ migrating along the ridge.
Japanese Sparrowhawk 8
Hobby 2
Yellow rumped Flycatcher 2
Chinese Nuthatch 1 a real bonus bird, seen only for a few minutes but well. Looked like a Krupers...
Forest Wagtail 1
Chinese Grosbeak 2
Two barred Greenish Warbler 3
Grey headed Greenfinch 4
Black browed Reed Warbler 1
Chinese Pond Heron 1

And back for our lunchtime flight home. A fantastic holiday. A great place, friendly locals, a great crew and birding out of this world. Thanks to all who made the trip so enjoyable...

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Sunday 18th May...

Another early start about the Beidaihe Reservoirs looking for Bitterns but it appears that the cold spring has delayed their migration. We did get a point blank Pied Harrier and we found an Amur Falcons nest complete with screaming adults.

On the sand flats today, 1 Sharp tailed Sandpiper and 1 Lesser Sandplover, 20 Kentish Plovers and a nice group of 24 Pacific Golden Plovers. A Japanese Quail put on a good show sitting on a flat sandy beach trying to look camouflaged!

Another lifer came when Jesper called a Manchurian Reed Warbler in abeach tamarisk. When seen well it was very different to Black Browed Reed being very 'spiky' with a long pointed, thin bill and peaked crown. 20+ Black tailed Gulls were offshore.

From here it was off to the Yang estuary to look for Grey tailed Tattler. ( above) A dot on the horizon looked different to Jesper so we drove to the other side of the river and sure enough there was our target.

Also here 2 Black Drongos, sev Red rumped Swallows and 2 Chinese Pond Herons right out in the open.

We then drove 3 hours to Beijing and to this nice restaurant for our 'last supper'...

Friday, 20 June 2008

Saturday 17th May ...

Our last morning on Happy Island.

Much the same birds as yesterday plus Pin tailed Snipe etc. Above Top, Black browed Reed Warbler and bottom, Arctic Warbler.

Above Top - The staff ( and at the back a Luxmburger) wave us off ). Aren't they nice.

Centre - Ipin and Rutter are thinking 'Champion' with our Ferry Hostess....

Bottom - The fisherman at the mainland harbour seem pleased to see us. ( These people are pleased about everything!)

From here we went back to Magic wood and Big Wood. Both were quiet but we did manage Daurian Starling, 8 Brown Shrikes, 6 Red rumped Swallows 2 Black Drongos and 1 Grey streaked Flycatcher with 3 Brown Flycatchers.

In the Big Wood a massive heronry held 100+ Night Herons, a few Little Egrets and 2 Cattle Egrets, 2 Spotted Doves and 50+ White winged Black and Whiskered Terns.

We arrived back in Beidaihe at 6pm in time to check the ponds at the reservoirs. Here we had occularis Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey streaked Fly, 1 Black browed Reed Warbler and 10 Black winged Stilts...

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Friday 16th May...

Top - Chinese Bulbul
Centre - Yellow bellied Tit. A souped up Coal Tit....
Bottom - Forest Wagtail. What a bird. Impossible to photograph as it walked around under dark evergreen trees...Fantastic.

Today was relatively quiet with most of the weeks migrants having cleared off due to the clear skies at night. When I say quiet, I mean Happy Island quiet, not Holy Island quiet...

Night Heron 1
Eyebrowed Thrush 3
Rufous bellied Woodpecker 1
Black naped Oriole 1
Blyth's Leaf Warbler 1
Red flanked Bluetail 1 still
Brown Flycatcher 1
Oriental Cuckoo 1
White throated Rock Thrush 1 pair
Brown Shrike 4+
Chestnut Bunting 1 male
Siberian Rubythroat 2 males
Jap Sparrowhawk 1
Yellow bellied Tit 2
Two barred Greenish 2
Greater Sandplover 1 the second of only 2 seen showed well.
Great Knot 60
Common Sandpiper 9
Kentish Plover 4
Red necked Stint 24
Lesser Sandplover 6
Oystercatcher 1
Whimbrel 3
Saunder's Gull 7 inc 1 adult
Gull billed Tern 2
Oriental Reed Warbler 1 the only one I aw all week
Arctic Warbler 2 only just starting to arrive now.
Forest Wagtail 1 another contender for best bird...

See what I mean. A dead day !

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Thursday 15th May...

This morning I decided to spend a couple of hours with the ringers at the makeshift ringing station. There had been a good arrival of birds, particularly Sibe Blue Robins and Brown Shrikes, with about 12 and 40+ respectively.

Above - This Black Drongo perched out near the ringing station.

Above - Grey Nightjar. Larger than ours and very impressive. I was glad to pull this back after the lads saw it in the field yesterday.

Above - Lanceolated Warbler. Now there's a tale. The dutch ringer came back and reported that he had a 'Lancelot' warbler. I like it. That'll stick. Thats it in this picture. So after processing I took the bird to show the crew. A cracking little thing it was tiny. I released it onto the ground near cover to watch it run away. It ran about 4 feet then took flight. Everyone watched through their binoculars as it flew along the fence line next to the bushes. After about 50 yards a Brown Shrike, unseen by me, took off from some nearby sticks and flew, spotted flycatcher fashion, grabbed the hapless lancey and knocked it to the ground for breakfast! The crowd gasped with cries of 'oh no' just like in a cinema when theres a scary bit in a horror film. To make matters worse, a second shrike flew in to help pull the little bird to bits... I took some stick that day. I'm now branded a murderer, only steps behind Peter Sutcliffe...

Above three Rubythroats - Top, imm female, centre adult female and bottom my hand with a stonking belter of a male...ho ho ho...

Above - Me at 5am looking worse for wear with Brown Shrikes. Lancey killers.

Above - FS male Sibe Blue Robin. I was lucky to handle a few of these in various plumages.

Above - ADMc looks on a Radde's...

Above - Radde's and Dusky Warblers but which is which? Get your homework done for the autumn...

Above two - Brown Shrike. The Lancey was an apperitife, this one decided to have a go at Tom...

Above - Thick billed Warbler. One of my absolute highlights. I got to grope two of these.

Above - female Black faced Bunting.

Not bad eh, 4 lifers before breakfast...