What's up, Birding People!
One thing that ain't up is the number of breeding birds at Nanhui, Shanghai.
Yesterday, Elaine and I noted 33 species there. Oriental Pratincole
and Black Bittern
were new to our Shanghai-area springtime list. We noted just 5 Kentish Plover
, among them a single breeding pair, and only 5 Little Ringed Plover
Thereed beds, ponds, and mudflats presented a different face from previousmonths, with zero passage-migrant species noted. The micro-forests onthe sea wall, laboratories for the study of migrating passerines inApril and May, were nearly devoid of birds on Sunday. Completely absent werethe leaf warblers, thrushes, and flycatchers of a few weeks ago. Thebirds we saw Sunday were there to breed. The Oriental Reed Warbler
chasing away Common Cuckoo
provided a neat example of the new breeding theme. Both were lookingfor the same type of nest, but with different goals in mind.
Onthe reed beds and grassy areas, steadily being sliced and shrunk by thatvoracious predator the backhoe, birds that should be breeding in somenumbers were present in greatly reduced numbers. As I searched forKentish Plover, I had in mind Jonathan Martinez's study of the dwindlingpopulation of Kentish Plover along the Chinese coast. Sadly, Elaine andI found only a single breeding pair, near the blue-roofed building at 30.957666, 121.951278
.I stumbled upon the Kentish Plover and watched the lonely parents asthey pathetically called and circled me, warding me off their eggs oryoung. "Where are your cousins?" I wanted to say.
Elsewhere, we saw 2males sparring, possibly competing for females. Where were the females?
OrientalPratincole kept getting scared off by men on motorcycles. Finally,Elaine and I came upon a calmer pair. Through the spotting scope weadmired the well-defined black border around the throat, and we saw themlift their bills high and call to each other. The beauty and grace ofthese plover-like birds impressed Elaine. We discussed the highlyappropriate Chinese word for pratincole, "swallow-plover (燕鸻)."
The Black Bittern was flying N over the sea wall. I'd never seen Dupetor flavicollis
in Shanghai. Brazil and MacKinnon place the N limit of its breeding range at the Yangtze River.
Elaine got off some useful shots yesterday:
Habitatbehind sea wall, Nánhuì. In distance, note road on sea wall and"micro-forests," much relied on by passage migrants during spring andfall migrations. On parcel of land in foreground, we found the singlebreeding pair of Kentish Plover. If vegetation on this now-shelteredpiece of land grows thick, then Kentish Plover will no longer be able tobreed here.
Habitat just insidesea wall, Nánhuì. Oriental Pratincole were using this land. Thepratincoles were being affected visibly by noise from road atop sea wallas well as by farmers passing by on mopeds.
Yours truly, in fine birding fettle.
Vegetationbelt, exposed mudflat, and muddy East China Sea. I'm not sure of thespecies of the predominant plant in the vegetation belt. Oriental ReedWarbler are able to make use of the plant, as evidenced by their loudand constant calls coming from the belt.
Here's yesterday's list:
Around Pudong Nanhui Dongtan Wetland (Pǔdōng Nánhuì Dōngtān Shīdì [浦东南汇东滩湿地]), Shanghai, China (30.920507, 121.973159
); list includes birds found at Magic Parking Lot (30.882784, 121.972782
) and at points N & S of Magic Parking Lot along Shìjìtáng Lù (世纪塘路). 10:55-17:15.
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
4 (3 heard only)
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris
2 heard booming
Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis
Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis
Great Egret Ardea alba
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus
Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
5 (incl. probable breeding pair)
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
5 (1 pair with eggs or chicks nearby, 2 males sparring, 1 single)
Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum
6 (2 pairs, 2 singles)
Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) Columba livia
Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
8 (2 being chased by Oriental Reed Warbler)
Eurasian/Oriental Skylark Alauda arvensis
or A. gulgula
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis
Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis
70 (ca. 55 heard only)
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
Plain Prinia Prinia inornata
Reed Parrotbill Paradoxornis heudei
Vinous-throated Parrotbill Sinosuthora webbiana
40 (3 flocks, 3 singles)
Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatellus
White-cheeked Starling Sturnus cineraceus
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
White Wagtail Motacilla alba leucopsis
6 (4 adults, 2 juvs.)