Fairy Pitta at Nanhui

The autumn migration season here in Shanghai has kicked off in style. Leading the parade of migrants is Fairy Pitta, seen in Microforest 2 at Nanhui on Sat. 3 Sept. 2016 and still there as of Sunday afternoon. Another notable sighting on Saturday was Common Ringed Plover at the sod farm south of Pudong International Airport.

Partnering yet again with Shanghai-based British birder Michael Grunwell, Elaine Du and I were out Sat. 27 Aug. and again the following Saturday, 3 Sept. On both days we found Asian Dowitcher and endangered Great Knot. On 3 Sept. a group of 135 Great Knot and 3 Asian Dowitcher were part of a wader roost of ca. 400 individuals in the canal between microforests 1 and 2. The roost also contained a single endangered Nordmann’s Greenshank, 30 Red Knot, and 3 Curlew Sandpiper. On the mudflats nearby, we had a flyby of 3 endangered Far Eastern Curlew. On 27 Aug. a smaller roost at the same location had some of the species noted above as well as Grey-tailed Tattler. 27 Aug. also yielded a single Red-necked Phalarope.

Other highlights from 3 Sept.:

26 Pin-tailed/Swinhoe’s Snipe at sod farm near Pudong Airport

ca. 200 near-threatened Black-tailed Godwit in that wader roost at Nanhui

230 Oriental Pratincole at Nanhui and sod farm

Oriental Pratincole at sod farm S of Pudong Airport, Sat. 3 Sept. 2016.
Oriental Pratincole at sod farm S of Pudong Airport, Sat. 3 Sept. 2016.

1 Lesser Coucal (juv.) in reed bed at Nanhui

8 paradise flycatchers, all likely Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, in microforests at Nanhui

3 Siberian Blue Robin, 1 on Temple Mount on Lesser Yangshan Island and 2 at Magic Parking Lot, Nanhui

I met this Siberian Blue Robin on Saturday on Temple Mount, Lesser Yangshan Island. The robin displayed nicely for me. <a href="http://www.shanghaibirding.com/explorations/boli-may-june-2016/" target="_blank">This past spring in Elaine's hometown of Boli in Heilongjiang</a>, I studied the songs of male Sibe Blues just like this one. What a song they sing.
I met this Siberian Blue Robin on Saturday on Temple Mount, Lesser Yangshan Island. The robin displayed nicely for me. This past spring in Elaine’s hometown of Boli in Heilongjiang, I studied the songs of male Sibe Blues just like this one. What a song they sing.

8 Arctic-type Warbler on Lesser Yangshan and at Nanhui, plus records of Eastern Crowned Warbler and the tricky species pair Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler. The Eastern Crowned Warbler were silent, but the Arctic-types and Pale-Saks were calling.

516 Eastern Yellow Wagtail, most of this impressive number from Pudong Airport sod farm and the Nanhui sod farm on Ganlan Road (30.890865, 121.902011)

Notes

On 27 Aug. 2016 an international team of birders visited Nanhui. L-R: Michael Grunwell (U.K.), Mikkel Thorup (Denmark), Komatsu Yasuhiko (Japan), and Elaine Du (China). Photo by Craig Brelsford (USA).
On 27 Aug. 2016 an international team of birders visited Nanhui. L-R: Michael Grunwell (U.K.), Mikkel Thorup (Denmark), Komatsu Yasuhiko (Japan), and Elaine Du (China). Photo by Craig Brelsford (USA).

— On Sat. 27 Aug. we added to our trio special guest Mikkel Thorup, a mathematician from Denmark. This was not Mikkel’s first birding trip in China, but he is still fresh enough that he was picking off lifers left and right. Later, we were joined by the international high-school birding team of Komatsu Yasuhiko (Japan), Larry Chen (Canada), and Chi Shu (Shanghai).

— The decline of Lesser Yangshan as a birding spot is accelerating. Garbage Dump Coastal Plain has been lost to birding, with earth-moving machines all around and new buildings going up. Garbage Dump Gully is intact, but the increased activity on the coastal plain means that security, already tight now, may be even tighter in the future, and it may soon prove impossible to reach the gully. A migrant trap par excellence, Garbage Dump Gully is crucial to Shanghai birders. Over the years the gully has given birders Japanese Robin, Verditer Flycatcher, Varied Tit, White-bellied Green Pigeon, and scores of other good records. Garbage Dump Gully must be preserved; access to it must be sustained.

— On 27 Aug. we found a banded Black-tailed Godwit. As is my habit, I filled out and submitted the Leg Flag Report Form on the Web site of the Australasian Wader Studies Group. Our godwit, it turns out, received its bands on 19 June 2016 on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia (at 57.08, 156.64), 4000 km from Shanghai. UPDATE: On 9 Sept. 2016 a godwit with the E7 band was found by Chinese photographer kaca at virtually the same location as the 27 Aug. sighting.

Black-tailed Godwit, Nanhui, 27 Aug. 2016. On L tibia note black band above yellow band. Yellow band says E7. On R tibia (Panel 4), can you see the metal band? Recording data like these helps researchers at the Australasian Wader Studies Group determine where your bird was banded. Whenever possible, they will report back to you with a history of the bird. Be on the lookout for banded birds, <a href="http://awsg.org.au/wp-content/themes/AWSG/reportform.php" target="_blank">make your report</a>, and enjoy the treat of a response from AWSG. Thanks to Komatsu Yasuhiko, who used my iPhone 6 and his spotting scope to get these images.
Black-tailed Godwit, Nanhui, 27 Aug. 2016. On L tibia note black band above yellow band. Yellow band says E7. On R tibia (Panel 4), can you see the metal band? Recording data like these helps researchers at the Australasian Wader Studies Group determine where your bird was banded. Whenever possible, they will report back to you with a history of the bird. Be on the lookout for banded birds, make your report, and enjoy the treat of a response from AWSG. Thanks to Komatsu Yasuhiko, who used my iPhone 6 and his spotting scope to get these images.

— The task of ID-ing the Nordmann’s was clear-cut and was helped along by a Common Greenshank that appeared next to the Nordmann’s. The head of the Nordmann’s was proportionally larger than that of the Common, and it had a higher knee with shorter legs–an obviously stockier bird, a rugby player compared to a ballerina. The Nordmann’s stretched out its wing, revealing clean white plumage underneath. Common has a greyer underwing.

Day Lists
My first reference is IOC World Bird List.

List 1 of 1 for Sat. 27 Aug. 2016 (77 species). Birds noted around Pudong Nanhui Dongtan Wetland (Pǔdōng Nánhuì Dōngtān Shīdì [浦东南汇东滩湿地]), Shanghai, China (30.920507, 121.973159). Includes birds found along Shijitang Road between 31.000204, 121.938145 & 30.851114, 121.848527, among them Microforest 1 (30.924008, 121.971712) & Microforest 2 (30.926138, 121.970795). Sunny, high 31° C. PM2.5 AQI: 57 (moderate). Sunrise 05:28, sunset 18:24. SAT 27 AUG 2016 06:00-19:20. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mikkel Thorup.

Garganey Anas querquedula 86
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 7
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 60
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis 2
Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis 3
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 34
Great Egret A. alba 8
Intermediate Egret A. intermedia 4
Little Egret Egretta garzetta 25
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus 100
Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus 12
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 254
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus 2 (1 juv.)
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 9
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra 3 (pair with young)
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 75
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 12
Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus ca. 150
Kentish Plover C. alexandrinus ca. 200
Pin-tailed/Swinhoe’s Snipe Gallinago stenura/megala 3
Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus 4
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 15
Far Eastern Curlew N. madagascariensis 1
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa melanuroides ca. 200
Bar-tailed Godwit L. lapponica 1
Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes 6
Spotted Redshank T. erythropus 2
Common Greenshank T. nebularia 15
Marsh Sandpiper T. stagnatilis 150
Wood Sandpiper T. glareola 20
Common Redshank T. totanus 5
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus 10
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 12
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris 11
Red Knot C. canutus 16
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper C. acuminata 40
Curlew Sandpiper C. ferruginea 12
Long-toed Stint C. subminuta 9
Red-necked Stint C. ruficollis ca. 300
Sanderling C. alba 5
Dunlin C. alpina 8
Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus 3
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus 1
Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum 40
Little Tern Sternula albifrons 4
Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica 10
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus 50
Whiskered Tern C. hybrida 10
Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) Columba livia 6
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis 4
Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis 1
Cuculus sp. 6
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 2
Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus 8
Brown Shrike L. cristatus 7
Long-tailed Shrike L. schach 25
Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis 1
Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata 1
Sand/Pale Martin Riparia riparia/diluta 1
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica ca. 100
Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis 6
Arctic/Kamchatka Leaf/Japanese Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealis/examinandus/xanthodryas 2
Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler P. tenellipes/borealoides 13
Eastern Crowned Warbler P. coronatus 3
Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis 1
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis 2
Plain Prinia Prinia inornata 4
Reed Parrotbill Paradoxornis heudei 11
Vinous-throated Parrotbill Sinosuthora webbiana 15
Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatellus 18
Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica 2
Asian Brown Flycatcher M. dauurica 5
Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane 7
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia 10
Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis tschutschensis 170
White Wagtail M. alba leucopsis 10
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 50

List 1 of 3 for Sat. 3 Sept. 2016 (19 species)

A juvenile Meadow Bunting stands at attention at the mouth of Garbage Dump Gully, Lesser Yangshan Island, 3 Sept. 2016. A Lesser Yangshan specialty, Meadow Bunting breed on the island but are rarely found on the Shanghai mainland.
A juvenile Meadow Bunting stands at attention at the mouth of Garbage Dump Gully, Lesser Yangshan Island, 3 Sept. 2016. A Lesser Yangshan specialty, Meadow Bunting breed on the island but are rarely found on the Shanghai mainland.

Birds noted on Lesser Yangshan Island (Xiǎo Yángshān [小洋山]), island in Hangzhou Bay, Zhejiang, China. List includes birds noted at Garbage Dump Gully (30.641565, 122.062836), Temple Mount (30.639866, 122.048327), & Accidental Marsh (30.611902, 122.114873). Sunny, high 33° C. Sunrise 05:32, sunset 18:15. SAT 03 SEP 2016 06:50-09:30. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, & Michael Grunwell.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 6
Pin-tailed/Swinhoe’s Snipe Gallinago stenura/megala 3
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 1
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 6
Long-tailed Shrike L. schach 10
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 2
Japanese Tit Parus minor 1
Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis 10
Arctic/Kamchatka Leaf/Japanese Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealis/examinandus/xanthodryas 5
Eastern Crowned Warbler P. coronatus 1
Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatellus 5
Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane 1
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia 1
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 20
Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis tschutschensis 16
White Wagtail M. alba leucopsis 1
Chinese Grosbeak Eophona migratoria 2
Meadow Bunting Emberiza cioides 3

List 2 of 3 for Sat. 3 Sept. 2016 (58 species)

Fairy Pitta, Nanhui Microforest 2, Saturday. This pitta may have come from Jiangsu, or it may have come from Japan. Who knows the story it could tell. If all goes well, in the coming weeks the pitta will arrive in Borneo to spend the winter. It is thought that migrating Fairy Pitta fly directly across the South China Sea from south China to Borneo. Our pitta is currently hugging the coast (Microforest 2 is literally a stone's throw from the East China Sea). Our pitta will likely continue hugging the China coast until at some point a mysterious instinct will kick in, and it will set off across the open sea. What a flight that will be! Most pittas stay in the tropics and are sedentary. Fairy Pitta breeds in subtropical and temperate Asia and makes the longest migration of any pitta. Photo by Craig Brelsford.
Fairy Pitta, Nanhui Microforest 2, Saturday. This pitta may have come from Jiangsu, or it may have come from Japan. Who knows the story it could tell. If all goes well, in the coming weeks the pitta will arrive in Borneo to spend the winter. It is thought that migrating Fairy Pitta fly directly across the South China Sea from south China to Borneo. Our pitta is currently hugging the coast (Microforest 2 is literally a stone’s throw from the East China Sea). Our pitta will likely continue hugging the coast until at some point a mysterious instinct will kick in, and it will set off across the open sea. What a flight that will be! Most pittas stay in the tropics and are sedentary. Fairy Pitta breeds in subtropical and temperate Asia and makes the longest migration of any pitta. Photo by Craig Brelsford.

Birds noted around Pudong Nanhui Dongtan Wetland (Pǔdōng Nánhuì Dōngtān Shīdì [浦东南汇东滩湿地]), Shanghai, China (30.920507, 121.973159). Includes birds found along Shijitang Road between 31.000204, 121.938145 & 30.851114, 121.848527, among them Microforest 1 (30.924008, 121.971712) & Microforest 2 (30.926138, 121.970795). Sunny, high 33° C. Sunrise 05:32, sunset 18:15. SAT 03 SEP 2016 10:05-15:45. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, & Michael Grunwell.

Garganey Anas querquedula 40
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 1
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 20
Little Egret Egretta garzetta 50
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus 10
Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus 2
Striated Heron Butorides striata 2
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 20
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra 3
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 20
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus 5
Little Ringed Plover C. dubius 5
Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus 3
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 5
Far Eastern Curlew N. madagascariensis 3
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa melanuroides ca. 200
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris 135
Red Knot C. canutus 30
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper C. acuminata 20
Curlew Sandpiper C. ferruginea 3
Temminck’s Stint C. temminckii 2
Long-toed Stint C. subminuta 5
Red-necked Stint C. ruficollis 50
Dunlin C. alpina 20
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 4
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 5
Nordmann’s Greenshank T. guttifer 1
Wood Sandpiper T. glareola 15
Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus 8
Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum 90
Little Tern Sternula albifrons 10
Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica 4
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus 40
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 1
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis 8
Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis 1
Cuculus sp. 6 (1 ad., 5 juvs.)
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 1
Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha 1
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 6
Long-tailed Shrike L. schach 7
Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis 1
Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata 8
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 50
Arctic/Kamchatka Leaf/Japanese Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealis/examinandus/xanthodryas 3
Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler P. tenellipes/borealoides 2
Eastern Crowned Warbler P. coronatus 4
Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis 1
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis 2
Plain Prinia Prinia inornata 3
Reed Parrotbill Paradoxornis heudei 3
Vinous-throated Parrotbill Sinosuthora webbiana 5
Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica 9
Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane 2
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 10
Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis tschutschensis ca. 200
White Wagtail M. alba leucopsis 2

List 3 of 3 for Sat. 3 Sept. 2016 (14 species)

Pin-tailed/Swinhoe's Snipe, sod farm S of Pudong Airport, Saturday. The shorter bill, dark underwings, and faint trailing edge to wing clearly distinguish these from Common Snipe. But to go beyond 'Swintail' requires skills beyond my ken.
Pin-tailed/Swinhoe’s Snipe, sod farm S of Pudong Airport, Saturday. The shorter bill, dark underwings, and faint trailing edge to wing clearly distinguish these from Common Snipe. But to go beyond ‘Swintail’ requires skills beyond my ken.

Birds noted at sod farm south of Pudong International Airport, Shanghai, China (31.112586, 121.824742). Sunny, high 33° C. Sunrise 05:32, sunset 18:15. SAT 03 SEP 2016 16:25-18:35. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, & Michael Grunwell.

Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus ca. 200
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 2
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 20
Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus 2
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus 1
Common Ringed Plover C. hiaticula tundrae 1
Little Ringed Plover C. dubius 80
Pin-tailed/Swinhoe’s Snipe Gallinago stenura/megala 26
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres 3
Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum 140
Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula 1
White-cheeked Starling Spodiopsar cineraceus 20
Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis tschutschensis ca. 300
White Wagtail M. alba leucopsis 1

Featured image: Fairy Pitta, Nanhui Microforest 2, Sun. 4 Sept. 2016. Photo by Komatsu Yasuhiko using Nikon D7100 + Tamron 150-600 F/5.6, F/6, 1/100, ISO 640. Yasuhiko, or “Hiko,” is a contributor to shanghaibirding.com. A native of Japan, Hiko is a sophomore at Shanghai High School International Division.

Qinghai 2016 Week 1-2 Highlights

In photo above, Michael Grunwell (L) carries spotting scope to view waterfowl on Eling Lake, near source of Yellow River in Guoluo Prefecture, Qinghai, 3 July 2016. To the right is Mark Waters, Michael’s old friend from England. This post covers the first two weeks of our Qinghai 2016 expedition.

Other posts in our Qinghai 2016 series:

Tibetan Lynx, Kanda Mountain, Qinghai
Qinghai 2016 Week 3 Highlights
Qinghai 2016 Week 4 Highlights
A Batch o’ Qinghai Goodies
Qinghai 2016 Weeks 5-6

Qinghai 2016 Week 7
Qinghai 2016 Week 8

Elaine Du and I were in Qinghai from 26 June to 21 Aug. 2016. We collected a huge amount of material and have been publishing it in bits and pieces here on shanghaibirding.com. In this post, we offer you the highlights of the first two weeks of the trip, 26 June to 10 July, which we spent with Shanghai-based British birder Michael Grunwell and his old friend Mark Waters.

Among the 136 species of bird we found were 40 of Michael’s 45 hoped-for lifers. Highlights:

2 Red-crested Pochard at Eling Lake (34.902685, 97.709949), near source of Yellow River

226 Common Merganser at Eling Lake

8 White Eared Pheasant in Kanda Gorge (32.314561, 96.624807) and at Baizha Nature Reserve (31.966314, 96.535097)

A pair of White Eared Pheasant Crossoptilon crossoptilon dolani pause from their evening forage to gaze warily at the camera. Kanda Gorge, Nangqian County, 5 July 2016. Elev. 3980 m. White Eared Pheasant is listed as Near Threatened because of habitat loss and poaching. In Kanda Gorge, the species seems to be doing well. This pair was feeding in the open next to the road.
White Eared Pheasant Crossoptilon crossoptilon dolani pause from their evening forage to gaze warily at the camera. Kanda Gorge, Nangqian County, 5 July. White Eared Pheasant is listed as Near Threatened because of habitat loss and poaching.

1 Przevalski’s Partridge at “Przevalski’s Site” (36.457249, 98.502578), a birding area in the Dulan Mountains

7 Tibetan Partridge at nunnery (32.291641, 96.512173) in Kanda Gorge, at mouth of Kanda Gorge (32.277059, 96.485171), and along Mekong (Zaqu) River

Tibetan Partridge, 5 July 2016. Craig Brelsford.
Tibetan Partridge Perdix hodgsoniae, Kanda Nunnery (32.291641, 96.512173), 5 July.

5 Golden Eagle noted at various places

6 Black-necked Crane at Qinghai Lake (36.877808, 100.228673) and in Maduo County

26 Lesser Sand Plover ssp. atrifrons breeding on edges of high-altitude lakes as well as in drier steppe country

5 Ibisbill on tributaries of Mekong River in Nangqian County

One of the stars of the Tibetan Plateau, Ibisbill is the sole species in the family Ibidorhynchidae. This highly specialized shorebird is adapted to life along shingle-bed rivers at elevations between 2000 m and 4400 m. We found this pair in Yushu Prefecture in a stream next to the G214 at 4020 masl.
One of the stars of the Tibetan Plateau, Ibisbill is the sole species in the family Ibidorhynchidae. This highly specialized shorebird is adapted to life along shingle-bed rivers at elevations between 2000 m and 4400 m. We found this pair in Yushu Prefecture in a stream next to the G214 at 4020 masl.

21 Common Cuckoo and 7 Cuculus sp. We noted calling Common Cuckoo at elevations as high as 4300 m

1 Black Woodpecker at Baizha Nature Reserve. Black Woodpecker is one of several species whose ranges cover northern-temperate Eurasia in a band from Europe to northeast China then spur southwestward to the Tibetan Plateau

1 Tiger Shrike at entrance to Kanda Gorge (32.277059, 96.485171). A highly unusual Qinghai record for this species

This male Tiger Shrike stunned us. What was a mainly lowland species, usually found at altitudes no higher than 1000 m and no further W than the Sichuan Basin, doing at 3670 masl in Qinghai?
This male Tiger Shrike stunned us. What was a mainly lowland species, usually found at altitudes no higher than 1000 m and no further west than the Sichuan Basin, doing at 3670 masl in Qinghai?

1 Black Drongo, another interesting record for Qinghai

2 Henderson’s Ground Jay in scrub west of Chaka (36.791576, 99.078878)

Henderson's Ground Jay, scrub W of Chaka, Wulan County, Haixi Prefecture, Qinghai. 30 June 2016. F/6.3, 1/6400, ISO 2500.
Henderson’s Ground Jay, scrub W of Chaka (36.791576, 99.078878), 30 June.

1 southern record of Mongolian Lark south of Gonghe-Qiabuqia

2 White-browed Tit in scrub at KM 2189.5 on G109 (36.778749, 99.653861) near Heimahe (36.729239, 99.779524)

16 Sichuan Tit in Kanda Gorge and at Baizha Nature Reserve

7 White-browed Tit-Warbler at my reliable site near Heimahe as well as at Baizha

25 singing Yellow-streaked Warbler in Baizha Nature Reserve as well as in riparian scrub along Mekong River

Yellow-streaked Warbler, Baizha Nature Reserve, 7 July 2016. 3900 masl.
Yellow-streaked Warbler, Baizha Nature Reserve, 7 July.

8 Gansu Leaf Warbler in stand of conifers at 36.973133, 102.441300 in Huzhu County

22 Sichuan Leaf Warbler at Baizha Nature Reserve

29 Greenish Warbler at various sites, including high-altitude scrub

7 Tibetan Babax at nunnery in Kanda Gorge as well as at mouth of gorge

1 Dark-sided Flycatcher at Baizha Nature Reserve

2 Siberian Rubythroat in Huzhu County. This mainly Siberian breeder has a disjunct breeding range extending across northern Qinghai, southern Gansu, and northern Sichuan

5 White-tailed Rubythroat, the Himalayan counterpart to Siberian Rubythroat, in scrub (36.758683, 99.663055) near Heimahe as well as at Yankou Shan (33.199406, 97.466606)

White-tailed Rubythroat in scrub near Heimahe, 29 June 2016. Elev. 3600 m.
White-tailed Rubythroat in scrub (36.758683, 99.663055) near Heimahe, 29 June.

47 Slaty-backed Flycatcher, all at Baizha Nature Reserve

2 Przevalski’s Redstart, colorful China endemic noted at Przevalski’s Site (36.457249, 98.502578) in Dulan Mountains west of Chaka

Przevalski's Redstart, Dulan Mountains, 1 July 2016. Elev. 3820 m. We found a pair, both of which are shown here. Note the all-black tail of the female.
Przevalski’s Redstart, Przevalski’s Site (36.457249, 98.502578), 1 July. We found a pair. Note all-black tail of female.

76 Hodgson’s Redstart, always in greener, forested areas such as Huzhu County and Baizha Nature Reserve

11 Plumbeous Water Redstart, all at lower elevations at Baizha

109 Black Redstart, a species well-adapted to high-altitude desert, semi-desert, steppe, and scrub

6 Güldenstädt’s Redstart breeding as low as 3800 masl around Heimahe. Also known as White-winged Redstart

7 Chestnut Thrush in forests in Huzhu County

107 Kessler’s Thrush at various sites, usually in high-altitude forest and scrub, sometimes around farms and villages

1 Maroon-backed Accentor at Baizha Nature Reserve

3 Przevalski’s Finch at two sites near Heimahe

3 White-winged Grosbeak near Chaka and in Kanda Gorge

2 Blanford’s Rosefinch at Baizha Nature Reserve

2 Tibetan Rosefinch on barren saddle, elev. 4700 m, above Ela Pass (35.497608, 99.511449)

9 Blanford’s Snowfinch in semi-desert and high steppe, sometimes occurring alongside its congener Rufous-necked Snowfinch, which we usually were finding in slightly wetter habitats

This Rufous-necked Snowfinch shows the distinctive head pattern of the species, with black eye-line and submoustachial stripe, white throat, and reddish band on neck-sides. Pyrgilauda ruficollis is a common species of the Tibetan Plateau, with a range nearly perfectly coterminous with the Rooftop of the World. I took this photo 29 June 2016 near Heimahe at an elevation of 3480 m.
This Rufous-necked Snowfinch shows the distinctive head pattern of the species, with black eye-line and submoustachial stripe, white throat, and reddish band on neck-sides. Pyrgilauda ruficollis is common on the Tibetan Plateau, its range nearly perfectly coterminous with the Rooftop of the World. I took this photo 29 June at the base of Tit-Warbler Mountain (36.766994, 99.667711).

13 Henri’s Snowfinch, mainly around Ela Pass

10 Tibetan Snowfinch, including nesting pair at G109 KM 2189.5 (36.778749, 99.653861) near Heimahe

2 Tibetan Bunting at Kanda Pass

11 Pine Bunting at Przevalski’s Site (36.457249, 98.502578)

A male Pine Bunting sings in the Dulan Mountains W of Chaka, Wulan County, 1 July 2016. Elev. 3820 m. The bunting shown here is a member of ssp. fronto, endemic to N Qinghai and adjacent Gansu. Emberiza leucocephalos fronto is resident in its range, which is disjunct from that of the nominate ssp.
Male Pine Bunting at Przevalski’s Site (36.457249, 98.502578), 1 July. Emberiza leucocephalos fronto is endemic to N Qinghai and adjacent Gansu.

Mammals: Tibetan Wild Ass (steppe, Maduo County), Pallas’s Cat (night view near Maduo [Machali]), Mongolian Five-toed Jerboa (Maduo [Machali]), Plateau Pika, Glover’s Pika (Yushu [Jiegu], Kanda Gorge, Baizha), Himalayan Marmot, Tibetan Antelope (steppe), Tibetan Fox (steppe, Maduo County), Red Fox (steppe near Qinghai Lake), White-lipped Deer (scrub near Heimahe), Tibetan Macaque (fully wild individuals in Baizha Nature Reserve), Blue Sheep (half-tame herds around Ga’er Monastery [31.829966, 96.487758])

Astronomy: Amazing views of Milky Way, rings of Saturn, and bands of Jupiter as well as Jupiter’s Galilean moons on clear night in steppe near Maduo (Machali), elev. 4200 m. Used my Swarovski ATX-95.

L-R: Mark Waters, Michael Grunwell, and Elaine Du watching Himalayan Vulture at sunset on 3 July 2016 in Maduo County, Qinghai. Yellow River just visible at their feet. As soon as the sun set on 3 July, our team turned its attention to the heavens, enjoying in the clear Tibetan Plateau air stunning views of the Milky Way, the rings of Saturn, and the moons of Jupiter. Photo by Craig Brelsford using iPhone 6.
Mark Waters (L), Michael Grunwell (C), and Elaine Du watch Himalayan Vulture at sunset on 3 July 2016 in Maduo County. The Yellow River is visible at their feet.

Day Lists
Lists are generated on eBird then adjusted to comport with my first reference, the IOC World Bird List.

List 1 of 1 for Mon. 27 June 2016 (33 species). Birds noted in Huzhu County, Haidong Prefecture, Qinghai. Most activity around Jiading (36.951698, 102.494353). 08:45-15:45. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 3
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 3
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 3
Spotted Dove S. chinensis 4
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 6
Salim Ali’s Swift Apus salimalii 50
Crimson-breasted Woodpecker Dryobates cathpharius pernyii 1
Grey-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus 5
Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyanus 4
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 6
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 6
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 14
Willow Tit Poecile montanus affinis 1
Japanese Tit Parus minor 6
Chinese Nuthatch Sitta villosa 1
Gansu Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus kansuensis 8 (7 at 36.973133, 102.441300)
Greenish Warbler P. trochiloides 4
Large-billed Leaf Warbler P. magnirostris 30
Plain Laughingthrush Garrulax davidi 2
Elliot’s Laughingthrush Trochalopteron elliotii 1
Siberian Rubythroat Calliope calliope beicki 2
Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis 2
Plumbeous Water Redstart P. fuliginosus 6
White-capped Redstart P. leucocephalus 10
Hodgson’s Redstart P. hodgsoni 20
Chestnut Thrush Turdus rubrocanus 6
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 2
White Wagtail M. alba leucopsis 12
Water/Rosy Pipit Anthus spinoletta/roseatus 2
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus 2
Chinese White-browed Rosefinch C. dubius 1
Grey-capped Greenfinch Chloris sinica 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 1

Mammals

Himalayan Marmot Marmota himalayana 3
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes 1

List 1 of 1 for Tues. 28 June 2016 (42 species). Birds noted at Qinghai Lake (36.877808, 100.228673) & in hills between Heimahe (36.729239, 99.779524) & Rubber Mountain Pass (36.754213, 99.606705), Gonghe County, Hainan Prefecture, Qinghai. 06:20-20:50. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus ca. 100
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 50
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula 5
Common Merganser Mergus merganser 1
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 1
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo ca. 100
Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 2
Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 6
Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis 2
Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus atrifrons 5
Kentish Plover C. alexandrinus 1
Common Redshank Tringa totanus 6
Brown-headed Gull Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus 5
Pallas’s Gull Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus 30
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 1
Salim Ali’s Swift Apus salimalii ca. 50
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug 2 (pair)
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 14
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 30
Tibetan Lark Melanocorypha maxima 1
Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula ca. 100
Sand/Pale Martin Riparia riparia/diluta 30
Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus 3
White-browed Tit Poecile superciliosus 2 (pair)
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis ca. 100
Alpine Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus occisinensis 15
Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis 3
Black Redstart P. ochruros 30
Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus Przevalskii 8
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina 20
Kessler’s Thrush Turdus kessleri 1
Robin Accentor Prunella rubeculoides 10
Rufous-breasted Accentor P. strophiata 1
Brown Accentor P. fulvescens 2
Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus 2
Twite Carduelis flavirostris 50
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 25
Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia 7
Tibetan Snowfinch Montifringilla adamsi 8
Rufous-necked Snowfinch Pyrgilauda ruficollis 15
White-rumped Snowfinch Onychostruthus taczanowskii 20
Przevalski’s Finch Urocynchramus pylzowi 2 (pair)

Mammals

Plateau Pika Ochotona curzoniae 30
Himalayan Marmot Marmota himalayana 5
White-lipped Deer Cervus albirostris 1
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes 4

List 1 of 2 for Wed. 29 June 2016 (22 species). Birds noted at Qinghai Lake (36.877808, 100.228673) & in hills between Heimahe (36.729239, 99.779524) & Rubber Mountain Pass (36.754213, 99.606705), Gonghe County, Hainan Prefecture, Qinghai. 06:45-12:20. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus 1
Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 5
Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 4
Common Redshank Tringa totanus 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 2
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 5
Sand/Pale Martin Riparia riparia/diluta 8
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 50
White-browed Tit-Warbler Leptopoecile sophiae 5
Alpine Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus occisinensis 8
White-tailed Rubythroat Calliope pectoralis 1 singing male
Güldenstädt’s Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogastrus 1 (3600 m)
Black Redstart P. ochruros 15
Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus Przevalskii 1
Kessler’s Thrush Turdus kessleri 23 at Lamaozhi Siyuan
Robin Accentor Prunella rubeculoides 8
Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus 1
Twite Carduelis flavirostris 18
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 20
White-rumped Snowfinch Onychostruthus taczanowskii 10
Rufous-necked Snowfinch Pyrgilauda ruficollis 20
Przevalski’s Finch Urocynchramus pylzowi 1

List 2 of 2 for Wed. 29 June 2016 (20 species). Birds noted between Dashui Qiao (36.691347, 99.457542) & Rubber Mountain Pass (36.754213, 99.606705), Gonghe County, Hainan Prefecture, Qinghai. Includes records from Dashui Reservoir (36.716292, 99.471655). 17:00-20:20. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus 35 at Dashui Reservoir (3390 m)
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 20 at Dashui Reservoir (3390 m)
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 1 at Dashui Reservoir (3390 m)
Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus atrifrons 1 at Dashui Reservoir (3390 m)
Common Redshank Tringa totanus 2 at Dashui Reservoir (3390 m)
Brown-headed Gull Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus 1 at Dashui Reservoir (3390 m)
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 42 (3420-3780 m)
Common Swift Apus apus 20 (3440-3570 m)
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 2 (3410 m)
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 6 (3810 m)
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris ca. 50 (3390-3630 m)
Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula 20 (3390-3660 m)
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 5 (3390 m)
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros 18 (3370-3760 m)
Common Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis 1 (3370 m)
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti 2 (pair) nesting near Dashui Reservoir (3390 m)
Twite Carduelis flavirostris 20 (3370-3390 m)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 20 at Dashui Qiao (3370 m)
Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia 3 at Dashui Reservoir (3390 m)
Blanford’s Snowfinch Pyrgilauda blanfordi 6 (3410 m)

List 1 of 2 for Thurs. 30 June 2016 (12 species). Birds noted at Qinghai Lake (36.877808, 100.228673) & in hills between Heimahe (36.729239, 99.779524) & Rubber Mountain Pass (36.754213, 99.606705), Hainan Prefecture, Qinghai. 10:35-11:40. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 2
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus 2
Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 1
Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 2
Pale Martin Riparia diluta 8
Sand/Pale Martin Riparia riparia/diluta 8
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 5
Güldenstädt’s Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogastrus 2 nesting (3570 m)
Black Redstart P. ochruros 2
Twite Carduelis flavirostris 2
Rufous-necked Snowfinch Pyrgilauda ruficollis 3

List 2 of 2 for Thurs. 30 June 2016 (19 species). Birds noted from Rubber Mountain Pass (36.754213, 99.606705), Gonghe County, Hainan Prefecture to chaparral W of Chaka (36.791576, 99.078878), Wulan County, Haixi Prefecture, Qinghai. 11:40-13:10, 15:30-20:30. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 7
Common Redshank Tringa totanus 4
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 6
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 11
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 1
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 1
Cuculus sp. 1 W of Chaka
Common Swift Apus apus 10
Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus 4
Henderson’s Ground Jay Podoces hendersoni 2
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 20
Asian Short-toed Lark Alaudala cheleensis 2
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros 3
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti 6
Isabelline Wheatear O. isabellina 1
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola 3 nesting near Chaka
White Wagtail M. alba leucopsis 6
Grey-capped Greenfinch Chloris sinica 1
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 120
Blanford’s Snowfinch Pyrgilauda blanfordi 1

List 1 of 1 for Fri. 1 July 2016 (23 species). Birds noted from Chaka (36.791576, 99.078878), Wulan County, W to Przevalski’s Site (36.457249, 98.502578) in Dulan Mountains, Dulan County, Haixi Prefecture, Qinghai. 05:45-16:30. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Przevalski’s Partridge Alectoris magna 1 heard on ridge above Przevalski’s Site (3960 m)
Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 4 (3960 m)
Common Redshank Tringa totanus 1
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 4
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 2
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 105
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 50
Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula 20
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 4
Alpine Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus occisinensis 3
Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis 1
Przevalski’s Redstart P. alaschanicus 2 (pair)
White-throated Redstart P. schisticeps 2 nesting pair (3960 m)
Black Redstart P. ochruros 10
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti 3 (1 juv.)
Isabelline Wheatear O. isabellina 2
Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens 4
Twite Carduelis flavirostris 30
White-winged Grosbeak Mycerobas carnipes 1
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 20
Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia 1
Tibetan Snowfinch Montifringilla adamsi 1
Pine Bunting Emberiza leucocephalos fronto 11

Mammals

Woolly Hare Lepus oiostolus 1
Himalayan Marmot Marmota himalayana 7
White-lipped Deer Cervus albirostris 2

List 1 of 2 for Sat. 2 July 2016 (7 species). Birds noted on drive between Chaka (36.791576, 99.078878) & Tiegai Xiang (35.989249, 100.194396), Gonghe County, Hainan Prefecture, Qinghai. 08:20-10:00. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 1
Little Owl Athene noctua 1 (3110 m)
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 5
Mongolian Lark Melanocorypha mongolica 1 at 35.989249, 100.194396 (3110 m)
Crested Lark Galerida cristata 3 N of Gonghe-Qiabuqia at 36.206372, 100.534206 (2920 m)
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 4
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros 1

List 2 of 2 for Sat. 2 July 2016 (13 species). Birds noted around Ela Pass (35.497608, 99.511449), Hainan Prefecture, Qinghai. 14:20-19:00. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus 2
Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 1
Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 4
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 4
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 10
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 10
Güldenstädt’s Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogastrus 2 at Ela Pass (4499 m)
Black Redstart P. ochruros 2
Plain Mountain Finch Leucosticte nemoricola 1
Tibetan Rosefinch Carpodacus roborowskii 2
Henri’s Snowfinch Montifringilla henrici 8
White-rumped Snowfinch Onychostruthus taczanowskii 5
Rufous-necked Snowfinch Pyrgilauda ruficollis 15

Mammals

Plateau Pika Ochotona curzoniae ca. 100
Tibetan Gazelle Procapra picticaudata 45
Tibetan Wild Ass Equus kiang 3
Tibetan Fox Vulpes ferrilata 1 (4180 m)

List 1 of 1 for Sun. 3 July 2016 (27 species). Birds noted in Maduo County, Guoluo Prefecture, Qinghai. 10:20-20:40. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus 150
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 40
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina 2
Common Pochard Aythya ferina 1
Common Merganser Mergus merganser 225
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 15
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 30
Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 27
Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 25
Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis 2
Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus atrifrons 20
Brown-headed Gull Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus 30
Pallas’s Gull Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus 45
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 8
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 10
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug 1
Northern Raven Corvus corax 5
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 20
Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla 1
Hume’s Short-toed Lark C. acutirostris 30
Sand/Pale Martin Riparia riparia/diluta 14
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 15
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros 20
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 10
White-rumped Snowfinch Onychostruthus taczanowskii 10
Rufous-necked Snowfinch Pyrgilauda ruficollis 20
Blanford’s Snowfinch P. blanfordi 3

Mammals

Plateau Pika Ochotona curzoniae 50
Mongolian Five-toed Jerboa Allactaga sibirica 2 Tibetan Gazelle Procapra picticaudata 25
Tibetan Wild Ass Equus kiang 26
Pallas’s Cat Otocolobus manul 1
Tibetan Fox Vulpes ferrilata 1

List 1 of 4 for Mon. 4 July 2016 (6 species). Birds noted along G214 from wetlands of Maduo County to Bayankala Pass (34.114476, 97.661992), Guoluo Prefecture, Qinghai. 10:10-11:40. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus 2
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 1
Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 2
Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis 2 (34.6434, 98.0329)
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 1
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 1

List 2 of 4 for Mon. 4 July 2016 (7 species). Birds noted around Bayankala Pass (34.114476, 97.661992), Guoluo Prefecture, Qinghai. 11:40-13:50. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 6
Northern Raven Corvus corax 2
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 1
Tibetan Lark Melanocorypha maxima 1
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 5
Güldenstädt’s Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogastrus 1
White-rumped Snowfich Onychostruthus taczanowskii 2

Mammals

Plateau Pika Ochotona curzoniae 10
Himalayan Marmot Marmota himalayana 1

List 3 of 4 for Mon. 4 July 2016 (14 species). Birds noted around Yankou Shan (33.199406, 97.466606), area of primary scrub elev. 4460 m in Chenduo County, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai. 14:15-16:35. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 2
Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 2
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 2
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug 1
Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus 1 along G214 N of Yankou Shan (4230 m)
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 1
Alpine Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus occisinensis 4
Greenish Warbler P. trochiloides 2
Kessler’s Thrush Turdus kessleri 2
White-tailed Rubythroat Calliope pectoralis 4
Robin Accentor Prunella rubeculoides 1
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus 3
Streaked Rosefinch C. rubicilloides 3 (2 male, 1 female)
Twite Carduelis flavirostris 6

List 4 of 4 for Mon. 4 July 2016 (17 species). Birds noted around Yushu-Jiegu (33.002242, 96.978488), Yushu County, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai. 17:10-20:00. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii 2
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 9
Cuculus sp. 2
Salim Ali’s Swift Apus salimalii 4
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops 12
Grey-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus 2
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 5
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 2
Eurasian Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris 2
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 5
Elliot’s Laughingthrush Trochalopteron elliotii 1
Kessler’s Thrush Turdus kessleri 10
Hodgson’s Redstart Phoenicurus hodgsoni 3
White Wagtail Motacilla alba alboides 4
Godlewski’s Bunting Emberiza godlewskii 2
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus 10
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 10

Mammals

Glover’s Pika Ochotona gloveri 1

List 1 of 2 for Tues. 5 July 2016 (8 species). Birds noted between Yushu-Jiegu (33.002242, 96.978488), elev. 3700 m, & Galaga Pass (elev. 4493 m), Yushu County, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai. 09:45-11:00. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus 1
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 2
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops 1
Northern Raven Corvus corax 1
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros 2
Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens 1
Henri’s Snowfinch Montifringilla henrici 4
Tibetan Snowfinch M. adamsi 1 singing

List 2 of 2 for Tues. 5 July 2016 (32 species). Birds noted between Galaga Pass (elev. 4493 m) & Kanda Mtns. (32.314561, 96.624807), Nangqian County, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai. 11:20-20:20. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

White Eared Pheasant Crossoptilon crossoptilon 3
Tibetan Partridge Perdix hodgsoniae 3
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus 30
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus 2
Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 9
Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 1
Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 1
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 23
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 4
Cuculus sp. 3
Little Owl Athene noctua 1
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops 4
Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus 1 at mouth of Kanda Gorge (3690 m)
Grey-backed Shrike L. tephronotus 6
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 9
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 17
Alpine Chough P. graculus 12 (flock) at Kanda Pass (4650 m)
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 8
Alpine Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus occisinensis 3
Tibetan Babax Babax koslowi 3 at Kanda Nunnery (3910 m)
Elliot’s Laughingthrush Trochalopteron elliotii 21
Kessler’s Thrush Turdus kessleri 11
Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis 1
White-capped Redstart P. leucocephalus 4
Hodgson’s Redstart P. hodgsoni 4
White Wagtail Motacilla alba alboides 4
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 12
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus 72
Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch C. pulcherrimus 3
Twite Carduelis flavirostris 2
Tibetan Bunting Emberiza koslowi 2 (pair) at Kanda Pass (4650 m)
Godlewski’s Bunting E. godlewskii 6

Mammals

Plateau Pika Ochotona curzoniae 5
Woolly Hare Lepus oiostolus 5
Himalayan Marmot Marmota himalayana 10

List 1 of 1 for Wed. 6 July 2016 (37 species). Birds noted around Baizha Nature Reserve (31.964250, 96.573340), Nangqian County, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai. 09:50-16:10. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 1
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos 1
Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 3
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 2
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 26
Snow Pigeon C. leuconota 1
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 4
Cuculus sp. 1
Salim Ali’s Swift Apus salimalii 4
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops 6
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug 1
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 13
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 18
Daurian Jackdaw Corvus dauuricus 7
Carrion Crow C. corone 1
Large-billed Crow C. macrorhynchos 3
Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula 7
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 4
White-browed Tit-Warbler Leptopoecile sophiae 2
Alpine Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus occisinensis 3
Yellow-streaked Warbler P. armandii 3
Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides 3 (3950 m)
Elliot’s Laughingthrush Trochalopteron elliotii 8
Kessler’s Thrush Turdus kessleri 20
White-capped Redstart Phoenicurus leucocephalus 10
Hodgson’s Redstart P. hodgsoni 9
White-throated Redstart P. schisticeps 6
Black Redstart P. ochruros 6
White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus 1 juv.
Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens 3
White Wagtail Motacilla alba alboides 6
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 15
Rufous-necked Snowfinch Montifringilla ruficollis 3
White-rumped Snowfich Onychostruthus taczanowskii 2
Pink-rumped Rosefinch Carpodacus waltoni 30
Chinese White-browed Rosefinch C. dubius 3
Twite Carduelis flavirostris 4
Godlewski’s Bunting Emberiza godlewskii 3

Mammals

Woolly Hare Lepus oiostolus 4
Himalayan Marmot Marmota himalayana 25
Blue Sheep Pseudois nayaur 25

List 1 of 1 for Thurs. 7 July 2016 (39 species). Birds noted around Baizha Nature Reserve (31.964250, 96.573340), Nangqian County, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai. 11:55-20:30. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Tibetan Partridge Perdix hodgsoniae 1
Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 1
Accipiter sp. 1
Black Kite Milvus migrans 1
Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 2
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 30
Little Owl Athene noctua 1
Salim Ali’s Swift Apus salimalii 9
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops 8
Grey-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus 1
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 4
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 3
Daurian Jackdaw Corvus dauuricus 16
Large-billed Crow C. macrorhynchos 2
Eurasian Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris 7
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 2
Rufous-vented Tit Periparus rubidiventris 2
Sichuan Tit Poecile weigoldicus 6
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 2
Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes 5
Yellow-streaked Warbler Phylloscopus armandii 6
Sichuan Leaf Warbler P. forresti 10
Greenish Warbler P. trochiloides 3
Elliot’s Laughingthrush Trochalopteron elliotii 17
Kessler’s Thrush Turdus kessleri 17
Slaty-backed Flycatcher Ficedula sordida 12 singing
Plumbeous Water Redstart Phoenicurus fuliginosus 3
White-capped Redstart P. leucocephalus 12
Hodgson’s Redstart P. hodgsoni 15
White-throated Redstart P. schisticeps 6
White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus 1
Maroon-backed Accentor Prunella immaculata 1
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola 2
White Wagtail M. alba alboides 16
Grey-headed Bullfinch Pyrrhula erythaca 3
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus 4
Pink-rumped Rosefinch C. waltoni 2
Chinese White-browed Rosefinch C. dubius 9
Godlewski’s Bunting Emberiza godlewskii 2

Mammals

Tibetan Macaque Macaca thibetana 4
Glover’s Pika Ochotona gloveri 2
Woolly Hare Lepus oiostolus 2
Himalayan Marmot Marmota himalayana 8

List 1 of 1 for Fri. 8 July 2016 (49 species). Birds noted around Baizha Nature Reserve (31.964250, 96.573340), Nangqian County, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai. Includes records from Ga’er Monastery (31.829966, 96.487758). 09:10- 20:40. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

White Eared Pheasant Crossoptilon crossoptilon 5 (flock; 3870 m)
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus 1
Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 7
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos 2
Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 3
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 30
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 2
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops 2
Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius 1
Grey-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus 2
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 10
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 14
Daurian Jackdaw Corvus dauuricus 31
Carrion Crow C. corone 5
Large-billed Crow C. macrorhynchos 4
Northern Raven C. corax 2
Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula 1
Eurasian Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris 1
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 2
Grey Crested Tit Lophophanes dichrous 2
Sichuan Tit Poecile weigoldicus 6
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 4
Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes 2
Alpine Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus occisinensis 2
Yellow-streaked Warbler P. armandii 3
Sichuan Leaf Warbler P. forresti 5
Greenish Warbler P. trochiloides 5
Elliot’s Laughingthrush Trochalopteron elliotii 32
Kessler’s Thrush Turdus kessleri 6
Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica 1 (3730 m)
Slaty-backed Flycatcher Ficedula sordida 35
Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis 2
White-capped Redstart P. leucocephalus 18
Hodgson’s Redstart P. hodgsoni 13
White-throated Redstart P. schisticeps 5
White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 10
Rufous-necked Snowfinch Montifringilla ruficollis 2
White-rumped Snowfich Onychostruthus taczanowskii 3
Rufous-breasted Accentor Prunella strophiata 2
Brown Accentor P. fulvescens 4
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola 1
White Wagtail Motacilla alba alboides 26
Water/Rosy Pipit Anthus spinoletta/roseatus 1
Blanford’s Rosefinch Carpodacus rubescens 2 (pair)
Common Rosefinch C. erythrinus 4
Pink-rumped Rosefinch C. waltoni 26
Chinese White-browed Rosefinch C. dubius 13
Godlewski’s Bunting Emberiza godlewskii 1

Mammals

Tibetan Macaque Macaca thibetana 1
Plateau Pika Ochotona curzoniae 10
Glover’s Pika O. gloveri 3
Woolly Hare Lepus oiostolus 7
Himalayan Marmot Marmota himalayana 8
Blue Sheep Pseudois nayaur 40

List 1 of 2 for Sat. 9 July 2016 (41 species). Birds noted between Kanda Mtns. (32.314561, 96.624807) & Galaga Pass (elev. 4493 m), Nangqian County, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai. 09:10-18:30. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Tibetan Partridge Perdix hodgsoniae 3
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus 55
Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 3
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos 1
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 3
Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii 2 in stream along G214 (4020 m)
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 1
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 26
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 4
Little Owl Athene noctua 1
Salim Ali’s Swift Apus salimalii 10
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops 4
Grey-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus 12
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 18
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 14
Daurian Jackdaw Corvus dauuricus 9
Northern Raven C. corax 2
Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula 6
Eurasian Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris 3
Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus 1
Sichuan Tit Poecile weigoldicus 4
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 1
Yellow-streaked Warbler Phylloscopus armandii 13
Sichuan Leaf Warbler P. forresti 7
Greenish Warbler P. trochiloides 12
Tibetan Babax Babax koslowi 4
Elliot’s Laughingthrush Trochalopteron elliotii 30
Chestnut Thrush Turdus rubrocanus 1
Kessler’s Thrush T. kessleri 17
Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis 2
Plumbeous Water Redstart P. fuliginosus 2
White-capped Redstart P. leucocephalus 3
Hodgson’s Redstart P. hodgsoni 11
White-throated Redstart P. schisticeps 6
White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus 2
White Wagtail Motacilla alba alboides 7
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus 13
Pink-rumped Rosefinch C. waltoni 11
Chinese White-browed Rosefinch C. dubius 3
White-winged Grosbeak Mycerobas carnipes 3
Godlewski’s Bunting Emberiza godlewskii 14

Mammals

Glover’s Pika Ochotona gloveri 4
Woolly Hare Lepus oiostolus 2
Himalayan Marmot Marmota himalayana 20
Blue Sheep Pseudois nayaur 5

List 2 of 2 for Sat. 9 July 2016 (4 species). Birds noted between Galaga Pass (elev. 4493 m) & Yushu-Jiegu (33.002242, 96.978488), elev. 3700 m, Yushu County, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai. 18:35-20:10. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus 1
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 4
Henri’s Snowfinch Montifringilla henrici 1
Twite Carduelis flavirostris 1

List 1 of 1 for Sun. 10 July 2016 (15 species). Birds noted around Yushu-Jiegu (33.002242, 96.978488), Yushu County, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai. 10:50-14:10. Craig Brelsford, Elaine Du, Michael Grunwell, & Mark Waters.

Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis 2
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos 1
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris 2
Salim Ali’s Swift Apus salimalii 10
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 10
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 2
Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla 1
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 1
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis 30
Hodgson’s Redstart Phoenicurus hodgsoni 1
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 2
Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia 1
Rufous-necked Snowfinch Montifringilla ruficollis 9
White-rumped Snowfich Onychostruthus taczanowskii 4
Godlewski’s Bunting Emberiza godlewskii 3

List of Place Names
Note: Many places in Qinghai have Tibetan or Mongolian names. For simplicity I have written place names only in English, simplified Chinese, and Pinyin.

Baizha Nature Reserve (Báizhā Sēnlín Zìrán Bǎohùqū [白扎森林自然保护区]): protected area Nangqian County, Yushu Prefecture. Junction of G214 & X832 at 31.966314, 96.535097. On some maps, X832 is called “Ranniang Section” (Ránniáng Duàn [然娘段]). This is the road that leads toward the nature reserve. At another turnoff (31.964250, 96.573340), bear right, leaving Ranniang Section, & continue on to the reserve.

Chaka (Chákǎ Zhèn [茶卡镇]): town & tourist center Wulan County, Haixi Prefecture. 36.791576, 99.078878.

Ela Pass (Èlā Shānkǒu [鄂拉山口]): elev. 4499 m (14,757 ft.). 35.497608, 99.511449.

Eling Lake (Èlíng Hú [鄂陵湖]). Also known as Ngoring Lake. 34.902685, 97.709949.

Guoluo Prefecture (Guǒluò Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu [果洛藏族自治州]): sub-provincial administrative area SE Qinghai.

Haidong Prefecture (Hǎidōng Shì [海东市]): sub-provincial administrative area E Qinghai.

Hainan Prefecture (Hǎinán Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu [海南藏族自治州]): sub-provincial administrative area E Qinghai.

Haixi Prefecture (Hǎixī Měnggǔzú Zàngzú Zìzhì Zhōu [海西蒙古族藏族自治州]): sub-provincial administrative area occupying all of NW & NC Qinghai & a portion of SW Qinghai.

Heimahe (Hēimǎhé Xiāng [黑马河乡]): village on SW shore of Qinghai Lake in Gonghe County, Hainan Prefecture. Major tourist center. 36.729239, 99.779524.

Huzhu County (Hùzhù Tǔzú Zìzhìxiàn [互助土族自治县]): sub-prefectural administrative area Haidong Prefecture.

Jiegu (Jiégǔ Zhèn [结古镇]): urbanized area E Yushu County. Commonly referred to as Yushu. 33.002242, 96.978488.

Michael Grunwell scans scrub for birds in the Kanda Mountains, 5 July 2016. High-quality scrub is just one of the many attractions of this pristine location in Nangqian County. The slopes hold White Eared Pheasant and Tibetan Partridge, and among the animals found here is Tibetan Lynx.
Michael Grunwell scans scrub for birds in Kanda Mountains, 5 July 2016. High-quality scrub is just one of the many attractions of this pristine location in Nangqian County. The slopes hold White Eared Pheasant and Tibetan Partridge, and among the animals found here is Tibetan Lynx.

Kanda Mountains (Kǎndá Shān [坎达山]): high country Nangqian County. Elev. at mouth of Kanda Gorge, near Zaqu River: 3670 m (12,040 ft.). Elev. Kanda Pass: 4680 m (15,350 ft.). Junction of G214 & road leading to Kanda Mountains: 32.315911, 96.454165. Mouth of Kanda Gorge: 32.277059, 96.485171. Kanda Pass: 32.314561, 96.624807.

Kanda Nunnery: religious institution Kanda Gorge. Reliable site for Tibetan Partridge & Tibetan Babax. Elev.: 3910 m (12,830 ft.). 32.291641, 96.512173.

Machali (Mǎchálǐ Zhèn [玛查理镇]): town W Maduo County. Commonly referred to as Maduo. 34.911354, 98.211208.

Maduo County (Mǎduō Xiàn [玛多县]): sub-prefectural administrative area Guoluo Prefecture.

Nangqian County (Nángqiān Xiàn [囊谦县]): sub-prefectural administrative area Yushu Prefecture.

Map of Qinghai with the eight prefectural-level divisions in white. From 26 June to 10 July 2016, the birding team of Michael Grunwell, Mark Waters, Elaine Du, and Craig Brelsford covered the 800 km from Yushu/Jiegu to Xining, marked in black. Map courtesy Wikipedia.
Map of Qinghai with the eight prefectural-level divisions in white. From 26 June to 10 July 2016, the birding team of Michael Grunwell, Mark Waters, Elaine Du, and Craig Brelsford covered the 800 km from Yushu/Jiegu to Xining, marked in black. Map courtesy Wikipedia.

Qinghai (Qīnghǎi Shěng [青海省]): province NW China. Area: 720,000 sq. km (278,000 sq. mi.). Area (comparative): three times larger than United Kingdom; slightly larger than Texas. Pop.: 5.6 million.

Qinghai Lake (Qīnghǎi Hú [青海湖]): largest lake in Qinghai. 36.877808, 100.228673.

Wulan County (Wūlán Xiàn [乌兰县]): sub-prefectural administrative area Haixi Prefecture.

Xining (Xīníng Shì [西宁市]): capital of Qinghai & most populous city on Tibetan Plateau.

Yushu County (Yùshù Shì [玉树市]): sub-prefectural administrative area Yushu Prefecture.

Map of Qinghai showing Yushu Prefecture in yellow and Yushu County in pink. Courtesy Wikipedia.
Map of Qinghai showing Yushu Prefecture in yellow and Yushu County in pink. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Yushu Prefecture (Yùshù Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu [玉树藏族自治州]): sub-provincial administrative area S Qinghai.

Zaqu River (Zāqū [扎曲]): name for upper reaches of Mekong River in Qinghai.

Where the World’s Greatest Flyway Meets the World’s Greatest City

Finally, it is ready: Elaine’s and my report on the doings of this past spring in Shanghai. We’re calling it “Shanghai-area Springtime Birding, 2016.”

The report is the latest in a growing list of resources available on shanghaibirding.com. Everything we do here is geared toward showing you what birding is like at the point on the Earth where the world’s greatest migratory flyway meets the world’s greatest city.

The report covers 7 March to 24 May 2016. Elaine and I birded 38 of those 79 days and noted 240 species. We partnered with members of our network of subscribers and contributors to shanghaibirding.com. Special thanks to Michael Grunwell and Jan-Erik Nilsén as well as to Xueping Popp, Stephan Popp, Kai Pflug, and Ian Davies.

Why should you read “Shanghai-area Springtime Birding, 2016”? Read it to plan your own explorations and to get an idea of what birds you can expect to see in this city in March, April, and May. You’ll find no more complete a report on that subject, anywhere.

From the intro:

“We deepened our knowledge of the birds of the East Asian–Australasian Flyway and increased our understanding of the pressures these birds face in the Shanghai region. One of the most densely populated areas in the world and an economic dynamo, the Shanghai tri-province area encompasses Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang, is the size of the U.S. state of Kansas, and has a population of 160 million–half that of the United States.”

From the highlights:

“ — We continued to monitor species under threat by the uncontrolled coastal development afflicting the region, among them the endangered Black-faced Spoonbill, Great Knot, and Yellow-breasted Bunting; near-threatened Eurasian Oystercatcher, Asian Dowitcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Grey-tailed Tattler, Red Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Marsh Grassbird, and Reed Parrotbill; and vulnerable Chinese Egret, Saunders’s Gull, and Yellow Bunting. We led a group one of whose members found the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

“ — We recorded the first Blue Whistling Thrush in Shanghai since 1987. Other interesting finds were Horned Grebe on Chongming, Oriental Plover on Hengsha Island, Ruddy Kingfisher at Yangkou, Red-throated Thrush at Century Park, singing Sakhalin Leaf Warbler at Zhongshan Park, Grey-crowned Warbler, Two-barred Warbler, Pechora Pipit, and Citrine Wagtail at Nanhui, White-shouldered Starling on Lesser Yangshan, Rufous-faced Warbler at Nanhui and on Lesser Yangshan, and Bluethroat at Nanhui and on Chongming.”

Featured image: Screenshot of our newly published report, “Shanghai-area Springtime Birding, 2016,” now available in the Reports section of shanghaibirding.com.

A Batch o’ Qinghai Goodies

Last Sunday 21 Aug. Elaine Du and I returned to Shanghai from Qinghai. We had arrived in Xining on 26 June, and we spent exactly eight weeks in the sparsely populated province. We drove 8054 km (4,994 miles). I lost 5 kg (11 lbs.). On Sunday Dusky Warbler near Gonghe became our 195th and final species of the trip.

While in Qinghai, Elaine and I made new friends and deepened our friendship with our first-rate partners Michael Grunwell and Jan-Erik Nilsén. And the memories … let me tell you ’bout the memories.

Better yet, let me show you them. Ready?

I found this downy Bar-headed Goose at sunset on 28 June on the shore of Qinghai Lake, whose blue sheen you can see in the background. This youngster has much growing to do before he’ll be ready to make the flight across the Himalaya to India for the winter. Will he get strong enough in time to make the frightening trip? Strength, my lad, strength!

Bar-headed Goose, Qinghai Lake, 28 June 2016. F/7.1, 1/800, ISO 1600.
Bar-headed Goose, Qinghai Lake, 28 June 2016. F/7.1, 1/800, ISO 1600.

Last week I created a photo essay, “Little Birds in a Big Land,” in which I photographed Isabelline Wheatear from a distance, with mountains, sand dunes, and scrub visible in the background. It was an intense, 90-minute photo workout with that arid-country specialist, well-adapted to the semi-deserts of Wulan County.

Isabelline Wheatear 1/3. F/14, 1/400, ISO 1600. Wulan County, Haixi Prefecture, Qinghai. 18 Aug. 2016.
Isabelline Wheatear 1/3. F/14, 1/400, ISO 1600. Wulan County, Haixi Prefecture. 18 Aug. 2016.
F/16, 1/320, ISO 800.
F/16, 1/320, ISO 800.
F/16, 1/250, ISO 1600.
F/16, 1/250, ISO 1600.

Henderson’s Ground Jay is also known as Mongolian Ground Jay. Despite the ground in the name, these birds fly just fine.

Henderson's Ground Jay, scrub W of Chaka, Wulan County, Haixi Prefecture. 30 June 2016. F/6.3, 1/6400, ISO 2500.
Henderson’s Ground Jay, scrub W of Chaka, Wulan County, Haixi Prefecture. 30 June 2016. F/6.3, 1/6400, ISO 2500.
Henderson's Ground Jay in flight. Chaka, 30 June 2016.
Henderson’s Ground Jay in flight. Chaka, 30 June 2016.

When agitated, breeding White-rumped Snowfinch does a wing-flicking display reminiscent of Claudia’s Leaf Warbler. Qinghai Lake, 28 June.

White-rumped Snowfinch contorting its head in territorial display. Along G109 near Qinghai Lake, 28 June 2016.
White-rumped Snowfinch contorting its head in territorial display. Along G109 near Qinghai Lake, 28 June 2016.
Left wing-flick.
Left wing-flick.
Right wing-flick.
Right wing-flick.

The top two photos displayed below are of Gansu Leaf Warbler (the lower of the two from our newly discovered breeding site along the Heihe River in northern Qinghai); the bottom one is of Sichuan Leaf Warbler. Note the cleaner lower mandible of Gansu Leaf Warbler and compare it to the typically darker lower mandible of Sichuan. In summer, when we met these species, they were singing, and the songs of the two species differ much. In winter, when the birds are quiet, bill color is a good way to begin to identify these two similar-looking species.

Gansu Leaf Warbler at Huzhu Beishan, 27 June 2016.
Gansu Leaf Warbler at Huzhu Beishan, 27 June 2016.
Gansu Leaf Warbler, riparian forest along Heihe River, Qilian County, Haibei Prefecture, 4 Aug. 2016.
Gansu Leaf Warbler, riparian forest along Heihe River, Qilian County, Haibei Prefecture, 4 Aug. 2016.
Sichuan Leaf Warbler, Jiangxi Forest Station, Nangqian County, Yushu Prefecture, 17 July 2016.
Sichuan Leaf Warbler, Jiangxi Forest Station, Nangqian County, Yushu Prefecture, 17 July 2016.

I sound-recorded Gansu Leaf Warbler:

Gansu Leaf Warbler, Qilian County, Qinghai, 3 Aug. 2016 (01:35; 4 MB)

We found a new location for Przevalski’s Partridge along some back roads in Wulan County. Rusty-necklaced Partridge (alternative name) looks much like Chukar, but note the rusty line.

Rusty-necklaced Partridge, Wulan County, Haixi Prefecture, 17 Aug. 2016.
Rusty-necklaced Partridge, Wulan County, Haixi Prefecture, 17 Aug. 2016.

While we’re on partridges, what about this charismatic Tibetan Partridge, a semi-tame specimen at the nunnery, Kanda Gorge, Yushu Prefecture.

Tibetan Partridge, Kanda Gorge, 5 July 2016.
Tibetan Partridge, Kanda Gorge, 5 July 2016.

Birds of KM 2189.5 along the G109 near Qinghai Lake: Robin Accentor, a Siberian Stonechat that wasn’t happy when we stumbled upon its nest, Tibetan Snowfinch using the embankment for a nest, and that one-of-a-kind species that is neither finch nor bunting but derives from a line independent of the two: Przevalski’s “Finch.”

Robin Accentor in scrub above KM 2189.5 on G109 near Qinghai Lake. 28 June 2016.
Robin Accentor in scrub above KM 2189.5 on G109 near Qinghai Lake. 28 June 2016.
Siberian Stonechat in hovering flight near nest, 28 June 2016.
Siberian Stonechat in hovering flight near nest, 28 June 2016.
Tibetan Snowfinch looking warily at cameraman before entering its cavity nest. KM 2189.5, G109, near Qinghai Lake. 28 June 2016.
Tibetan Snowfinch looking warily at cameraman before entering its cavity nest. KM 2189.5, G109, near Qinghai Lake. 28 June 2016.
Przevalski's 'Finch' in song, 28 June 2016, KM 2189.5.
Przevalski’s ‘Finch’ in song, 28 June 2016, KM 2189.5.

Blue-fronted Redstart is also sui generis, the only blue-headed Phoenicurus. Females are tougher to distinguish from other female redstarts, but note the inverted T, shown here on this male. Females have it too, and it is distinctive.

Blue-fronted Redstart showing inverted T on tail. Huzhu Beishan, 27 June 2016.
Blue-fronted Redstart showing inverted T on tail. Huzhu Beishan, 27 June 2016.

We had a memorable moment with Black-necked Crane near Lake Xiligou, Wulan County, Haixi Prefecture.

Black-necked Crane in flight, Lake Xiligou.
Black-necked Crane in flight, Lake Xiligou.

More bird + land: Bar-headed Goose at point where Eling Lake empties into the young Yellow River, Guoluo Prefecture.

Bar-headed Goose stands at the point where high-altitude Eling Lake empties into the young Yellow River. 3 July 2016.
Bar-headed Goose stands at the point where high-altitude Eling Lake empties into the young Yellow River. 3 July 2016.

On a moonless, pitch-black night we heard a family of Eurasian Eagle-Owl making strange sounds. I shot the owls by the light of our headlights. We were in Haibei Prefecture.

Eurasian Eagle-Owl at cliff-side roost in Haibei Prefecture, Qinghai, 30 July 2016.
Eurasian Eagle-Owl at cliff-side roost in Haibei Prefecture, Qinghai, 30 July 2016.

I had long wanted to put Chinese Thrush in my camera. Here’s the moment when I achieved that goal. I was at the riparian forest along the Heihe River in Qilian County, Haibei Prefecture.

Chinese Thrush in riparian forest along Heihe River, Haibei Prefecture. 4 Aug. 2016.
Chinese Thrush in riparian forest along Heihe River, Haibei Prefecture. 4 Aug. 2016.

Amazing Tibetan Sandgrouse near Hala Lake.

Tibetan Sandgrouse, Hala Lake, Haixi Prefecture, 10 Aug. 2016.
Tibetan Sandgrouse, Hala Lake, Haixi Prefecture, 10 Aug. 2016.
Tibetan Sandgrouse, Hala, 10 Aug.
Tibetan Sandgrouse, Hala, 10 Aug.

Brandt’s Mountain Finch may look unexciting, but just watch it fly.

Brandt's Mountain Finch is a small but powerful bird, taking long, straight flights at altitudes topping 5000 m. I found this individual 9 Aug. near Hala Lake at an elev. of 4400 m.
Brandt’s Mountain Finch is a small but powerful bird, taking long, straight flights at altitudes topping 5000 m. I found this individual 9 Aug. near Hala Lake at an elev. of 4400 m.

Do these Himalayan Vulture disgust you? Why? They’re only doing their job–a very important one. And they have manners. Note that the juvenile doesn’t interfere with the adult as it feeds.

Himalayan Vulture, Guoluo Prefecture, 20 July 2016.
Himalayan Vulture, Guoluo Prefecture, 20 July 2016.

King of the high-altitude falcons: Saker.

Saker Falcon, Haibei Prefecture, 6 Aug. 2016.
Saker Falcon, Haibei Prefecture, 6 Aug. 2016.

Who cares about Spotted Dove? When you’re in a city park in Shanghai, then you don’t care about Spotted Dove. When you’re in Qilian County, Qinghai, the extreme west of its range, then you care about Spotted Dove.

Unusual record of Spotted Dove in Qilian County, Haibei Prefecture, 1 Aug. 2016.
Unusual record of Spotted Dove in Qilian County, Haibei Prefecture, 1 Aug. 2016.

Goitered Gazelle, a Vulnerable species. Ranges from Arabian Peninsula to China. We recorded it in Wulan County.

Goitered Gazelle near Lake Xiligou, Wulan County, 16 Aug. 2016.
Goitered Gazelle near Lake Xiligou, Wulan County, 16 Aug. 2016.

Tibetan Gazelle was waiting for us at sunset in the mountains north of Hala Lake.

Tibetan Gazelle near Suli, Haixi Prefecture, 6 Aug. 2016.
Tibetan Gazelle near Suli, Haixi Prefecture, 6 Aug. 2016.

We noted Glover’s Pika at various places in Yushu Prefecture. This little guy is marketable!

Glover's Pika, Yushu Prefecture, 4 July 2016.
Glover’s Pika, Yushu Prefecture, 4 July 2016.

This Mountain Weasel is one of the cutest little killers you’ll ever meet. Like all weasels, it’s almost completely carnivorous. In Haibei Prefecture one afternoon, Elaine and I watched this little dude dart into and out of the pika burrows, terrorizing the local birds and pikas. The fruitless attempts were comical, but we noted with respect the speed and agility of this star performer.

Mountain Weasel, Haibei Prefecture, 31 July 2016.
Mountain Weasel, Haibei Prefecture, 31 July 2016.

There’s something sensuous about those smoothly curved sand dunes–and in that soft sunset light. Right time, definitely right place.

In a few weeks I’m going to be missing Qinghai big-time, and scenes like these are going to be why. There’s no place on Earth like Qinghai, no place under the sun like the Tibetan Plateau.

The sand in these dunes was deposited grain by grain by the wind. Wulan County, 17 Aug. 2016. F/7.1, 1/200, ISO 1250.
The sand in these dunes was deposited grain by grain by the wind. Wulan County, 17 Aug. 2016. F/7.1, 1/200, ISO 1250.

Other posts in our Qinghai 2016 series:

Tibetan Lynx, Kanda Mountain, Qinghai
Qinghai 2016 Week 3 Highlights
Qinghai 2016 Week 4 Highlights

Featured image: “We Are Family!” sang Sister Sledge back in ’79. Here’s the Chinese-American adventure team, Elaine Du (L) and yours truly–partners, spouses, family. We were at Eling Lake, Qinghai, where the Yellow River and Chinese culture are born. The date was 3 July 2016. This is a self-portrait, engineered (as indeed every picture in this post was engineered) by Craig Brelsford using the Nikon D3S and 600 mm F/4 lens.