Japanese Grosbeak

24 Species at Century Park

by Craig Brelsford
Founder, shanghaibirding.com

A 7 km stroll at Century Park this morning netted 24 species, with 3 Japanese Grosbeak leading the list. 2 Black-browed Reed Warbler were in the reedy fringe of the pond near Gate 7. Winter visitors Dusky Thrush and Yellow-bellied Tit were present. Black-faced Bunting was the sole representative of Emberiza.

The Japanese Grosbeak that we saw most clearly was an adult. It was readily separable from Chinese Grosbeak by its larger size, simpler wing coloration (black primaries with large white patch in middle), and less-extensive black cap.

Elaine Du and I closely watched Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps. Both birds were making their characteristic harsh churr; one was warbling softly. Watching the reed warblers was not only enjoyable, but also necessary to eliminate the similar Speckled Reed Warbler A. sorghophilus, a bird I have yet to tick. Birders will do well to scrutinize A. bistrigiceps, a common species usually found in the same reedy habitats as A. sorghophilus, an endangered and poorly known species that with luck just might be discoverable in Shanghai.

I’m thinking buntings are a bit late this year; could warmer weather be causing them to move more leisurely southward?

Weather: The unseasonably warm weather continues. High 26°C.

Century Park (Shìjì Gōngyuán [世纪公园]), Pudong New Area (Pǔdōng Xīn Qū [浦东新区]), Shanghai, China (31.219361, 121.551900). 07:40-10:45.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 3
Little Egret Egretta garzetta 1
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 3
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus 2
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 6
Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) Columba livia 1
Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis 5
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 1
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach 2
Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyanus ca. 50
Yellow-bellied Tit Pardaliparus venustulus 8
Japanese Tit Parus minor 5
Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis 35
Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus 6
Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps 2
Red-billed Starling Spodiopsar sericeus 4
Chinese Blackbird Turdus mandarinus 25
Dusky Thrush T. eunomus 5
Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus 1
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 4
White Wagtail Motacilla alba 1 leucopsis
Japanese Grosbeak Eophona personata 2
Chinese Grosbeak E. migratoria 4
Black-faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala 1

Featured image: Japanese Grosbeak, Lesser Yangshan Island, October. In Shanghai, Eophona personata, a passage migrant, is much less commonly seen than Chinese Grosbeak E. migratoria, which breeds in parks in the city. The two species are readily separable by the larger size of E. personata as well as its simpler wing coloration (all-black primaries with large white patch in middle), less extensive black cap, and lack of black tip to bill. (Craig Brelsford)

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Craig Brelsford

Craig Brelsford is the founder of shanghaibirding.com. Brelsford lived in Shanghai from 2007 to 2018. Now back home in Florida, Brelsford maintains close ties to the Shanghai birding community and continues his enthusiastic development of this website. When Brelsford departed China, he was the top-ranked eBirder in that country, having noted more than 930 species. Brelsford was also the top-ranked eBirder in Shanghai, with more than 320 species. Brelsford’s photos of birds have won various awards and been published in books and periodicals and on websites all over the world. Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, published in its entirety on this website, is the most Shanghai-centric field guide ever written. Brelsford is a graduate of the University of Florida and earned a master's in business administration at the University of Liege, Belgium.

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