Eurasian Eagle-Owl is the biggest owl in the world. A pair lives in a quarry about a km south of Elaine Du's home village. We couldn't believe our good luck when we found them! Nikon D3S, 600 mm, F/5, 1/250, ISO 2000.

Inner Mongolia & Heilongjiang, 2015: Part 3

Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang, 2015: Part 3
By Craig Brelsford and Elaine Du
Latest update: 2018-12-15
© 2015-2019 by Craig Brelsford

“Inner Mongolia & Heilongjiang, 2015” contains an introduction and five parts. This is Part 3.

Introduction: Birding the Amur River Basin in China’s Great Northeast
Part 1: Introduction to Hulunbeier & First Trip to Elaine’s Hometown
Part 2: Hulunbeier, July 2015
Part 3: Eastern Heilongjiang
Part 4: Second Trip to Elaine’s Hometown
Part 5: Facts & Figures

Part 3: Eastern Heilongjiang

Sun. 26 July 2015
Mudanfeng

Elaine and I flew from Hailar to Harbin and met Brian Ivon Jones and Jenny Ding. The four of us took the overnight train to Jiamusi. We arrived at Jiamusi on the overnight train. We were picked up at the train station by the rental-car company. We rented a Toyota Highlander. We drove the Toyota Highlander from Jiamusi to Mudanfeng.

Today at Mudanfeng Nature Reserve we found Eurasian Treecreeper and after dark heard the calls of Oriental Scops Owl. Brian got his first sustained views of Long-tailed Tit ssp. caudatus, and for the first time I heard the song of Eastern Crowned Warbler. The problem with Mudanfeng is the military base on top, which made us nervous, and the single, narrow road leading up the mountain, which made us claustrophobic. Despite those disadvantages, Mudanfeng offers a fairly good picture of forest birding in SE Heilongjiang.

List 1 of 1 for Sun. 26 July 2015 (18 species). Around Mudanfeng Nature Reserve (Mǔdānfēng Zìrán Bǎohùqū [牡丹峰自然保护区]; 44.416644, 129.783333), Heilongjiang, China. Alt.: 260-1115 m.

Hazel Grouse Tetrastes bonasia 5
Eastern Buzzard Buteo japonicus 4
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 1
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 6
Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia 3
Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka 1
Willow/Marsh Tit Poecile montanus/P. palustris 4
Japanese Tit Parus minor 13
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 20
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 4
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus caudatus 50
Radde’s Warbler Phylloscopus schwarzi 1 singing
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler P. proregulus 3 singing
Eastern Crowned Warbler P. coronatus 2 singing
Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus 2 (ad. male w. juv.)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 8
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 5
Black-faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala 3
Emberiza sp. 4

Mon. 27 July 2015
Hutou

We drove 400 km from Mudanjiang to Hutou, a town on the Ussuri River and the Russian border. This part of Heilongjiang is covered with new agricultural colonies. We struggled to find good habitat. In one area near Hutou we found remnants of a reed bed, and there we found Oriental Reed Warbler and Black-browed Reed Warbler. The river itself is beautiful, and the Russian side, clearly visible from Hutou, looks pristine.

List 1 of 1 for Mon. 27 July 2015 (19 species). Between Mudanjiang (Mǔdānjiāng [牡丹江]; 44.555998, 129.634179) & Hutou (Hǔtóu Cūn [虎头村]; 45.985079, 133.668403), Heilongjiang, China.

Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 1
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus 1
Striated Heron Butorides striata 1
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 2
Great Egret A. alba alba 5
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 3
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 1
Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla 1
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 3
Amur Falcon F. amurensis 3
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 7
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 6
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 20
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 6
Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis 4
Black-browed Reed Warbler A. bistrigiceps 8 singing
White-cheeked Starling Spodiopsar cineraceus 1
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 15
White Wagtail Motacilla alba 2

Tues. 28 July 2015
Yueyahu, Dongfanghong, and Raohe

We spent all day driving the 150 km between Hutou and Raohe. We stopped at a recreational area near Yueyahu and found Thick-billed Warbler. Along the S211 we found breeding Chestnut-eared Bunting. As we approached Raohe, a powerful storm erupted. What a dramatic moment it was to see Ural Owl coolly take advantage of the rainstorm to catch a frog. We saw what looked like a log on the road. I pulled up alongside it, opened the window, and saw the owl with its prize.

List 1 of 1 for Tues. 28 July 2015 (28 species). Between Hutou (Hǔtóu Cūn [虎头村]; 45.985079, 133.668403) and Raohe (Ráohé [饶河]; 46.798403, 134.011875), with stop at Yueyahu (Yuèyáhú [月牙湖]; 45.938974, 133.578323), Heilongjiang, China.

Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata 12
Hazel Grouse Tetrastes bonasia 2
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 2
Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus 1
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 12
Great Egret A. alba alba 46
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 17
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus 1
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 5
Ural Owl Strix uralensis 1
White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus 2
Oriental Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis 2
Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyanus 1
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 3
Willow/Marsh Tit Poecile montanus/P. palustris 3
Japanese Tit Parus minor 4
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 40
Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus ca. 80
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 15
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus caudatus 1
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus 1
Thick-billed Warbler Iduna aedon 1
Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea amurensis 2
Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri 8
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 20
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla 1 juv.
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 4
Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata 12 (6 ad., 6 juv.)

Wed. 29 July 2015
Naoli River

The day started well with a bird wave on the road near Raohe that included Long-tailed Rosefinch. We finally found a top-notch birding site, the place where the S210 crosses the Naoli River. This place is part of Naoli River National Nature Reserve. Here we found 2 Oriental Stork, Von Schrenck’s Bittern, 2 Purple Heron, 20 Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Hobby, and more singing Chestnut-eared Bunting.

List 1 of 1 for Wed. 29 July 2015 (40 species). Between Raohe (Ráohé [饶河]; 46.798403, 134.011875) & Shengli (Shènglì [胜利]; 47.369227, 133.874376), with stop at Naoli River National Nature Reserve (Hēilóngjiāng Náolì Hé Guójiājí Zìrán Bǎohùqū [黑龙江挠力河国家级自然保护区]; we did most of our birding at the point where the S210 crosses the Naoli River at 47.257702, 133.759921), Heilongjiang, China.

goose sp. 10
Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata 9
Eastern Spot-billed Duck Anas zonorhyncha 1
Northern Shoveler A. clypeata 3
Garganey A. querquedula 1
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 6 (1 female, 5 chicks)
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 15
Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana 2
Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus 1
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 25
Purple Heron A. purpurea 2
Great Egret A. alba alba 32
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 15
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 1
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra 15
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 20
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa 20
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 18
Little Tern Sternula albifrons 1
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida 1
White-winged Tern C. leucopterus 18
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 3
Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo 1
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 2
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 10
Rook Corvus frugilegus pastinator 21
Carrion Crow C. corone 5
Willow/Marsh Tit Poecile montanus/P. palustris 1
Japanese Tit Parus minor 5
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 10
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 2
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus caudatus 35
Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps 1
Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops japonicus 3
Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri 12
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 10
White Wagtail Motacilla alba 1
Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi 1
Long-tailed Rosefinch Carpodacus sibiricus 4 singing
Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata 5 singing

Thurs. 30 July 2015
Naoli River and Honghe

Honghe Nature Reserve, 30 July 2015. The nighttime encounter with Eurasian Woodcock was completely unexpected and a delight to us all. The photo pushed my equipment to the limit. I dialed the ISO up to 10,000, used the headlights of the car as my light source, and set my camera on the open driver's side door. Nikon D3S, 600 mm, F/4, 1/100, ISO 10000.
Honghe Nature Reserve, 30 July 2015. The nighttime encounter with Eurasian Woodcock was completely unexpected and a delight to us all. The photo pushed my equipment to the limit. I dialed the ISO up to 10,000, used the headlights of the car as my light source, and set my camera on the open driver’s side door. Nikon D3S, 600 mm, F/4, 1/100, ISO 10000. (Craig Brelsford)

Our exciting day began at the Naoli River, where we counted 15 Oriental Stork. We again found Mandarin Duck, Tufted Duck made an appearance, and we found Eastern Marsh Harrier and Hen Harrier. A colony of Rook seems to be using the area. At Honghe National Nature Reserve, we found 6 pairs of Oriental Stork and 5 Red-crowned Crane, among them a pair with 2 young. By the time we finished viewing them, darkness was falling, and Pale Thrush were active. On our way out of the vast reserve, driving on the dirt road in the dark, we viewed Eurasian Woodcock, Short-eared Owl, and Red Fox. The woodcock, which though a common species was completely unexpected, was more interesting to me than the cranes, which are endangered but known to be at Honghe. What a thrill it was to study this nocturnal feeder by the gleam of our headlights!

List 1 of 2 for Thurs. 30 July 2015 (35 species). Naoli River National Nature Reserve (Hēilóngjiāng Náolì Hé Guójiājí Zìrán Bǎohùqū [黑龙江挠力河国家级自然保护区]; we did most of our birding at the point where the S210 crosses the Naoli River at 47.257702, 133.759921), Heilongjiang, China.

Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata 6
Eastern Spot-billed Duck Anas zonorhyncha 12
Northern Shoveler A. clypeata 10
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula 2
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 1
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 15
Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana 15
Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus 4
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 5
Purple Heron A. purpurea 2
Great Egret A. alba alba ca. 100
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 15
Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus 1
Hen Harrier C. cyaneus 1
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra 20
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 8
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa 1
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 2
Little Tern Sternula albifrons 1
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 3
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida 80
White-winged Tern C. leucopterus 25
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 4
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 1
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 5
Rook Corvus frugilegus pastinator 20
Carrion Crow C. corone 4
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 10
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 2
Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps 13
Thick-billed Warbler Iduna aedon 1
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 15
White Wagtail Motacilla alba 2
Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata 8 singing
Black-faced Bunting E. spodocephala 10

List 2 of 2 for Thurs. 30 July 2015 (21 species) Honghe National Nature Reserve (Hónghé Guójiājí Zìrán Bǎohùqū [洪河国家级自然保护区]; 47.796111, 133.693707), Heilongjiang, China.

Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana 12 (6 pairs)
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 30
Great Egret A. alba alba 25
Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos 3
Red-crowned Crane Grus japonensis 5 (2 ad. w. 2 young, 1 single)
Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola 1
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 15
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus 1
owl sp. 1 (medium size)
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 1
Eurasian Hobby F. subbuteo 1
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 1
Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis 2
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 2
Rook Corvus frugilegus pastinator 4
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 20
Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus 1
Pale Thrush Turdus pallidus 8 calling
Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri 2
Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata 5 singing
Black-faced Bunting E. spodocephala 1

Mammals

Siberian Chipmunk Eutamias sibiricus 1
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes 1

Fri. 31 July 2015
San Jiang National Nature Reserve

This frustrating day saw us fail to find a way to visit San Jiang Nature Reserve. Also frustrating was the complete swallowing up of almost all the best land for agriculture. Before we arrived in eastern Heilongjiang, I was under the impression that, as in Hulunbeier, one need not enter protected zones to find good birds; nature would be so abundant, I assumed, that birds would be easy to find anywhere. In mountainous Hulunbeier, agriculture plays a small role; but in the mainly flat areas along the Ussuri and Amur rivers, agriculture is dominant. Driving toward the reserve, on a muddy road, our Highlander sank into the mud, and we needed the help of a local man to dig us out. As we pulled into the hotel at Háncōnggōuzhèn, we heard the calls of juvenile Long-eared Owl.

List 1 of 1 for Fri. 31 July 2015 (22 species). Around San Jiang National Nature Reserve (Sānjiāng Guójiājí Zìrán Bǎohùqū [三江国家级自然保护区]), Heilongjiang, China.

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 1
Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus 3
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 5
Great Egret A. alba alba 3
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus 2
Pied Harrier C. melanoleucos 2
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 28
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 15
Long-eared Owl Asio otus otus 2 owlets calling at Háncōnggōuzhèn
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 1
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 2
Eurasian Hobby F. subbuteo 1
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 4
Sand Martin Riparia riparia 1
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 30
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 20
Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps 5 singing
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 20
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 1
White Wagtail M. alba 1
Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata 15 singing
Black-faced Bunting E. spodocephala 4

Mammals

Siberian Weasel Mustela sibirica 1

Sat. 1 Aug. 2015
Fuyuan

We drove from Háncōnggōuzhèn to Fuyuan. Fuyuan is a town on the Amur River. From Xishan Park one can see the Russian city of Khabarovsk, 50 km away. In the park we found Eurasian Jay.

List 1 of 2 for Sat. 1 Aug. 2015 (8 species). En route to Fuyuan (Fǔyuǎn [抚远]; 48.371181, 134.285637) from Háncōnggōuzhèn (寒葱沟镇; 48.008237, 134.163071), Heilongjiang, China. 10:00-15:00.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 4
Northern Shoveler A. clypeata 3
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 1
Great Egret A. alba alba 3
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 1
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 5
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 10

Mammals

Siberian Chipmunk Eutamias sibiricus 1

List 2 of 2 for Sat. 1 Aug. 2015 (6 species). Xishan Park (Xīshān Gōngyuán [西山公园]), Fuyuan, Heilongjiang. 48.371181, 134.285637. 16:40-19:00.

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius brandtii 5
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 4
Willow Tit Poecile montanus baicalensis 4
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 30
Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea amurensis 2
Yellow-throated Bunting Emberiza elegans 1

Sun. 2 Aug. 2015
Fuyuan

We rested in our hotel room and walked around this interesting border town. Many Russians come here to shop, and some of the shopkeepers speak Russian.

Mon. 3 Aug. 2015
Qindeli Farms

We drove to Qindeli Farms. At Línjiāng Shēngtài Yuán, where we stopped on a whim, we saw 18 Oriental Stork on the Russian side of the Amur. The forest around Qindeli Farms was productive, yielding White-backed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, and Yellow-rumped Flycatcher.

List 1 of 1 for Mon. 3 Aug. 2015 (31 species). Around Qindeli Farms (Qíndélì Nóngchǎng [勤得利农场]; 47.974257, 133.160960), Tongjiang, Jiamusi, Heilongjiang. List includes birds noted at Línjiāng Shēngtài Yuán (临江生态园).

Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata 22
Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius 1
Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana 18
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 15
Great Egret A. alba alba 5
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 14
Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta 2
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 6
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 20
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 10
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops 1
White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos 1
Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius 1
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 2
Eurasian Hobby F. subbuteo 1
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 1
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 11
Daurian Jackdaw Coloeus dauuricus 6
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 18
Willow Tit Poecile montanus baicalensis 4
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 50
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 1
Pale-legged Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tenellipes 1
Eastern Crowned Warbler P. coronatus 1
Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus 10
Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea amurensis 2
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia 2
Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri 1
White Wagtail Motacilla alba 2
Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni 1

Tues. 4 Aug. 2015
Qindeli Farms, China

We decided to give this area an entire day. Among our prizes were Ashy Minivet and Common Rosefinch in a bird wave and 12 Thick-billed Warbler in a village near the Amur River.

List 1 of 1 for Tues. 4 Aug. 2015 (35 species). Around Qindeli Farms (Qíndélì Nóngchǎng [勤得利农场]; 47.974257, 133.160960), Tongjiang, Jiamusi, Heilongjiang.

Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata 13
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 6
Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis 1
Eurasian Sparrowhawk A. nisus 1
Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) Columba livia 1
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 11
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dryobates minor 2
Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius 1
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 4
Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus 1
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 2
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius brandtii 1
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 6
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 3
Willow Tit Poecile montanus baicalensis 8
Willow Tit or Marsh Tit P. montanus or P. palustris 1
Japanese Tit Parus minor 8
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 30
Common House Martin Delichon urbicum 1
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 30
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus caudatus 80
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus 1
Eastern Crowned Warbler P. coronatus 3
Thick-billed Warbler Iduna aedon 12
Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus 14
Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea amurensis 10
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia 1
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 8
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 5
White Wagtail M. alba 1
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus 6
Long-tailed Rosefinch C. sibiricus 1
Grey-capped Greenfinch Chloris sinica 8
Yellow-throated Bunting Emberiza elegans 4
Black-faced Bunting E. spodocephala 3

Wed. 5 Aug. 2015
Qindeli Farms and Tongjiang

Mountain Hare Lepus timidus, Qindeli Farms, 5 Aug. 2015.
Mountain Hare Lepus timidus, Qindeli Farms, 5 Aug. 2015. (Craig Brelsford)

In China, Mountain Hare is a treat reserved for travelers to the far north. We found one in the forest today. The morning was good for flycatchers, with appearances by Dark-sided Flycatcher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, and Taiga Flycatcher. At Sanjiangkou, we once again found Oriental Stork on the Russian side of the Amur. As has been the case everywhere, the Russian side looks green and underpopulated.

List 1 of 2 for Wed. 5 Aug. 2015 (31 species). Around Qindeli Farms (Qíndélì Nóngchǎng [勤得利农场]; 47.974257, 133.160960), Tongjiang, Jiamusi, Heilongjiang. 05:40-11:00.

Striated Heron Butorides striata 3
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 1
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 2
Wood Sandpiper T. glareola 12
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 2
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 1
Black Kite Milvus migrans 2
Eastern Buzzard Buteo japonicus 2
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 7
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major 1
Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius 1
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 1
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 10
Rook Corvus frugilegus pastinator 20
Willow Tit or Marsh Tit Poecile montanus or P. palustris 8
Japanese Tit Parus minor 4
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 10
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 5
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus caudatus 50
Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus 5 (2 singing)
Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus 24
Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea amurensis 8
Pale Thrush Turdus pallidus 1
Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica 1
Asian Brown Flycatcher M. latirostris 3
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia 2
Taiga Flycatcher F. albicilla 1
White Wagtail Motacilla alba 2
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus 2
Yellow-throated Bunting Emberiza elegans 2
Black-faced Bunting E. spodocephala 5

Mammals

Mountain Hare Lepus timidus 1
Siberian Weasel Mustela sibirica 1

List 2 of 2 for Wed. 5 Aug. 2015 (19 species). Sanjiangkou (Sānjiāngkǒu [三江口]), area in Tongjiang, Jiamusi, Heilongjiang where Songhua River empties into Amur River. 47.693828, 132.525277. 14:40-18:40.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 6
Northern Shoveler A. clypeata 1
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 1
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 6
Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana 7
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 7
Great Egret A. alba alba 3
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 1
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra 3
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 4
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 1
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 1
Merlin F. columbarius pacificus 1
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 1
Rook Corvus frugilegus pastinator 3
Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus 4
Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus 15
Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri 1
Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata 2

Thurs. 6 Aug. 2015
Tongjiang and Qixing River

We birded at Sānjiāngkǒu in Tongjiang this morning and found 18 Oriental Stork (16 on Russian side of Amur River, 2 on Chinese side). At “Harrier Heaven,” I saw more Circus species at one time than at any other single time in my life. We noted 7 juvenile Eastern Marsh Harrier, 13 Hen Harrier, and 22 Pied Harrier, plus 40 harriers left unidentified. We noted Reed Parrotbill ssp. polivanovi, “Northern Parrotbill.”

List 1 of 2 for Thurs. 6 Aug. 2015 (28 species). Sanjiangkou (Sānjiāngkǒu [三江口]), area in Tongjiang, Jiamusi, Heilongjiang where Songhua River empties into Amur River. 47.693828, 132.525277. 05:10-09:30.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 12
Eastern Spot-billed Duck A. zonorhyncha 3
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 7
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 4
Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana 18
bittern sp. 1
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 10
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 2
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra 2
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 2
Wood Sandpiper T. glareola 13
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 20
Little Tern Sternula albifrons 3
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 15
Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) Columba livia 1
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 10
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 1
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 2
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 10
Rook Corvus frugilegus pastinator 15
Northern Raven C. corax 1
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 10
Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus 2
Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis 1
Black-browed Reed Warbler A. bistrigiceps 3
White Wagtail Motacilla alba 10
Black-faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala 2

List 2 of 2 for Thurs. 6 Aug. 2015 (27 species). Qixing River Nature Reserve (Qīxīng Hé Zìrán Bǎohùqū [七星河自然保护区]; visitor center at 46.712865, 132.134921), Heilongjiang. List consists only of birds noted at “Harrier Heaven” (46.786287, 132.178766).

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 15
Eastern Spot-billed Duck A. zonorhyncha 25
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 3
quail or buttonquail sp. 2
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 20
Purple Heron A. purpurea 1
Great Egret A. alba alba 10
Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus 7 juv.
Hen Harrier C. cyaneus 13 (6 female, 5 juv.)
Pied Harrier C. melanoleucos 22 (20 juv.)
Circus sp. 40
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 6
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra 50
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 10
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida 60
White-winged Tern C. leucopterus 2
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis ca. 75
Amur Falcon Falco amurensis 6
Eurasian Hobby F. subbuteo 1
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica ca. 100
Rook Corvus frugilegus pastinator 20
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 30
Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis 2
Black-browed Reed Warbler A. bistrigiceps 12
Reed Parrotbill Paradoxornis heudei polivanovi 5
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus ca. 250
White Wagtail Motacilla alba leucopsis 15

Fri. 7 Aug. 2015
Qixing River

Our team birded the nature reserve proper. We climbed the tower and took in the view. We found 29 species, among them White-naped Crane, Red-crowned Crane, and Red-necked Grebe. Reed Parrotbill were once again noted, as were a broad collection of shorebirds, among them Long-toed Stint.

List 1 of 1 for Fri. 7 Aug. 2015 (29 species). Qixing River Nature Reserve (Qīxīng Hé Zìrán Bǎohùqū [七星河自然保护区]; visitor center at 46.712865, 132.134921), Heilongjiang.

Garganey Anas querquedula 1
duck sp. 30
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 3
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena 2 (ad. & juv.)
Great Crested Grebe P. cristatus 4
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia 23
Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris 1
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea 3
Great Egret A. alba alba 15
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra 5
White-naped Crane Grus vipio 3 (2 ad. w. 1 juv.)
Red-crowned Crane G. japonensis 1 single
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 1
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 5
Gallinago sp. 2
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa 13
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis 8
Common Greenshank T. nebularia 19
Wood Sandpiper T. glareola 2
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 5
Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta 3
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 2
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 2
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 1
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 5
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 5
Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis 1
Black-browed Reed Warbler A. bistrigiceps 4
Reed Parrotbill Paradoxornis heudei polivanovi 5
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 10

Sat. 8 Aug. 2015
Jiamusi

On my 48th birthday, we drove to Jiamusi. We said goodbye to Brian and Jenny, and we switched our Highlander for a Volkswagen Bora.

Featured image: Eurasian Eagle-Owl is the biggest owl in the world. A pair lives in a quarry near Elaine Du’s home village of Dawucun, Boli, Heilongjiang. 13 Aug. 2015, Nikon D3S, 600 mm, F/5, 1/250, ISO 2000.

Next: Part 4: Second Trip to Elaine’s Hometown

Previous: Part 2: Hulunbeier, July 2015
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