Wuyuan & Poyang Lake, November 2014

Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler
Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus swinhoei. (Craig Brelsford)

by Craig Brelsford
Founder, shanghaibirding.com

INTRODUCTION

Eurasia not only is the largest continent, but it is also the continent with the longest east-west orientation. Bands of habitat stretch for thousands of kilometers, giving many species a vast trans-Eurasian distribution.

Here in China, much of which lies in the Eastern Palearctic, Western Palearctic (European) birders find much that is familiar. As Palearctic birders move south, however, the species look less and less familiar. Entire families unknown in the Western Palearctic begin to appear. It’s often the case that European birders who travel 10,000 km to northern China will find more familiar bird families and genera than they will find by traveling just 2000 km from points in northern China south.

In China, where can the average Western Palearctic birder begin discovering the non-Palearctic world? Where in China does the Palearctic end and the Indo-Malayan (Oriental) ecozone begin?

Most biogeographers draw the line at the Yangtze River. Wuyuan, a city and county in northeast Jiangxi, lies just south of the Yangtze River and is a truly transitional zone. At Wuyuan, Eurasian Jay, a classic Palearctic species, shares the heavily wooded hills with Fork-tailed Sunbird, a northerly representative of Nectariniidae.

In November 2014, Elaine and I spent eight days at Wuyuan plus a day at Poyang Lake. Of the 111 species we noted, many are near the northern edge of their distributions. Among those species are Collared Owlet, Bay Woodpecker, Grey-chinned Minivet, Grey Treepie, Rufous-faced Warbler, Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Rufous-capped Babbler, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Indochinese Yuhina, White-crowned Forktail, and Orange-bellied Leafbird.

Some of the Palearctic species, such as Eurasian Jay, are residents. In November, the residents are joined by winter visitors that breed far north in the Palearctic. Among those species are Scaly-sided Merganser, Brown-flanked Bush Warbler, Asian Stubtail, Red-flanked Bluetail, Mugimaki Flycatcher, Daurian Redstart, Brambling, Eurasian Siskin, and Little Bunting.

ITINERARY (all dates November 2014)
For more information on places visited, see “List of Place Names” at end of this report.

08 Poyang Lake
09 Dutou
10 Dutou
11 Dutou
12 Dutou
13 Dutou
14 Wuyuan & Wolong
15 Pheasant Valley
16 Pheasant Valley

THE TRIP

Sat. 8 Nov. 2014
Poyang Lake

On Fri. 7 Nov., Elaine and I drove 735 km from Shanghai to Nanchang. We covered much of that distance in the dark and in steady rain. At dawn Saturday we met Michael Grunwell near our hotel. Michael is from the United Kingdom and lives and works in Nanchang. We drove to Wucheng Zhen, where we met Dave Woodford, also from the United Kingdom. I birded with Dave in 2013 on a trip covering southern Shaanxi and Sichuan. Dragging a chain through the thick brush, Dave, Michael, and I attempted to find Swinhoe’s Rail (Coturnicops exquisitus). We were unsuccessful. As Dave’s main reason for birding around Poyang Lake was to find Swinhoe’s Rail, he continued his difficult pursuit alone, while Michael, Elaine, and I drove off to survey the birds of the area. Throughout the morning we noted many key species, among them Black Stork, Siberian Crane, and Hooded Crane. Common Crane rounded out our crane list. Black-winged Kite and Hen Harrier made appearances. We ID’d Oriental Skylark by their short primary projection and rufous wing panel, and we picked out 5 Water Pipit among 26 Buff-bellied Pipit. We noted 53 species today.

Site 1 of 2. Around Wucheng Zhen (吴城镇) & Dahuchi (大湖池), W Shore of Poyang Lake, Jiangxi (29.180555, 116.010175 [Wucheng Zhen]; 06:30-14:10). Weather: 11° C-14° C, cloudy.

Tundra Bean Goose ca. 200
Greater White-fronted Goose ca. 150
Eastern Spot-billed Duck 3
Eurasian Teal 13
Tundra Swan ca. 200
Common Pheasant 9
Little Grebe 21
Great Crested Grebe 9
Black Stork 1
Grey Heron 5
Little Egret 5
Great Cormorant 1
Black-winged Kite 2
Hen Harrier 1
Eastern Buzzard 2
Brown Crake 5
Siberian Crane ca. 125
Common Crane ca. 150
Hooded Crane 29
Northern Lapwing ca. 50
Common Snipe 1
Spotted Redshank 23
Common Greenshank 3
Green Sandpiper 5
Vega Gull 1
Spotted Dove 39
Pied Kingfisher 3
Long-tailed Shrike 8
Oriental Skylark 2
Eurasian Skylark 2
Zitting Cisticola 6
Chinese Hwamei 1 singing from cover
Vinous-throated Parrotbill 40
Crested Myna 91
Red-billed Starling 70
White-cheeked Starling 190
Black-collared Starling 25
Daurian Redstart 18
Eurasian Tree Sparrow ca. 100
White Wagtail 3 leucopsis
Richard’s Pipit 5
Buff-bellied Pipit 26
Water Pipit 5
Chinese Grosbeak ca. 50

Leaving Dave Woodford to his labors with the rail, Michael, Elaine, and I had a quick bite and then car-birded around Sihe Cun (四合村) and Jiuhe Xiang (九合乡). We found a flock of 80 Common Starling. According to birdtalker.net, Common Starling has been recorded only twice in Jiangxi in the previous five years, with a smattering of records from other provinces south of the Yangtze River.

Site 2 of 2. Around Sihe Cun (四合村), village near Jiuhe Xiang (九合乡) W of Poyang Lake, Jiangxi (29.100283, 115.828994; 14:50-16:50). Weather: 11° C-14° C, cloudy.

Chinese Pond Heron 1
Black-winged Kite 1
Brown Crake 3
Common Moorhen 12
Northern Lapwing 5
Spotted Dove 2
Black-capped Kingfisher 1
Common Kingfisher 1
Common Kestrel 1
Long-tailed Shrike 3
Skylark sp. 1
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler 3
Yellow-browed Warbler 1 heard
Red-billed Starling ca. 125
Crested Myna 20
White-cheeked Starling 160
Black-collared Starling 27
Common Starling ca. 80 (flock)
Daurian Redstart 1
White Wagtail 1 ocularis
Black-faced Bunting 6

After dark, Michael, Elaine, and I drove 260 km to Wuyuan (婺源) in NE Jiangxi.

Sun. 9 Nov. 2014
Dutou

At Dutou, Jiangxi today, Michael Grunwell, Elaine, and I noted 42 species. We enjoyed sustained views and made voice-recordings of Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler. The sight of a Bull-headed Shrike led to a discussion over whether the bird was just passing through or would overwinter here. Wuyuan lies near the northern edge of many species’ ranges (both residents and overwintering birds); the Yangtze River, which serves as the border separating the Palearctic and Indo-Malayan (Oriental) ecozones, lies just to the N. Among the more typically Indo-Malayan species seen today were Rufous-faced Warbler, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Rufous-capped Babbler, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Indochinese Yuhina, White-crowned Forktail, and Orange-bellied Leafbird. We failed to find Short-tailed Parrotbill.

At Dutou we parked on the bridge spanning the Le’an River (Lè’ān Jiāng [乐安江]). We birded either side of the river, starting on the right bank. We then switched to the main birding area on the left bank, following a trail leading from the village past abandoned rice paddies to a spring used by the village. On that trail, we met a friendly older gentleman whose job it is to maintain access to the spring at the head of the valley. Henceforth, Michael, Elaine, and I referred to this trail as the “Spring Maintenance Trail.”

In the afternoon, we returned to Wuyuan, and Michael took the bus back to Nanchang.

Site 1 of 1. Dutou, S of Wuyuan, Jiangxi (29.173768, 117.841748 [“Spring Maintenance Trail”]; elev. 60-150 m; 08:30-16:00). Weather: 11° C-16° C, cloudy.

Eastern Spot-billed Duck 7
Common Pheasant 2
Little Grebe 5
Little Egret 3
Black Eagle 1
Common Moorhen 5
Oriental Turtle Dove 1
Spotted Dove 1
Bull-headed Shrike 1
Long-tailed Shrike 5
Grey Treepie 20 heard
Yellow-bellied Tit 1
Japanese Tit 8
Collared Finchbill 35
Light-vented Bulbul 45
Mountain Bulbul 1
Chestnut Bulbul 4
Red-rumped Swallow 6
Rufous-faced Warbler 1
Horornis sp. 1. Michael Grunwell thought it was Yellow-bellied Bush Warbler H. acanthizoides.
Yellow-browed Warbler 8
Plain Prinia 1
Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler 2
Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler 4
Rufous-capped Babbler 5
Huet’s Fulvetta 20
Chinese Hwamei 1 heard
Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush 1 amid flock of G. pectoralis
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush 15 (flock)
Indochinese Yuhina 25
Crested Myna 5
Red-billed Starling 70 (2 flocks)
Daurian Redstart 8
Plumbeous Water Redstart 2 (1 male, 1 female)
White-crowned Forktail 2
Orange-bellied Leafbird 2
White-rumped Munia 18
White Wagtail 5
Olive-backed Pipit 4
Chinese Grosbeak 2
Tristram’s Bunting 2
Black-faced Bunting 26

Mon. 10 Nov. 2014
Dutou

Another day at Dutou, Elaine’s and my birding workshop. No “superstars” (Scaly-sided Merganser, Short-tailed Parrotbill). Only parrotbills an exciting, noisy flock of 60 Grey-headed Parrotbill. Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler recorded 16 times (including 13 heard only; had clear views at two sites). 4 Eurasian Jay showed the Palearctic heritage of Wuyuan, while Fork-tailed Sunbird showed the Indo-Malayan side. Collared Owlet, Bay Woodpecker heard.

Site 1 of 1. Dutou (07:40-16:55). Weather: 12° C-18° C. Sky grey throughout day but visibility improved in afternoon.

Eastern Spot-billed Duck 5
Little Grebe 11
Little Egret 6
Great Cormorant 1
Black Eagle 1
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1
Common Moorhen 3
Oriental Turtle Dove 1
Spotted Dove 2
Collared Owlet 1 heard
Bay Woodpecker 2 heard
Long-tailed Shrike 3
Eurasian Jay 4
Grey Treepie 25
Japanese Tit 1
Collared Finchbill 21
Light-vented Bulbul 56
Chestnut Bulbul 4
Black Bulbul 3 heard
Red-rumped Swallow 20
Horornis sp. 5
Black-throated Bushtit 50 (2 flocks)
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler 2 heard
Yellow-browed Warbler 13
Plain Prinia 3
Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler 16
Rufous-capped Babbler 7
Huet’s Fulvetta 80 (3 flocks)
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush 15
Grey-headed Parrotbill 60 (flock)
Crested Myna 20
Grey-backed Thrush 1 female
Daurian Redstart 11
Plumbeous Water Redstart 2 females
Fork-tailed Sunbird 1
Eurasian Tree Sparrow 25
White-rumped Munia 15
White Wagtail 11
Olive-backed Pipit 3
Tristram’s Bunting 5
Black-faced Bunting 16

Tue. 11 Nov. 2014
Dutou

Elaine and I chose a hollow at random and walked up it. We saw many of the typical species of the region. To the trip list we added Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Grey-chinned Minivet, and Black-throated Bushtit.

Site 1 of 1. Dutou (08:10-17:20). Weather: 10° C-18° C, cloudy.

Little Ringed Plover 3
Spotted Dove 2
Common Kingfisher 1
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 1
Bay Woodpecker 2 (1 heard only)
Grey-chinned Minivet 5 (2 male)
Long-tailed Shrike 1
Grey Treepie 18)
Yellow-bellied Tit 10
Japanese Tit 18
Collared Finchbill 30
Light-vented Bulbul 25
Chestnut Bulbul 20
Horornis sp. 5 heard
Black-throated Bushtit 60 (2 flocks)
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler 1
Yellow-browed Warbler 16
Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler 4 heard
Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler 15
Rufous-capped Babbler 1 heard
Huet’s Fulvetta 22
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush 20
Grey-headed Parrotbill 60 (flock)
Crested Myna 25
Red-flanked Bluetail 3
Daurian Redstart 11
Plumbeous Water Redstart 3
Orange-bellied Leafbird 2
Fork-tailed Sunbird 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow 20
White-rumped Munia 20
Olive-backed Pipit 4
Tristram’s Bunting 7

Wed. 12 Nov. 2014
Dutou

Veering off the Spring Maintenance Trail, Elaine and I walked a side trail down to the Le’an River. There, we found 9 Scaly-sided Merganser and 2 Mandarin Duck. A fisherman, unaware of the rarity of the birds before him, moved relentlessly upstream, scaring the ducks. As I descended to the river, I heard the song of Brown-flanked Bush Warbler. I managed to sound-record this unusual winter performance of the distinctive springtime song. We found our only Red-billed Leiothrix of the trip, and we saw Mugimaki Flycatcher.

Site 1 of 1. Dutou (12:45-17:00). Weather: 10° C-20° C, sunny.

Mandarin Duck 2
Eastern Spot-billed Duck ca. 100
Scaly-sided Merganser 9 (3 male)
Little Grebe 25
Little Egret 1
Common Moorhen 24
Green Sandpiper 1
Oriental Turtle Dove 1
Common Kingfisher 2
Grey-chinned Minivet 3
Grey Treepie 1 heard
Japanese Tit 3
Collared Finchbill 2
Light-vented Bulbul 5
Brown-flanked Bush Warbler 1
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler 1 heard
Yellow-browed Warbler 2
Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler 5
Red-billed Leiothrix 15 (flock)
Red-flanked Bluetail 1
Mugimaki Flycatcher 1 female
Daurian Redstart 5
White Wagtail 3
Tristram’s Bunting 1

Thurs. 13 Nov. 2014
Dutou

Still determined to find Short-tailed Parrotbill, we gave the Spring Maintenance Trail another day. Standing silent in the forest, I heard a cooing sound coming from the bamboo. I climbed in and found 7 Silver Pheasant. Back near the village, we found several winter visitors, among them Brambling, Grey-capped Greenfinch, and Chestnut Bunting.

Site 1 of 1. Dutou (08:20-16:40). Weather: 7° C-18° C, cloudy.

Scaly-sided Merganser 3
Silver Pheasant 7 (3 males, 4 females)
Common Kingfisher 1
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 1
Long-tailed Shrike 1
Grey Treepie 1
Japanese Tit 12
Collared Finchbill 1
Light-vented Bulbul 28
Chestnut Bulbul 3
Horornis sp. 2
Yellow-browed Warbler 1
Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler 2
Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler 2
Huet’s Fulvetta 12
Oriental Magpie-Robin 1 female
Red-flanked Bluetail 1
Daurian Redstart 8
White-crowned Forktail 1
White Wagtail 2
Brambling 4
Grey-capped Greenfinch 2
Tristram’s Bunting 1
Chestnut Bunting 1
Black-faced Bunting 2

Fri. 14 Nov. 2014
Wuyuan & Wolong

Elaine and I drove N, searching for new habitats. Wolong Gu (卧龙谷), a tourist area N of Wuyuan city, seemed promising, but we turned back when the gatekeepers told us we wouldn’t be able to drive our car in. I found Brown Dipper on a creek running alongside the highway.

Site 1 of 1. Roadside Birding Between Wuyuan and Wolong, Jiangxi (42 km one-way). Weather: 8° C-19° C, sunny.

Mandarin Duck 2
Common Pheasant 1
Little Grebe 1
Black Kite 1
Common Kingfisher 4
Long-tailed Shrike 3
Collared Finchbill 5
Chinese Hwamei 2
Crested Myna 15
Chinese Blackbird 1 heard
Daurian Redstart 7
Plumbeous Water Redstart 8
Stejneger’s Stonechat 2
Brown Dipper 2
Grey Wagtail 1
White Wagtail 3

Sat. 15 Nov. 2014
Pheasant Valley

It’s rare to ID a bush warbler outside mating season. Today, Elaine and I ID’d two. Near a stream at Pheasant Valley, I heard a high-pitched whistle. A tiny, skulking, ground-loving bird was somewhere in front of us. I made several recordings of the high-pitched song. A comparison of our recordings with those from xeno-canto.org confirmed the ID: Asian Stubtail. Earlier, we heard an abbreviated, “amateurish” rendition of the well-known song of Brown-flanked Bush Warbler. The Brown-flanked Bush Warbler did not sing again, but I made a recording of its call and got a good look at the bird. Among our other highlights today were sustained views of Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler. Walking across a fallow rice paddy, I came upon the freshly shed skin of a snake and high-tailed it out of there. We had views of 5 Red-billed Blue Magpie and a fast-moving flock of 65 Eurasian Siskin.

Site 1 of 1. Pheasant Valley, birding area 38 km W of Wuyuan, Jiangxi (29.214200, 117.562600; 10:35-16:50).

Little Grebe 15
Little Egret 1
Black Eagle 1
Common Moorhen 25
Oriental Turtle Dove 1
Common Kingfisher 2
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 2
Long-tailed Shrike 3
Red-billed Blue Magpie 5
Grey Treepie 16 (1 heard only)
Yellow-bellied Tit 1
Japanese Tit 13
Collared Finchbill 17
Light-vented Bulbul 9
Brown-flanked Bush Warbler 1
Horornis sp. 1 heard
Asian Stubtail 1 singing
Black-throated Bushtit 25
Yellow-browed Warbler 2
Plain Prinia 2
Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler 2 along road near Pheasant Valley
Rufous-capped Babbler 1 heard
Huet’s Fulvetta 1
Chinese Hwamei 2
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush 8
Grey-headed Parrotbill 1 heard
Black-collared Starling 2 in village near Pheasant Valley
Chinese Blackbird 2
Red-flanked Bluetail 1
Daurian Redstart 6
Plumbeous Water Redstart 1
White-crowned Forktail 1
Eurasian Tree Sparrow 10
White-rumped Munia 10
Olive-backed Pipit 5
Eurasian Siskin 65 (flock)
Black-faced Bunting 2

Sun. 16 Nov. 2014
Pheasant Valley

Elaine and I awoke early and did a half day at Pheasant Valley before heading back to Shanghai. We found 8 Silver Pheasant drinking from the creek.

Site 1 of 1. Pheasant Valley (07:30-11:10). Weather: 9° C-19° C, cloudy.

Silver Pheasant 8 (4 male, 4 female)
Little Grebe 11
Little Egret 1
Common Moorhen 25
Common Kingfisher 2
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 4
Long-tailed Shrike 3
Grey Treepie 22
Japanese Tit 1
Collared Finchbill 10
Light-vented Bulbul 22
Chestnut Bulbul ca. 25 heard
Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler 2
Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler 3
Huet’s Fulvetta 1 heard
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush 14
Crested Myna 2
Black-collared Starling 2 in village near Pheasant Valley
Red-flanked Bluetail 1
Daurian Redstart 11
Plumbeous Water Redstart 2
White-crowned Forktail 1 heard
Stejneger’s Stonechat 2
Orange-bellied Leafbird 2
Olive-backed Pipit 2
Eurasian Tree Sparrow 25
White Wagtail 4
Little Bunting 1 in village near Pheasant Valley

SYSTEMATIC LIST OF BIRDS NOTED AT WUYUAN AND POYANG LAKE, NOVEMBER 2014

Anseriformes: Anatidae

Tundra Bean Goose
短嘴豆雁 (duǎnzuǐ dòuyàn)
Anser serrirostris

ca. 200 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Greater White-fronted Goose
白额雁 (bái é’yàn)
Anser albifrons

ca. 150 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Tundra Swan
小天鹅 (xiǎo tiān’é)
Cygnus columbianus

ca. 200 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Mandarin Duck
鸳鸯 (yuānyāng)
Aix galericulata

2 at Dutou on 2014-11-12
2 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14

Eastern Spot-billed Duck
斑嘴鸭 (bānzuǐyā)
Anas zonorhyncha

3 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
7 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
5 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
ca. 100 at Dutou on 2014-11-12

Eurasian Teal
绿翅鸭 (lǜchì yā)
Anas crecca

13 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Scaly-sided Merganser
中华秋沙鸭 (zhōnghuá qiūshāyā)
Mergus squamatus

9 (3 male) at Dutou on 2014-11-12
3 at Dutou on 2014-11-13

Galliformes: Phasianidae

Silver Pheasant
白鹇 (bái xián)
Lophura nycthemera

7 (3 males, 4 females) at Dutou on 2014-11-13
8 (4 male, 4 female) at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Common Pheasant
雉鸡 (zhìjī)
Phasianus colchicus

9 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
2 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
1 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14

Podicipediformes: Podicipedidae

Little Grebe
小䴙䴘 (xiǎo pìtī)
Tachybaptus ruficollis

21 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
5 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
11 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
25 at Dutou on 2014-11-12
1 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14
15 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
11 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Great Crested Grebe
凤头䴙䴘 (fèngtóu pìtī)
Podiceps cristatus

9 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Ciconiiformes: Ciconiidae

Black Stork
黑鹳 (hēiguàn)
Ciconia nigra

1 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Pelecaniformes: Ardeidae

Chinese Pond Heron
池鹭 (chílù)
Ardeola bacchus

1 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Grey Heron
苍鹭 (cāng lù)
Ardea cinerea

5 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Little Egret
白鹭 (báilù)
Egretta garzetta

5 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
3 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
6 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-12
1 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
1 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Suliformes: Phalacrocoracidae

Great Cormorant
普通鸬鹚 (pǔtōng lúcí)
Phalacrocorax carbo

1 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-10

Accipitriformes: Accipitridae

Black-winged Kite
黑翅鸢 (hēichì yuān)
Elanus caeruleus

2 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
1 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Black Eagle
林鵰 (líndiāo)
Ictinaetus malaiensis

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
1 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Eurasian Sparrowhawk
雀鹰 (quèyīng)
Accipiter nisus

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-10

Hen Harrier
白尾鹞 (báiwěi yào)
Circus cyaneus

1 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Black Kite
黑鸢 (hēi yuān)
Milvus migrans

1 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14

Eastern Buzzard
普通鵟 (pǔtōng kuáng)
Buteo japonicus

2 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Gruiformes: Rallidae

Brown Crake
红脚苦恶鸟 (hóngjiǎo kǔ’ě’niǎo)
Amaurornis akool

5 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
3 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Common Moorhen
黑水鸡 (hēi shuǐjī)
Gallinula chloropus

12 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
5 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
3 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
24 at Dutou on 2014-11-12
25 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
25 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Gruiformes: Gruidae

Siberian Crane
白鹤 (bái hè)
Grus leucogeranus

ca. 125 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Common Crane
灰鹤 (huī hè)
Grus grus

ca. 150 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Hooded Crane
白头鹤 (báitóu hè)
Grus monacha

29 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Charadriiformes: Recurvirostridae

Northern Lapwing
凤头麦鸡 (fèngtóu màijī)
Vanellus vanellus

ca. 50 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
5 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Charadriiformes: Charadriidae

Little Ringed Plover
金眶鸻 (jīnkuàng héng)
Charadrius dubius

3 at Dutou on 2014-11-11

Charadriiformes: Scolopacidae

Common Snipe
扇尾沙锥 (shānwěi shāzhuī)
Gallinago gallinago

1 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Spotted Redshank
鹤鹬 (hè yù)
Tringa erythropus

23 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Common Greenshank
青脚鹬 (qīngjiǎo yù)
Tringa nebularia

3 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Green Sandpiper
白腰草鹬 (báiyāo cǎoyù)
Tringa ochropus

5 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-12

Charadriiformes: Laridae

Vega Gull
西伯利亚银鸥 (xībólìyà yín’ōu)
Larus vegae vegae or L. v. mongolicus

1 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Columbiformes: Columbidae

Oriental Turtle Dove
山斑鸠 (shān bānjiū)
Streptopelia orientalis

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-12
1 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Spotted Dove
珠颈斑鸠 (zhūjǐng bānjiū)
Spilopelia chinensis

39 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
2 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
2 at Dutou on 2014-11-10

Strigiformes: Strigidae

Collared Owlet
领鸺鹠 (lǐng xiūliú)
Glaucidium brodiei

1 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-10

Coraciiformes: Alcedinidae

Black-capped Kingfisher
蓝翡翠 (lán fěicuì)
Halcyon pileata

1 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Common Kingfisher
普通翠鸟 (pǔtōng cuìniǎo)
Alcedo atthis

1 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
2 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
2 at Dutou on 2014-11-12
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
4 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Pied Kingfisher
斑鱼狗 (bān yúgǒu)
Ceryle rudis

3 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Piciformes: Picidae

Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
星头啄木鸟 (xīngtóuzhuómùniǎo)
Dendrocopos canicapillus

2 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-10
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
4 (1 heard only) at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Bay Woodpecker
黄嘴栗啄木鸟 (huángzuǐ lìzhuómùniǎo)
Blythipicus pyrrhotis

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
2 (1 heard only) at Dutou on 2014-11-11

Falconiformes: Falconidae

Common Kestrel
红隼 (hóng sǔn)
Falco tinnunculus

1 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Passeriformes: Campephagidae

Grey-chinned Minivet
灰喉山椒鸟 (huīhóu shānjiāoniǎo)
Pericrocotus solaris

5 (2 male) at Dutou on 2014-11-11
3 at Dutou on 2014-11-12

Passeriformes: Laniidae

Bull-headed Shrike
牛头伯劳 (niútóu bóláo)
Lanius bucephalus

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-09

Long-tailed Shrike
棕背伯劳 (zōngbèi bóláo)
Lanius schach

8 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
3 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
5 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
3 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
3 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
3 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Passeriformes: Corvidae

Eurasian Jay
松鸦 (sōngyā)
Garrulus glandarius

4 at Dutou on 2014-11-10

Red-billed Blue Magpie
红嘴蓝鹊 (hóngzuǐ lánquè)
Urocissa erythroryncha

5 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Grey Treepie
灰树鹊 (huī shùquè)
Dendrocitta formosae

20 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-09
25 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
18 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
1 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-12
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
16 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
22 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Passeriformes: Paridae

Yellow-bellied Tit
黄腹山雀 (huángfù shānquè)
Pardaliparus venustulus

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
10 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
1 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Japanese Tit
远东山雀 (yuǎndōng shānquè)
Parus minor

8 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
18 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
3 (1 heard only) at Dutou on 2014-11-12
12 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
13 (4 heard only) at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
1 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Passeriformes: Alaudidae

Oriental Skylark
小云雀 (xiǎo yúnquè)
Alauda gulgula

2 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Eurasian Skylark
云雀 (yúnquè)
Alauda arvensis

2 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

? Skylark
?云雀 (? yúnquè)
Alauda ?

1 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Passeriformes: Pycnonotidae

Collared Finchbill
领雀嘴鹎 (lǐng quèzuǐbēi)
Spizixos semitorques

35 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
21 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
30 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
2 at Dutou on 2014-11-12
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
3 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14
17 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
10 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Light-vented Bulbul
白头鹎 (báitóu bēi)
Pycnonotus sinensis

45 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
56 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
25 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
5 at Dutou on 2014-11-12
28 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
9 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
22 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Mountain Bulbul
绿翅短脚鹎 (lǜchì duǎnjiǎobēi)
Ixos mcclellandii

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-09

Chestnut Bulbul
栗背短脚鹎 (lìbèi duǎnjiǎobēi)
Hemixos castanonotus

4 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
4 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
20 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
3 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
25 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Black Bulbul
黑短脚鹎 (hēi duǎnjiǎobēi)
Hypsipetes leucocephalus

3 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-10

Passeriformes: Hirundinidae

Red-rumped Swallow
金腰燕 (jīnyāo yàn)
Cecropis daurica

6 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
20 at Dutou on 2014-11-10

Passeriformes: Cettiidae

Rufous-faced Warbler
棕脸鹟莺 (zōngliǎn wēngyīng)
Abroscopus albogularis

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-09

Brown-flanked Bush Warbler
强脚树莺 (qiángjiǎo shùyīng)
Horornis fortipes

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-12. Sound-recorded song.
1 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Horornis sp.

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
5 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
5 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-11
2 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
1 heard at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Asian Stubtail
鳞头树莺 (líntóu shùyīng)
Urosphena squameiceps

1 heard singing at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Passeriformes: Aegithalidae

Black-throated Bushtit
红头长尾山雀 (hóngtóu chángwěishānquè)
Aegithalos concinnus

50 (2 flocks) at Dutou on 2014-11-10
60 (2 flocks) at Dutou on 2014-11-11
25 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Passeriformes: Phylloscopidae

Pallas’s Leaf Warbler
黄腰柳莺 (huángyāoliǔyīng)
Phylloscopus proregulus

3 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
2 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-10
1 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-11
1 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-12

Yellow-browed Warbler
黄眉柳莺 (huángméi liǔyīng)
Phylloscopus inornatus

1 heard near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
8 (2 heard only) at Dutou on 2014-11-09
13 (5 heard only) at Dutou on 2014-11-10
16 (2 heard only) at Dutou on 2014-11-11
2 (1 heard only) at Dutou on 2014-11-12
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Passerformes: Cisticolidae

Zitting Cisticola
棕扇尾莺 (zōng shànwěiyīng)
Cisticola juncidis

6 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Plain Prinia
褐头鹪莺 (hètóu jiāoyīng)
Prinia inornata

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
3 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Passeriformes: Timaliidae

Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler
华南斑胸钩嘴鹛 (huánán bānxiōng gōuzuǐméi)
Pomatorhinus swinhoei

2 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
16 (13 heard only) at Dutou on 2014-11-10
4 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-11
2 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
2 along road near Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler
棕颈钩嘴鹛 (zōngjǐng gōuzuǐméi)
Pomatorhinus ruficollis

4 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
15 (6 heard only) at Dutou on 2014-11-11
5 (4 heard only) at Dutou on 2014-11-12
2 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-13
3 (1 heard only) at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Rufous-capped Babbler
红头穗鹛 (hóngtóu suìméi)
Stachyridopsis ruficeps

5 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
7 (5 heard only) at Dutou on 2014-11-10
1 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-11
1 heard at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Passeriformes: Pellorneidae

Huet’s Fulvetta
黑眉雀鹛 (hēiméi quèméi)
Alcippe hueti

20 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
80 (3 flocks) at Dutou on 2014-11-10
22 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
12 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
1 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
1 heard at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Passeriformes: Leiothrichidae

Chinese Hwamei
画眉 (huàméi)
Garrulax canorus

1 singing from cover around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
1 heard at Dutou on 2014-11-09
2 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush
小黑领噪鹛 (xiǎo hēilǐngzàoméi)
Garrulax monileger

1 amid flock of G. pectoralis at Dutou on 2014-11-09

Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush
黑领噪鹛 (hēilǐngzàoméi)
Garrulax pectoralis

15 (flock) at Dutou on 2014-11-09
15 (8 heard only) at Dutou on 2014-11-10
20 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
8 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
14 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Red-billed Leiothrix
红嘴相思鸟 (hóngzuǐ xiāngsīniǎo)
Leiothrix lutea

15 (flock) at Dutou on 2014-11-12

Passeriformes: Sylviidae

Vinous-throated Parrotbill
棕头鸦雀 (zōngtóu yāquè)
Sinosuthora webbiana

40 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Grey-headed Parrotbill
灰头鸦雀 (huītóu yāquè)
Psittiparus gularis

60 (flock) at Dutou on 2014-11-10
60 (flock) at Dutou on 2014-11-11
1 heard at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Passeriformes: Zosteropidae

Indochinese Yuhina
栗耳凤鹛 (lì’ěrfèngméi)
Yuhina torqueola

25 at Dutou on 2014-11-09

Passeriformes: Sturnidae

Crested Myna
八哥 (bāgē)
Acridotheres cristatellus

91 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
20 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
5 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
20 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
25 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
15 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Red-billed Starling
丝光椋鸟 (sīguāng liángniǎo)
Spodiopsar sericeus

70 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
ca. 125 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
70 (2 flocks) at Dutou on 2014-11-09

White-cheeked Starling
灰椋鸟 (huī liángniǎo)
Spodiopsar cineraceus

190 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
160 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Black-collared Starling
黑领椋鸟 (hēilǐng liángniǎo)
Gracupica nigricollis

25 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
27 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
2 in village near Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
2 in village near Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Common Starling
紫翅椋鸟 (zǐchì liángniǎo)
Sturnus vulgaris

ca. 80 (flock) near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Passeriformes: Turdidae

Grey-backed Thrush
灰背鸫 (huībèi dōng)
Turdus hortulorum

1 female at Dutou on 2014-11-10

Chinese Blackbird
乌鸫 (wū dōng)
Turdus mandarinus

1 heard on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Passeriformes: Muscicapidae

Oriental Magpie-Robin
鹊鸲 (quèqú)
Copsychus saularis

1 female at Dutou on 2014-11-13

Red-flanked Bluetail
红胁蓝尾鸲 (hóngxié lánwěiqú)
Tarsiger cyanurus

3 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-12
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
1 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
1 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Mugimaki Flycatcher
鸲姬鹟 (qú jīwēng)
Ficedula mugimaki

1 female at Dutou on 2014-11-12

Daurian Redstart
北红尾鸲 (běi hóngwěiqú)
Phoenicurus auroreus

18 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
1 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
8 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
11 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
11 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
5 at Dutou on 2014-11-12
8 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
7 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14
6 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
11 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Plumbeous Water Redstart
红尾水鸲 (hóngwěi shuǐqú)
Phoenicurus fuliginosus

2 (1 male, 1 female) at Dutou on 2014-11-09
2 females at Dutou on 2014-11-10
3 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
8 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14
1 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

White-crowned Forktail
白冠燕尾 (báiguān yànwěi)
Enicurus leschenaulti

2 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
1 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
1 heard at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Stejneger’s Stonechat
东亚石䳭 (dōngyà shíjí)
Saxicola stejnegeri

2 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Passeriformes: Cinclidae

Brown Dipper
褐河乌 (hè héwū)
Cinclus pallasii

2 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14

Passeriformes: Chloropseidae

Orange-bellied Leafbird
橙腹叶鹎 (chéngfù yèbēi)
Chloropsis hardwickii

2 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
2 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Passeriformes: Nectariniidae

Fork-tailed Sunbird
叉尾太阳鸟 (chāwěi tàiyángniǎo)
Aethopyga christinae

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
2 at Dutou on 2014-11-11

Passeriformes: Passeridae

Eurasian Tree Sparrow
树麻雀 (shù máquè)
Passer montanus

ca. 100 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
25 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
20 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
10 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
25 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Passeriformes: Estrildidae

White-rumped Munia
白腰文鸟 (báiyāo wénniǎo)
Lonchura striata

18 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
15 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
20 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
10 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Passeriformes: Motacillidae

Grey Wagtail
灰鹡鸰 (huī jílíng)
Motacilla cinerea

1 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14

White Wagtail
白鹡鸰 (bái jílíng)
Motacilla alba

3 leucopsis around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
1 ocularis near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
5 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
11 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
3 at Dutou on 2014-11-12
2 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
3 on road between Wuyuan & Wolong on 2014-11-14
4 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Richard’s Pipit
田鹨 (tián liù)
Anthus richardi

5 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Olive-backed Pipit
树鹨 (shù liù)
Anthus hodgsoni

4 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
3 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
4 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
5 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Buff-bellied Pipit
黄腹鹨 (huángfù liù)
Anthus rubescens japonicus

26 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Water Pipit
水鹨 (shuǐ liù)
Anthus spinoletta

5 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08

Passeriformes: Fringillidae

Brambling
燕雀 (yànquè)
Fringilla montifringilla

4 at Dutou on 2014-11-13

Chinese Grosbeak
黑尾蜡嘴雀 (hēiwěi làzuǐquè)
Eophona migratoria

ca. 50 around Wucheng Zhen & Dahuchi (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
2 at Dutou on 2014-11-09

Grey-capped Greenfinch
金翅雀 (jīnchìquè)
Chloris sinica

2 at Dutou on 2014-11-13

Eurasian Siskin
黄雀 (huángquè)
Spinus spinus

65 (flock) at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

Passeriformes: Emberizidae

Tristram’s Bunting
白眉鹀 (báiméi wū)
Emberiza tristrami

2 females at Dutou on 2014-11-09
5 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
7 at Dutou on 2014-11-11
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-12
1 at Dutou on 2014-11-13

Little Bunting
小鹀 (xiǎo wū)
Emberiza pusilla

1 in village near Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-16

Chestnut Bunting
栗鹀 (lì wū)
Emberiza rutila

1 at Dutou on 2014-11-13

Black-faced Bunting
灰头鹀 (huītóu wū)
Emberiza spodocephala

6 near Sihe Cun (Poyang) on 2014-11-08
26 at Dutou on 2014-11-09
16 at Dutou on 2014-11-10
2 at Dutou on 2014-11-13
2 at Pheasant Valley on 2014-11-15

LIST OF PLACE NAMES

Dahuchi (Dàhúchí [大湖池]): small lake W of Poyang Lake, near Wucheng Zhen. 29.127785, 115.951467.

Dutou (Dùtóu [渡头]): village S of Wuyuan, near Kengkou. Elev. of village: 60 m. Surrounding ridges reach elev. of ca. 150 m. In winter, Scaly-sided Merganser found on Le’an River (Lè’ān Jiāng [乐安江]), which runs through the village. An important birding trail is the “Spring Maintenance Trail,” 29.173768, 117.841748.

Kengkou (坑口): village 18 km S of Wuyuan, near Dutou. To reach Kengkou, head S from Wuyuan on S308 to X718. 29.150134, 117.859037.

Poyang Lake (Póyáng Hú [鄱阳湖]): largest freshwater lake in China, winter home of 90% of world’s Siberian Crane. Located NE of Nanchang. 29.122986, 116.278310.

Nanchang (Nánchāng [南昌]): capital of Jiangxi, in N part of province. 28.683333,115.883333.

Pheasant Valley: birding area 38 km W of Wuyuan. Elev.: 120 m. 29.214200, 117.562600.

Póyáng Hú (鄱阳湖): see Poyang Lake.

Sihe Cun (Sìhé Cūn [四合村]): village near Jiuhe Xiang (九合乡) W of Poyang Lake & N of Nanchang. 29.100283, 115.828994.

Wolong Gu (Wòlóng Gǔ [卧龙谷]): tourist area N of Wuyuan city. 29.523791, 117.757001.

Wuyuan (Wùyuán [婺源]): city & county NE Jiangxi, China 475 km SE of Shanghai. Major tourism center. 29.250338, 117.860998.

Wucheng Zhen (Wúchéng Zhèn [吴城镇]): town W side of Poyang Lake near Dahuchi. 29.180555, 116.010175.

EQUIPMENT

Cameras: Nikon D3S; for landscapes, Apple iPad and Apple iPhone 4S
Lens: Nikon VR 600mm F/4G
Sound recorder: Olympus DM-650
Binoculars: Swarovski EL 8 x 32 (Craig), Zeiss Conquest HD 8 x 42 (Elaine)

FURTHER READING

For more on other birding hotspots in southeast China, please see the following posts on shanghaibirding.com:

Tianmushan, Zhejiang

Tianmushan: A Must See Site for Shanghai Birders (Part 1)
Tianmushan: A Must See Site for Shanghai Birders (Part 2)
Tianmushan in July
Koklass Pheasant Highlight Tianmu Trip
Trip Report: Tianmushan, 1-3 April 2019

Emeifeng and Fujian

Emeifeng 2015, Part 1
Emeifeng 2015, Part 2
Home to Shanghai (Plus a Jaunt to Fujian)

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Fairy Pitta at Cape Nanhui

by Craig Brelsford
Founder, shanghaibirding.com

The autumn migration season in Shanghai has kicked off in style. Leading the parade of migrants is Fairy Pitta, seen in Microforest 2 at Cape Nanhui on Sat. 3 Sept. 2016. 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
Oriental Pratincole at sod farm south of Pudong Airport. (Craig Brelsford)

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

Siberian Blue Robin
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. (Craig Brelsford)

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). (Craig Brelsford)

— 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 is no longer a birding site. Where birders once ranged, earth-moving machines now sit, 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
Black-tailed Godwit, Nanhui. On left 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. (Komatsu Yasuhiko/Craig Brelsford)

— The task of ID-ing the Nordmann’s was clear-cut. A Common Greenshank that appeared next to the Nordmann’s was helpful. 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.

PHOTOS

Fairy Pitta
Fairy Pitta, Cape Nanhui, Microforest 2. 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, then 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. (Craig Brelsford)
Meadow Bunting
A juvenile Meadow Bunting stands at attention in Garbage Dump Gully, Lesser Yangshan Island. A Lesser Yangshan specialty, Meadow Bunting breed on the island. They are rarely found in Shanghai. (Craig Brelsford)
Pin-tailed/Swinhoe's Snipe
Pin-tailed/Swinhoe’s Snipe, sod farm south of Pudong Airport. 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. (Craig Brelsford)

Featured image: Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha, Microforest 2, Cape Nanhui, Sun. 4 Sept. 2016. Photo by Komatsu Yasuhiko using Nikon D7100 + Tamron 150-600 F/5.6, F/6, 1/100, ISO 640.
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Far from Shanghai, Four Hours of Arctic, by John MacKinnon

Editor’s note: John MacKinnon is the co-author of A Field Guide to the Birds of China. Since its publication in 2000, this pioneering work has been the standard guide to the birds of China for foreign and Chinese birders alike. MacKinnon is a pioneer in another, smaller way—he is the author of the first guest post in the history of shanghaibirding.com. Herewith we present “Far from Shanghai, Four Hours of Arctic,” an account of an afternoon MacKinnon recently spent in the Altai Mountains in Northern Xinjiang. — Craig Brelsford

by John MacKinnon
for shanghaibirding.com

John MacKinnon
John MacKinnon

My father was raised on Scotland’s Isle of Skye—a wild youth who could throw a cricket ball a hundred yards. And when I was 8 years old he delighted in taking me on walks up Blaven and the Red Hills to tell me of his own wild childhood exploits. I was much impressed by his story of once killing a ptarmigan with a stone until a few years later I visited the Cairngorms and discovered how incredibly tame that species is—a sitting duck (uggh!) at 10 metres. But those bleak alpine landscapes remain in my blood, and so it was a great delight on 5 June to join a few fellow birdwatchers of the Altai Bird Lovers Society to head up into the hills above Altai Town for a few hours bird-watching.

I had given the Society a talk in the morning, so our time was limited. It became even more shortened as the military guard at the only barrier we had to pass held us up for two hours insisting no foreigners were allowed beyond his post. Many phone calls later, we were allowed to advance. The delay was a pity, as we had to bypass several fellow birders who were stalking a rare Snowy Owl sighted earlier in the valley.

These woods echo to the calls of familiar European birds—Common Chaffinch, Eurasian Blackbird, Great Tit, Common Nightingale, and Rock Bunting. The undergrowth was abloom with wild peonies, but we were heading for higher ground. We would have only four hours more of daylight.

Rock Bunting
Rock Bunting Emberiza cia par, Altai Mountains. Rock Bunting occurs in mountainous areas from southern Europe and North Africa to Xinjiang and Tibet. (Craig Brelsford)

The road was rough—sometimes rocky, sometimes deeply rutted in mud. It had been raining, and the mountain streams were flooding out of their banks, and we had to ford them many times. We passed out of the forests and into the open meadows. These were gloriously green with new spring grass before the Kazakh herdsmen could bring their flocks up for the summer grazing. Thousands of Purple Fawn Lilies (Erythronium sibiricum) and Cowslips (Primula denticulata) glistened in the sunlight, fluttering in the wind. Grey, Yellow, and White Wagtail skittered out of the way of our 4-wheel vehicle as it laboured up the trail. Black Kites and a lone Common Kestrel glided over the valley. Large sleepy marmots gazed at us as we drove on higher towards the snowline, and a large eagle flew just over our heads without giving us a second glance.

Black Kite
Black Kite in Altai Mountains. (Craig Brelsford)

The road twisted about between great walls of snow where a digger had cut a way through, and eventually we emerged on top of the world, with views way into the distance across the Mongolian border. It was indeed very similar to the landscapes of the Scottish Cairngorms, and I felt quite at home as we came to a halt and started on foot to clamber across the loose rocks and patches of shallow snow that covered the rolling hilltops. But the air was thin, and I could already feel the altitude at nearly 3000 m as I trudged ahead in a slightly desperate search to find Rock Ptarmigan.

Rock Ptarmigan
A Holarctic species, Rock Ptarmigan Lagopus muta in China occurs only in the Altai Mountains of northern Xinjiang. (John MacKinnon)

I spotted the first one—a cock in full white winter plumage. I crept up gradually, taking pictures as I went. I did not want to alarm or disturb the bird but it seemed quite unconcerned and went about its business feeding and wandering across the snow only a few metres away. Gradually the three other birders caught up with me and took their fill of pictures. I withdrew to give the bird some peace, but the other birders were more persistent, and eventually the cock flew off with a dark female whom I had not spotted at all.

Vegetation was sparse, and there were few other birds on this bleak windswept hill, but we did see Northern Wheatear, Grey-necked Bunting, and Altai Accentor. Across a valley of deeper snow I spotted another white cock ptarmigan standing out boldly against the dark rocks, and then, in amazement, I noticed our leader Tang Liming sitting quietly no more than 5 metres away from the bird.

Altai Accentor (L) and Ortolan Bunting
Altai Accentor (L) and Grey-necked Bunting. In China, Altai Accentor occurs in the Altai Mountains and Tianshan in Xinjiang and Tibet. Grey-necked Bunting is a bird of arid mountainsides that in China occurs only in Xinjiang. (John MacKinnon)

It would be a long walk down to the road and back up the other side, so I headed straight across the snow. Walking gently, I found I could stay on top of the snow crust, but a couple of times I sank deeply down to my waist. Two other birders followed my trail, and soon we were creeping up the other side towards Mr. Tang and the splendid cock ptarmigan. So well-hidden was his mate that I might have walked on her had Mr. Tang not whistled a warning. Mr. Tang had already got great pictures of the pair mating, but we were content to get close ups of the two birds, again as tame as can be.

The clever cock had found a wonderful rock to shelter behind from the bitter wind, but he let his partner squat out in the open. Both birds fed for a while, and we got excellent stills and video of them showing no concern at our presence. One of the birders had nothing less than a 600 mm, and he had to hover about 30 metres back whilst we could sit with 10 m!

With light falling, we started the climb back to the car. It was a steep, wet, slippery climb, and at one point I fell sharply on my rear end. But we were elated with our ptarmigan success, and the sunset was very beautiful. We got back in the car and headed home, thinking the day was done—but far from it.

Willow Ptarmigan
Willow Ptarmigan Lagopus lagopus. (John MacKinnon)

I spotted a movement on the hillside. We stopped and myself and a Mr. Wang crept up to where I had seen another bird. We were rewarded with great views of a cock Willow Ptarmigan and his mate. They were not as tame as the Rock Ptarmigan but did let us get within 20 m or so, and somehow, despite quite dim light, my camera managed to take bright and glorious pictures as the cock strutted his stuff and gave his famous gobbling calls. Unlike the cock Rock Ptarmigan that were still in full winter plumage, the Willow Ptarmigan was in the half-white, half-brown plumage of summer. It was getting really late now, so we hurried back to the car.

We got less than 1 km when we saw a wolf trotting along not far off the road. We halted and stumbled out of the car, fumbling to reassemble cameras, but the wolf moved on quite fast, and we ended up getting back in the car, turning round and following back up the road. We now saw there were two wolves. We parked where we had seen the Willow Ptarmigan earlier, got out and looked everywhere for the wolves, but they were nowhere to be seen. Only when we turned back towards the parked car we saw them sitting watching us from further up the road. Again we followed in the car, but they were soon far away, on the other side of the stream. Again they stopped to have a good look at the strange car and humans before heading back into the snowy hills. They were both quite skinny, but they had made it through the winter, and soon there would be baby hares, marmots, rock squirrels, grouse, red deer, ibex and all sorts of potential prey to fatten on and rear their own litter of new cubs through the summer.

Grey Wolf
Grey Wolf trotting across tundra. (John MacKinnon)

Now it was really dark, and all we saw on the rest of our trip down the mountain was one pipit and a small mouse trapped in the headlights.

I wanted more, and my project had indeed planned a trip of several days into the Liangheyuan Nature Reserve, but just two days after my trip into the Arctic, the army ruled that no foreigners could be permitted into the border areas, be they from the United Nations or even the royal family! And so I had to sadly abort my plans and head prematurely back to Beijing. But my few hours in the hills will remain a happy memory.

LIST OF PLACE NAMES

Map
Map showing position of Altai City in territory administered by the People’s Republic of China. Altai City lies just north of the Eurasian Continental Pole of Inaccessibility, the point in Eurasia farthest from any coastline. Red area signifies Xinjiang. The largest provincial-level entity in the PRC, ‘New Frontier’ is larger than Germany, France, and Spain combined. (Wikipedia/Craig Brelsford)

Altai City (Ālètài Shì [阿勒泰市]): county-level city Altai District

Altai District (Ālètài Dìqū [阿勒泰地区]): sub-prefectural jurisdiction Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang

Altai Town: urban area in Altai City 47.825858, 88.133544

Blaven: mountain on Isle of Skye

Cairngorms, the: mountain range central Scotland

Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture (Yīlí Hāsàkè Zìzhìzhōu [伊犁哈萨克自治州]): sub-provincial autonomous prefecture, Xinjiang

Skye, Isle of: largest island in Inner Hebrides archipelago off W coast of Scotland

Featured image: Pass in Altai Mountains, Altai District, Xinjiang. This is the place of which John MacKinnon wrote, “Eventually we emerged on top of the world, with views way into the distance across the Mongolian border.” On 5 June, the pioneering naturalist and author made a visit to this remote high country, finding amazing riches there despite a stay of only four hours. (John MacKinnon)
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Band-bellied Crake in Heilongjiang!

by Craig Brelsford
Founder, shanghaibirding.com

Found today, 8 June, in Boli, Heilongjiang, China: Incredible Band-bellied Crake. A near threatened species, Band-bellied Crake Porzana paykullii breeds in the Russian Far East, where it apparently is still locally common, and in Northeast China, where it is almost surely declining. It winters south to Indonesia.

This graceful and little-known rail is far and away Elaine’s and my Bird of the Heilongjiang Breeding Season Trip and a life bird for both of us.

Band-bellied Crake
Band-bellied Crake stunned Elaine and me with its beauty. I achieved this image using my Nikon D3S and 600 mm F4 lens. I shot in manual mode with the following specs: F9, 1/1000, ISO 1250. My camera and lens were mounted atop my Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fiber Tripod and MVH502AH video head. Sun, photographer, and bird were nearly perfectly aligned. (Craig Brelsford)

Elaine and I scouted out new birding sites yesterday, and Band-bellied was the payoff today. The crake called spontaneously at 06:00 as Elaine and I were breakfasting near a stream at a site we discovered yesterday. Here is the call I recorded (00:10, 2 MB):

Elaine and I searched up- and downstream for four hours, finding no other crakes. We returned to the breakfast spot at 10:10 and found our crake again. Was he the only one?

Almost totally given over to agriculture, eastern Heilongjiang offers less and less habitat suitable for crakes and dozens of other environmentally sensitive birds. A trip through farming areas such as those we passed through yesterday shows dramatically what has been lost. Miles and miles of the formerly endless northern temperate forest here have been torn down and plowed under, in places down to the very last square inch.

Band-bellied Crake
Band-bellied Crake. (Craig Brelsford)

Elaine happens to be from one of the best areas left for forest birding in this part of Heilongjiang. The place where we found the crake is an area of poor to good habitat just 15 km south of Elaine’s home village. Xidaquan, the large forest reserve with much good to excellent habitat, is just 21 km away.

My wife Elaine Du and I are on a 17-day trip to her hometown of Boli in eastern Heilongjiang. Our trip started 26 May. We birded the area twice last year, and I wrote this report.

EDITOR’S NOTE

This post is part of a series on birding in Manchuria and the Russian Far East. See also:

Northeast China

Boli, Heilongjiang at the Height of Breeding Season
Birding Northern Inner Mongolia and Eastern Heilongjiang
Birding Northeast China in April & May

Russian Far East

Sikhote-Alin: A Place Unparalleled for Experiencing the Birds of East Asia

Featured image: Band-bellied Crake Porzana paykullii, Boli, Heilongjiang, China. (Craig Brelsford)
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Sakhalin & Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, Singing Together

by Craig Brelsford
Founder, shanghaibirding.com

Today, 5 May, I got my first-ever record of Sakhalin Leaf Warbler. The bird was singing on the tiny island at the little central pond (31.224111, 121.414194) at Zhongshan Park, Shanghai. Singing nearby was Pale-legged Leaf Warbler.

I saw a Pale-legged or Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, pulled out my iPhone, and played back a recording of Pale-legged. I got no response. I played Sakhalin for a while, got no response, then stopped. I knew not to walk away, but wait. As Shanghai is outside the breeding range of both species, their urge to sing may not be strong, but it is May and the testosterone is flowing. A response may come after a lag.

Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tenellipes/borealoides
Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tenellipes/borealoides, Yangkou, Jiangsu, May. As is usually the case, because the bird in this photo was not singing, I was unable to identify it beyond the level of Pale-Sak. On 5 May, I had the good luck of finding not one, but both members of the Pale-Sak species pair singing, and thus identifiable to species level. I was able to make the double ID of these poorly known East Asian species in a busy park in the middle of Shanghai. (Craig Brelsford)

I was standing at the edge of the little pond, admiring Narcissus Flycatcher. My brain was barely registering the normal background noise being made by Japanese Tit, Light-vented Bulbul, Chinese Blackbird, Chinese Grosbeak, caged Chinese Hwamei, and old folks practicing qigong. Suddenly from the din came an anomalous sound. I trained my attention to the high-pitched whistle. Sakhalin! My playback had apparently been heard and had attracted a Sakhalin to the tree on the island closest to me on the “mainland.” I glimpsed the bird but saw nothing in its plumage or bare parts to tell it from Pale-legged. In the field, the only reliable element separating the two species is song. Sakhalin makes a three-note whistle, very different from the cricket-like trill of Pale-legged. The three-note whistle is exactly what I was hearing.

After a few minutes, the singing stopped, and then, as if on cue, the trill of Pale-legged surged out from the foliage. I again played back Pale-legged recordings and this time got an immediate and very strong response. Making the “tink” call, a Pale-legged flew to my side of the pond and lingered in trees near me. The tink is apparently similar to that of Sakhalin and therefore not a reliable separator. But soon the tink was followed by another trill, and I knew I was looking at Pale-legged.

What luck! There I was, in the middle of Earth’s largest city, hearing the songs of two East Asian leaf warblers, one of them (Sakhalin) little-known. Does urban birding get any better than this?

Olympus DM-650
My trusty Olympus DM-650 sound recorder, the device I used to record Sakhalin Leaf Warbler and Pale-legged Leaf Warbler. In May, the height of migration season, my sound recorder is like the American Express card: ‘Don’t Leave Home Without It!’ (Craig Brelsford)

I sound-recorded both species. In all the recordings, one can hear the din from a busy inner-city park. In the first of the two song fragments of Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, among the species heard in the background is Ashy Minivet.

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, Song Fragments 1/2 (00:51; 2.8 MB)

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, Song Fragments 2/2 (00:36; 2.2 MB)

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, Trill (00:03; 922 KB)

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, Tink (00:15; 1.4 MB)

Thanks to Jan-Erik Nilsén, Jonathan Martinez, and Jason Loghry for their help in today’s project.

Featured image: Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tenellipes/borealoides, Jiangsu, May. Some authors note subtle differences in plumage and structure, but the features overlap, making non-singing Pale-legged and Sakhalin virtually indistinguishable in the field. The species pair is distinguishable from other leaf warblers by their very pale, pink legs. The species pump the tail steadily and often cling to tree trunks, somewhat like a nuthatch. Pale-legged breeds in the Russian Far East and northeast China; Sakhalin breeds on Sakhalin Island and in Japan. (Craig Brelsford)
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