Birding Shanghai’s Zhongshan Park in the Rain

by Craig Brelsford
Founder, shanghaibirding.com

On the afternoon of 28 Sept. 2016, I saw in the drizzle an opportunity. In urban parks, light rain has little effect on the birds but a big effect on the humans. The parks are nearly empty. Elaine and I made the short walk from our apartment to Shanghai’s Zhongshan Park (31.221888, 121.420066). We had 15 species, 5 of them migrants: Yellow-browed Warbler 1, Arctic-type Warbler 2, Eastern Crowned Warbler 1, Grey-streaked Flycatcher 2, Dark-sided Flycatcher 2. To our Shanghai-area autumn 2016 list we added Black-throated Bushtit and Oriental Magpie-Robin.

The area around the little central pond (31.224447, 121.413963) is the must-see place in the park. Again and again the little central pond has been the place where the most birds are found. This past May, I found singing Sakhalin Leaf Warbler and Pale-legged Leaf Warbler at that spot.

When nearly empty, Zhongshan Park shows its natural side. The park is more than a century old, and some of the trees qualify as old-growth secondary. The many trees absorb the city’s sounds. The decibel level is low; one feels one has left the city. When a drizzle keeps the crowds out, this effect is magnified.

Wooded area near little central pond at Shanghai's Zhongshan Park.
Wooded area near little central pond at Shanghai’s Zhongshan Park. Stand atop the rocky bridge (center) to get a glare-free view into the mid-canopy. (Craig Brelsford)

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Pale-legged Leaf Warbler & the Shanghai Big 5

The illustration above shows Shanghai’s Big 5 Leaf Warblers: Pale-legged Leaf Warbler (1), Arctic Warbler (2), Eastern Crowned Warbler (3), Pallas’s Leaf Warbler (4), and Yellow-browed Warbler (5). In this post, I tell you how to separate Pale-legged and its lookalike Sakhalin Leaf Warbler from the others.

by Craig Brelsford
Founder, shanghaibirding.com

Recently at Cape Nanhui, the birding hotspot in Pudong, my object of observation was Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, one of the Big 5 Leaf Warblers in Shanghai. In both spring and autumn, Phylloscopus tenellipes passes through Earth’s Greatest City in considerable numbers. A lookalike species, Sakhalin Leaf Warbler P. borealoides, also passes through Shanghai.

In this post, I shall outline the difficulty of distinguishing Pale-legged Leaf Warbler from Sakhalin Leaf Warbler on anything but call and song, and I will show you some of the traits of “PaleSak” that set this species pair apart from other leaf warblers.

SONG CAN SAFELY SEPARATE PALE-LEGGED FROM SAKHALIN

Per's PDF
‘Almost identical’: that’s the judgment of leaf-warbler expert Per Alström on Pale-legged Leaf Warbler and Sakhalin Leaf Warbler (regarding their plumage and bare parts). The page shown here is No. 11 of a 40-page PDF on leaf warblers in China by Professor Alström. The PDF is a handy introduction to a difficult group and can be downloaded here (13 MB).

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler is safely separable from Sakhalin Leaf Warbler only by song and call. Every other trait of each can occur in the other. Numerous authorities confirm this. Swedish ornithologist Per Alström calls the two species “almost identical” and “virtually indistinguishable except by song” (Alström 2012). Mark Brazil says field separation of PaleSak is “uncertain,” and he warns readers to “beware light conditions” (2009). Clement writes that Pale-legged and Sakhalin are “very similar” and claims, dubiously, that the latter is distinguishable from the former “mainly by greener upperparts and lack of wingbars” (2006). Clements goes on to describe juvenile Pale-legged as being “more greenish on upperparts,” which begs the question of whether the greenish PaleSak one is observing is an adult Sakhalin or a juvenile Pale-legged. Moreover, a quick look at Oriental Bird Images shows many Sakhalin Leaf Warbler with wing bars.

Thankfully for us birders, the songs of the two species are distinctive and provide the basis for a safe ID. The song of Pale-legged, occasionally heard in Shanghai in May, is a cricket-like trill, that of Sakhalin a high-pitched, three-note whistle.

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, Heilongjiang, China, June (02:00, 6.4 MB; Craig Brelsford)

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, Zhongshan Park, Shanghai, May (00:36; 2.2 MB; Craig Brelsford)

One day in May, I heard Pale-legged and Sakhalin singing together in Zhongshan Park—proof that Sakhalin passes through Shanghai. Usually, however, birders here are forced to perform the less than satisfying task of assigning the individuals they see to the category “Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler.”

Bottom line: In Shanghai, any PaleSak one sees is probably Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, the continental breeder, and not Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, the breeder from the eponymous Russian island plus Hokkaido and Honshu; but to claim certainty about any non-singing individual is the taxonomical version of Russian roulette.

DISTINGUISHING PALESAK FROM OTHER LEAF WARBLERS

The PaleSak species pair is readily distinguishable from other leaf warblers, in particular the other four members of Shanghai’s Big 5: Pallas’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus, Yellow-browed Warbler P. inornatus, Arctic Warbler P. borealis, and Eastern Crowned Warbler P. coronatus.

Here are a few principles:

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler and Sakhalin Leaf Warbler are plain, mid-sized to large leaf warblers without even the hint of a coronal stripe.

Pale-legged/Sakhalin
Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler shows no trace of a crown stripe (Panel 1). Yellow-browed Warbler (2) usually shows a faint stripe. In Eastern Crowned Warbler (3) and Pallas’s Leaf Warbler (4), the stripe is prominent. (Craig Brelsford)

Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler has distinctive pink legs and a short bill with a black smudge on the lower mandible, which is pink at the base and tip.

warblers
Like Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, species in the Arctic Warbler Complex lack a crown stripe and usually show one or two wing bars. One way to distinguish birds from the two groups is by the color of the legs and bill. The legs (Panel 1) of Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler are distinctively pale and pink, in contrast to the brownish-yellow legs of the Arctic-type Warbler in 2. Likewise, the slightly shorter bill of Pale-legged/Sakhalin (3) shows a blackish upper mandible and pinkish lower mandible and cutting edge. The black smudge on the lower mandible does not reach the tip. The bill of Arctic-type Warbler (4) follows a similar pattern, but with brownish-yellow replacing pink. (Craig Brelsford)

Even on a fast-moving PaleSak in poor light, the pink of the bill and especially of the legs is readily seen. The distinctive pale color of these bare parts is a handy tool for distinguishing PaleSak from birds in the Arctic Warbler Complex, which like PaleSak lack a crown stripe and usually show one or two wing bars. (The Arctic Warbler Complex consists of Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis, Kamchatka Leaf Warbler P. examinandus, and Japanese Leaf Warbler P. xanthodryas. In Shanghai, Arctic Warbler is the most common of the three, migrating through Shanghai every spring and autumn.) The pink coloration also distinguishes PaleSak from Dusky Warbler P. fuscatus, an uncommon migrant and winter visitor in Shanghai, and the scarce passage migrant Two-barred Warbler P. plumbeitarsus.

Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler constantly pumps its tail.

tail
The tail of Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler pumps independently of other muscular actions. In panels 1-2, note that the tail pumps even as the warbler devours an insect. Panels 3-4 show the warbler motionless except for the up-and-down movement of the tail. Photos here and immediately below are of a single individual and were taken in September at Microforest 4 (30.953225, 121.959083), Cape Nanhui, Shanghai. (Craig Brelsford)

The tail-pumping of Pale-legged/Sakhalin is one of the most distinctive behavioral traits of the species pair. The steady movement usually occurs independently of other muscular actions and is slow enough for the eye to see. The tail-flicking of Arctic Warbler, by contrast, is more spasmodic and is often accompanied by wing-flicking.

Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler is often found on the lower, thicker branches of trees.

Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler
Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler on thick branch. More so than other leaf warblers, PaleSak is likely to be seen on leafless, thick branches low on the tree. (Craig Brelsford)

With its ability to forage along thick branches and not just glean from the underside of leaves, Pale-legged/Sakhalin can remind one of a nuthatch. Other species such as Arctic Warbler use the lower branches, but sustained observation shows PaleSak more often in those areas. Note: In May and June 2016, I studied Pale-legged Leaf Warbler on its breeding grounds in Heilongjiang. There, amid trees older and taller than one usually sees in Shanghai, I most often noted the species far above my head, in the mid-canopy.

A NOTE ON CALLS

Except for the mainly silent migrant Eastern Crowned Warbler, Shanghai’s Big 5 Leaf Warblers all call in both spring and autumn. The calls are distinctive. The metallic “tink” of PaleSak contrasts markedly with the “tzit” of Arctic Warbler, the “dweet” of Pallas’s Leaf Warbler, and the “sweet” of Yellow-browed Warbler.

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, Cape Nanhui, Shanghai, May (00:15; 1.4 MB)

Arctic Warbler, Jiangsu, May (00:09; 1.9 MB)

Pallas’s Leaf Warbler, Jiangsu, May (00:05; 1.6 MB)

Yellow-browed Warbler, Lesser Yangshan Island, Zhejiang, April (00:07; 1.7 MB)

UPDATE

Editor’s note: This post caught the attention of Philip D. Round, a professor at Mahidol University in Bangkok and an expert on leaf warblers. In an e-mail to me, Round writes that as discoveries are made and papers published, separating Pale-legged Leaf Warbler from Sakhalin Leaf Warbler on call may become more widespread. Separation on morphology, by contrast, will be much more difficult, though it may eventually turn out to be possible in the hand.

The following paragraphs are from Round’s e-mail to me:

“I enclose a paper that details the first records of both Kamchatka Leaf Warbler and Sakhalin Leaf Warbler from Thailand. [Editor’s note: the paper, “Addition of Kamchatka Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus examinandus and Sakhalin Leaf Warbler P. borealoides to Thailand’s Avifauna,” is available for download through shanghaibirding.com (708 KB).] This has been rather overtaken by events, as we have now caught into the hundreds of Sakhalin LW, mostly on spring passage, and quite a few more Kamchatka. I have an undergraduate student who has carried out DNA assay on about ten percent of all the Pale-legged and Sakhalin LW caught. For many of these we have also recorded call notes on release. When she comes back from overseas study in January 2017 I hope we’ll get a paper out which publishes details of call-note frequency and DNA results for this large sample, which should show the correlation between species and call-note frequency clearly. (Actually this is moderately and anecdotally well-known already. I think either Frank Lambert or Jonathan Martinez was the first to draw my attention to the difference, and it is mentioned by Yap et al. in BirdingASIA with reference to an overwintering Singapore bird.) [Note: Round is referring to Yap, Francis et al., “First wintering record of the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides in South-East Asia, with notes on vocalisations,” BirdingASIA 21 (2014): 76–81.]

“I am a bit less sanguine on finding means (other than by call frequency or song) to separate all birds. Even in the hand, it is by no means clear. We can pick out long-winged male Sakhalin, and short-winged female Pale-legged. But there is more overlap than previously realized, and most are in between. There don’t appear to be any 100% consistent wing-formula differences, and plumage and bare-part features, while somewhat indicative, are again less than 100% reliable—especially under field conditions. But probably we are missing something. The next thing to do is to apply PCA or some other multivariate analysis to figure out reliable means of separation of birds in the hand from our large sample, and also to use the information we have to figure out differences in the timing of passage of the two spp.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Alström, P. (2012). Identification of Phylloscopus & Seicercus Warblers in China. Notes from presentation given to Beijing Birdwatching Society in November 2012. PDF downloadable here (13 MB). Click here for a 5 MB zip archive containing all 40 pages of the report in JPEG form. Those pages can be synced to your smartphone like photographs and consulted in the field. (Accessed: 26 Feb 2020)

Brazil, M. (2009). Birds of East Asia. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Clement, P. (2006). Family Sylviidae (Old World Warblers). Pp. 663-4 (Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, Sakhalin Leaf Warbler) in del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Christie, D.A. eds. (2006). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 11. Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Featured image: Shanghai’s Big 5 leaf warblers. (Craig Brelsford)
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69 Species at Cape Nanhui

by Craig Brelsford
Founder, shanghaibirding.com

Stimulating discussions about leaf warblers enlivened the lulls on Sat. 24 Sept. 2016, a day in which my wife Elaine Du and I once again partnered with veteran British birder Michael Grunwell. We noted 69 species, starting at the sod farm south of Pudong airport then spending the rest of the day at Cape Nanhui. Highlights:

Ruff

Ruff, by Elaine Du.
Note the scaly upperparts and buffy head of this juvenile Ruff, as well as the white sides to its tail. Elaine got these shots with my iPhone 6 plus Swarovski ATX-95 spotting scope mounted atop our Manfrotto head and Gitzo tripod. (Elaine Du)

Juvenile spotted on mudflats at high tide. A far-northern, trans-Eurasian breeder, Philomachus pugnax is a scarce passage migrant in Shanghai. Amid the greenshanks and godwits, the Ruff stood out with its buff-washed head and scaly upperparts. Juvenile Ruff resembles Buff-breasted Sandpiper, a much smaller American bird that we quickly ruled out.

Eurasian Hobby

Peregrine Falcon, Nanhui, 24 Sept. 2016.
Eurasian Hobby, Nanhui, 24 Sept. (Craig Brelsford)

1 juv. Earlier mis’ID as Peregrine Falcon; corrected 3 Oct. 2016.

White-winged Tern

A week ago ca. 2500, on Saturday only 10. Coastal birding is a parade of change, especially in migration season.

Other goodies: Eurasian Wryneck 2, Japanese Paradise Flycatcher 6, Amur Paradise Flycatcher 1, Richard’s Pipit 5, White’s Thrush 5 first-of-season, Rufous-tailed Robin 1 first-of-season. We introduced Benjamin to Reed Parrotbill calling unseen from the reeds below, we had a strong count of 16 Blue-and-white Flycatcher, and we noted two endangered species: Far Eastern Curlew and Yellow-breasted Bunting.

Microforest 4
Microforest 4 (30.953225, 121.959083), Sat. 24 Sept. 2016. This is the largest of the eight microforests at Cape Nanhui and an astonishingly effective migrant trap. With woodland birds migrating through and trees all around, one almost begins to forget that this speck of woodland is just a stone’s throw from the mudflats and the East China Sea. (Craig Brelsford)

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Your Handy-Dandy Nordmann’s Greenshank ID Primer!

by Craig Brelsford
Founder, shanghaibirding.com

Distinguishing non-breeding Nordmann’s Greenshank from Common Greenshank is a tricky task, but one that reaps rewards. With practice you too can feel the rush that comes when you realize that the greenshank you are viewing is not one of the most common shorebirds in Eurasia, but one of the rarest. At Cape Nanhui in Pudong, our team experienced that thrill, picking out a Nordmann’s in a roost holding a few hundred shorebirds.

We noted the following:

Tibiae of Nordmann’s Greenshank are noticeably shorter than those of Common Greenshank.

Nordmann's Greenshank
Nordmann’s Greenshank (L) has an appreciably higher ‘knee’ than the longer- and thinner-legged Common Greenshank (R). (Craig Brelsford)

The picture above makes it clear. The biggest reason Nordmann’s is known as the stockier bird, the rugby player compared to the ballerina that is Common Greenshank, is tibia and leg length.

Nordmann’s has a thicker neck that it often holds closer to its body and has a pronounced ventral angle (protruding belly), giving Nordmann’s a more hunched appearance than Common.

Nordmann's and Common
The larger head and thicker neck of Nordmann’s (top) give it a more hunched appearance than the more graceful Common (bottom). (Craig Brelsford)

As with many of the characters of these species, the hunched stance of Nordmann’s is not always obvious, especially when the bird is active. Likewise, even a Common sometimes can appear stout. But as one’s observation time grows, the classic features of both species will emerge.

Nordmann’s has a thicker, more obviously bi-colored bill than Common.

Nordmann's and Common
As is the case with the legs, the bill of Nordmann’s (top) is thicker than the bill of Common (bottom). The more obviously bi-colored bill of Nordmann’s is yellow at the base. (Craig Brelsford)

Because the Nordmann’s at our Nanhui roost did not fly, we missed the following key characteristics:

The toes of Nordmann’s project just beyond the tail-tip; the toes of Common project farther.

Nordmann's
With its shorter legs, Nordmann’s (top) shows just a bit of toe projection. The longer-legged Common (bottom) shows more. (Craig Brelsford)

This difference can be subtle, and a good camera is sometimes needed to appreciate it. But it is consistent.

Nordmann’s has a cleaner tail and underwing than Common.

Nordmann's and Common
The tail and underwing of Nordmann’s are clean white (panels 1, 2). The tail and underwing of Common are browner (3, 4). (Craig Brelsford)

Even if your Nordmann’s is roosting, you can sometimes note the white underwing. Wait for the bird to stretch out its wing.

Other differences:

Nordmann's Greenshank
Nordmann’s Greenshank stands among waders at a dry roost at Cape Nanhui, September. We found the birds at 30.920549, 121.963247. Note the high ‘knee,’ obviously bi-colored bill, and hunched, ‘no-neck’ stance. (Komatsu Yasuhiko/Craig Brelsford)

The calls of Nordmann’s Greenshank and Common Greenshank are markedly different. The well-known “chew-chew-chew” call of Common is never made by Nordmann’s.

In breeding plumage the species are more readily distinguishable. Nordmann’s Greenshank is also known as Spotted Greenshank for good reason. The heavily spotted underparts of breeding Nordmann’s are diagnostic. Unfortunately for birders in Shanghai, however, Nordmann’s in full breeding plumage is rarely seen.

Nordmann’s Greenshank Tringa guttifer is an endangered species. Only 500 to 1,000 of these birds are thought to remain. Development along the East Asian coast is the main reason for its decline. Nordmann’s breeds in Russia, passes through China, and winters in Southeast Asia. It is present in the Shanghai area for several months each year.

Featured image: Nordmann’s Greenshank stands among wader roost at Cape Nanhui, Shanghai. Using the principles described in this post, our team was able to ID this Nordmann’s. (Komatsu Yasuhiko/Craig Brelsford)
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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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