Thursday, September 29, 2022
HomeBirdsBirding Shanghai in July 2022 – 10,000 Birds

Birding Shanghai in July 2022 – 10,000 Birds


After returning as soon as extra from Nanhui and nearly admiring the extent of ongoing destruction there, what higher tune to begin this weblog publish than with excerpts from the tune “Surrender” by The Burning Hell? Sadly, I couldn’t discover a working hyperlink to a studio model of the tune (solely to some dwell variations which I’m afraid to say don’t fairly do it for me), so as a substitute, I’ll quote a bit extra from the lyrics than I often do, hoping that the band won’t thoughts:

“So although I do know in our tradition it mainly boils all the way down to blasphemy
I’ve had it with the facility of constructive pondering and the tyranny of tenacity
I can’t dwell with this stick-to-it-iveness depending on limitless achievement
I’d reasonably chill out and casually chant a mantra I actually imagine in:

I hand over all the time
I hand over and I’m doing advantageous
As a result of I’ve bought to be going when the going will get powerful”

Realizing that Nanhui is getting worse and worse for birds, Crested Goshawks are efficiently breeding in a few of Shanghai’s metropolis parks – not giving up, because it have been (I assume they have no idea about The Burning Hell). Shanghai parks are reasonably crowded and noisy locations, however the goshawks – who not like me have lived in China all their lives – apparently don’t thoughts.

Truly, as I simply came upon, this isn’t actually new data. A paper titled “Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus might adapt properly to life in city areas throughout its vary in Asia” already made the identical commentary in 2018.

One other paper on Taiwanese birds discovered that “the city Crested Goshawk bred 34 days earlier on common than the agricultural inhabitants with considerably greater nesting success”, concluding that “the city Crested Goshawk inhabitants advantages from excessive meals provide and low predation danger.” Certainly, the primary well being danger in these Chinese language parks most likely comes from badly performed saxophones.

The juvenile appears to put on some sort of hooped socks – the kind that appears cute-ish on little women however reasonably embarrassing on older girls. Fortuitously, the juvenile goshawk is certainly younger sufficient to drag it off.

When not watched by individuals pondering of the chick as cute, it eats birds although. One thing a correct cartoon character most likely wouldn’t do.

Beneath are reasonably a number of too many images of Pheasant-tailed Jacana. I often fake I don’t like bird-in-flight images that a lot, however most likely that’s largely as a result of I’m not excellent at taking them. As soon as I’m reasonably profitable, I typically discover such images fairly pleasing.

I’ve written in regards to the fascinating intercourse life of those jacanas a number of instances already (brief model: feminine mates with male, lays a bunch of eggs for him to incubate and lift the chicks, leaves him, finds one other male, repeat). On this brief model, the male comes over because the extra likable of the 2 (at the very least to me, possibly as a result of I’m male myself and don’t like youngsters). Nevertheless, there’s a darker facet to the males as properly. Apparently, after a male first mates with a feminine, he throws out the primary one or two eggs she lays of their nest. The probably rationalization is that she should still carry sperm from a earlier mating with one other male, and he needs to keep away from elevating chicks he has not fathered (supply).
Apparently for me, the analysis paper calls throwing out the eggs infanticide, which makes me really feel a bit queasy as this may probably be on the mistaken facet of the Roe vs. Wade (or “Proper vs. Fallacious”, as The Onion calls it) debate. Hm.

On a lighter word, I bear in mind Tina Fey (of SNL and 30 Rock fame) saying someplace in her autobiography that each individual ought to have the correct to not expose their bare ft in public (or one thing like that, I’m too lazy now to seek out the precise quote). The purpose is that I’m certain this jacana would agree. Its ft certainly look hideous, every time it doesn’t handle to cover them with its tail.

The Little Grebe is in fact a quite common fowl that may nonetheless shock by its magnificence in its breeding plumage. If this assertion sounds a bit pretentious, then that’s as a result of it’s a bit pretentious.

The Frequent Moorhen within the under picture appears to be like like a proud German housewife to me. Coming from anyone who has exiled himself to China, this isn’t precisely a praise.

Perhaps feminine readers could be delighted to learn an excerpt of a examine on this species describing the courtship habits and mating preferences:

“Females provoke courtship extra continuously than males and compete with one another to pair with small males with giant fats reserves”. One way or the other I image a pub with numerous engaging girls flocking round brief middle-aged males with beer bellies, desperately in search of their consideration.

The White Wagtail will get (a part of) its identify from its behavior of wagging its tail. An older paper tries to make clear the perform of this tail-wagging – flushing bugs, displaying submission, or signaling a person’s state of alertness to predators? It appears the creator favors the final rationalization however doesn’t sound absolutely satisfied himself (“it might be an trustworthy sign of vigilance throughout each feeding and preening”). It could additionally simply point out that the fowl needs to pee however thinks it’s not fairly the correct place and time to take action (my speculation, not disproven but).

(That is pretty much as good a second as any to cite Hitchens’s Razor: “What might be asserted with out proof may also be dismissed with out proof.” Or my very own dumbed-down model, much less elegantly phrased: “If you don’t present first rate proof for an announcement, I cannot even hassle to argue with you”. In fact, if correctly noticed, Hitchens’s Razor would imply the instant finish of Donald Trump’s profession as a politician, although he may nonetheless be capable to earn some cash as a recreation present host).

eBird describes the Gray-capped Greenfinch as “a shiny gregarious finch”, so I’m glad I’m not one among them, preferring to spend most of my time alone.

Belief me: You wouldn’t look any much less ridiculous than this Oriental Magpie-Robin should you have been molting.

With an apparent trace of disapproval, the HBW remarks that for this species, the “nest [is] a small or cumbersome however at all times untidy pad”. I believe the creator of those traces lives with teenage youngsters and makes use of the outline of the magpie-robin to vent some frustration with them.

Firms promoting washing powder may think about using the White-rumped Munia as a pleasant instance for textiles washed with a aggressive product: “You name this white?”

I’ve a scientific background myself, and I assume some experiments on animals might typically be justifiable, however others simply depart me disgusted, corresponding to this one. Whereas I can’t declare to totally perceive the subject, “The Impression of Deafness to the Survival of the New child Cells within the Mind of Juvenile White-rumped Munia, Lonchura striata“, the authors first deafened some White-rumped Munias through surgical procedure after which killed them a number of weeks later. And I believe it’s secure to say that the outcomes of their work didn’t lead to discovering a treatment for most cancers – although it might have offered them with some grant cash. However it’s all for science, I hear them say.

Swinhoe’s White-eye was simply promoted to the rank of a full species in 2018. I nonetheless assume such a sentence is sort of unusual on condition that nothing modified for the fowl in any respect. However possibly, simply possibly, the members of this species are quietly very pleased in regards to the promotion, even whereas not displaying any apparent outward indicators of exuberant celebration.

Fengxian is a coastal a part of Shanghai that makes me surprise in regards to the high quality of my education. Increasingly components of it are fenced off and closed to the general public – on condition that China is a socialist nation, the definition of socialism I realized in school certainly will need to have been mistaken.

Anyway, the few open components nonetheless have some good birds – to start with, a number of Better Painted-snipes. All three I’ve seen are males, which on this species are the subordinate intercourse. Followers of jacanas will most likely additionally like Better Painted-snipes, as chick care is a male job on this species.

(I wager that if male Better Painted-snipes have a get-together, they bitch loads about how insensitive the females are, how they depart all of the chick-rearing work to them, how they by no means hear, and the way they appear to assume largely with their intercourse organs).

I can’t resolve which images to point out of them, so I’m displaying too many.

There was additionally an immature feminine, most likely already fascinated about how subsequent 12 months she is going to be capable to boss all of the males round. That is the sort of perspective that will flip the males into future Trump voters.

Juvenile Black-crowned Evening Herons to me nonetheless look very very like the dinosaurs they’re.

Later, they progressively …

… adapt the grownup plumage.

Black-naped Orioles are breeding in Fengxian. Here’s a presumed pair.

Apparently, Black-naped Orioles on migration additionally use inexperienced roofs in Bangkok (supply) – presumably as a result of they won’t be mobbed by Collared Kingfishers there (supply).

One way or the other I didn’t assume Cattle Egrets would eat dragonflies (shouldn’t they eat beef, at the very least judging from their identify?) however they do.

The HBW claims that giant portions of eggs and birds of Chinese language Pond Herons are taken for meals in components of China for meals. No surprise the heron often nests excessive up on bushes, for instance, 17 m up on common at Ichang in Jap China (HBW).

I’m not certain I would love being referred to as giant and reasonably closely constructed however Birdlife Australia appears much less involved in regards to the emotions of Frequent Greenshanks, describing the species as “a big, reasonably closely constructed wader“. With this type of perspective in the direction of them, it’s not shocking Frequent Greenshanks don’t breed in Australia however migrate north to the Palaearctic area for that. In any other case, the Australians would most likely body-shame the greenshank chicks as properly.

When nesting, Scaly-breasted Munias appear to worth security over quietness. A examine on Hainan birds of the species titled “Breeding in a loud world” discovered that 98.3% nested in bushes alongside the arterial street, which had a comparatively excessive site visitors quantity. The authors state that “The nesting of scaly-breasted munias in bushes lining an arterial street could also be an anti-predation technique, wherein bushes with denser protection and fewer fruit in high-traffic areas are preferentially used for nesting.”

I have no idea how individuals wrote weblog posts within the days earlier than the web. I used to be simply questioning how the Wooden Sandpiper bought its identify, and eventually discovered the reply on-line: “The identify of this fowl comes from its behavior of utilizing nests of different species situated in bushes and shrubs to breed. Usually sandpipers place their nests on the bottom. This specific species does simply the alternative.” Very simple so as to add to this publish.

Nicely, I assume within the days earlier than the web, individuals merely didn’t write weblog posts. One puzzle solved.

Lesser Coucals nonetheless complain about being related to the sins of the cuckoo household – “How would you wish to be seen as an confederate of Harvey Weinstein or Jeffrey Epstein”? I can see their level.

This one does want a set of latest feathers – however in fact not a prolonged jail time period.

Black-winged Stilts typically appear to have issues coping with their lengthy legs, e.g., when searching for meals under …

… or when incubating. Foldability helps, although.

Specifically, I believe they should take costly Yoga classes with a purpose to sit down on their eggs with out damaging them. See the sequence under.

From one other perspective, it appears to be like like this:

One other trouble for them is when different birds get too near the eggs. Whereas I used to be watching, the stilt chased away two Little Egrets. Then, two poor Better Painted-snipe got here shut, most likely which means no hurt. However the stilt chided them anyway.

Which in flip frightened the snipes, they usually reacted in their very own method.

That’s the method some wars begin, I assume.

After watching the stilt and the snipes from behind some reeds for 4 hours with out transferring, my legs truly felt worse than that of the stilt. Or possibly it’s as a result of I don’t do yoga.

On the plus facet, hiding for therefore lengthy, you will get shut views even of birds that in Shanghai are often very shy, like these Easter Spot-billed Geese.

Even Amur Paradise Flycatchers are breeding right here – nonetheless, the male doesn’t look significantly spectacular regardless of nonetheless having lengthy tail feathers. However then, no one who’s molting does.

The male needs to apologize for not being very cooperative in having his picture taken.

Fengxian has a number of different birds presumably breeding right here – Black Drongo

… and Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike.

And a Lengthy-toed Stint demonstrates that the identify of the species is well-chosen.

The Latin identify for the Lengthy-toed Stint is Calidris subminuta – the “sub” (“close to to”) is to tell apart the fowl from the Little Stint, Calidris minuta. Extremely inventive this isn’t.

I begin having fun with the identification problem posed by juvenile birds, corresponding to this juvenile Brown Shrike (if that’s certainly what it’s). If this continues, I would turn out to be a kind of obnoxious birders liking leaf warblers. A minimum of in my job as a guide, I solely fake to get pleasure from challenges – I do not likely do although. Straightforward, unchallenging consulting tasks are a lot most popular.

Fengxian additionally has some Gray-headed Lapwings – each adults …

… and juveniles, suggesting that they breed right here as properly.

In the meantime at Nanhui, Pied Kingfishers are discussing the Ukraine conflict, corruption in politics, and rising fish costs.

As on this picture, each are speaking, this can’t be used to intercourse the 2 birds – however the double breast band of the fowl on the correct identifies it because the male of the pair.

The feminine truly thinks that the male is kind of impolite speaking concurrently her. He, whereas understanding that this isn’t a really intelligent level to make with regard to the peace and concord of their relationship, doesn’t hesitate to wisecrack that the species’ Latin identify is rudis, or “impolite, wild”. Some males won’t ever be taught.

Totally different from the kingfishers, the Sand Martins of Nanhui usually tend to obtain complaints from different species corresponding to Barn Swallows.

Perhaps it’s as a result of they often appear to fake to be vampires?

After I noticed them, a number of of them have been simply taking pictures the opening scenes of a Sand Martin motion film.

The skilled director was watching, seemingly reasonably relaxed.

The Barn Swallows – trying a bit down on the Sand Martins, I believe – have been paying little consideration.

However trying reasonably good whereas doing that.

One appeared a bit involved in regards to the rickety development it was sitting on.

Folks like me – and there are most likely not too many like me – have two issues to sit up for for this September. One is the upcoming migration season – possibly the final one the place there’ll nonetheless be birds at Nanhui. The opposite is the discharge of a brand new Titus Andronicus document. Aptly (given the state of affairs at Nanhui) it’s titled “(I’m) Screwed”.



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