In Salinger’s “Catcher within the Rye”, there’s a point out of a fictional story titled “The Secret Goldfish”. Principally, it’s a couple of boy who doesn’t let anyone take a look at his goldfish as a result of he purchased it together with his personal cash. Generally I really feel a bit like this about winter birding on Shanghai’s Tianmashan hill. In my case, my secret is paid for with somewhat little bit of birdseed (purchased with my very own cash).
Shanghaibirding describes the Brown-headed Thrush as “a scarce passage migrant by way of northern and central coastal China, together with Shanghai” – provided that I solely noticed it as soon as on Tianmashan, that’s most likely appropriate, although the date (January 09) appears moderately late for a migrant.
Sadly, when on the lookout for “Brown-headed Thrush Analysis” on Google, a minimum of the primary ten entries all seek advice from the Brown-headed Cowbird (which I used to be not likely on the lookout for) – illustration of the moderately uneven protection of various hen species relying on their proximity to nations offering grants for ornithological analysis.
Three Chestnut Bulbuls appear to winter on Tianmashan this 12 months – considerably stunning provided that the HBW calls the species a year-round resident in an space a minimum of a number of hundred kilometers south of Shanghai. Me, I might not thoughts such a variety extension as this bulbul is kind of enticing.
The decision of this bulbul appears fairly much like that of the Collared Finchbill to me, although provided that I grew up listening to various and unbiased music moderately than to hen track, this isn’t a really significant remark.
The Rufous-tailed Robin seen at Tianmashan is one other species that one wouldn’t essentially count on right here in January. Whereas it’s a pretty widespread autumn migrant in Shanghai, eBird signifies that the migration needs to be accomplished by the tip of November.
In fact, given the generally complicated covid journey restrictions in China, it’s attainable that the hen in query merely didn’t dare to journey any additional south for worry of ending up in quarantine someplace.
A serious attraction of Tianmashan – a minimum of for me – is the by now pretty common winter presence of Widespread Rosefinch.
Just a few of the rosefinches present male plumage – not stunning as first-year birds by no means do. As well as, lots of the males appear to be yearlings moderately than older males – the ratio between these can really be utilized to estimate the life expectancy and survival charges, as described here. Survival charges are fairly low at round 44%.
Whereas Chinese language prefer to sing in Karaoke bars, male Widespread Rosefinches produce other preferences. In response to one study, they most popular bushes, rivers, and reed beds, however prevented open agricultural panorama and anthropogenic areas (which presumably contains karaoke bars).
The Speckled Piculet has the species title of innominatus, or “not named” – do I spot a contradiction right here?
Anyway, it’s a very cute little woodpecker that eBird calls “distinctive, tiny”.
Its drum sound may be surprisingly loud for a hen this dimension.
The hen in these pictures needs to be a feminine provided that it lacks the rufous brow of the male.
Totally different from most locations in Shanghai, Tianmashan has fairly a little bit of bamboo – apparently, the piculet is usually related to this plant and might also construct its gap in bamboo.
If I ever get round to getting ready the final word photographic “Information to the lovable hen species of China”, it won’t solely cowl the piculet but additionally actually have a number of pages on the Black-throated Bushtit …
… in addition to the Silver-throated Bushtit.
Each bushtit species often are supported by helpers when breeding (source). Totally different from the Black-throated Bushtit males, the Silver-throated males appear to be jerks as they don’t take part in incubation. What do the males do whereas their companions are incubating? One potential clue comes from the truth that extra-pair paternity is way increased within the Silver-throated Bushtit than within the Black-throated one (although to be honest, this presumably additionally requires cooperation from the females of the species).
Kudos to eBird for describing the hen as an “energetic little hen with a tennis ball physique and an extended tail”.
One other particular entry into this information would be the Rufous-faced Warbler. To cite Paris Hilton: “The one rule is don’t be boring and costume cute wherever you go. Life is simply too brief to mix in.” One thing that this warbler takes to coronary heart. (The truth is, it’s a lot cuter than Paris Hilton).
This 12 months, Tianmashan additionally has some Yellow-browed Buntings wintering a tiny bit north of the wintering vary indicated by the HBW.
The HBW recommends not utilizing Yellow-browed Buntings as inside designers, stating that their nests are “messy-looking, with dry straw generally protruding of sides of fundamental part of cup”. However, most likely extra fascinating than simply getting IKEA furnishings.
In distinction, Tristram’s Bunting appears to be a bit extra discerning in constructing its nest – the HBW factors out that it usually makes use of horsehair for lining the nest, and that an necessary issue for its nest-site choice is the presence of herbs.
In case you are bored with watching motion motion pictures, check out one minute of non-action by a feminine Crimson-flanked Bluetail.
As I ceaselessly point out, science is kind of fantastic. For instance, this paper factors out that migrating Bramblings favor to feed in a habitat by which they’re much less prone to get killed.
If seeing the photograph under of a Japanese Tit you count on one other sleazy joke from me, you’ll be disenchanted this time. You pervert.
After not a single reader made any optimistic feedback on my video of a White’s Thrush ingesting, in fact, my response is to simply publish a hyperlink to another such video.
In case you see a resident Eurasian Siskin that’s fairly fats, it most likely signifies that there are not any predators round. A paper illustrating the tradeoff between ravenous and being killed in contrast the burden of resident siskins with or with no sparrowhawk close by. Provided that the sparrowhawk is absent the siskins can afford to get fats.
Opposite to my standard behavior, I cannot attempt to switch this discovering into the human world as I’m too afraid of being accused of fat-shaming.
The Eyebrowed Thrush has the Latin title obscurus, that means “darkish, dusty”. Whereas the HBW lists the species as “Least concern”, BirdingAsia has a paper with the worrying title “Ongoing slaughter of Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus in Sumatra: one other species heading for oblivion?”
eBird is impressed by the species: “A protracted, barely curving white eyebrow provides this species a sublime, subtle look”. It even looks kind of elegant when ingesting.
Given its shade and look, the Pale Thrush may simply have the identical Latin title. As a substitute, it’s pallidus, “pale”. The HBW states that it is not uncommon in Shanghai in winter, and certainly my impression is that it’s by far the most typical thrush at Tianmashan.
If the Gray-backed Thrush was a bit extra eager about fame and fortune, it will instantly fireplace its advertising division and rebrand itself. How about “Hearth-flanked Thrush”?
“I do know what you’re considering” just isn’t solely a quote from a most likely these days moderately uncool US TV sequence (Magnum P.I.) but additionally my private assertion relating to your response to seeing one more photograph of White’s Thrush. “AGAIN?” Sure, certainly. It nonetheless is a cool hen wanting a bit like a reptile.
And as standard, the publish ends not with a bang however with a whimper – or moderately, some extra pictures of species that I don’t actually have something fascinating to say about in the mean time, such because the
Gray-capped Greenfinch …
Pallas’ Leaf Warbler …
Swinhoe’s White-eye …
Vinous-throated Parrotbill …
… and the White-rumped Munia.