Bird News from Subhojit Chakladar
A quick weekend trip just ahead of a storm system moving in from China. With rain predicted on Sunday, I tried to make most of the good weather on Saturday. After arrival on the island at about 11am, I went straight to the patch of forest behind the minbak. Birds encountered there and in the adjacent vegetable gardens were as follows – Black Drongo (3), Brown Shrike (3), Tiger Shrike (1), Yellow-browed Warbler (10+), Large-billed Crows (~10), Dusky Warbler (3 seen and many more calling), Great Tit (6), Black-naped Oriole (2), Chestnut Bunting (1), Yellow-browed Bunting (2). After this I walked along a newly constructed road behind the school towards the harbor. New birds seen on this stretch were – Eastern Cattle Egret (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Mugimaki Flycatcher (1). A lot of construction is going on at North Point. Part of what used to be the “trench” atop the ridge has been flattened. I found a Bluethoat here, along with a Rufous-tailed Robin, a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, one of the resident Peregine, a Northern Hobby and a few Arctic Warblers. Following the trail skirting the north coast, I reached the fish-farm area. New birds on this stretch was a Korean Bush Warbler and a Chinese Sparrowhawk. Moving towards the fish-farm area, a Narcissus Flycatcher, a flock of Eyebrowed Thrush (7), Chinese Pond Heron (3), Radde’s Warbler (1) and a few Black-faced Bunting. There were about 4 Light-vented Bulbul, Dollarbird (1), Eastern-crowned Warbler (4) and singing Japanese Bush Warbler in the area. The highlight of the trip came in form a distant immature Asian Koel. It perched quietly and got me confused at first. Through the binoculars, it almost looked like a mythical beast (the streaking … particularly head and those red eyes!)
With rain predicted from 9am on Sunday, I used the darkness of the pre-dawn hours to walk to the lighthouse. On the road, a Grey Nightjar was very well with the flashlight. At the lighthouse, it was very windy and rather cold with almost no birds. The only new birds seen were Chinese Grosbeak (3) and Olive-backed Pipit (4) in flight. By 6am it was drizzling on and off. I also checked out the fish-farm area and the dried stream at the 2nd village. The rain and the wind probably kept birds under cover. By about 11am, the drizzle had turned into heavy rain, as I abandoned any further efforts at birding and walked back to the minbak for something warm to eat.