Bird news from Subhojit Chakladar (with Dr Nial Moores)
With a storm front expected to pass over the northern part of Yellow Sea on 25th evening, I decided to check out what the weather system might bring in on the island. I mostly birded from dawn until mid-morning and then later in the afternoon while NM spent much more time in the field. The weather was generally foggy on 26th and 28th morning and bright and clear on 27th. The winds were generally from the south or south-east on the days of fog and westerlies on 27th.
Pre-dawn, the call of a Lesser Cuckoo was the first bird of the day. Starting just after dawn with moderate fog, we visited the south-western corner of the island. A circuit around the reservoir revealed a decent mix of warblers with Arctic Warbler being the majority with a supporting cast of late spring species like Two-barred Warbler and a rather late Eastern-crowned Warbler. There were quite a few Chinese Grosbeak and they seemed quite vocal. We also heard a Lanceolated Warbler and 2 Baikal Bush Warbler – 2 members of the locustella family that are more easily heard than seen. With the fog lifting, we drove up the western side of the island. The highlights for the mid morning session was a male Black-winged Cuckooshrike, that gave prolonged views.
While NM continued to bird throughout the day, I had to get some work done and resumed birding later in the afternoon in the northern side of the island. There were a lot of hirundines in the sky with good numbers of Barn Swallow and Red-rumped Swallow but the highlight was a group of 4 Siberian House Martin (identified from the large white rump and white undertail coverts). A flyby Whiskered Tern was also a pleasant surprise. A couple of Black Drongo were also newly in for the day.
A Lesser Cuckoo pre-dawn was once again the 1st bird of the day. A quick pre-dawn walk around the rice paddies in the north of the island revealed a Von Schrenk’s Bittern (SC only), a pair of Red-billed Starling and a White-shouldered Starling (NM only). We once again checked out the reservoir area in the south west of the island. More birds were in evidence including another Black-winged Cuckooshrike and no less that 7~8 Baikal Bush Warbler (including one seen singing and photographed).
Later in the morning while surveying the western part of the island, more warblers were in evidence including good numbers of Arctic Warbler and Kamchatka Leaf Warbler, a few Pale-legged Warbler, Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler (including one seen) and at least 4 Radde’s Warbler (one foraging in the mid-storey that got my scratching my head since these birds normally stay low on the ground).
Later in the afternoon, a lot of Dark-sided Flycatcher, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Common Cuckoo, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Oriental Greenfinch and Black-naped Oriole were seen in the fields in the northern part of the island.
With dense fog covering the island, we slowly ventured towards the south western corner. Trying out our usual circuit of the reservoir, there was a feeling of much reduced count and diversity of birds. Species of note included a party of Long-tailed Tit with many young birds, mixed in a flock of Arctic Warbler, Pallas’s Leaf Warbler and Two-barred Warbler. A few Eyebrowed Thrush were also heard nearby. Later in the day, a female Amur Falcon and several cuckoos were encountered in a small valley in the center of the island.
The eBird checklist for the morning.