Yeyahu again

On Saturday I teamed up with Brian Jones and Spike Millington for a day at Yeyahu (Wild Duck Lake).

It was a stunning day – sunny, relatively mild (only about -3 degrees C) and with very little wind. We started at Ma Chang, a flat, almost desert-like area adjacent to the reservoir and walked around 7-8 km across the grassland, the edge of the lake and along the small stands of trees on the eastern side. It was a good raptor day with an immature White-tailed Eagle, 3-4 Upland Buzzards (including one stunningly confiding juvenile), a single adult Rough-legged Buzzard, a japonicus Common Buzzard, 2 Hen Harriers, a single Saker, a Kestrel and monstrous Eagle Owl. The supporting cast included an impressive group of Common Cranes (I counted 360, which was probably conservative, but Brian and Spike estimated over 400), including one Hooded Crane in their midst. Also seen were 12 Japanese Quails, 300-350 Pallas’s Reed Buntings, Yellow-throated Bunting, 15-20 Chinese Penduline Tits, up to 3 Chinese Grey Shrikes, at least 150 Lapland Buntings, many Asian Short-toed Larks, Skylarks and the odd Little Bunting.

Juvenile Upland Buzzard
Juvenile Upland Buzzard. Note the prominent white patches on the upperwing, diagnostic of Upland Buzzard.
Juvenile Upland Buzzard - this bird showed stunningly well for several minutes on the ground and overhead. An awesome experience.
Juvenile Upland Buzzard
Immature White-tailed Eagle, Yeyahu, 18 December 2010
We flushed this Eagle Owl from a grassy dyke at Yeyahu
Brian picked out this Hooded Crane among the 350-400 Common Cranes

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