Wet Wet Wet

Apologies to those of you expecting a post about the 80s pop sensation led by Marti Pello (whatever happened to him?).

Anyway, yesterday afternoon, in the midst of some of the worst smog, I mean mist (you don’t get smog in Beijing, cough) since I have been in Beijing, I decided to spend a couple of hours at the Olympic Forest Park…  it was a decision I regretted almost as soon as I arrived on site..  Within about 15 minutes, and just as I had reached the more open area of the park, the skies darkened and the rumble of thunder began to reverberate all around.. The brief highlight, as I rounded the first lake, was this Kingfisher atop a pink lotus flower as it scanned for vulnerable fish below…

Common Kingfisher, Olympic Forest Park, Beijing

I rattled off a few images before the heavens opened..  and boy did they open.  Two hours later I was still sheltering under the overhang of a roof of a refreshments kiosk watching the floodwater rush by and Wishing I was Lucky.  As dusk approached there was no sign of any respite, so I made a run for the metro..  Needless to say, by the time I got to the station, I was soaked to the skin…!  At least the rain has cleared away much of the smog.. today is classified as “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” rather than yesterday’s “Hazardous” by the US Embassy’s air quality Twitter feed (@BeijingAir)….

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About Terry Townshend

I am a British birder living and birding in Beijing from August 2010 until 2015. Through this blog I hope I can convey a sense of what it is like to live in this thriving, confident and contrasting city and the birdlife that can be found in its environs. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it! Terry Townshend, Beijing September 2010
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7 Responses to Wet Wet Wet

  1. Terry, superb photo and clearly the Chinese style gets you by and by. However, not a lily: lotus as in “Om manipadme hum”. You see, the Far East get to you.
    By the way, I a ma happy that you are exploring the Olympic Forest Park, this area has a growing potential (pun intended). I will be back to Beijing middle of August. Will you still be there?
    Claus

  2. Hi Claus, thanks for the comment and for correcting my schoolboy botanical error. I can tell your visit to Tibet had an impact! I like the Olympic Forest Park – there are at least 6 pairs of Yellow Bitterns breeding and it must be the best place to see this species in the Beijing area. I will be in Beijing until the end of the year, and should be around in mid-August… let me know when you are here. T

  3. Ron Rovansek says:

    I have never been to the Forest Park in the summer due to unlucky work schedules, but it seems that I am missing a lot. I will be in Beijing in September and I’ll hope the Bitterns are still around. I am not sorry to have missed the smog – average smog is bad enough, I’d hate to see the worst smog in your several years in Beijing.

  4. Gretchen says:

    Just wanted to add that I too really loved the photo – beautiful and a little surprising (the bird looks so small this way and the flower so big). Seems worth all the rain…

  5. Thanks Ron and Gretchen. The Forest Park is my new favourite Beijing city centre site. I think it will be good during migration, too, especially the much less visited northern section.
    Gretchen – it was worth the rain with hindsight…!

  6. Sebastian says:

    I’ve been to Beijing a couple of weeks ago and watched a small kingfisher doing it’s business in the small park area inbetween the Kempinski’s room and appartment blocks. It was quite amazing to see my first kingfisher in Beijing (!!) since I’ve never seen one before (living in Germany). Reminiscent of childhood memories collecting posters of my favourite bird, and then seeing one through the smog in a random hotel complex 4500km away from where I’ve grown up.

    And since I found your blog post, even my dad will believe me :-)

    • Hi Sebastian, thanks for the comment… Great that you saw a Kingfisher in Beijing! They are fairly common here but most will leave the capital soon as the water freezes in November. A few stay and they look forlorn figures in mid-winter when it must be very difficult to find enough food. Best wishes, Terry

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