Laotieshan update – Tuesday

Laotieshan is continuing to exceed expectations.  Highlight today was probably the 10,000+ Red-rumped Swallows that moved through the point.  Simply staggering.  Supporting cast included a Hair-crested Drongo, a total of 19 House Martins (13 Northern, 3 Asian and 3 unidentified to species level), a single Black Stork and 8 White-throated Needletails.  Also very good numbers of Richard’s Pipits, Black-faced Buntings, Olive-backed Pipits and Chestnut-flanked White-eyes.  Raptors continue to impress with Oriental Honey Buzzards, Japanese Sparrowhawks, Goshawks, Black-eared Kites and Pied Harriers the highlights.   All of this is happening during benign weather.  We are expecting a cold front to pass on Thursday with the temperature due to drop by around 10 degrees.  If that happens, Friday could be a big day.  It’s been so good that I haven’t had time to put together detailed notes – that will probably have to wait until I get home..  In the meantime, here are a few more images of the day…

Peregrine, Laotieshan, 27 September 2011. A pair of these magnificent falcons is in residence at Laotieshan.

 

Ashy Minivets, Laotieshan. Over 1,000 of these stunning birds were seen on Monday and one flock on Tuesday numbered at least 180 birds.

 

A record image of one of the Asian House Martins at Laotieshan today. Note the dark underwing coverts.

Laotieshan – first report

On Saturday I met up with Peter Cawley  – from my original local patch at Winterton in the UK – and flew across to Dalian for the onward journey to Laotieshan, the southern tip of the Dalian peninsula.  It is here that we will be basing ourselves for at least a week to experience the autumn migration.

We arrived in the late afternoon and met up with Paul Holt who had arrived at lunchtime that day and had managed a few hours birding in the afternoon.  Given the recent settled weather, our expectations were not so high but his report certainly whetted the appetite – in just four hours he had seen over 1,000 Oriental Honey Buzzards, over 1,200 Red-rumped Swallows and a good sprinkling of other birds – Amur Falcon, Goshawk, Osprey and White-throated Needletail.  Not bad.  Sunday was our first full day and it was simply stunning.  Over 600 Ashy Minivets, at least 300 Oriental Honey Buzzards, over 100 Black-eared Kites, 3 Black Storks and between 30 and 40 Japanese Sparrowhawks with good numbers of Eurasian Sparrowhawks, Hobbies, Amur Falcons, Kestrel, Osprey and Peregrine as the supporting cast.   This site is awesome!

Some early images below……

Oriental Honey Buzzard, Laotieshan, 25 September 2011. Honey Buzzards exhibit a wonderful array of plumages; this one is very rufous on the underparts.

 

Japanese Sparrowhawk, Laotieshan, 25 September 2011. These compact birds have tonnes of character...