Waxwings in Ritan

A lunchtime visit to Ritan Park revealed that the large Waxwing flock is still present. There are at least 30 Bohemian Waxwings in the group but I did not see the Japanese Waxwing today. Given the mild temperatures (it must have reached +6 degrees Celsius today), there were puddles beginning to form on the ice, providing fresh water for the birds and they frequently came down to drink, offering good opportunities to study the different ages. Adults can be differentiated by the full yellow outer webs on the primaries and males and females can be told by the extent of the yellow band on the tail.

In addition to the Waxwings I also saw my first Crested Mynas in Ritan Park (including a singing male), a single Yellow-bellied Tit and 3 White-throated Laughingthrushes (certainly escapes).

Bohemian Waxwing - adult male. Note the yellow-edged primaries and the relatively strong yellow tailband.
Bohemian Waxwing - adult female. Again, note complete yellow edges to the primary tips but relatively narrow yellow tailband.
Bohemian Waxwing - second calendar year male. Note yellow edges to the primaries are only on the outer edge indicating a young bird. Relatively strong yellow tailband indicates a male.
White-throated Laughingthrush. One of 3 in Ritan Park today. Certainly escapes.

Waxwings part deux

An early morning return to Ritan Park to check out the waxwings proved worthwhile with the sighting of a single Japanese Waxwing among at least 35 Bohemians. Unfortunately, my camera lens is temporarily out of order due to losing the screws on the main body of the lens (apparently a reasonably common occurrence with Canon lenses) so, despite the perfect light and them showing typically very well, I wasn’t able to take any photos… It made a nice change to just enjoy them (even so, the replacement screws cannot arrive soon enough!!).


A Sunday afternoon walk in Ritan Park produced an unexpected flock of at least 35 Waxwings. Unfortunately I didn’t have my binoculars with me but those that I could identify with the naked eye seemed to be of the Bohemian variety. Will try to get another look tomorrow morning to see if there are any Japanese amongst them. Libby also spotted a nice Red-throated Thrush (I’ll make a birder of her yet…!).

Ritan Park

A walk in my local green space – Ritan Park – at lunchtime was surprisingly productive with at least 14 Chinese Grosbeaks, 40+ White-cheeked Starlings, 6 Spotted Doves, 6 Naumann’s Thrushes, a single Black-throated Thrush and one very washed-out Yellow-bellied Tit. Temperatures still well below freezing (-10 today) but beautifully sunny. Brian Jones visited Yeyahu (Wild Duck Lake) following a reported Great Bustard earlier in the week but no sign today (and his water bottle froze!).

Planning a visit to Wild Duck Lake next weekend and also a 3-4 day trip to Dalian in Feb to look at the gulls.. watch this space.

Chinese Grosbeak, Ritan Park, 16 January 2011