Winter Bluetail

With clear skies and little wind it was a good day to be outside, so we packed a picnic and visited the Botanical Gardens in north-west Beijing.  There was a surprising lack of thrushes around (normally this is a good site for wintering Naumann’s, Dusky, Red-throated and Black-throated Thrushes) but the usual residents – Red-billed Blue Magpie, Chinese (Light-vented) Bulbul, Chinese Grosbeak etc were around in small numbers.  Despite a short search of their favoured habitat, I failed to see any Chinese Nuthatches.

On the boardwalk that runs along the stream to the west of the gardens, I heard a Red-flanked Bluetail and, as we rounded a corner, there were 4 or 5 bird photographers staked out by the frozen stream.  I joined them for 5 minutes and in that time the Bluetail and a Winter Wren came down to drink from a small puddle and took advantage of the worms that the photographers had strategically placed on a prominent branch.  The Bluetail and the Wren showed extremely well, clearly used to the attention.  The Wren even indulged in a few bouts of song, no doubt encouraged by the relatively warm, almost Spring-like conditions.

A Red-flanked Bluetail braving the Beijing winter. A handful of these birds winter around the capital in most years.

 

Red-flanked Bluetail, Beijing Botanical Gardens

 

This Red-flanked Bluetail was very confiding, clearly used to the attention of Beijing's growing band of bird photographers.

 

Winter Wren. According to Brazil's "The Birds of East Asia" there are 40 subspecies of Wren. I believe this one is Troglodytes troglodytes idius.

 

Winter Wren, Beijing Botanical Gardens

 

Nice undertail coverts!