Agitated Lemons

As the passage of White Wagtails begins to slow, the passage of the closely related Citrine Wagtail is hitting its peak in the capital.  One silver lining to the ongoing restrictions on leisure activities in Beijing is that places that would usually be busy with tourists are currently much quieter.  One such place is Ma Chang, on the margins of Guanting Reservoir in Yanqing District.  At this time of year, especially at weekends, this area of land would, in normal times, be busy with horse riders and motorised buggy drivers, meaning that from around 0730 many of the migrant birds that had stopped at this site would be pushed off. 

This spring, with the absence of human activity beyond a handful of local fishermen, the site is a paradise for migrant birds, attracting large numbers of many different species.  On Sunday, perhaps the biggest highlight, among many, was the large flocks of Citrine Wagtail feeding along the edge of the reservoir.  The short video below shows a fraction of the 250+ birds on site.  

Wagtails are busy birds, pursuing insects as they fatten up for the next leg of their journey to breeding grounds further north, and in perfectly still and sunny conditions, it was quite a sight to behold.  

How to describe this group of  bright yellow birds? “A bunch of agitated Lemons” was what we came up with… 

How would you describe them?


4 thoughts on “Agitated Lemons”

  1. Thanks Terry, brilliant video! hard to think of Ma Chang quiet and peaceful 🙂
    Citrine wagtails are the best. I remember heading out to the Wenyu paddies in April, waiting for the wagtails to come, first the Whites, then the Yellows, with the different races, but the highlight was always the first glowing male Citrine. Happy times! Spike

    1. Thanks Spike. Yes, I agree.. something about the bright yellow plumage, I guess also because they are so scarce back home in the UK.. Sadly the paddies are no more but thankfully there are still places where we can see these stunning birds. Terry

  2. Beautiful! I miss birding in Beijing since moving back to the UK, but still really appreciate receiving little stories like this by email, and have returned to the UK paying much more attention to the bird life here than I ever used to before. Thanks Terry, keep the stories coming! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Mike! I am sure your experience of birding in Beijing will help you a lot as you spend more time birding in the UK.. and you’ll be on the money when that Far East vagrant turns up on your local patch! Best wishes, Terry

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