The dawn chorus in urban Beijing

Early June is a fabulous time to listen to the dawn chorus.  The vast majority of summer migrants have arrived and there’s no time to waste as males set up and defend a territory, attempt to attract a mate and raise a family in the short summer season.

This morning I was out at 0400 at my local lake, just 20 minutes walk from my apartment, to record the dawn chorus before the thunder of traffic became too much of an irritating soundtrack.  On arrival, the air was already full of the loud, churring sounds of the Oriental Reed Warblers (Acrocephalus orientalis 东方大苇莺 Dōngfāng dà wěi yīng) and in the treetops surrounding the lake, the calls of Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus 大杜鹃 Dà dùjuān) and Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus 四声杜鹃 Sì shēng dùjuān) carried far and wide.  The recently arrived Yellow Bitterns (Ixobrychus sinensis 黄苇鳽 Huáng wěi jiān) patrolled the airspace above the reedbeds with their floaty, almost owl-like, display flights and occasionally stopped to call from the reeds.

There are a few other species in this 15-minute recording, too.  Can you name any?  Headphones recommended!

The Dawn Chorus at Luoma Lake, Shunyi District, Beijing.

2 thoughts on “The dawn chorus in urban Beijing”

  1. A superb soundscape. Thank you. We envy you here in the UK. We have lost most of our cuckoos along with so many other birds on the ‘Red List’ of endangered species.

    1. Thank you, Richard. Yes, cuckoos are certainly doing better here than back home in the UK (or at least in England – they seem to be doing ok in Scotland?). And we are spoilt with not only Common Cuckoo but also Indian Cuckoo, Himalayan Cuckoo, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Lesser Cuckoo and also Oriental Cuckoo as a passage migrant. What is happening in the UK (and much of Europe) is a warning of just how quickly common birds can be lost and I hope lessons are learned here so that East Asia – already with some rapidly declining species – doesn’t follow suit.

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