Late August at Yeyahu

On Saturday 24 August I visited Yeyahu NR with visiting Professor Steven Marsh.  I collected Steve from his hotel at 0530 on a beautiful clear, sunny morning and, after a pretty clear run over the mountains past Badaling, we were at the entrance to the reserve by 0645.  A juvenile TIGER SHRIKE (Lanius tigrinus, 虎纹伯劳) was a nice surprise along the entrance track, the first time I have seen this species in the capital.  Other highlights included a BLUNT-WINGED WARBLER (Acrocephalus concinens, 钝翅 (稻田) 苇莺), 2 SCHRENCK’S BITTERNS (Ixobrychus eurhythmus, 紫背苇鳽), an adult RELICT GULL (Ichthyaetus relictus, 遗鸥) and a juvenile PIED HARRIER (Circus melanoleucos, 鹊鹞).  Unfortunately there was no sign of any STREAKED REED WARBLERS (Acrocephalus sorghophilus, 细纹苇莺), the autumn passage of which peaked between 22 August and 7 September in the 1920s, according to La Touche.  I shall keep looking!

Blunt-winged Warbler, Yeyahu NR, 24 August 2013
Blunt-winged Warbler, Yeyahu NR, 24 August 2013


Full species list below.


Common Pheasant – 1
Mandarin – 3
Mallard – 1
Chinese Spot-billed Duck – 3
Little Grebe – 7
Great Crested Grebe – 8
Yellow Bittern – 3 (2 adults and one juvenile)
SCHRENCK’S BITTERN – 2 (a pair) – seen in the same place as the male seen in early June – possibly a breeding pair?
Night Heron – 4
Chinese Pond Heron – 12
Grey Heron – 2
Purple Heron – 6
Little Egret – 2
Great Cormorant – 1
Amur Falcon – 5
Hobby – 2
Peregrine – 1 juvenile
Black-eared Kite – 1 juvenile
Eastern Marsh Harrier – 3 (one adult male, two juveniles)
Pied Harrier – 1 juvenile
Eurasian Sparrowhawk – 1
Moorhen – 5
Coot – 9
Swinhoe’s/Pin-tailed Snipe – 2
RELICT GULL – 1 moulting adult. My first autumn sighting in Beijing.
Gull sp – 1 juvenile/first winter not seen well enough to id
White-winged Tern – 4 juveniles
Oriental Turtle Dove – 1
Spotted Dove – 5
Common Cuckoo – 1 juvenile
Common Kingfisher – 1
Hoopoe – 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker – 3
TIGER SHRIKE – 1 juvenile. My first in Beijing.
Brown Shrike – 12
Black Drongo – 62
Azure-winged Magpie – one seen from car on return journey
Common Magpie – 12
Eastern Great (Japanese) Tit – 7
Marsh Tit – 4
Chinese Penduline Tit – 9, including at least 3 juveniles
Barn Swallow – c80
Red-rumped Swallow – c20
Zitting Cisticola – 11
Chinese Bulbul – 9
Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler – 1
Thick-billed Warbler – 3
Black-browed Reed Warbler – 15
BLUNT-WINGED WARBLER – 1, possibly 2.
Yellow-browed Warbler – 2
Arctic Warbler – 4
Vinous-throated Parrotbill – c35
Siberian Stonechat – 4
Taiga Flycatcher – 2
Tree Sparrow – lots
Yellow Wagtail – 4
White Wagtail – 2


Laotieshan update – Thursday

Thursday started wet, warm and still and ended dry, windy and cold!  The weather front passed through overnight but unfortunately the rain started a little early (well before midnight), perhaps meaning that not so many migrants were on the move when the rain hit.  First thing, as the rain petered out, passerine migration was relatively thin by recent standards and, although there had not been a ‘fall’, there were new birds around.

Highlights included 2 Baikal Teal that came in off the sea and headed strongly east, a late Eastern Crowned Warbler (on Peter’s most-wanted list), a couple of Yellow-browed Buntings, a single Greater Spotted Eagle, 3 Black Storks and, dramatically, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk attacking a White’s Thrush!  At one point the Sparrowhawk grabbed the White’s Thrush with one talon, causing a few feathers to fly, but it couldn’t hold on and the thrush temporarily got away.  The sparrowhawk came screaming back but both birds disappeared behind some trees before the final drama was played out, so we’ll never know the outcome.  I have to say I feared for the thrush.. the sparrowhawk looked as if it was locked on like a guided missile.

Peter’s shrike-finding abilities, honed after many years of discovering Red-backed Shrikes at Winterton, came into their own today when he found a Tiger Shrike along the track below the lighthouse.  Tiger Shrikes are scarce birds in this part of the world, so it was a great find.

Tiger Shrike, Laotieshan. A quality find by Peter C.

It was another brilliant day and it’s a real privilege to be spending so much time in the field with one of the world’s top birders.

I am copying below the list of birds seen on Wednesday, taken from Paul Holt’s master list.  Wednesday’s count of Ashy Minivets came in at an astonishing 7,549!

Tundra Bean Goose 1

Streaked Shearwater 1

Grey Heron 1

Purple Heron 4

Oriental Honey-buzzard 55

Black Kite 52

Eastern Marsh Harrier 3

Japanese Sparrowhawk 7

Eurasian Sparrowhawk 13

Northern Goshawk 4

accipiter sp. 6

Eastern Buzzard 2

Common Kestrel 6

Amur Falcon    60

Eurasian Hobby 3

Peregrine Falcon 4

Oriental Turtle Dove 18

White-throated Needletail 6

Fork-tailed Swift   1

Ashy Minivet   7549

Black-naped Oriole 1

Yellow-bellied Tit 1

Sand Martin 4

Barn Swallow 69

Asian House Martin 8

Red-rumped Swallow   6130

White-eye sp.  2898

White-cheeked Starling 15

Purple-backed Starling 1

Grey-backed Thrush      1

Rufous-tailed Thrush  1

Yellow Wagtail 13

Grey Wagtail        20

White Wagtail 81

Richard’s Pipit 37

Olive-backed Pipit 487

Red-throated Pipit 17

Common Rosefinch 66

Chinese Grosbeak 15

Black-faced Bunting 136