Birding Shanghai in August 2023 – 10,000 Birds

Birding Shanghai in August 2023 – 10,000 Birds

Crucial occasion this August for birders in Shanghai and doubtless elsewhere was after all the discharge of a brand new The Nationwide track, “Area Invader“. Luckily, it seems to be an excellent track (be aware: Grammarly helpfully means that I ought to change “superb” to “good”, however then Grammarly has not listened to the track – it’s simply superb, not good), although as standard with The Nationwide songs, I solely have a imprecise concept what the lyrics imply and particularly why the track known as “Area Invader” when it primarily appears to be about randomness shaping our (love)life. However then, I’ve by now realized to understand Matt Berninger’s lyrics with out understanding them.

The monitor has two components – one is mainly a daily (slightly good) track whereas the final three minutes are largely simply an instrumental, with Matt mumbling some phrases however being more and more drowned by the music, particularly the drums. Notably on the finish, this jogs my memory of the final sentence of a terrifying Franz Kafka story, “Das Urteil” (The Judgement), which is “In diesem Augenblick ging über die Brücke ein geradezu unendlicher Verkehr” (“At that second, nearly limitless visitors was crossing the bridge”). If that sounds a bit innocent, learn the story and you’ll not be shocked about Kafka biographies highlighting his tough relationship together with his father (and presumably, with a lot of the remainder of the world, too).

And now for one thing utterly completely different – birds. Fairly just a few slightly frequent ones this month, I’m afraid, as the right migration season solely began throughout the previous few days of August.

As you may inform from this publish beginning with leaf warblers, the ornithological equal of watching paint dry (okay, a bit unfair and not likely a superb comparability anyway, however hey, write your individual weblog if you don’t like mine). Just like the Jap Topped Warbler (which eBird mysteriously calls a “boldly marked songbird” regardless of its similarity to about 50 different warbler species) …

… and the Arctic Warbler (or perhaps another warbler trying very related). For that species, there’s a paper with the considerably puzzling title “Habitat Selection in captive Arctic Warblers” (just like the seminal paper analyzing location preferences of prisoners within the US penal system, I suppose. Sure, I made that up).

On a extra constructive be aware, the top of August additionally noticed the return of some Japanese Paradise Flycatchers like this one. Thoughts you, no lengthy tails on this season. That retains away about 80% of the pesky chicken photographers away from the males (although in all probability additionally a fair proportion of the feminine birds – can’t have it each methods).



Daniel Gustafsson and coauthors checked out chewing lice of the Gray-headed Lapwing. Their aim is straightforward but lofty: “We hope these redescriptions will arouse some curiosity within the chewing lice of shorebirds amongst researchers working with lapwings”.


As I discussed in one in all my posts this spring, for me the private begin of the migration season is once I see my first male colourful flycatcher. For the autumn season of 2023, this may be the sighting of a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher on August 27.


The feminine is much less colourful and likewise typically appears to be in want of some good brushing, just like the one I typically give to these of my cats who don’t run away quick sufficient.


The Asian Brown Flycatcher doesn’t rely as a season-starting chicken – discrimination, after all.

For some motive, Lengthy-tailed Shrikes at all times remind me a little bit of Donald Trump, although I fairly just like the species (I’m not notably keen on Mr. Trump). Maybe it’s as a result of loudmouth behaviour will be charming in a chicken however is far much less so in a serial liar.


Here’s a mugshot of a Lengthy-tailed Shrike. T-shirts can be accessible quickly.

Luckily, the Brown Shrike doesn’t make me consider Mr. Trump. The Latin species identify “cristatus” is a little bit of a puzzle because it means “crest” – not an apparent characteristic of the species, so far as I can inform.


The third shrike seen in Shanghai this month was the Tiger Shrike.

Luckily – as that is China, not the US – there isn’t a “Three shrikes and you might be out” rule right here (and if this isn’t the worst joke you may have ever heard, then your life actually sucks).

When on the lookout for papers on chicken species, it’s at all times a thrill to search out very current ones – a paper on the Black-winged Kite was simply printed in Might 2023.

It seems at components figuring out the presence of Black-winged Kites on Taiwan, the place the species is a brand new resident. Apparently, the components cited there might also clarify the increasing presence of the species in Shanghai.

The Oriental Magpie-robin additionally appears to be getting an increasing number of frequent in Shanghai. Even in my compound, they appear to have fairly a steady presence now.


Heron/Egret medley (sure, I do know medleys suck, however with out the aural element, they could simply be okay):

Black-crowned Evening-heron

Cattle Egret


Chinese language Pond Heron.




Once I began watching birds in Shanghai, I used to be confused by this one:

It’s a juvenile Mild-vented Bulbul – and naturally, the information I used then (Information to the Birds of China, John MacKinnnon) didn’t present the juvenile plumage (and extra disappointingly, the second version nonetheless doesn’t present it).

Anyway, not a nasty search for a juvenile given the tasteless look of a number of the bulbuls I lately noticed in Borneo, although after all, the grownup chicken seems extra distinct.

The younger typically don’t get taken severely by the adults – one thing that this juvenile Oriental Dollarbird in all probability experiences every day.

It comforts itself by listening to Taylor Swift (“Cardigan”) – “If you end up younger they assume you understand nothing”. Someone understands it in any case.

Often, the chicken even sings alongside.

City males usually have an area pub that they go to repeatedly – they’re accustomed to the clientele, the beer on faucet, the everyday ambiance, the songs within the musicbox … for ladies, such consistency is a bit much less frequent. For Pacific Golden Plovers, the state of affairs is analogous – in a single examine, males confirmed sturdy breeding floor constancy, with 100% (8 of 8 birds) returning to a website in Western Alaska whereas solely one in all 4 females (25%) returned. Possibly the males weren’t that spectacular. Possibly the males in your native pub are usually not that spectacular both.


For those who needed to go from location A to location B, would you be prepared to take a detour of 1500–3400 km simply to eat so much? If sure, have a look in a mirror – you may be a juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. And also you may suppose the detour is price it as a result of it lets you double your physique mass earlier than beginning a nonstop flight of 7000-9000 km (supply).

I additionally noticed a number of Snipe species however lack the ID expertise to provide the actual species names. You work it out your self. I suppose by way of chance Widespread Snipe is one of the best greatest, however who is aware of …


Deep of their hearts, Cuckoo species in all probability know that their means of elevating (or slightly, not elevating) youngsters is mistaken and morally repulsive (you need to hear Ron DeSantis discuss this). As penitence, they often power themselves to eat gadgets that look as disgusting as potential, as proven under.


Within the ongoing competitors for the nicest-looking blue chicken, the Siberian Blue Robin continues to be a promising candidate.




In Whiskered Terns, offspring desertion – that’s, leaving the chicks whereas they nonetheless require feeding – is sort of frequent. Surprisingly (at the very least from a biased human perspective), 97% of the deserters are feminine (supply).

General, the paper doesn’t appear to suppose too extremely of the maternal qualities of feminine Whiskered Terns: “Females make investments a lot much less in parental care than males, offering much less meals and deserting extra incessantly”. Possibly the females simply wish to keep away from being cliches.

This juvenile White-cheeked Starling appears to have already got misplaced one foot however nonetheless struggles on. When I’m in the proper temper (that’s, in all probability the mistaken temper, as not useful for my very own survival), such a sight can nearly make me cry.

After this transient interlude about birds (considerably annoying I do know, however crucial attributable to my contractual obligations spelled out in my multi-year, multi-million greenback contract with 10,000 Birds, the worldwide market chief in chicken running a blog), again to music. I by no means actually received very a lot into Constructed to Spill however “Understood” makes me suppose perhaps I missed out on one thing.

And (nearly) lastly, Boygenius in “Not Sturdy Sufficient” not solely have an amazing track but additionally quote a presumably even better one within the lyrics: “Drag racing by way of the canyon … Singing ‘Boys don’t cry’” …

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