Birding Tongbiguan, Yunnan (half 1)

Don’t you like it when weblog put up writers cut up matters that don’t curiosity you within the first place into two separate components? Welcome to Birding Tongbiguan, half 1. The boring title will not be even totally true – the put up contains photographs taken at Rongshuwang and Nabang, locations just a few dozen kilometers away from Tongbiguan. Significantly the latter – Nabang – would prior to now simply have merited its personal put up, however latest developments there that now make the place a bit like the previous border between West and East Germany modified that.

eBird calls the Asian Inexperienced Bee-eater a “small, dainty bee-eater”, which sounds good and peaceable. However to not bees.

So, when there is a chance, the bees take revenge, as described within the self-explanatory paper “Revenge of the bees: Asian Inexperienced Bee-eaters Merops orientalis trapped in a mist-net stung to demise by Crimson Dwarf Honeybees Apis florea“. Apparently, the bees solely stung the bee-eaters, ignoring different birds additionally trapped within the web.

The authors of the paper sound a bit helpless, stating that “On the time of discovery, each birds [two bee-eaters] had been nonetheless alive, but it surely was not attainable to free them from the web as a result of the bees started to assault the ringer.”

Blue-bearded Bee-eaters appear to have a fairly intelligent searching technique. They provoke honeybee colonies, which then fly out and assault the chook. The bees pursue the chook till it settles down someplace, attempt to sting it, and get eaten (supply).

Why transfer towards the meals when you may have the meals transfer to you? In fact, the identical applies to pizza companies for people.

The species identify athertoni is derived from  Lt. J. Atherton (1797-1827), a naturalist (no matter which means precisely) and a member of the British Military in India.

He additionally served with the thirteenth Gentle Dragoons, preventing with them at Waterloo (although he can solely have been about 18 at that time – I assume baby safety legal guidelines had been considerably lax at the moment).

The Blue-winged Minla is usually a significant contributor to blended flocks within the space, which does rather a lot to extend the attractiveness of those flocks.

Sadly, there may be not a lot literature on the species aside from the inevitable evaluation of the mitochondrial genome.

These Frequent Rosefinches with a excessive IQ spend their winter right here in Tongbiguan quite than in coldish Shanghai, the place I also can see them at Tianmashan.


True to type so far as reality in chook names is worried, Inexperienced-backed Tits do not likely have a inexperienced again – the HBW talks of “greenish upperparts” however even that’s quite beneficiant. In actual fact, if I needed to identify the colour on the again of the tit within the HBW illustration, I’d simply name it yellow. Effectively.

When speaking about chook sizes, the body of reference is every part – for eBird, the Inexperienced-backed Tit is a “small songbird” whereas for the HBW it’s a “massive … tit”.

Why oh why do abstracts so typically begin with completely meaningless sentences? Witness this primary sentence of an summary peripherally mentioning the Gray Bushchat: “Nesting is a typical phenomenon associated to the birds’ reproductive conduct”.

One other paper on protection mechanisms of the Gray Bushchat in opposition to being parasitized by cuckoos is a little more significant, stating that “nest desertion is a crucial anti-parasitism technique for gray bushchats in response to frequent cuckoo parasitism, and experimental verification confirmed that this anti-parasitism adaptation exists primarily within the early egg-laying stage”.

That paper additionally comes with a really good PowerPoint-type illustration displaying the interplay between host and cuckoo – it may have simply been developed by a administration advisor like myself.

One other quite nasty interplay between a Gray Bushchat and a Frequent Cuckoo is described right here.

As ordinary in China, there are some nameless Leaf Warbler species – however who cares, aside from Bella of Alpinebirding?

The River Lapwing is listed as Close to-threatened – one purpose being its dislike for individuals, which I can relate to: ” numbers of river lapwings and villages per km of river are inversely correlated” (supply).

Its species identify duvaucelii commemorates considered one of these explorers who died quite younger – Alfred Duvaucel (1796-1824). Sadly, googling him to get additional data provides me my very own earlier weblog put up as entry quantity 5 (which as ordinary for my posts is generally freed from any helpful data), so I assume not a lot is thought about him.

Location, location, location – some sensible recommendation for River Lapwings aiming to have a household: “River Lapwing nests on open, unvegetated river banks achieved considerably larger nesting success than these in crop fields” (supply).

Whereas the HBW claims that the Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher is unusual in China, this most likely doesn’t apply to this a part of Yunnan.

Usually, the HBW entry on this species will not be very informative – principally the standard boilerplate statements concerning future updates: “Editor’s Notice: This text requires additional modifying work to merge present content material into the suitable Subspecies sections. Please bear with us whereas this replace takes place.” Been bearing with them for fairly some time now.

My guess based mostly on the HBW illustrations is that the Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher I noticed was a male, however in fact, which means ignoring the usual HBW warning “Please wait with utilizing our illustrations for ID functions till we add helpful data”.

Helpful data is in fact one thing you may anticipate from this weblog – principally about music. “If My Mom Thinks I’m Comfortable” by The Bug Membership begins with the quite good strains “Regardless that I’m not as beautiful as I was … I nonetheless can’t get a mortgage and I nonetheless don’t just like the style of beer I haven’t labored a day in over a yr … And I don’t just like the sound on the information I hear”. I notably like the way in which the guitar is made to sound as low cost and scrappy as humanely attainable.

Reluctantly again to birds. Good to see some Shanghai ones right here in Yunnan as effectively, such because the Scaly-breasted Munia

Barn Swallow


Black-throated Bushtit


… or Crested Myna.

Within the new and possibly never-to-be-repeated part of those posts, tentatively titled “Kai shares his very not too long ago acquired data with all three readers who’ve made it this far”, the entry at present is the time period “basket case”. I used to be questioning the place the expression comes from, considering of any person throwing a number of issues in a basket and thus creating an unruly mess. Nevertheless, it appears the actual clarification is far grimmer. In accordance with ChatGPT, “The origin of the expression basket case is believed to have army roots. It originated throughout World Battle I to explain troopers who had misplaced all their limbs and needed to be carried in a basket, as they had been unable to maneuver independently.” Someway, I’m not positive I actually needed to know this now.

Anyway, again to birds.

The Scarlet Minivet is considered one of these annoying minivets that may solely distinguished from different, similar-looking minivets by memorizing the colourful areas on the wings as some imaginary nation after which evaluating them with the photographs in a chook information.

The species identify specious (“splendid, sensible”) doesn’t assist in any respect because the minivet is simply as splendid as a lot of the different colourful minivets. This isn’t a putdown, only a assertion of truth.

One among my cats claims that the males style higher than the females (“too bitter”), however then that cat has informed me many lies earlier than – I nonetheless assume it extra seemingly it has by no means eaten any minivet in its life.

The HBW entry for the Siberian Stonechat is precisely the identical because the one for the Amur Stonechat – the glacial velocity wherein the HBW reacts to splits on this particular case is well-aligned with my failure to see any distinction between the 2 species.

However then I discover it arduous to see a distinction between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis both.

The Spot-breasted Parrotbill suffers a bit from having a contradicting scientific species identify, guttaticolis, that means “spot-throated” or “spot-necked” quite than spot-breasted. I depart it to you, pricey valued reader, to determine whether or not the scientific or the frequent identify is extra becoming.



Within the part on different animals which typically ends my posts, the mammal evaluating favorably with Donald Trump at present is a few form of squirrel. If this comparability bothers you, right here’s one thing to consolation you (however not me): Donald Trump would be the subsequent US president, the squirrel won’t.

An enormous squirrel, really. Which feels like a species identify taken from a science fiction novel for kids. Assault of the enormous squirrels from Mars. Or one thing like that.

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