Birding Chongming Island in summer season – 10,000 Birds


Shanghai’s Chongming Island is a well known vacation spot for birders, and can in all probability turn out to be much more essential given the continued destruction of Nanhui. But it’s typically really helpful to go there in winter. On this publish, I wish to present that going there in summer season might also be value it.

One unusual factor about Chongming is the inevitable presence of individuals fishing. Not professionally – these individuals are available SUVs and doubtless by no means recapture their fuel cash from the fish they catch (although come to consider it, neither do I with my chook photographs). I as soon as had a cat who beloved to lick plastic baggage, and whereas I discover the pleasure on this laborious to grasp, it nonetheless appears extra comprehensible to me than the enjoyment (?) of catching extraordinarily small fish.

Among the momentary fishponds (or flooded fields?) are actually being drained – a really enticing second for the egrets and herons of Chongming.

Some variations in animal conduct are fairly placing. The Little Egret, although comparatively small and thus presumably susceptible to predators, goes for a “f*ck this” strategy – “I’m white, and I don’t care if anyone sees me”.

In distinction, the a lot larger Purple Heron tries to be invisible as a lot as doable, not solely by the use of its coloration but additionally by typically taking over the posture of an expert Limbo dancer.

The Yellow Bittern is equally secretive, however rather more profitable at being invisible, as it’s a lot smaller.

In case you are an individual who enjoys analyzing the stuff regurgitated by chook chicks, you in all probability want to have participated in a research trying on the eating regimen of Yellow Bitterns in South Korea. This could have allowed you to summarize your expertise in sentences similar to “A complete of 98 boluses regurgitated by 52 chicks aged 1 day to 11 days after hatching type the pattern and are proven to comprise 323 meals objects.” And after separating all of the elements of the boluses and presumably weighing them, your conclusion would have been that “probably the most commonly occurring meals objects recorded are fish (63%) and bugs (33%)” (the opposite 4% are the few remaining bits of chocolate and gummy bears dropped at the chicks by their grandparents. That is okay as birds would not have tooth anyway).

I don’t get too many feedback on my weblog posts, however plainly at any time when I write about jacanas – whether or not in Africa, Australia, or Asia – there may be an unusually excessive variety of reactions (nicely, possibly one or two somewhat than the same old zero) from feminine readers. Probably, there are two totally different causes for this – I believe they each are at work, although normally not in the identical individual. One is from ladies who want their husbands would take part extra in parenting their kids – as in jacanas, that is the only job of the male. The opposite, barely scarier one is from ladies who relish the thought of getting what the smut literature calls a “reverse harem” – they appear to take pleasure in the truth that feminine jacanas attempt to mate with a number of males.

Aspect be aware: Certainly, should you comply with the titles of newly revealed books, you will note that there’s a fixed stream of “Reverse harem” publications. One other puzzling factor to me, as for me, the best variety of individuals to dwell with could be someplace between zero and one however positively not above 1. Finish of facet be aware.

To feminine readers then: the Pheasant-tailed Jacana.

Ladies who like jacanas will in all probability additionally like Noticed Redshanks. In keeping with the HBW, when breeding, male birds do a lot of the incubation and parenting whereas females usually go away the nest as much as one week earlier than the eggs hatch. Dominic Couzens writes that “Earlier than the top of incubation, normally per week earlier than hatching, the females hand over the pretense of parental curiosity solely and … rapidly depart south for, one assumes, a spot of well-deserved post-breeding molting and hassle-free feeding”.

An unlucky consequence is that many adolescent Noticed Redshanks endure from nervousness and a sense of loss from by no means having seen their mom.

However possibly that’s really an excellent factor. In keeping with Couzens, after laying the eggs, females typically instantly abandon their first mate and pair up with one other male. Perhaps higher to not ever meet such a “mom” (provided that I’ve been residing in China for too lengthy to be up-to-date concerning political correctness and so on., I’m not positive whether or not it’s okay to make use of the phrase “slut”. My guess is it isn’t).

In fact, on Chongming, the Chinese language Pond Heron is quite common.

The place it isn’t – for instance, in Japan – it would have difficulties discovering a accomplice to mate.

The answer for one feminine Chinese language Pond Heron in a Japanese heronry: mating with a Little Egret (supply). Sadly, within the science of language, this doesn’t sound notably raunchy however somewhat like a rational determination: “A uncommon species such because the Chinese language Pond Heron would possibly select heterospecific mates somewhat than abandoning all probabilities of replica.”

I can see how this line of considering results in all types of sci-fi forms of thought (“would I mate with an alien if I used to be the final human on earth”, and so on.), however on the one hand, this isn’t a sci-fi weblog and I’m not desirous about science fiction (excluding after all Douglas Adams), and then again, the reply from my facet could be “no” anyway.

Chinese language Pond Herons additionally develop on timber.

In “Plunder“, The Felice Brothers sing about individuals who “obtained machines that make machines and people machines make extra machines”. On Chongming, the scenario will not be fairly as complicated. We solely have Frequent Moorhens that make extra Frequent Moorhens.

Although I suppose these then go on to make extra moorhens as nicely.

Critical facet be aware: All songs I point out on this weblog are songs I like and which might be value listening – I don’t point out something only for bird-related lyrics or as a part of a joke. That implies that

a. It’s at all times value following the hyperlinks to those tracks, if you’re desirous about music and a minimum of roughly share my style in music

b. Must you accomplish that and discover that you don’t like a music you thus listened to, you will be assured that you’re unsuitable and that your style in music is unhealthy.

It’s considerably of a simplification, however principally there are two forms of scientific papers – those who require loads of laborious work and intelligent considering, and people that don’t. Trying up current papers on the Gray-headed Lapwing, I discovered one titled “Farmers’ Notion on Gray-headed Lapwing (Vanellus cinereus) Existence in Paddy Area Surrounding Gifu College, Japan”.

Some exceptional facets of this paper:

It coated 10 farmers positioned close to Gifu College, the place the paper was written. How handy.

It consisted principally of asking the farmers some questions by way of a questionnaire. How environment friendly.

It discovered that farmers principally ignore the existence of the lapwing of their fields. How shocking.

It concludes that human exercise influences the breeding exercise of the lapwing. Once more, how shocking (although it isn’t fairly clear to me how they obtained to that conclusion, as apparently, they didn’t ship out questionnaires to the lapwings in query).

Now comes my query: Which of the 2 classes described do you assume this paper belongs to?

This Cattle Egret has simply learn a paper stating that it might be 3.6 occasions extra environment friendly in its foraging if there have been cows round. No marvel it seems to be a bit pissed off.

To assist the Ukrainian warfare effort, I want to point out a paper on Black-winged Stilt authored by a number of researchers of Kharkiv College in Ukraine (I do know the above doesn’t make any sense however I believe it sounds type of enjoyable, the overblown ego of an irrelevant weblog publish author considering his work has any affect on something).

The paper is titled “Breeding of black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus in muddy websites of a wastewater therapy plant“.

So far as I can inform, the paper doesn’t have any fascinating outcomes, however that isn’t the purpose, proper? In all probability the Ukrainian music was not the most effective entrant on the Eurovision Track Contest however nonetheless, individuals had been completely satisfied that it gained …

The Black-crowned Evening Herons Latin identify is Nycticorax nycticorax, which instantly makes me consider “New York New York so good they named it twice”. Then I usually need to spend the subsequent 3-5 minutes eradicating the vomit from my garments, desk, and furnishings.

The connection between Black-crowned Evening Herons and Frequent Terns appears to be as bizarre as the connection in most human {couples}. On the one hand, Black-crowned Evening Herons will be predators in Frequent Tern colonies (supply). Alternatively, there have been stories of Black-crowned Evening Heron chicks being adopted by Frequent Terns (supply). Some form of “Turning the opposite cheek” strategy by the presumably non-Christian Terns?

I assume that is an Oriental Skylark somewhat than a Eurasian one, although my identification is solely based mostly on likelihood. Or you may state it extra elegantly, I’m placing Occam’s razor to work.

Apparently (which on this case really means curiously somewhat than simply being a imprecise first phrase in an in any other case boring assertion), on the Tibetan Plateau, nests of Oriental Skylarks near the burrows of Mountain Pikas are much less possible to achieve success than nests additional away from burrows (supply). It appears that evidently because the Mountain Pika is the primary meals supply for some predators, you higher not dwell too near them, as you would possibly find yourself as bycatch. This truth is now taught in skylark faculties all around the world and has led to a powerful NPIMBY motion among the many skylarks – “no pikas in my yard”.

If in case you have ever heard the somewhat ugly vocalization of the Oriental Reed Warbler (which eBird describes as a “harsh, grating rattling”), you can be fairly grateful to the Frequent Cuckoo for choosing this chook as an essential host species.

My idea is that some Oriental Reed Warblers intentionally settle for the eggs of Frequent Cuckoos as even they like the sound of the cuckoo to their very own vocalization. Now I simply want to search out some grant cash to attempt to show my idea.

I’m not positive whether or not this Eurasian Hoopoe is a juvenile, molting or only a fan of a somewhat run-down look.

To my shock, I realized that the hoopoe is or was additionally a visitor (or ought to I say exhibit?) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (supply). I have no idea whether or not which means they’ve to decorate up in Mickey Mouse ears or not.

What occurs when an space with nests of Reed Parrotbills will get flooded? A paper has studied this query. The findings are fairly fascinating.

So, after the flood (which had destroyed some nests), the parrotbills positioned their new nests a lot increased, at a top of about 1.2 meters as a substitute of 0.7 meters earlier than (I’ve no intention to additionally provide you with these heights in some outdated previous measures – US readers, you’re by yourself right here. I gave up my US citizenship a number of years in the past and current occasions similar to “Proper vs. Fallacious”, it was one among my higher choices. Finish of political rant).

Appears like intelligent conduct by the parrotbills, proper? In scientific parlance, you wouldn’t name it intelligent although however speak in regards to the parrotbills’ “behavioral plasticity of their nest-site choice”.

However: the upper nests had been rather more uncovered to predation and thus had a a lot decrease success fee – one thing that in Kai parlance is named “a significant fuckup” however which within the paper is put in a a lot much less vulgar approach (I suppose the authors would not have a historical past of listening to different/punk music and watching Ricky Gervais movies):

“Animals’ response to uncommon climatic occasions, similar to flooding, could produce ecological traps in the event that they make the animals extra vulnerable to other forms of threats they’re extra prone to proceed to come across.”

In my phrases: the parrotbills fucked up. Good to comprehend it doesn’t solely occur to me.



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