Birding the Wolongshan space in June 2023 – 10,000 Birds


For birders, the Wolongshan space is sort of a poorer cousin of Balangshan – as a result of decrease elevation, the hen species listed below are extra frequent and thus much less attention-grabbing. And naturally, birders (at the very least me) don’t care an excessive amount of for Big Pandas, that are the principle attraction of this space, regardless of their pathetic habits. I imply, I’ve by no means heard of birds needing intercourse movies of their very own species simply to procreate …

Anyway, there are just a few attention-grabbing hen species right here, at the very least for guests from Shanghai.

One is the Chinese language Babax, with its attribute piercing eyes.

Truly, I’m fairly accustomed to that look from my spouse every time I put up the laundry to dry, as I at all times appear to do it mistaken ultimately or one other. I assume there may be some secret information to it which I’ll by no means grasp.

Some Chinese language Babax waste a part of their lives feeding chicks of Massive Hawk Cuckoos, which parasitize the babax species. Certainly, most cuckoo eggs are accepted by the babax (source), though a small proportion of hosts reject cuckoo eggs and sometimes boast about this functionality when having just a few too many drinks.

The Chinese language Babax is a laughingthrush, as is Elliot’s Laughingthrush.

Equally obtrusive eyes, regardless that I didn’t do any laundry.

It’s presupposed to be fairly confiding, however sadly, no one instructed the people I encountered on this journey.

I can verify that the Indian Blue Robin – as acknowledged by the HBW – tends to sing from deep cowl – not preferrred conduct for a hen photographer. If I regarded pretty much as good as this hen, I might not really feel the necessity to cover.

The Latin species identify is brunnea, “brown”, which is form of counterintuitive for a grey-blue, white and orange hen till one remembers that many different hen names additionally don’t make a lot sense.

Equally, it’s laborious for me to know the English identify of the White-collared Yuhina. I truly regarded this up in case my understanding had been mistaken for the final greater than 50 years, however certainly, the collar is “the a part of a garment that encircles the neck” (source).

The HBW describes the species as having a “distinguished white nuchal collar”, and whereas the “nuchal” appears right, I nonetheless discover it laborious to explain one thing as a collar that doesn’t go across the neck. Isn’t that the important property of a collar? I believe the HBW described the hen based mostly on the identify solely with out taking a look at precise pictures.

Sadly, there will not be many papers on the species aside from the inevitable one masking “The complete mitochondrial genome sequence of White-collared Yuhina”. I nearly misinterpret the ultimate Declaration of Curiosity of the paper as “the authors report no real interest in the content material of the paper”, however admittedly, that isn’t what’s acknowledged there.

And would you consider it, the Inexperienced-backed Tit just isn’t significantly green-backed both, although I’ve to confess that this identify sounds higher than “Barely darker-yellow-backed Tit”.

Although the HBW generously describes the species as having a greenish again.

Accordingly, the species identify monticulus describes the species as residing within the mountains quite than having a inexperienced again.

A nesting gap made out of metal. For the discerning tit with a give attention to high quality.

Lastly: the Yellow-bellied Tit certainly has a yellow stomach.

eBird is charmed by the species, calling it “a tiny luminous ball of feathers”. That’s in keeping with the Latin species identify of venustulus, “charming, pretty”.

And also you guessed it: any person printed a paper on the Complete mitochondrial genome of the Yellow-bellied Tit” . Padding up your checklist of publications was by no means this straightforward.

In response to eBird, Martens’s Warbler is “a vibrant and engaging small warbler with many nearly an identical relations”.

One amongst these is Alstroem’s Warbler. So, there are two warblers each named after ornithologists nonetheless alive, Jochen Martens (a German) and Per Alstroem (a Swede). Each appear to be a bit filled with themselves, having/accepting a hen named after themselves, which is so colonial. Unhealthy manners, I feel.

Amusingly, additionally they appear to dislike one another, or at the very least disagree with one another. Listed below are some quotes from a 2000 paper by Per Alstroem evaluating papers authored by him and Martens, each sure comparable warbler species:

“The paper by Alstrom and Olsson relies on fieldwork at 9 completely different localities all through the vary of the ‘Golden-spectacled Warbler’ throughout 14 completely different visits over 12 years, and a research of greater than 700 specimens, together with all traceable sorts. In distinction, the paper by Martens et al. relies on a research of specimens and tape recordings collected throughout one go to to every of two localities in central China in 1997 and 1998 and their very own tape recordings and specimens from Nepal; in all, 196 specimens have been examined.
That means: we did actual science, Martens didn’t.

“In contrast to Alstrom and Olsson, Martens et al. apparently didn’t look at any kind specimens.” That means: we did actual science, Martens didn’t.

“Surprisingly, [Martens et al.] didn’t contemplate any of the 4 names listed as synonyms by Watson et al. 1986: Cyptolopha auricapilla Swainson, 1837; Acanthiza arrogans Sundevall, 183 8; Muscicapa bilineata Lesson, 1839; and Cyptolopha bimanica Berezowski & Bianchi, 1891).” That means: Martens didn’t do his homework and doesn’t do actual science.

The hen that contributed to this quarrel doesn’t appear involved, although. Possibly it doesn’t care very a lot.

This male Plumbeous Water Redstart tried to disregard its chick.

Troublesome – no, hopeless. Ought to have considered that earlier than having chicks.

The Gray-backed Shrike apparently prefers areas near human settlements – not as a result of people are significantly good (we’re not), however “as a result of these habitats supply a greater foraging substrate and locations protected from giant predators” (source).

Sooner or later, a Chinese language researcher had a superb concept: Let’s put together a paper on the whole mitochondrial genome of the Gray-backed Shrike!

I nonetheless just like the brief species descriptions of eBird a lot better than the longer ones of the HBW or the dry ones of Wikipedia. Take the Crimson-billed Blue Magpie: “Raucous, vividly-colored magpie of lowland and foothill forests, gardens, and parks” (eBird).

One study checked out nest failure of ground-nesting birds – whereas one of many failures was brought on by predation by a Crimson-billed Blue Magpie, 83% of all failures have been as a result of predation by mammals. I feel I identified in earlier posts that mammals are form of evil.

Attempting to breed the species in an aviary supplied some disappointments, for instance with regard to their nest-building skills: “I don’t know what earlier expertise the birds had at nest development, however their try was fairly pathetic” (source).

I didn’t actually search for a White Wagtail as it’s fairly frequent in Shanghai, however took a photograph anyway. Pressure of behavior, I assume.

Ditto Oriental Turtle Dove.

Two birds are named in honor of Elizabeth Gould, an illustrator of ornithological works and the spouse of John Gould. One is the Gouldian Finch (an Australian hen, thus not seen at Wolongshan – the identify was given to the species by John Gould) and Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird, which was given the identify by Irish ornithologist Nicholas Aylward Vigors (1785-1840).

Vigors popularized a zoological system referred to as the quinarian system. This was a quite weird system postulating that each one taxa are made up of 5 subgroups. So, in line with this technique, if fewer than 5 subgroups are identified of 1 taxa, then one nonetheless must be discovered. Feels like numerology to me quite than like science, however then individuals are bizarre, and as a Sagittarius, I don’t consider in numerology anyway.

As for Elizabeth, Wikipedia states that her letters “reveal her as a captivating, cultured, and musically and artistically proficient girl”. And why not.

Lastly, a German hen! Properly, not fairly. The Latin species identify of the Slaty Bunting is siemsseni, after Georg Theodor Siemssen (1816-1886), a German service provider born in Hamburg, my favourite German metropolis.

He spent the years from 1836 to 1858 in Asia, first in Indonesia, then in China, partly because the consul of the town of Hamburg in China. I’ve no clue why the Slaty Bunting was named after him – but it surely was executed by one Gustav Heinrich Martens (an ornithologist who lived from 1842 to 1912) in 1906.

The images present a male – the feminine is principally brown, one thing male buntings sometimes complain about.

And guess what I discovered as properly: A paper titled “Characterization of the whole mitochondrial genome of slaty bunting”. Oh, the enjoyment.



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