Sunday, 11 September 2016

Amur Paradise Flycatcher

Well, you couldn't make it up. This is the second time now in pretty much as many days that I've returned home, turned on my computer, put my feet up, only to discover almost immediately that I had missed something and needed to turn everything off again and head straight back out to Qi Gu. It was Amur Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone incei this time, a first-winter, and I was off like a shot (well, hobbling off like a shot) to get this much-needed year tick, an annual visitor to Qi Gu (but the numbers vary from year to year and in some seasons they can be scarce). With Area A now being so small, it was odds on I would connect with it if it was still there. It was, and like the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia of Friday, it only took about five minutes to find.


The hobbling is due to a broken toe, which rather ludicrously I managed to do by banging it into furniture at home. This happened Friday, and I've been having trouble walking since. It was my injury that led to a late start this morning, and also to my reluctance to clambering over all the rocks to get into Area A. As a result, I passed on the area completely, being content with the beautifully spotty juvenile Grey-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa griseisticta that had turned up in my reserve woodlot as 'all there was' for the day (as no Phylloscopus, at this season now the key indicators of migration, had arrived overnight either). The male Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane was also still present, but remained extremely difficult to photograph.


Saturday had been too painful (literally) and poor, with a remarkable seawatch of close to two hours producing nothing more than just over 100 Common Terns Sterna hirundo, and that was all. These should be passing at about 1000/hour now, and I really don't know what has happened on the sea this autumn. One explanation might be the visibility, as on grey, hazy days it can be challenging to pick out grey birds moving at range against a grey sky. Such conditions are more typical of September, but also seem to have prevailed for much of August this year, too. The deteriorating visibility in Tainan is certainly a trend I have noticed since I've been here, and is one which has also been documented (e.g. here). As there was little in the woodlots either on Saturday, and hobbling around on a broken toe had left me feeling nauseous, that day was cut short. I do hope it will have healed enough to walk comfortably on by midweek as I will need to be fighting fit for the typhoon that's on it's way! Above photos taken in Qi Gu, Tainan County 11/9/16.

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