Sunday, 9 April 2017

More Little Stints

As close to a bird-less weekend as it's possible to get, this one, with only boring old Little Stints Calidris minuta available to break the monotony of hot southerlies and no small stuff landing along the coast. At least six birds were frequenting Ding Shan this weekend, and they were 'available' and at very close range on all visits. Despite that, the heat haze still seemed to affect the photographic outcomes, this despite some individuals being less than twenty metres away.

The pool favoured by the stints also held a few Lesser Sandplovers Charadrius mongolus. The black-fronted atrifrons was once mooted as a potential split from mongolus (their breeding habitats differ and their breeding ranges are separated by some distance), but this does not seem to be the case these days. Unlike mongolus, in breeding plumage they have black foreheads, orange-washed breasts, and lack the narrow black necklace separating the throat and upperbreast. There are always plenty of these around in spring, and they can outnumber mongolus at certain locations.

Inland, Oriental Pratincoles Glareola maldivarum have already returned, and these seemed worth trying to photograph Sunday afternoon (as the only alternative was to go straight home). I have left it too late to pick up Oriental Plover Charadrius veredus this spring, and wasn't really expecting any on an afternoon search of farmland habitats (ostensibly for this species). Pratincoles are smart birds regardless, and their unimpressed-looking countenances only serve to enhance their appeal!

In the woodlots, a Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea was the only visitor that would sit for a photograph all weekend, though a female Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane was skulking around on the ground in there on Saturday. Otherwise, hot and unpleasant Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with pretty much everything looking like it was suffering under the burning sun.

I'm unimpressed with the last two weekends, and a cold front and rain is now most certainly due! Above photos taken in and around Qi Gu, Tainan County 7-9/4/17.

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