Sunday, 14 May 2017

More Sanderlings

A fairly dull weekend. It threatened to rain throughout but never did, leaving the south dry and doubtless with serious water concerns for the upcoming period (until the heavens finally do open). The dry conditions meant no clubtails of interest for me at Dong Shan Friday, but one or two other species were around, the best of these being Red-legged Flatwing Rhipidolestes aculeatus and a fresh male Yellow-tailed Forest Damsel Coeliccia flavicauda. A Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha was also singing deeper in the forest, but this one showed no interest in my imitations of its call!

I stopped off at Guan Tian to add Eastern Lilysquatter Paracercion melanotum to the bug list for the day. This stop did at least allow me to put a bird on my camera, albeit the nothing more than expected Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus. Unfortunately, the two Cotton Pygmy Geese Nettapus coromandelianus that had over-wintered and had become more cooperative in recent weeks seemed once more to have gone AWOL, but these were far from a priority.

Both Saturday and Sunday were spent out on the sandbar in the company of precious few birds. Saturday held almost no terns, but there was at least a small flock of Sanderlings Calidris alba which did contain one or two summer-plumaged birds. As I very rarely get to see them in this plumage (with most in this flock still winter), these birds seemed worth trying to photograph.

Only three Roseate Terns Sterna dougallii dropped in on Saturday, but there were rather more Sunday, together with plenty of Common Terns Sterna hirundo and the occasional Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana. The only other bird of note out on the sand was a single Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes which was nothing like as approachable as they normally are!

The final treat Sunday was a small flock of summer-plumaged Red Knot Calidris canutus on the drive home. Unfortunately, these decided to fly off the second I fished my camera out of its bag, leaving me with just poor record shots of these really rather stunning waders.

At least there are still plenty of birds moving, which means I can still hold out hope for something else more out of the ordinary before the spring is out. However, many of these waders are now starting to feel a bit like they are latecomers! Above photos taken at Dong Shan, Guan Tian, and Qi Gu, Tainan County 12-14/5/17.

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