Sunday, 6 May 2018

Japanese Paradise Flycatcher

The remarkably poor spring for passerines continues, with nothing more than a handful of Arctic Warblers Phylloscopus borealis filtering through woodlots all week. A female Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata did appear in Area B mid-week, and hung around long enough for me to photograph it surprisingly well on Friday. A fortuitous shot of the spread wing allows this bird to be aged as a first-summer (I think!) based on the dull and faded charcoal/ash alula and primary coverts; these should be brown-washed/fringed on adult females.

A poke around local fish ponds produced a handful of Little Stints Calidris minuta over the weekend, not at all unexpected at this point in the season. These are always worth photographing, especially when they assume breeding plumage and turn nice and orange, though in truth I now probably have more photos of this species in Taiwan than I do of any other shorebird!

A few other fish pond birds were relatively confiding and provided me with a welcome opportunity to get a few nice shots of spring waders. Indeed, given the fine and dry weather over the weekend, it seemed to make more sense to spend time with these than it did to go poking around elsewhere. Below are Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis, Broad-billed Sandpiper Calidris falcinellus, Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea, and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata.

There was nothing close offshore in the northerlies of Friday and Saturday, but the switch to strong southerlies Sunday meant that a trip out to the sandbar might be worthwhile. A pinprick Aleutian Tern Onychoprion aleuticus was followed by six more Arctic Skuas Stercorarius parasiticus, and I did manage slightly better shots of one adult than I did of any of those last week. 

As the passerines start to draw to a close and still there is no rain on the horizon, it looks like the only remaining hope of birds of interest this spring will now lie offshore! Above photos taken in Qi Gu, Tainan County 4-6/5/18.

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