China May/June 2012
Temple of Heaven - June 10, 2012
I needed to work. but the clear morning lured me to do some sightseeing. Besides, it was Sunday and a weekend morning spend in a pubic park has great Beijingese-watching potential.
That's the temple and still some clouds that will burn off. Note the Common Swift at 3 O'Clock.
All the cypresses (and arbor-vitae to be botanically correct) are planted in a regular pattern. However, the park is huge and some areas are getting wild(ish).
Lot's of jamming, singing, mahjong and card playing, dancing, hacky-sacking ... ...
Even the Chinese Obama was there.
even organized Tibetan dancing ...
Azure-winged Magpie - pretty and common
Market in a local Hutong (neighborhood) not far form Tian'anmen Square
On my way 'home' - June 9, 2012
I need to explain, as this is special:
a violent thunderstorm cleaned the sky
and the view along the 'Olympic canal' is crisp for once.
This is rare in Beijing as well: a clear view of the mountains not too far away (here to the West)
A clear day - or as in this case a clear evening - lifts my spirit, but as it seems, everybodies.
Chinese Academy Meeting- June 8, 2012
Great view of Mt. Everest (per direct video feed)
Gone!. Yangtze River Dolphin (Baji) at the Zoological Museum - Last seen in 2007 (?)
Home for Foreign Experts Meeting, Beijing - June 7, 2012
I feel at home ... I really do
Olympic Forest Park - June 5, 2012
early morning stroll
The constructed wetlands look quite good already
Yellow Bittern again
Bandera rossa much longa
Long march to the Wenyu paddies - June 3, 2012
Acting on Terry Townshend instructions I travel by subway to outskirts of Beijing and walked along the Wenyu River to the rice paddies. Warm and muggy day but nice to be in area that is not so full of people. The ruderal vegetation along the river is interesting and the rice paddies have lot of potential. I missed on Van Schrenk's Bittern and waterhen but got glimpses of Pallas Grasshopper Warbler and a late Pechora Pipit. Earlier in May should be better (full bird list). Walked about 12 km.
Following Line 15
Rehmannia glutinosa: good against ailments and a former member
of the Scrophulariaceae (taxonomist only know what it's in now).
Named for Anton Rehmann (1840-1917), Austrian/Polish botanist and geographer
who traveled in South Africa and China.
Along the Wenyu He (river): Could have been back home in the fog,
yet isn't fog and ain't home ..
Rice and lotus paddies
Eastern Spot-billed Duck
I feel safer now, Comrade Agent 000888 always get the meek,
bad guy in the end.
Cute Wildlife, Chinese Academy of Science - June 2, 2012
Beidaihe - May 29 to June 1, 2012
A few days spend away from the smog at the cool, windy, sunny and even rainy Gulf of Bohai. The very end of May proved to be too late for most avian migrants but 2.5 days of "hardcore" birding turned up a few good birds. I managed to scrape out 5 life birds at least: Japanese Quail, Pacific Swift, Chestnut-flanked White-eye, Manchurian Reed-Warbler, Northern Hawk-Cuckoo
Lighthouse Point in the background, the best birding spot in Beidaihe,
the beachfront is for other activates
Here I spend most of my time, forest at Lighthouse Point, the canopies of hope ...
Sun rays shining on a rare bird?
Brown Shrike at the Jinshan Hotel
Amorpha fruticosa: Seems to widely planted along the shore,
native to North America, very popular with bees.
Good example for an American revenge in the global exchange game/war!
The blue fishing fleet
He liked it here too. Its said he did not come for the birds
but to write poems. Everybody chooses his own hobby, who I am to judge.
Black-winged Stilt (one the few shorebirds seen)
Looks like greenfinch and is in East Asia, Oriental Greenfinch
Fat innkeeper worm or Penis fish: Urechis unicinctus (Priapulida -priapulid worms).
These are in an food hold/aquarium outside one of the many seafood restaurants.
I did not eat these, but at least in China they are fried and not eaten raw as in Korea or Japan
(or so I was told).
The last Emperor's navy
Lord Nelson (left) goes through the Trafalgar briefing.
Black-tailed Gull adult
(note the white iris)
Bunch of immature (2nd and 3 rd year) Black-tailed Gulls loathing
at the Yang Ho river SW of Beidaihe
To Love or not to love ....? However, "hardcover villa" sound promising ..
After the rains(I) , White-cheeked Starlings are wet
After the rains (II)
on my way to work - May 28, 2012
Along the Yuan Dynasty city wall relic
'The cockatoo and Peking dog' - a good name for an English pub
A good stretch helps facing the news
I agree, modest flames are what we need!
Olympic Forest Park - May 27, 2012
An early morning work (of several miles) created a short bird list of 35 species. It was already hot and since it was Sunday quite crowded already early on (one can not beat the locals by rising early). A few impressions below (and full bird list here).
Chinese (Light-vented) Bulbul: common and conspicuous.
Little Grebe (poggei subspecies - maybe soon a split)
And on another note: I fall for this always. A rich, unkown bird song in an adjacent section of the park led me to on non-wild goose chase. As usual it turned out to be a cluster of bird cages hung up in trees - cage birds put there to enjoy a bit of outdoors:
Quite a songster but not free: Chinese Hwamei (a laughing thrush)
Former Urban Wilderness - May 26, 2012
This new fence tried to barre me from my traditional morning activity: my birding spot near the hotel is being transformed into a formal park. Things change pretty quick in China! What last September looked like this:
August 31, 2011
... was transformed into this:
It's not 'nature that abhors a vacuum', it's people who abhor nature (and the Chinese have the man-power to follow it through) Plant diversity dropped from over 100 to maybe 20 (all planted) and my short morning stroll (possible since the wall/fence is not completed yet) did not revealed little avian life (the ubiquists: Common Magpie, Azure-winged Magpie, Tree Sparrow, Eurasian Kestrel still nesting at the nearby apartment house), but a lost Eurasian Cuckoo was nice. Well, I did see that coming and at least had a chance to see the last (?) urban wildland of Beijing last year. I have to admit that the new park is going to be attractive in a conventional sense. Small hills and ponds give the area some nice structure and even though I do not like mulch, the example below is somewhat pretty:
Mulch with system