Falsterbo 2015 - pt.2

Allmänt / 2015-10-27 / 15:47:03
The season is drawing closer and closer to it's end and I have less than two weeks left in Falsterbo before it's time to return home. Fortunately I have enough pictures to last me 10 blogposts!
So far this season we have caught more than 20 Sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus). The big migration of small songbirds is a feast for them and they are a pest to have around the nets - except for when they get caught!
The Sparrowhawks vary a bit in color and I think this rufous young male is unusually good-looking. Notice the heart-shaped pattern on the breast and undersides of the wings.
Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla), a species that is becoming a more and more common sight in Sweden. This season we've caught a record-breaking 19 birds so far, but it's got a long way to go to beat it's cousin the Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) though, which is closing up on 2000 birds ringed.
Something nice brought by easterly winds - a Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus), another species thas is becoming increasingly common here in Sweden.
I guess everyone has already heard the falcon-story, but here it is again.
Me and Marc were walking around in Falsterbo Park when a Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrinus) (next picture) caught a Hobby (Falco subbuteo) and the two, fighting, fell out of the sky and tumbled to the ground only 30 meters ahead of us on the path. They were locked in each others claws and therefore unable to lift from the ground as we ran up and grabbed them. In a shocked/delirious state, continuously laughing/swearing (I mean, what are the odds!?), we brought the two birds back to the house where they got ringed before regaining their freedom. I guess it was the Hobby's lucky day!
A gorgeous young male. I'm so curious as to where he's from, I almost wish he would have been ringed already, though this individual became the first Peregrine ever for Falsterbo Bird Observatory, and the 200th species ringed!
A few weeks earlier, another falcon was caught in Flommen (and I'm suddenly sensing an accidental theme for this post - I hope you all like birds of prey). This Merlin (Falco columbarius) was the 5th one for the station.
And so, finally, came the time for my favorite kind of extra ringing - owlnights! Here Timmy and Sophie are discussing the age of a Tengmalm's Owl (Aegolius funereus).
Long-eared Owl (Asio otus). We catch the owls by luring them towards the nets with a speaker playing a mix of calls from owls and skylarks (prey), it's very effective and the first night we caught 8 birds.
This Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) on the other hand, was caught with a lamp and a hand-net. Since the owls are nocturnal (even though this particular species is actually partly diurnal..) they are extremely sensitive to bright lights. It is possible to get very close to them by dazzling them with for example a head-torch, sometimes you can even get close enough to grab them by hand!
To be continued...

Falsterbo 2015 - pt. 1

Allmänt / 2015-10-08 / 15:44:55
This autumn I'm having the privilege of working as a ringer at Falsterbo Bird Observatory, located on the south-western point of Sweden. The observatory began it's operations the 1950s and since 1980 the catching and ringing of birds in the Lighthouse garden and Flommen reedbeds has been standardized. I'm spending most of my time in the garden, but I got to enjoy a few mornings in the reeds as well before that season ended.
For the standardized ringing in the Lighthouse Garden we only catch birds using mistnets. They are put up before sunrise and checked every 30 minutes. The birds are extracted from the nets and brought to the ringing lab where they get processed. During the ringing the bird's age and sex is determined by looking at feather characters and iris colour, they are also weighed and measured before regaining their freedom.
Many beautiful mornings in late summer.
The Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), supposedly the most numerous bird in Sweden, is one of several species of small passerines that seem to have taken a big hit from this springs cold and wet conditions. The lack of insects made for a poor breeding season for many of our small birds who weren't able to find enough food for their young. This season we've only caught  half of the average for this species, but the strong winds in late August probably helped to keep the numbers down.
The Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina) is similar to the Willow Warbler in appearences, but noticably bigger. And with a very different attitude!
A young Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio).
Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana) in Flommen.
An adult female Bearded Tit (Panurus biarmicus) with extremely worn plumage after the breeding season.
A young Bearded Tit in the middle of the post-juvenil molt. Nice that the ageing of at least some species is simple!
A male Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta). I've had some real exposure therapy with these awesome but frightening guys since they have a talent of getting tangled in the nets. Good thing I started out with the crickets at Nordens Ark...
When I came to Falsterbo in the middle of August, the season's second brood of House Martins (Delichon urbicum) had recently hatched in the artificial nests put up on the main house in the Lighthouse Garden. Here Caroline and Raul are checking which nests are occupied.
When they got old enough, they too got ringed. Now when I'm writing this, all the swallows and martins have long since left for warmer places. Still, for me, this only feels like yesterday!
Since the standardized ringing in August was so calm, we had a lot of energy to make extra efforts to catch birds at night. Here a Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) has been caught in a net put up on the beach at Nabben and is getting ringed by Timmy.
An adult male Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) caught by hand, with the help of a dazzling lamp. We managed to catch almost the whole family and got a nice surprise when the female turned out to be a re-capture. She got her ring two years ago, by the same person who now caught her a second time. As icing on the cake she was actually the first coot Marc ever ringed.
Flommen a late summer evening.
One afternoon me, Marc and Timmy went to Copenhagen Zoological Museum to look at their extensive collection of bird skins. At the end of our visit I stumbled upon the cabinets with parrots and suddenly time flew!
Harbour Seal (Phoca vitulina) at Skanörs revlar.
To be continued...

Birds and people of Zhenghlou

Allmänt / 2015-04-02 / 10:21:35
Home Sweet Home! I've been back in Sweden for three days now and thought I'd give you a last glimpse of China, both the birds and the people. Zhang Peng has kindly let me use his photos. Enjoy!
Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach), the most common shrike in the area, and the most beautiful of all in my opinion.
Silver-throated Tit (Aegithalos glaucogularis) with nesting material in the beak.
An incubating female Silver-throated Tit.
Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius), subspecies bispecularis, often referred to as Himalayan Jay. It lacks the streaking on the head of our European one, giving it a much kinder expression.
Eastern Spot-billed Duck (Anas zonorhyncha), these ducks started appearing in our ponds in the end of February.
Black-throated Tit (Aegithalos concinnus), here you can clearly see the colourbands that we used to identify the birds.
Black-throated Tit gathering nesting material.
Asian Barred Owlet (Glaucidium cuculoides), I've never heard of an owl so conspicuous and easy to find during daytime as this one, I saw it almost daily.
Siberian Weasel (Mustela sibirica), not a bird but still a favourite!
No banding lab here!
Crested Kingfisher (Megaceryle lugubris)
Daurian Redstart (Phoenicurus auroreus), female.
Red-billed Starling (Sturnus sericeus), this birds also arrived in late February and joined the large flocks of White-cheeked Starlings (Sturnus cineraceus).
Yu Jin, me, Amasa, Nadia, Liu Yang, Gala and Zhang Peng, the post-Spring Festival Team.
Ed, Huqian, Me, Yu Jin and the two daugthers of the household (I'm not even gonna try to spell their names).
I will remember my time in China with very mixed feelings. It's been an amazing but tough experience and in the end, despite everything, I'm really happy that I went.

Bye bye Zhenghlou

Allmänt / 2015-03-23 / 10:13:29
Five days ago I left the study area to join my dad on a trip through the Henan and Hebei provinces, final destination being Beijing, from where we fly home on Monday next week. So far we've been to Xinyang, Luoyang, Zhengzhou and today we arrived in Shijuazhuang. It's nice to finish my China-visit with a little bit of touristing.

Longmen caves. The stone carvings are incredible, but the highlight for me was a Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muriara) climbing around on one of the largest statues. Maybe the last new species I'll see in China!

At the Shaolin temple we saw a very impressive Kung fu performance by young students. The surrounding area was really beautiful and a calm contrast to the chaotic city of Zhengzhou.

I'm very glad that spring started so early this year that I got to experience these little critters! 
I have a feeling going home might feel like going back in time a whole month, with spring barely begun :)

First chicks of the season

Allmänt / 2015-03-11 / 14:09:37
Yesterday Yu Jin and Zhang Peng found a new nest of Black-throated Tits (Aegithalos concinnus), and to their surprise it contained six tiny chicks! 

They are approximately 3 days old and if they survive we will band them on Tuesday next week, the day before I leave.

Most of the other birds are still laying or have just started incubating their eggs, so it will be two more weeks before the real baby-boom comes.

Every nest has it's own ID and information card, they are checked every two days and the card updated. My area is pretty small and more or less all nests have already been found, very rarely do I see birds that I don't already know which nest they belong to. So today I was happy to do some recordings of the nests with eggs that are being incubated, instead of simply wandering around looking for new pairs. I rig the camera and then wait at a great enough distance that the birds don't mind me, but close enough so that I can make sure that the camera isn't stolen. It's pretty tedious, but still nice to do something different!

The Lapwings have arrived!

Allmänt / 2015-03-05 / 13:30:41
Just as suddenly as it happens with the Northern Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus) back home, every field in the area has become the home of Grey-headed Lapwings (Vanellus cinereus). And they are not the only new arrivals, every day I find at least one new species! Yesterday's highlight was an Asian Verditer Flycatcher (Eumyias thalassinus), a turquoise flycatcher that I didn't even know occure in this area. 

Today I went back to check on the nest that I posted a picture of two days ago, this was all that was left...

To make things even worse the predator (most likely a cat or weasel) had caught the female Silver-throated Tit (Aegithalos glaucogularis) when she was incubating her eggs, and this was all that was left of her...
This early in the season a pair that loose their nest still have time to build a new one and try again. Later in the season they might join another pair and help them raise their chicks. Since this male is now alone he might become a helper already this early in the season.

Today was the last day of the spring festival, which was celebrated with even more fireworks (making it almost impossible to hear the tits, reeeeally inconvenient for us) and a real feast for lunch. We have moved back into the Chen's house and were lucky to be invited to eat with them. On the table were 14 (!) different dishes and we toasted over and over again with rice-wine. I haven't had that good food since Christmas!

Back in the bush

Allmänt / 2015-03-03 / 13:21:25
Since we returned from Beijing on Sunday we've been staying in the Dongzhai reserve. The beds at the Chen's house at still occupied by visiting relatives so we're going to have to stay here for another few days.
Yesterday we spent the whole day birding in the reserve, to my delight. Without mistnets that needed checking every hour we could explore a lot more of the area, which generated three new species; Rufous-bellied Woodpecker (Hypopicus hyperythrus), Brown-breasted Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthorrhous) and Blue Whistling Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus).

Today we walked down the mountain to the main road and took a bus to Segang. The study area starts at the outskirts of town and we spent the whole day trying to check as many nests as possible. Many had been destroyed or abandoned during the last few weeks, but at least 10 nests so far have eggs. The eggs are only incubated for two weeks so some if them might be starting to hatch really soon!

This is the nest of a Silver-throated Tit (Aegithalos glaucogularis), it's been carefully built with moss, cotton and spiderweb, and the inside filled with soft feathers.

Spring is oficially here, the cherry trees are blooming! 
It feels as if more bird species are starting to show up already, today I found some Red-billed Starlings (Sturnus sericeus) mixed in with the usual flock of White-cheeked Starlings (Sturnus cineraceus) and in the afternoon an adult male Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) was circling above one of the rice fields, a stunning sight.
I hope that at least some migrants are going to start to appear before I leave in a couple of weeks.

When I was photographing the cherry blossoms two Palla's Leaf Warblers (Phylloscopus proregulus) were foraging in the tree. I hadn't even noticed them before one came and landed on a twig only 30 cm away from me, not wary of me at all. I never get tired of these little guys!

Today was a great day, I'm really happy to be back in the field!

Beijing Zoo

Allmänt / 2015-02-25 / 10:51:26
It was just as bad as I had expected.

It's an old zoo with many of the old cages still in use. These are small, dirty and often without any type of enrichment or place to hide.
The newer enclosures are larger and better, for example for the Bears and the Giant Pandas.
Many enclosures didn't have any signs at all and a lot of the signs, where they existed, were incorrect. For example there were Wolves where the signs said Black-backed Jackal and Tigers where there should be Lions, the Gorilla House didn't have any Gorillas and I even found a sleeping Arctic Fox in a cage in the Nocturnal House! 
For a zoo that claims that education is one of their missions, they sure make it hard for someone to learn anything from them.

I was not surprised, but still horrified, to see how the Chinese visitors treated the animals. Especially in the Nocturnal House where it for obvious reasons was dark, every other person shone flashlights in the faces of the animals and took pictures with flash, not caring for a second about the well-being of the poor creatures. 
I saw a mother shining a laser pointer at a marmoset, then handing it over to her son, encouraging him to do the same.
No one seemed to notice the millions of signs announcing that it was forbidden to feed or touch the animals.
I suddenly felt very grateful about working at a zoo with such few visitors as Nordens Ark!

The Giant Pandas are the main attraction of the zoo, and my main reason for visiting.

This young Bear is waiting for people to throw food over the glas, what I could see it was sugarcane that they fed it with.

The Polar Bears didn't even have water in their pool.

This elephant had just enough room to turn around.

This Gorilla Passageway, with a picture of an orangutan, is used by the chimpanzees to move between the different enclosures. Confusing?

On my way out I stumbled upon a group of aviary houses that were not shown on any map of the zoo. In one of these houses I found the strangest walk-in-aviary I've ever seen! 
It had Black Storks, Black-faced Spoonbills, three species of Ibis and two species of Heron (with only one representative of each species), Mandarin Ducks, Black-tailed Gulls (one which landed on a woman's head), Spotted Doves, Pekin Robins and, to top it all off, a group of Rose-faced Lovebirds (small African parrots)! I'm sure I would have found more if I'd had stayed there longer, it was crazy! Of course, the signs were hopelessly incorrect.

To sum it all up - Beijing Zoo is the worst zoo I've ever visited.

Some of the birds pt 2

Allmänt / 2015-02-23 / 09:24:34
After a few days of grey clouds, strong winds and even some snowfall, the sun has finally returned to Beijing!
I went to the Olympic Park two days ago to see some birds and nearly froze my toes and fingers off. It's a large park and it took me a long time to find the wetland area where I had been advised to go and look for buntings and two Manchurian Bush Warbler (Cettia canturians) that have been seen there throughout the winter. Fortunately I didn't have to search for long to find the birds, a group of Chinese photographers had set up some perches next to the reeds and lured the Bush Warblers out with mealworms.

Edward flew home to England last Friday and I'm now staying by myself until Saturday when a new volunteer arrives. I don't know yet if we will take the train to Xinyang on the same day or not. I spend the days trying to get completely free from my cold before going back to the Chen house. Before Ed left I copied a collection of BBC documentaries from his harddrive, including Planet Earth, Nature's Great Events and Attenborough in Paradise. I saw the first episode of the latter this morning, it was about Birds of Paradise and I couldn't help but to think back to my time in Qatar. I wouldn't mind the warmth of the desert right now, sitting here with a runny nose and sore throat!

Tomorrow I'm planning on going to Beijing Zoo, I've never seen a Giant Panda in real life and look forward to doing so. But I'm a bit hesitant about the rest, I suspect that the husbandry standards might leave a lot to wish for.

Since I don't have any new pictures from the last few days to show, I'll just toss in a few photos of birds we've caught previously in the season.

Collared Finchbill (Spizixos semitorques).

Chinese Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis), these two species form large, noisy mixed flocks

Male Black-faced Bunting (Emberiza spodocephala), one of the most common buntings in the area where we live.

The female looks similar but with less contrasting colors.

Great Wall Birding

Allmänt / 2015-02-17 / 12:21:43
I've managed to catch a bad cold and spent the last two days in bed, drinking tea and feeling sorry for myself. This meant Ed had to do some touristing on his own if he wanted to see everything on his list before going home on friday. I have no rush with these things since I will be staying here for at least another week after he's gone and I'm also coming back to Beijing with my dad in a months time.
This morning I felt a bit better so we took the bus to Badaling, one of the tourist places along the Great Wall. Badaling is often referred to as a tourist-trap, but if you just ignore all the people trying to sell you shit you don't need and just focus on the scenery, it's truly AWESOME! 

We were pleasantly surprised by the surrounding area, I had not expected the slopes to be covered with trees nor that I would see 4 new bird species while walking along the wall. We found one Siberian Accentor (Prunella montanella), plenty of Chinese Hill Warblers (Rhopophilus pekinesis) and Plain Laughingthrushes (Garrulax davidi), and the highlight of the day - a Godlewski's Bunting (Emberiza godlewskii). We also caught a glimpse of a large falcon far away, it disappeared behind one of the hilltops before we managed to get a good enough look at it, but Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) is a safe bet.

Instead of paying a lot of money for a tour to take us to the wall and most likely get taken to a teahouse or some other place to spend money along the way, we decided to try to get there on our own using public transportation. It worked out unexpectedly well and instead of spending 300 yuan and having to stick to the schedule of a tour, we payed 67 yuan each (subway, bus and Great Wall ticket) and managed to avoid most of the other tourists (Chinese people and their selfie-sticks... Jesus..) and be back home before 15:00. It was a really good day! :)

China is full of funny signs, often with English nonsense on them. It's a bit embarrassing that they haven't bothered to ask an English speaking person before filling the streets and subways with faulty signs!
The citizens of Beijing are no better, wherever I go I see people with sweaters or bags printed with complete gibberish, often just random letters put together. I guess it's a bit like westerners getting tattoos with Chinese letters, thinking that they have some cute love statement on their arm but really it just says blue fat horse.

At Badaling I found this cool store! I hadn't really expected to be able to buy äkta kaffe in China, nor Fjällräven and Haglöfs clothing - though I have a feeling these weren't authentic. Kind of when I bought a bottle of juice in Mexico which had 1kr pant (recycling pawn) on it.

Tomorrow is the start of the Spring Festival and we are not really sure what to expect, except for unbearable amounts of fireworks and a lot of closed stores. Even the Starbucks that I've found close to where we live will be closed for three days!
Our plan for tomorrow is to go to the Olympic Forest Park early in the morning to do some birding and then see what happens! 

Spring Break in Beijing

Allmänt / 2015-02-14 / 11:35:46
Me and Ed arrived in Beijing on Thursday and have settled into a small apartment belonging to the professor who runs the project we're working on. It's a tiny little apartment but it has a kitchen, AC, shower and flushing toilet, which feels godsent after a month in the Chen's house! 

Back at the Chen's house everyone is busy preparing for the Spring Festival, which means the homecoming of family members working in other parts of China. 

The meat from the pig is hanging outside to dry, together with the newly washed clothes...

It will be very interesting to return to Segang in two weeks, some flowers had already started to appear when we left and I think the study area might look quite different.

Today we went to the Forbidden City. It's huuuuge! We spent half of the day in there and still only saw a fraction of it. Now I'm exhausted from both the walking and the breathing of the horrible polluted air! 
I found a really nice little café across the streat from our house, they have wifi and good coffe but will unfortunately close during the Spring Festival, so I'm going to have to find a different place.

Now I'm going to go "home" and crash on the bed. It's nice with some vacation :)

Dongzhai National Nature Reserve

Allmänt / 2015-02-08 / 13:20:00
I've finally been to the nature reserve!
For three whole days!

I've been helping another student who is studying the Yellow-bellied Tit. He keeps them in cages and makes different feeding experiments of them, recording how they eat mealworms for example.
My responsibility was to check the mist-nets, which were empty most of the time, leaving me loads of time to explore the surrounding area. 

The Reeve's Pheasant (Syrmaticus reevsii) is AMAZING! The second morning I saw a male bird casually making its way away from me, no more than 30 meters from where I stood. It has the longest tail of all the pheasants in the world and it's definitely not difficult to see why it's been persued so intensely for its feathers.
Some other favorites were the White-crowned Forktail (Enicurus leschenaulti), Mountain Bulbul (Ixos mcclellandii) and Speckled Piculet (Picumnus innominatus).

It was nice to finally experience the biotop that I expected to be working in when I first came to China, dense mountain forest with plenty of small streams.

This is the lodge, the beds were nice but the food horrible, so I'm grateful to be living with the Chens after all.

This here is a young Yellow-bellied Tit (Periparus venustulus) male, he's got a nice mix of both juvenile and adult feathers, giving him this cool spangled look.

In addition to the playback we kept a male tit in a cage next to the nets, hoping that he would lure the other birds there. Yesterday the bird was left there from 7:30 in the morning until 17:00 in the afternoon, something that would never happen back home! It's hard for me to come to terms with the ethics over here, the treatment of not only the birds but also the dogs and bunnies...

The second day the student went to Xinyang to buy more mealworms, leaving me alone for the most part if the day. When he came back he had this adorable little bunny with him. He's going to use the excrement to try to figure out whether the tits can smell it or not.
I can't help but to wonder what will happen to the poor creature after it's purpose has been fulfilled...

I didn't catch a lot of birds at all and very few species. There were big mixed flocks of Naumann's (Turdus Naumanni) and Dusky Thrushes (Turdus eunomus), and more than a few hybrids, foraging in the area. This morning I caught three Dusky, including this young female and the young male on the next picture.

Now I'm back in my rock hard bed in the Chen's house, until Thursday when Ed and I go to Beijing for the Spring Festival. I will spend a minimum of 16 days in Beijing! Ed is flying back to England on the 21st and then I have about a week to myself until the next volunteer arrives and we head back here. Exciting times indeed...

Spring is on it's way back!

Allmänt / 2015-02-05 / 14:14:10
The weather is finally improving and with it my mood. Almost all the snow is gone and we have finally been able to get back to work! The next few days will be spent trying to figure out wether the birds are going back to their old nests or if these are too damaged after the snow and they need to start over with a new one.

Looks pretty good, doesn't it?

Last weekend a new volunteer arrived, an English guy named Edward. It's great to finally have someone to talk to! For the last few years he's been traveling the world working on different field projects.  
We will go to Beijing for about a week during the Spring Festival, which will be really nice. I had planned to go home during the festival, but there were no flights. Two more months feels like a long time to spend in this place! But in the middle of March my dad will arrive and we'll do some touristing, which will be nice.
If I'm lucky Beidaihe Bird Observatory will start their spring season already in March. It would be lovely to visit them before heading home, see some new birds perhaps :)

Yesterday we caught this amazing Red-billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa erythrorhyncha), it's a very noisy but totally awesome bird. We don't catch that many birds besides the tits, and this was by far the most exciting one!
Only fifteen minutes later I found a White's Thrush (Zoothera dauma), another gorgeous bird, turning that cold damp morning into the best one since I got here.
Today wasn't that bad either, we didn't catch any tits but it was at least warm and sunny and birds were singing in every other tree. One bird, the Chinese Hwamei (Garrulax canorus), has a beautiful song similar to that of our Blackbird back home.
Before lunch I was wandering around on my own a little bit when I found an adult male Red-flanked Bluetail (Luscinia cyanura). I've been searching for this bird for weeks but only been able to find females and immature males (which look like females). It was foraging on the sunlit leafbed, the sunlight just making the brightly blue bird even more striking! It was without doubt one of my top bird encounters, I had brought a thermos with coffee (bad fake instant shit, but somehow still amazing) and just stood there for several minutes, enjoying the moment.

We've been walking to town almost every day for the last week, and I've made a new friend! The little guy has even let me scratch his head once, though Big Momma didn't seem so happy about it. 
Makes me miss "my" cows back home!

Do you want to build a snowman?

Allmänt / 2015-01-28 / 06:14:27

I guess it really is winter after all! I thought it was hard enough to live in a house without heating from the start, but oh, I had no idea... I'm sitting in bed with all my clothes on, including winter jacket and hat, under the cover, and I'm still freezing.

Yesterday we went to the town market to by some food, and this is what it looked like then:

Rain. Lots of it.
Had it not been for that I think that we would have at least two decimeters of snow by now, it took several hours of constant snowing before the snowflakes didn't melt as soon as they touched the ground. We'll see how it looks in a few days, the snowing is not about to stop anytime soon...

In the mean time, all we can do is watch videos of the birds, read and watch movies. I found out that Yu Jin has a whole hard drive full with literature on birds, so at least I'm not going to run out of things to read :)

And watching these little things is not all bad either. I would just like some coffee or some other hot drink, then maybe this could be quite nice even.

I miss normal food

Allmänt / 2015-01-23 / 12:39:34
Today I've analyzed videos of the Black-throated Tits at their nests, from previous years. Some of them were filmed during incubation and others when the birds had chicks. It was nice to do something different and I find it quite interesting to watch the birds during the breeding, especially since I won't be here when this season finally kicks off. 
One small problem though. I bought a new computer before coming here, for just this reason, so that I would be able to watch the videos. So far so good. But  I had completely forgotten about the fact that the Office package isn't included in a new computer (to my defense it's been over five years since last time). So we've had to print out all the excel sheets and I feel quite sorry for the poor student who someday will have to input everything into the proper file!

Black-throated Tit (Aegithalos concinnus) bringing food to it's nestlings.

Today's dinner included a stew full of surprises. I wish I could have seen my own face when a whole chickenfoot followed in the big spoon of stew Mr Chen put in my bowl! I didn't even understand how to eat it at first (nor why since there's no meat on them!) but followed the others when they put the feet in their mouths and started spitting out the little bones one after one. It tasted a lot better than the pig liver we've been having for the last few days, but still... Chicken feet!?!?

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