August is a bit of a transition month – from the summer lull at the beginning of the month to the first shorebird migrants a bit later, and the very first migrating passerines at the end of the month. This can mean some interesting birding, if you can bear the Shanghai heat …

Of course, the egrets and herons described in my last post are still around.

Cattle Egret … though some of them seem to want to hide (which is really difficult for a white bird)

Little Egret: Once, I showed a photo of a Little Egret to a Chinese fruit vendor lady. She was impressed and said that the bird certainly looked “very expensive”.

Grey Heron. Grey can be stylish too.

Yellow Bittern: Sometimes performing in night clubs as a reed imitator

On the coast, shorebirds have arrived.

Whimbrel: Breakfast and morning gymnastics

Asian Dowitcher, with the one on the last photo presumably posing in front of a Rothko painting

Pied Avocet: Effortless style part 1

Black-winged Stilt: Effortless style part 2

Grey-tailed Tattler: They look like the bureaucrats of the wader world

Common Tern. Now basically I decided only to get into subspecies after retirement, but this may be longipennis: “Darker grey than the nominate subspecies, with shorter black bill, darker red-brown legs, and longer wings”

Black-tailed Gull: At the viewing platform of the local airport

Sanderling: A bird with strong work ethics.

The pair of Brown Crakes is still around. Not sure if they are breeding but certainly they are trying, though I am not fully convinced of their competence.

Webster`s Dictionary defines Cuculophotobia as “The fear of bird photographers to post cuckoo photos online due to the high likeliness of getting the species assignment wrong.” 

Some cuckoo species.

And of course there are passerines, some which spent the summer at Nanhui, some just returning from their breeding grounds elsewhere.

Amur Paradise Flycatcher: Was breeding in Shanghai this year, a first according to official records.

Brown Shrike. I saw one mobbing a cuckoo, and indeed this species is parasitized by cuckoos.

Collared Finchbill: The chick looked a bit too immature to be out of the nest, but was cared for by two parents and already looked much better two days later. Another new breeding record for Shanghai 

Common Myna: Actually, not very common in Shanghai (that would be Crested Myna) but a popular cage bird, so maybe an escape. Mixing with a flock of Crested Myna to feel less lonely.

Lesser Coucal: The juvenile (lower photo) almost looks more interesting than the adult

Light-vented Bulbul: The one endemic species you are guaranteed to see if you come to Shanghai. Adult (upper photo) and juvenile (lower)

Oriental Dollarbird: Juvenile laughing at me, as most birds seem to do

Oriental Magpie-Robin. A juvenile, with rufous wing edgings that will be gone once the bird leaves kindergarden.

Reed Parrotbill: Because a post on Shanghai birds is not the same without it.

Tiger Shrike. As with humans, you can tell the juveniles by not being grey on the head.

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher: For me, seeing the first colorful flycatcher marks the proper start of autumn migration. Aug. 24, this year.

Last year, I saw the first Fairy Pitta of the autumn migration on Aug 31. So, I went out to Nanhui again one year later, but no luck … so, no Fairy Pitta in this report. Apologies.



Written by Kai Pflug
Kai Pflug has been living in Shanghai for 20 years. He only became interested in birds in China – so he is much more familiar with birds in China than with those in Germany. While he will only ever be an average birder, he aims to be a good bird photographer and has created a website with bird photos as proof. He hopes not too many clients of his consulting company read this blog, as they will doubt his dedication to providing consulting services related to China`s chemical industry. Whenever he wants to shock other birders, he tells them his (indoor) cats can distinguish several warblers by taste.