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Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus at Binhai,Shanghai- 7th April,2010

by Zhang Lin & Tristan Guillosson




On 7 Apr,2010 we were walking on a kind of peninsula at the north bank of Dishui Lake,southeast corner of mainland Shanghai,to watch ducks and loons etc.It was quite a clear but windy day.The strong wind came from northwest.We heard a Manchurian Bush Warbler singing somewhere.Just when we were trying to find it,a big white bird flew in,just 10 or 15 meters overhead.Quite easy to id it as an adult pelican!It soared for a while but did not make his decision to land into the lake maybe due to the training yachts. Following it were three Grey Heron.

Dalmatian Pelican

Dalmatian Pelican ,photo by Tristan Guillosson


It showed black wingtip and dark trailing edge on underwing,and a white median band.On upperwing,not just wingtip but also secondaries are black.Legs grey.Pinkish pouch.All white tail without dark tip.
Facial pattern not seen well.No obvious curly head plumes.But already enough features to rule out Great White Pelican/Spot-billed Pelican.
In recent years,there're no record of Spot-billed in East China which is probably extinct.Occasionlly Great White Pelican is recorded in migration.Dalmatian Pelican winters to the south of Shanghai such as Zhejiang,and as south as Hongkong.In Jiangsu,to the north of Shanghai,it's often recorded in migration.So it's quite probable that it passes Shanghai in northward migration,although not often inland to be observed.Maybe it's the strong wind which pushed it in.
Before this sighting,in Shanghai region Dalmatian Pelican is only recorded in A Handbook of the Birds of Eastern China(1925-1934) by La Touche J.D.D..







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