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Red-breasted Flycatcher at Wenzhou Bay- 4th November,2008

by Zhang Lin etc



After a trip to Minjiang Estuary,with peak tally of Spoon-billed Sandpiper up to 10,I took a coach from Fuzhou to Wenzhou,Zhejiang Province.

On 3 Nov,it was raining hard all day.On 4 Nov,rain stopped and it was quite a good day for birding.Two local birder,Chen Hui and Cai Zhe drove me to Wenzhou Bay which is close to Wenzhou Airport.To the north of Wenzhou Bay,there's the Yueqing Bay also in the Wenzhou District.Yueqing Bay use to be a wintering site for large flocks of Saunders's Gull.But due to pollution and constructions,now most of the gulls winter in Wenzhou Bay instead.Several Dalmatian Pelicans also visit Wenzhou Bay every winter.Not far away there're some Chinese Egret breeding on the offshore islands in summer.Spoon-billed Sandpiper also recorded once or twice.



It was pity that when we arrived at the seawall,we found a new seawall just under construction.Besides it,many waders ,herons and gulls were in active feeding.It was quite a large mudflat,which made finding a Spoon-billed Sandpiper not easy.With the tide coming up,birds were getting closer and closer and some started to fly into the aquaculture ponds inside the seawall.In them,I saw a 1st-winter Relict Gull passing by within 10 meters.

When all the mudflat was flooded,we came to the aquaculture ponds,where we released an Oriental Scops Owl saved this morning by our friends working in Green Eyes,an NGO.Then we walked closer to the birds roosting there.Among the gulls and waders(most were Dunlin) we found the 1st-winter Relict Gull again and two Nordmann's Greenshank.No Spoon-billed Sandpiper.


Red-breasted Flycatcher

Red-breasted Flycatcher,photo by Cai Zhe


When finishing watching them,we drove on to the far end of the seawall where there were many ducks.In the car I saw a passerine dashing into the bushes down the seawall.At first glance,I identified it as a male Red-throated Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla,which is an uncommon passage in Shanghai and along Zhejiang coast.
It behaved typically,dashing around,unlike other flycatchers.Thus we had a prolonged view and we saw its large red area on the breast which is unusual for a Red-throated Flycatcher.It was actually a Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva!

Orange-red coming from the throat to the breast,
grey on the face coming down to breast side,
bill black,with pinkish-orange on the base of lower mandible,



When Cai Zhe and Chen Hui got off the car,trying to get closer to take a photo,it flew away along the seawall.Then I drove,let them sit on the right side and then,the bird was not afraid at all.It jumped backwards,I drove backwards.It jumped forwards,I drove forwards.Until we thought we had had enough observations and photos,we drove on to the ducks.At this time the bird flew high into the air and then disappeared to the sea!What a show he gave us!What a lifer!

Red-breasted Flycatcher is a split from Red-throated Flycatcher.There are very few records in Taiwan,and the first record published for mainland China is in Beidaihe area(China Bird Report 2007).This one is probably the first in Zhejiang Province.

At dusk,we went into farmlands with reeds where we met a Baillon's Crake,another lifer for me.




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