Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Abroad in China: Shanghai - the Bund / Huangpu Park

A Birding Visit to Shanghai's Bund and Huangpu Park The Bund is one of Shanghai’s famous landmarks, a riverfront area lined with ostentatious European stone building facades. A major pedestrian path in front of it, right on the riverbank, is popular with tourists. Of course, I visited there hoping to take the pedestrian walk up to a greenspace northeast of the main Bund area – Huangpu Park.

It was a moderately busy October day on the waterfront, though warmer times are generally much busier. While looking out over the river, I noticed for the first time that there were no waterbirds whatsoever. No ducks were out on the river, and no gulls soared over or perched on the lightposts. In fact, this would come to be the case throughout our trip: ducks were exceedingly rare, and I never saw a single gull in China.

However, clear across the river, there was an area of mudflats, where a small group of what appeared to be Intermediate Egrets (Mesophoyx intermedia) were foraging spastically. In a little while, another Intermediate Egret flew over the river to join them, along with a lone Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea). I was not able to photograph them, nor would I see either species again in China.

A ways along the waterfront to the north, we reached Huangpu Park. The usual complement of pigeons & doves, bulbuls, and sparrows were present, along with a couple of Eurasian Blackbirds among the branches. A Mugimaki Flycatcher among the treetops was also nice to see.

But as it turned out, the best finds were out of the park at its northern edge. On a concrete lock spanning a water outlet were 3 Little Egrets, preening and stretching in the sunshine.

They were perhaps the easiest birds to photograph that I encountered in Shanghai, not reacting at all to the large amounts of pedestrian traffic on the main river wall.

And far out in the water, 2 Eastern White Wagtails (Motacilla [alba] ocularis) were walking around on a concrete pier -- difficult to see even in photos.

Although the main portion of the Bund gets heavy foot traffic and is devoid of any birds but Eurasian Tree Sparrows, Huangpu Park has the good fortune of being an isolated semi-wooded strip on a northeast-facing corner of land. Migrants probably make brief stopovers here, no doubt especially in spring, and though small, the park seems worth checking.

We eventually went for a small restaurant with an even smaller front in an alley off the Bund (unfortunately we did not make note of the name or exact location). Though the food was good and well-seasoned in general, including some very spicy dishes, the restaurant itself was smoky and a bit dark inside.

List - 10/22/13

Gray Heron - 1 (flyover with single Intermediate Egret)
Intermediate Egret - 9 (1 flyover, others feeding jerkily on mudflats across river)
Little Egret - 3 (perched on concrete lock, preening)
Rock Pigeon - x (flyovers)
Spotted Dove - 1
Light-vented Bulbul - x
Eurasian Blackbird - 2
Mugimaki Flycatcher - 1 (immature male flycatching in trees)
White Wagtail - 2 (out on edge of concrete pier in water)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow - x

1 comment:

  1. And the great thing is: no music! Hahaha! The wagtails were so cool. Wish they were closer (or my eyes better) though.