It’s a very well known fact that April is the Golden window of spring migration in Shanghai with mid April being the peak.  We covered all the weekends without fail, some of the weekends were slow and some were slightly above average but nothing extraordinary turned up during our visit. The previous post covered the first weekend of April with Marsh Grassbird in the spotlight.

We had the pleasure to host the new arrival from Beijing. David and Katja joined us for a day on 8th April. We had stunning views of Siberian Rubythroat (without any meal worms), a very early Bull-headed Shrike and several Meadow Buntings whose song echoed throughout the island.

Siberian Rubythroat during spring migration

Male Rubythroat flaunting his firethroat

Male Meadow Bunting -singing

slightly less colorful female Meadow Bunting

This is the first visit to the island since three months and there were several developments at the garbage gully in XiaoYanghshan island. It needs to be addressed as Pylon gully from now onwards as the dump site was removed and two massive pylons stand there in its place.

Not just birds, an equally puzzled Kevin at the former garbage gully.

Back at Nanhui, we were able to find the Marsh Grassbirds but the habitat wasn’t looking promising. The earthmover have now moved south of the Holiday Inn and several areas among the reed beds have been marked for destruction.

That’s not a Chinese Flag, a demarcation pointer for removing the reeds

A smart male Stejneger’s Stonechat in breeding plumage

Poor weather and poor visibility put a dent in our quest to kick start things for this season’s migration.

Things started to bit more interesting on the following weekend. On 17th April, we had good influx of Flycatcher’s including the spring migration’s usual Narcissus Flycatcher and several Japanese Yellow Buntings. The same week proved to be a peak migration time for several buntings as we recorded Black-faced, Tristram’s, Little, Yellow-breasted, Yellow-browed, Japanese Yellow and Chestnut-eared Buntings.

Spring specialist – Male Narcissus Flycatcher

Yellow-browed Bunting – Long time no see

Another Cracker – Male Tristram’s Bunting

Little Jewel – Male Siberian Blue Robin

Rufous-faced Warbler

Another noteworthy sighting was several Rufous-faced Warbler, we did see 6 of them but the valley was reverberating with their sweet trills. Below is a previous record of the Rufous-faced Warbler just a week late than the current sighting but a strong evidence that during migration they regularly pass through here.

Tiny but cute – Rufous-faced Warbler

Back at Nanhui, we noticed several Red-throated Pipits and this individual was very confiding.

Large Hawk Cuckoo

That brings us to the last weekend of April. Probably, it was the most interesting weekend of all not just for the birds but we bumped into something very unusual. The first was a mega sized “Chinese Peacock” butterfly which sat in a dense area for several minutes giving us enough time to apperciate the every detail of it.


Chinese Peacock

The second surprise came in the form of the “Stinking Goddess”,  a 5 feet “King Rat Snake” was lying motionless in the garbage pile and for an instance i thought it was dead untill it hissed and showed its tongue.

Stinking Goddess aka King Rat Snake

Black-eared Kite

Hair-crested Drongo

Japanese Yellow Bunting

Narcissus Flycatcher

We closed the day with the scarce Black-eared Kite and season’s first Chinese Egret, Hair-crested Drongo, Black-naped Oriole. The check list for every weekend can be found in my ebird profile.