Oh, when I look back now
That summer seemed to last forever
And if I had the choice
Yeah, I’d always wanna be there
Those were the best days of my life.

Oh, yeah.
Back in the summer of ’69, oh

One of the worst dog days in the birding season is summer. This summer is no exception with temperature almost melting iron.  Tough birding, still pulled some best birds given the conditions. I have combined the trips throughout the summer starting from the last week of May to August. With absolutely no passerines, it was even hard to see the residents during the dog days.

Cuckoo’s and Oriental Reed Warblers were still around Shanghai by last week of May. Dozens of cuckoo’s in Hengsha Island. Reed Warblers were busy chasing them all around.  Kevin recorded several cuckoo calls n later confirmed that Eurasian, Indian n Oriental Cuckoo’s call. Peak time for the “Yellow Bitterns”, there was atleast two in any given direction at any given point. Also, this is the first time I saw the “Black Bittern” in Shanghai.


The big treat in Hengsha was the “Pheasant-tailed Jacana”. This year there was a good influx of Jacana’s in Shanghai. In subsequent visits to Nanhui, I and Kevin saw a Jacana in two different occasions.


Jacana @ Hengsha Island


Jacana @ Nanhui


Temperature was gradually increasing in June. Kevin and I decided to check the shores of Fengxian and the inland Shrimp ponds. Surprisingly, cuckoo’s were still around + the Oriental Reed Warblers. On 22nd June, Kevin and I recorded the second sighting of the “Black-winged Kite” for Shanghai and most probably the first photographic record in Fengxian district. Later that day, we had a small flock of “Oriental Greenfinches” in front of a supermarket at Zhonggang village when we stopped for refreshment. There were also, a 150+ White-winged Black Terns in three flocks over the shrimp ponds near the Turf field. We also had half a dozen Lesser Coucal in Fengxian district. My first sighting in Shanghai.


Second record of Black-winged Kite for Shanghai and probably the first photographic record


Lesser Coucal at Fengxian. Atleast 6 of them were present.


“Rot in Hell” – that’s how birding started in August. Out with Mark Maddock (McMadd of birdforum) and his touring friend Richard Bonser on 4th August. We found 4 Black-tailed Gull’s near the Turf fields. It was the same place where I saw my first Black-tailed Gull a year before except it was winter. After some nice shutter bursts we left to Xiao Yangshan, only to see the deserted island. Back in Nanhui, the pools were filled with small waders(Red-necked Stint, Dunlin, Greater Sand Plover, Long-toed Stint etc.,) There was a good no of Barn Swallows swarming over the pool. Richard quickly spotted the Pale/Sand Martin(Later Anders Magnusson confirmed the Martin is Pale with its “Grating twittering”call). We also had Red-turtle doves in Fengxian n Nanhui. Earlier that day I had my first Shanghai tick of “Green Sandpiper” in Fengxian.

Gull,Black_tailed_003 Gull,Black_tailed_004 Gull,Black_tailed_005 Kestrel,Common_001 Martin,Pale_001 Martin,Pale_002

Other highlights were nesting Grebes(including Great crested Grebe), white-breasted waterhen, a lonely Chinese Egret, Oriental Pratincole. Altogether, it wasn’t a bad summer except for the historic 45C hot noon(highest temp recorded in past 120 years, Chinese TVs had a great outdoor cooking story)