We have entered the peak migration window in Shanghai. On 16th April, me and Russell set out for XiaoYangshan to witness one of the massive migrations in one of the biggest flyways on planet Earth. The Accuweather forecast was very optimistic and favorable for us. Heavy winds from southwest and bit of a passing shower in the afternoon. I have lived long enough in China not to trust the weather forecast as the predicted clear day was covered with showers and no rains on a rainy day. But Saturday, the weather prediction was right up to every hour. As expected, the heavy winds have brought this season’s big passerine push. We started our day casually with Russell annoucing, two “Yellow-breasted Buntings” just took off. Damn, i missed another rare bird for my Shanghai arsenal. Given that, we had Black-headed Bunting during last autumn migration. We then proceeded to pick one of our several male Narcissus Flycatchers, Yellow-rumped Flycatchers. I picked up a single adult male Brown-headed Thrush, jumping around the thickets of a tree. Before, Russell could join me, the bird disappeared into the world of undergrowth. Sorry Russell, another time. Not an easy bird in Shanghai as my first and only sighting was in April 2012, around the same time of the year.

Brown-headed Thrush

First sighting in 21-April-2012, an adult female in Nanhui

Brown-headed Thrush

This year’s Adult male

Not much of a clear picture but the overall brown back and orange flanks are clear indicators of a Brown-headed Thrush compared to the grey primaries and grey/brownish flanks of the Pale Thrush. While returning from a very productive first hour at XiaoYangshan, an adult male “Yellow-breasted Bunting” in full breeding plumage took off from the grass and posed for a while for me to grab some record shots. That was indeed a very productive morning, not to miss the “red-listed” bird.

Yellow-breasted Bunting

Another scarce bunting in Shanghai

Further down to the south-eastern corner of the island, lies an undisturbed marsh. On the marsh and the adjacent mudflats we added few more waterfowl and assortment of waders to our list. As of now, XiaoYansghan, seems to be a very favorable spot for the Chinese Egrets. We picked up 3 individuals in full breeding plumage. Below is an individual from last year on the same spot.

Chinese Egret

Chinese Egret in XiaoYangshan on May 2015

Back at Nanhui, we stopped at the first dirt road on the southern end of the sea wall to see if the Bluethroat is still around. No signs of Bluethroat but the Marsh Grassbirds din’t disappoint. A dozen individuals put up a nice display. Near, the recently converted aquafarm, while scoping in for the waders, Russell picked out a single Citrine Wagtail, another scarce bird in the region and probably overlooked as well. Following is my personal record of Citrine Wagtails in Shanghai. Given that, two records align during the mid-week of April(20-April 2012, 16-April 2016), spring is the best time to see them and not to fuss that it’s an unexpected turnout.


First sighting – 21 April 2012


Second sighting – 10 May 2014

The afternoon showers in Shanghai has remarkably reduced the “Walker Herd” at Nanhui but still plenty of cars in the car park and around the “Sea view” road. We then proceeded to our next mission of finding the “Chestnut-eared Bunting” for Russell, which we achieved after a bit of difficulty. The newly planted trees along the seawall seems to be attracting lot of buntings. Over the two weekends, we saw plenty of Little and Chestnut-Buntings prefer those trees compared to the reeds. The pools behind these new “landscape” held a good no of shorebirds inlcluding a dozen Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, couple Broad-billed Sandpipers and a single Bar-tailed Godwit. By the time, we came back to the car park, it was totally empty and no cars in the vicinity. This has brought all the players of undergrowth to the open. Several Japanese, Pale and Grey-backed Thrushes played their hopping game closer to the hedges. When the light was going down quickly, a Northern Boobook swooped into the car park, sending all the undergrowth players to where they belong.  “Happy Ending” for sitting ducks inside the car.

Pallas's Reed Bunting in breeding plumage

Pallas’s Reed Bunting in breeding plumage

Species List :

Common name Scientific name Location
Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae) – 2 / 173  
Garganey Anas querquedula XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Pheasants and allies (Phasianidae) – 1 / 182
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Grebes (Podicipedidae) – 1 / 23
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae) – 1 / 36
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae) – 7 / 72
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Great Egret Ardea alba Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Little Egret Egretta garzetta XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Chinese Egret – VU Egretta eulophotes XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Ospreys (Pandionidae) – 1 / 2
Eastern Osprey Pandion cristatus Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Kites, Hawks and Eagles (Accipitridae) – 1 / 256
Eastern Buzzard Buteo japonicus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Rails, Crakes and Coots (Rallidae) – 2 / 151
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Plovers (Charadriidae) – 4 / 67
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae) – 15 / 96
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Common Redshank Tringa totanus Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Dunlin Calidris alpina XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae) – 2 / 335
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Owls (Strigidae) – 1 / 222
Northern Boobook Ninox japonica Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Kingfishers (Alcedinidae) – 1 / 93
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae) – 1 / 67
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Shrikes (Laniidae) – 1 / 33
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Crows, Jays (Corvidae) – 1 / 131
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Tits, Chickadees (Paridae) – 1 / 61
Japanese Tit Parus minor Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Larks (Alaudidae) – 1 / 97
Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae) – 1 / 151
Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae) – 3 / 88
Pale Martin Riparia diluta Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Cettia Bush Warblers and allies (Cettiidae) – 1 / 32
Manchurian Bush Warbler Horornis borealis XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Leaf Warblers and allies (Phylloscopidae) – 4 / 77
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Reed Warblers and allies (Acrocephalidae) – 1 / 61
Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Grassbirds and allies (Locustellidae) – 1 / 60
Marsh Grassbird Locustella pryeri Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae) – 2 / 158
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Plain Prinia Prinia inornata XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Sylviid Babblers (Sylviidae) – 1 / 70
Vinous-throated Parrotbill Sinosuthora webbiana Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Northern/Reed Parrotbill Paradoxornis polivanovi/heudei Nanhui, Shanghai, China
White-eyes (Zosteropidae) – 1 / 128
Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Goldcrests, Kinglets (Regulidae) – 1 / 6
Goldcrest Regulus regulus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Starlings, Rhabdornis (Sturnidae) – 3 / 123
Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatellus Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Red-billed Starling Spodiopsar sericeus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
White-cheeked Starling Spodiopsar cineraceus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Thrushes (Turdidae) – 5 / 166
Grey-backed Thrush Turdus hortulorum Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Japanese Thrush Turdus cardis Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Common Blackbird Turdus merula Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Pale Thrush Turdus pallidus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Brown-headed Thrush Turdus chrysolaus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Chats, Old World Flycatchers (320) (Muscicapidae) – 7 / 320
Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa latirostris XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae) – 1 / 51
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Waxbills, Munias and allies (Estrildidae) – 1 / 141
Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Wagtails, Pipits (Motacillidae) – 4 / 65
Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Finches (Fringillidae) – 1 / 219
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Buntings, New World Sparrows and allies (Emberizidae) – 7 / 176
Tristram’s Bunting Emberiza tristrami XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Yellow-throated Bunting Emberiza elegans XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Yellow-breasted Bunting – VU Emberiza aureola XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Black-faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala XiaoYangshan, Shanghai, China
Pallas’s Reed Bunting Emberiza pallasi Nanhui, Shanghai, China
Species: 89