YES Café – Observe Birds in Shanghai


Fifth YES Cafe, Observe Birds in Shanghai

On 16th April, we held the fifth YES Café activities. There were many who enrolled in the activity, but some did not end up coming. In total, eight volunteers attended the bird observation program we had in Shanghai Botanical Garden. We were divided into two groups, with two guides leading us through the program. Here are the photos of our guides and us.

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 There was a simple opening ceremony before the bird observation began. I spent the ceremony inspecting the large cannon-like monocular used by other groups of observers, though, and unfortunately didn’t pay attention to the speech the leader gave.

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 Before we set off, our guide, Cong Cong, taught us how to use binoculars. After we set off, we first reached a small path surrounded by huge trees. Everyone was holding their binoculars as taught, but it was still hard to find the birds, for we were searching for a tiny, 9 cm bird called the Willow Warbler. These Warblers were hopping up and down on the top of trees some ten meters away. The two professional bird observers then came and said to us quietly “Those two different-sized birds are different kinds of Willow Warblers.” We held up our binoculars again and tried to find what they referring to. However, the birds were against the light so we could only see their silhouettes. The songs of these birds, however, were just amazing. They say that professional bird observers can recognize the species of a bird simply by listening to its song. This still remains a mystery for us beginners. Luckily, although we failed to see the Willow Warblers clearly, we did see a gray Magpie foraging around a hornet’s nest.

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There was also a flower show in the Botanical Garden that day, so while we were bird watching, we were also able to appreciate the flowers. Here are some wisterias and irises we saw:

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On the way to the nursery, we found a beautiful bird searching for food on the concrete path. That was neither a sparrow nor a blackbird, but a Sturnus Sericeus. I didn’t manage to take a picture with my point-and-shoot camera, but I found a photo on the Internet that exactly resembles the one we saw that day. We wanted to cheer but our guide told us to be quiet, since birds are easily frightened.

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In the nursery, we ran into some more surprises. We encountered swallows, mynahs and long-tailed shrikes, which are all relatively common birds. There were also easily frightened, rare birds such as the Emberiza Spodocephalas. They tend to move in grass and have distinguishing white feathers under their gray tail feathers. Below are some of the birds we found in the Botanical Garden. We observed 18 species of birds in total.

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Around noon, the prizes of the competition were announced; Roots and Shoots received a winning prize! Although there was no reward, we were all very pleased, and proudly took this photo with our certificate.

 (Translated by WFLMS Crunchy Zoo Language Club)

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