Friday, 30 November 2012


In the dock at Shanghai at 0600 hrs awaiting our trip,had a light breakfast in our cabin,tea,yoghourt and a croissant.A little cooler today although the son was on the rise
0700 hrs  for our coach ,first stop was the Jin Mao tower at 88 stories this stunning skyscraper is
1,380 ft tall.I was in the lift seconds next minute I was photographing the vistas of Shanghai.
Next up the Shanghai museum produced Citrine wagtail,Tree Sparrow and Chinese Blackbird.
At the museum Ming dynasty vases were just a few of the artifacts on show.
After lunch the Jade Buddha temple showed off it's Buddhist attributes.

In this busy metropolis sanctuary for monks and worshippers.
Next up we headed to Old Town home of the Yu Gardens established in 1559,this restored area
held classic pagodas and Tea Houses.
Tonight we will pass the Shanghai river traffic head out to sea on an easterly course across the
East China Sea towards Japan we may see brightly lit fishing boats,squid jiggers which use lights
to attract squid to their lines

Cruising Diamond Princess Nov 4TH 2012

Got up 0800hrs  we had finished trasiting the Taiwan Strait with Taiwan on our starboard side
and China on our port.
I sea watched in a heavy swell for an hour producing at least 60c shearwaters.
The species looked to be Short tailed Shearwaters and Streaked shearwaters.
The sun had arrived 0915 hrs as we await breakfast in our cabin.
A common migrant Wedge tailed Shearwater was also a possibilitie,later  I picked up a
Pomarine skua ,still sea watching 1145 hrs.
Captains report 1210hrs  rough to moderate seas on a NNE course along the East China sea and
China is 35 miles  of the port side.
It's 124 Nautical miles before we reach the pilot station for Shanghai around 2100hrs.

cruising Diamond Princess 3rd Nov 2012

Got up 0800hrs sunny and windy, tea in the cabin 093O HRS quiet pelagic  wise,spent most of the day
in mixed conditions at the back of the boat.
No birds at all up to lunch time .Retired to the cabin around1630hrs sailing of the coast of Taiwan.
Suddenly I pick up a small but gracefull black and white bird with grey pale wings.
Could this be the Gadfly petrel ie Bonin Petrel.
It is accidental of Taiwan after the excitement I have a siesta around 1700 hrs.
Light fading 1900hrs  preparing for formal dress evening,a night in our penguin suits
with dinner in the Vivaldi restaurant.
"Well everybodys heard about the bird? bird bird bird."

29th November Maple Lodge

Birding with Paul Lewis started slow a Green Woodpecker was visible on the cricket pitch before
entering the reserve,we made our way to Rotunda hide where a few teal were distant but calling.
Next up the Teal hide which incidentally only produced Coot no Teal.
At the Paddock in the sky a Common Buzzard was mobbed by Corvids.
On to Lynsters where a number of Mute Swans obliged with Rooks and Jackdaws favouring
the local farm.
At Long Hedge a single Little grebe in partial summer plumage was seen briefly.
Walking back down Long Hedge up to 15 Redwings flew over and lone male Siskin showed in
the hawthorns.

Also of note here was a female blackcap before we made our way to the Club house hide
where at the feeding station superb Jays obliged.
Finally 10 Ring necked Parakeets was our parting shot of the morning,a male in resplendent
plumage was the boldest.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Stockers lake this morning

Paul Lewis picked me up and as we passed the roundabout  at Woodoaks farm a Common Buzzard
sat on a fence post.We parked up in the Aquadrome car park and walked up Bury lake to Stockers.
From the Kingfisher hide a few tits amd male Blackbird obliged.
Fairly quiet wildfowl wise we retraced our steps back down the lake at the Shoveler hide
I managed to photograph a pair of Goldeneyes.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Senior moment missed 1ST November cruising Diamond Princess

Between 0900 hrs and1000hrs while sea watching I saw and photographed a Red footed Booby intermediate morph.Between 1000HRS and 1100hrs,they are widespread in tropical seas some
winter to SE China perhaps this reflects to my sighting.In non breeding plumage,pelagic seen
following boat,then cruising over the top of our liner.I assume watching the bow waves for fish
movement.As they dived I managed to photograph the adult bird catch a flying fish clearly
showing its red feet and all white tail.
I have seen a number of flying fish over the last few days.

2nd November 2012 Hong Kong

0630 hrs entering Hong Kong harbour at sunrise.
A few Black kites present as was Chinese Egret in flight,had breakfast on our balcony
before our tour of Hong Kong.
We took a tram ride to Victoria peak to marvel at the panoramic view of the island.
harbour and Kowloon peninsula a few species of bird were present mostly red whiskered bulbuls.
Scenic views from here was superb that did not last long enough.

Next up Aberdeen village,home to thousands of water people who live aboard junks and sampans.
We boarded a Sampan for a short tour of the inner harbour before stepping aboard the famous floating restaurant for the legendary dimsun.
Then it was Stanley market and the Star ferry across Victoria harbour.
That evening a laser show with its bright lights.Captain Dino Sangani had got permission to traverse
the inner harbour,so we could see this spectacular laser show.
We carefully navigated out of the busy waters of Hong Kong we proceeded on North easterly course
paralleling the coast of China  through the South China sea.Late in the evening we will approach the
Taiwan states.

31st Oct Nha Trang Vietnam

Woke up around 0630hrs sailing in towards Nha Trang, limestone green islands off our starboard
bow .  No sign of any birds yet.Tea arrived 0700hrs  as did a White bellied sea eagle.
From the Navigator over night the Diamond Princess continued along the coast of Vietnam
this morning we will embark our local pilot before entering Nha Trang,once on board we
proceed to our anchorage a short distance before Vin Pearl cable car which links Hon Tre Island with
Nha Trang,we then launch our tenders to go ashore.
Around 0845hrs we took the tender to the harbour where we boarded our bus to Long Son Pagoda,dragon shaped balusrades lead the way to an imposing sactuary decorated with murals
and images of the Buddha.Behind the Pagoda sits an enormous Buddha built in 1965.
The   statue commemorates those monks who protested the abuses of the Diem regime by setting themselves alight.
 Next the Pongar Cham tower complex the best reserved relic of the Thousand Year Long Champa Dynasty a few birds were present here. Chinese bulbuls in the trees.
 On to the coast at Hon Chong a lovely peninsula where we flushed a Striated heron before heading to Dam market for shopping. Finally got the tender back to the ship.

Friday, 23 November 2012

30th October Good Morning Vietnam

Woke up around 0530 hrs cruising down the Mekong delta towards the docking pier at
Phu My.
Birds of note already Intermediate Egret,Little Egret,Purple Heron,Black winged stilt,Greenshank and Pond heron.
It's hot already the stilts and greenshank are calling and it's 25 mins to disembarking.
This morning we have approached the Vung Tau pilot station from the south west and embarked
our local pilot up the Mekong river towards the berth at Saigon terminal of note House swift and
Left the boat around 0715hrs noted a few birds on route to Ho chi minh city or Saigon.
Smyrna kingfisher,Tiger shrike,Cattle egret,Great White Egret etc.
First stop was the Thien Hau Temple in China town dedicated to the Sea Godess.Next up
was the Minh Phuong Lacquer workshop where the art of lacquering process was on view.
We then stopped to photograph the Notre Dame Cathedral(yes the French left their mark here).
and the Rex Hotel.
At the reunification hall I was pleased to photograph the tanks that rumbled in to Saigon
to end the war,as I crossed the lawn I saw Rufous woodpecker.
At the museum here there were four levels outlining the Vietnam conflict ,photos on the
wall depicting JFK and tank 834 gave an idea of the times.
This war was fought during my lifetime so this was a great insight in to it.
Lunch was at a down town restaurant comprising of Western and Vietnamese dishes,followed
by a visit to the history museum with artifacts going back many years. Finally a
a performance of the Vietnamese Water Puppets was spendidly done,back to Port
around 1600hrs. Thank to the puppeteers for a great perfomance and a great day in Saigon.