Saturday, October 20, 2007

Little Grebes in Beijing environs

We went for Malaysian food in Beijing suburbs with friends this weekend. the restaurant is located along a spathe of makan joints around a lake. Even in the gathering cold of autumn there were still many anglers dipping their lines into the water.

On my previous trip to get my chicken rice n char kway teow fix, I noticed some small shapes bobbing in the lake. ducks? turned out it was Little Grebes! they were swimming and diving for food.
this is the best I can do with my idiot-proof digital camera minus a big ass long lens.

I was also wondering why the birds were still hanging around Beijing. By rights, the Little Grebes should be on there way down south (even Singapore!). it's already autumn and getting chilly? they might even be over-wintering in Beijing since the lake does not completely freeze over and recent winters had been mild and relatively warm. effects of global warming? or are the birds getting alternative food extras from the many restaurants around the lake.

It was a pleasant surprise to see my old friends. I used to watch Little Grebes from my living room, bobbing around in a transient pond in the field opposite my flat in Punggol. now that pond is long gone and the field is occupied by a cluster of HDB flats. I remember that sightings of Little Grebes in Punggol grassland (now Punggol 21 or Mordor) and Lorong Halus used to cause a stir amongst birders in the 1990s. now I seeing the same cute birds in far-off northern clines while searching for roti jala, talk about globalisation!


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