Anton, a good friend of mine, is into bird photography and took these lovely pictures on a recent trip to Xinjiang. He’s super nice and let me post some. : )

Here’s a European bee-eater:

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This is the very same bird from a different point of view:

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How spiffy is that? Amazing how beautifully formed every part of it is..

This fellow below, a greenish warbler, defines dapper. It could attend a wedding or luncheon pronto, right off the cuff (/wingtip), don’t you think?

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Now for gorgeous shades of blue on an azure tit:

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Not the first time I’ve run into a goose plodding placidly around a Beijing hutong… (At first glance […]

Last winter I took a beginner’s French course at the Alliance française Xihai (西海) campus. Xihai is a lovely, rather secluded little lakeside area in Beijing, with lots of weeping willows and people (mostly elderly) fishing, playing chess, strolling about, bicycling and humming Peking opera strains, hanging laundry, and what-have-you. It’s not terribly well known, even among locals.

I’d never seen such extended fishing-poles before, but these seem to be the norm for Xihai-ers… then again I’m also completely fishing-illiterate.

A Xihai-er sunbathing while keeping some vegetables company