SE China Spring Migration Special
Saturday 4th May – Sunday 12th May 2019
The south-east coast of China is one of the hottest Spring migration destinations anywhere in Asia. Every year this eastern birding mecca plays host to a mouth-watering selection of Siberian vagrants and in the right conditions can produce spectacular falls of migrants. The coast just north of Shanghai has a surprisingly good selection of habitats ranging from coastal marshes, reedbeds, lagoons, scrub, arable fields and pockets of woodland that can entice wave upon wave of tired migrants to linger. Quite often they are exhausted and birds that are extremely shy on their breeding grounds are remarkably tame here and allow unparalleled opportunities to study them up close and personal! We will begin by visiting what has been called the best site in the world for seeing Spoon-billed Sandpipers. This is their last staging post before leaving for their breeding grounds in eastern Russia and we have a chance of seeing one in its breeding finery if we are lucky. A multitude of other migrant waders should also be seen, such as flocks of Great Knots, Red-necked Stints, Little Curlew and hopefully a rare Asian Dowitcher or Nordmann's Greenshank. The coastal wetlands hold Black-faced Spoonbill and Chinese Egret and Saunder's Gulls patrol the area, whilst Chinese endemics Reed Parrotbill and Marsh Grassbird nest in the reedbeds.
We have timed our visit when Spring migration will be in full flow and we should see a good selection of 'eastern vagrants' as we explore the varied habitats. On previous visits we've been totally amazed at the number of birds moving through Temple Wood and Magic Wood and it's been hard to know where to look fIrst. All those near-mythical Siberian rarities we can only dream about seeing in the UK and Europe are possible such as Siberian Blue Robin, Siberian Rubythroat, Pechora Pipit, Thick-billed, Lanceolated, Two-barred Greenish and Pallas's Grasshopper Warblers, Siberian, White's and Dusky Thrushes, and Black-faced and Pallas's Reed Buntings amongst many others.
If you have ever dreamed of cleaning up on those eastern rarities that occasionally straggle to our shores, then this is the chance.
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There are a number of other birds here and considering it is migration time, anything could possibly turn up. We may well see Eurasian Bitterns here, as well as migrating Japanese Sparrowhawks or Amur Falcons, Pacific Swifts, Chinese Penduline-Tit, the hulking Manchurian Bush-Warbler, Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Narcissus Flycatcher, or even Pallas's Reed Bunting amongst many other possibilities. There's a great patch of trees and scrub around the local Convention Centre that has become something of a migrant hot-spot and this is the place to get some really close views of Siberian Blue Robin, Japanese and Chestnut-flanked White-eyes, Chinese Grosbeak or an Eastern Crowned Warbler. After an action-packed first day we will retire to a decent hotel for some much-needed rest and a good meal. Night in Nanhui.
Indeed, it is realistic to expect to see over thirty species of wader here in a day! Amongst a superb selection of other shorebirds we can find such sought-after species as Lesser and Greater Sandplovers, Far Eastern Curlew, Pacific Golden Plover, Great Knot, Kentish Plover, Broad-billed, Sharp-tailed and Terek Sandpipers, Spotted Redshank, Red-necked and Temminck’s Stints and Grey-tailed Tattler. There are also good opportunities to find the highly-prized Asiatic Dowitcher and Nordmann’s Greenshank amongst huge flocks of more familiar waders. The recently discovered White-faced (or Swinhoe's) Plover and Black-faced Spoonbill are also a distinct possibility here. Further searching of the mudflats should reveal Gull-billed Tern and if we are lucky, a fine Saunder’s Gull.
At this time of year migration will be well underway and this opens up a whole new realm of possibilities to add to the resident population. The nearby Magic Forest is a local migrant trap where many surprises can turn up and we could find Grey-streaked, Dark-sided, Yellow-rumped, Mugimaki and Taiga Flycatchers, Forest Wagtail, Brown Shrike, Siberian Rubythroat, Siberian Blue and Rufous-tailed Robins, White-throated Rock-Thrush, Siberian, Eye-browed, Pale and Grey-sided Thrushes, Forest Wagtail, Olive-backed and Pechora Pipits, Black-browed Reed Warbler, Dusky, Arctic, Pale-legged and Claudia's Warblers and Chestnut, Chestnut-eared and Elegant Buntings. Other species we may encounter in the general area include Falcated Duck, Yellow Bittern, Intermediate Egret, Pied Harrier, Grey-headed Lapwing, Oriental Turtle-Dove, Black-capped Kingfisher, Lesser Coucal, Pacific Swift, Chinese Grosbeak, Ashy Minivet, Chinese Blackbird, Asian Azure-winged Magpie, Japanese White-eye, Yellow-browed, Meadow and Black-faced Buntings and Crested Myna. Nights in Rudong.
Leaders: Nick Bray and local guides.
Ground Price: £1950.00
Airfare: £550.00 - £630.00 (Approx) - Shanghai/Shanghai
Single supplement: £195.00
Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 5 and maximum 10 with 2 leaders.
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms, all en-suite, all meals from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 9, all entrance fees, all transport throughout, and services of leaders and an English speaking guide.
Not included: International airfare (Virgin Atlantic is the preferred carrier for this tour), visa fee, insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.
Accommodation: Comfortable hotels close to the birding sites.
Tour Code: Expect good food, decent hotels, and a mixture of weather. Above all, you need to expect the unexpected! We will be out in the field all day, so expect the days to be quite long. The weather is generally unsettled at this time of year, so expect some cooler weather and odd showers mixed in with periods of quite warm and sunny weather. Driving times are minimal and the birding sites at Nanhui and Rudong are under half an hour away from the hotels we stay in at each site.
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