Welcome to Birdquest
Sunday 4th May - Tuesday 27th May 2014
Our Eastern China tour just keeps evolving, getting bigger and better! It began as a tour to Southeast China, but has rapidly grown with the addition of the Northeast China extension, and this year grew a little more with the added bonus of a newly discovered breeding site for one of the world’s rarest ducks, Baer’s Pochard. It’s a tour that focuses on a whole suite of rare and endangered migrants and Chinese endemics, and we were highly successful in finding them!
The prime focus of the ‘main tour’ was on achieving great views of rarities such as Spoon-billed Sandpiper, the critically endangered Courtois’s Laughingthrush, the superb Cabot’s Tragopan and Elliot’s Pheasant, Nordmann’s Greenshank and Chinese Crested Tern. This was successfully achieved alongside a plethora of other goodies which included (to name a few) Black-faced Spoonbill, Chinese Egret, White-faced Plover, Asiatic Dowitcher, Little Curlew, Great Knot, stunning Saunders’s Gulls, Reed Parrotbill, a wealth of Siberian migrants (including gems such as Pechora Pipit, Yellow-rumped, Narcissus and Mugimaki Flycatchers and Yellow-browed, Yellow and Tristram’s Buntings), and forest gems such as White-necklaced Partridge, Koklass and Silver Pheasants, Spotted Wren-Babbler, Buffy and Moustached Laughingthrushes, Short-tailed and Grey-headed Parrotbills, Brown-chested Jungle-Flycatcher, Fork-tailed Sunbird and the delightful Pied Falconet. Quite a haul!
The second part of the tour, the ‘Northeast Extension’, saw us visiting a series of sites for various other Chinese specialities. Beginning in Xi’an, we bagged the rare Blackthroat and Crested Ibis as well as stunners such as Temminck’s Tragopan and Fulvous and Spectacled Parrotbills. We then moved on to Jiaocheng for the fabulous Brown-eared Pheasants before flying on to Jilin Province. Here, in the grasslands and wetlands littered with Amur Falcons, we found new rarities including the fabulous Jankowski’s Bunting, as well as Daurian Partridge, Red-crowned and White-naped Cranes, Chinese Grey Shrikes and a fabulous Japanese Waxwing. Close to Beijing, Green-backed and Zappey’s Flycatchers and the rare Grey-sided Thrush all performed, whilst our final destination provided the critically endangered Baer’s Pochard and the rare Schrenck’s Bittern. We even fitted in a visit to the Great Wall too! With around 400 species recorded and so many rare and sought-after species on offer, this tour is destined to become a classic!