Welcome to Birdquest
Sunday 3rd May - Wednesday 27th May 2015
This Eastern China tour started life as one to Southeast China, but, with the addition of the Northeast China extension, blossomed to an epic 25 day journey focused on a whole array of rare and endangered migrants and Chinese endemics. The prime focus of the ‘main tour’ was to achieve good views of rarities such as Spoon-billed Sandpiper, the critically endangered Courtois’s Laughingthrush, the superb Cabot’s Tragopan and Elliot’s Pheasant and the ultra-rare Chinese Crested Tern. This was successfully achieved alongside a plethora of other goodies which included Black-faced Spoonbill, White-faced Plover, Little Curlew, Great Knot, stunning Saunders’s Gulls, Reed Parrotbill, a wealth of Siberian migrants, including such gems as Pechora Pipit, Yellow-rumped, Narcissus and Mugimaki Flycatchers and Siberian Thrush, and forest species like White-necklaced Partridge, Silver Pheasant, Spotted Elachura, Buffy and Moustached Laughingthrushes, Short-tailed Parrotbill, Fork-tailed Sunbird and the delightful Pied Falconet. Quite a haul! The second part of the tour, the ‘Northeast Extension’, visited 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 that included Temminck’s Tragopan and Golden Pheasant. We then moved on to Jiaocheng for the fabulous Brown Eared Pheasants before flying on to Beijing, where the mountains of the nearby Hebei province yielded the endemic Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, Chinese Nuthatch, Green-backed and Zappey’s Flycatchers and the rare Grey-sided Thrush. Next was a brief visit south to a recently discovered site for the critically endangered Baer’s Pochard and the rare Schrenck’s Bittern, whilst at our final destination, the grasslands and wetlands of Jilin province, 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 Asiatic Dowitcher. With almost 400 species recorded and so many rare and sought-after species on offer, this tour is surely due for classic status!