EASTERN CHINA TOUR: DETAILED ITINERARY
Eastern China: Day 1 The tour begins this morning at Guangzhou airport, from where we head for northern Guangdong province for a two nights stay. We will arrive in time for some initial exploration.
Eastern China: Day 2 Northern Guangdong is one of the last reliable places to see the beautiful but fast declining and endangered Silver Oriole. We should see a number of these lovely creatures during our visit, at a site we pioneered on the Birdquest South China Expedition in spring 2019.
The migratory Fairy Pitta should have arrived in the area by the time of our visit and we will make an effort to get good views of this splendid creature. We should also find the endemic Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler and the near-endemic and spectacular Fork-tailed Sunbird, whilst other new species may well include Rufous Woodpecker, Large Woodshrike, Scarlet Minivet, Hair-crested Drongo and Common Tailorbird.
Eastern China: Day 3 Today we will drive northeastward, using China’s amazing modern expressway network, to Emeifeng in Fujian province for a three nights stay. We will arrive in time for some initial exploration.
Eastern China: Days 4-5 As other sites in Fujian have become more difficult to access, Emei Feng has come to the fore and is justifiably regarded as the prime site to visit to find the specialities of the region. Here, rushing rivers cut through the bamboo-dominated forests lower down whilst the steep slopes above are still clad in beautiful forest, making for some fantastic vistas.
Fortunately, the whole area is easily explored along roads, and old logging tracks, allowing us to explore much of the forest in our vehicles whilst searching for Galliformes! These special birds will be high on the agenda and it’s not unlikely to find four species of pheasants in a day! Pride of place will go to the superb polka-dotted Cabot’s Tragopan, which we should find relatively easily, as they can often be found on the road early in the morning. Equally exciting, and reasonably reliable here is the rare Elliot’s Pheasant. Silver Pheasant is often relatively numerous, and Koklass Pheasant may well also put in an appearance! We will surely regularly hear the plaintive whistles of the little-known and furtive White-necklaced (or Rickett’s Hill) Partridge, and, with persistence, we should be able to get views.
Although overall diversity is not very high, a number of other interesting species occur in the forest, and species we expect to see include the localized Chestnut Bulbul, Rufous-faced Warbler, Kloss’s Leaf Warbler, White-spectacled Warbler (interestingly, the form here, intermedius, has yellow spectacles!), the attractive Small Niltava, the monotypic Spotted Elachura (with its striking song), Blyth’s Shrike-babbler, the excellent Buffy Laughingthrush (a superb vocalist), the skulking endemic Moustached Laughingthrush, Indochinese and Black-chinned Yuhinas, and Huet’s Fulvetta.
In the highest areas, we can find such species as Buff-throated Warbler and Brown Bush Warbler (with its insect-like song), while at the lowest levels is the near-endemic Masked Laughingthrush.
Other more difficult but notable species that we may encounter include the rare Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, the striking Grey-headed Parrotbill and pretty little Short-tailed Parrotbill.
Additional, more widespread, species that occur include Black Eagle, Barred Cuckoo-Dove, Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Himalayan and Lesser Cuckoos, Collared Owlet, White-throated Needletail, Bay Woodpecker, Great Barbet, Grey-chinned Minivet, Asian House Martin, White-bellied Erpornis, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, the impressive Yellow-cheeked Tit, Black-throated Bushtit, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Brown-flanked Bush Warbler, Sulphur-breasted Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Mountain and Himalayan Black Bulbuls, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, the shy Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, the comical Pygmy Cupwing, Rufous-capped Babbler, Red-billed Leiothrix, Brown Dipper, Plumbeous Redstart, the attractive Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Blue Whistling Thrush, Little, Spotted, Slaty-backed and White-crowned Forktails and Orange-bellied Leafbird.
Eastern China: Day 6 After some final birding at Emei Feng, we will drive to Wuyuan in China’s Jiangxi province for a two nights stay.
Eastern China: Day 7 For many years, Blue-crowned (or Courtois’s) Laughingthrush was known from just a couple of specimens collected in 1919 and it was only in 2000, after seven years of a concerted effort by Chinese ornithologists, that this species was rediscovered close to its type locality. Rather strangely for a laughingthrush, this species is a migrant, appearing at a few rural villages (just five breeding sites are currently known) each summer to breed and then vanishing for the winter! The known world population appears to be stable but very small (estimated at around 250 individuals), but with local help, we will visit a site where we should be able to get some great views of them and we will count ourselves very privileged indeed to see such a rare and beautiful bird.
Some other interesting species occur in this area, including Mandarin Duck, Black Bittern, the superb Black Baza, Chinese Goshawk, the large Crested Kingfisher, Swinhoe’s (or Brown-rumped) Minivets, Tiger Shrike (though this declining species is scarce in the area so some luck will be needed), Chinese Hwamei (a great songster) and, with luck, the scarce White-browed Laughingthrush or Northern Boobook.
Other, more widespread, species that we may well encounter here include Crested Serpent Eagle, Lesser Coucal, Asian Barred Owlet, House Swift, Great Spotted, Grey-capped Pygmy and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Black-naped Oriole, Ashy Drongo, Eurasian Jay, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Oriental Magpie-Robin and White-rumped and Scaly-breasted Munias.
Whilst in the area we will also make a detour to an area where we have an excellent chance of finding the feisty Pied Falconet as well as a few other species such as Dollarbird and the uncommon Brown-breasted Bulbul. We will also visit a nearby river where we will have our first chance of the range-restricted Long-billed Plover and Brown Crake, and will also visit an area of degraded forest where we hope to find the delightful Short-tailed Parrotbill.
Eastern China: Day 8 After some final birding in the Wuyuan area we will head eastwards to the Shanghai area for an overnight stay.
Eastern China: Day 9 This morning we will visit Dishui Lake. Here, the extensive reedbeds are home to good populations of the endemic Reed Parrotbill and the scarce, restricted-range Marsh Grassbird. The extensive reedbeds are also home to a thriving population of Eurasian Bitterns and these can be quite visible at this season. It is also an excellent area for Reed Parrotbills and in the right conditions, migrants can be plentiful.
Afterwards, we will cross the Yangtze River and transfer to our hotel at Yangkou in Jiangsu’s Rudong County for a two nights stay. Later in the afternoon, we will begin exploring this wonderful area.
Eastern China: Day 10 The main focus of our time in the Shanghai region will be to explore an area of mudflats to the north of Shanghai in Rudong County. This ever-changing landscape, with more and more reclamation every year, is still providing a crucial feeding area for many of the East Asian flyway waders.
Most importantly, it has been found to be an extremely reliable site for the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper. These are probably the easiest and most accessible Spoon-billed Sandpipers in the world and in recent springs, more than 100 have regularly been found in the area during coordinated counts! We will attempt to find them at one of the many high tide roosts where, after a few false alerts from hopeful-looking Red-necked Stints, a turn of the head should reveal the spatulate appendage that we’ve been looking for. With luck, we should find several, some of which will be sporting their splendid brick-red breeding plumage. We will also have an opportunity to look for them feeding on the mudflats, feeding with their classic sewing-machine action as they work their way through shallow pools.
Thousands of other waders will be present at this excellent site, and it is possible to see over thirty species in a day here. In the high tide roosts, large numbers of Red-necked Stints are joined by smaller numbers of Red Knot, Sanderling, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper and Broad-billed Sandpiper as well as the impressive though sadly declining Great Knot. These will be joined by good numbers of Kentish Plovers, Mongolian Sandplovers and Terek Sandpipers, whilst the congregations of waders are likely to also include Grey (or Black-bellied) and Pacific Golden Plovers, Greater Sandplover, Common Greenshank, Common Redshank, Grey-tailed Tattler, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew and the impressively long-billed Far Eastern Curlew.
With a little luck, we will also encounter a number of scarcer visitors such as the rare Nordmann’s Greenshank, Eurasian Oystercatcher (here from the eastern population which may merit specific status), Great Knot, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Chinese Egret and Black-faced Spoonbill.
Just inland, a number of fish ponds hold a slightly different selection of shorebirds if the water levels are good, and these may include Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Marsh, Wood and Green Sandpipers and Eastern Black-tailed Godwit, and with a bit of luck, we will find a few Long-toed Stints or even an Asiatic Dowitcher. Pristine Saunders’s Gulls in full summer plumage are a regular feature here, and we are also likely to find a few Black-tailed, Vega and Lesser Black-backed Gulls with them (the latter most likely of the confusing ‘taimyrensis’ form that may be better placed in Vega). Nearby, the freshwater pools hold a variety of other species including the spectacular and localized Reed Parrotbill. Chinese (or Eastern) Spot-billed Duck, Yellow Bittern, Grey-headed Lapwing, Oriental Pratincole and even Pheasant-tailed Jacana can also be found here, and if we are fortunate, we may bump into a small group of Little Curlews, though we will be after the peak migration time for this species. Further possibilities include Falcated Duck and Brown-cheeked Rail.
Along the coast, there are a number of shelter-belts that sometimes attract a host of migrants. Of course, what is present on any given day is unpredictable, but there are generally plenty of birds to keep us interested. Highlights may include such gems as the delightful Forest Wagtail, Pechora Pipit, the superb Siberian Thrush, Eye-browed and Japanese Thrushes, the spectacular Siberian Rubythroat, Rufous-tailed and Siberian Blue Robins, Stejneger’s Stonechat, Dark-sided, Asian Brown, Blue-and-white, Yellow-rumped and Mugimaki Flycatchers, Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, Black-browed Reed Warbler, Yellow-browed, Arctic (and perhaps Japanese), Pale-legged and Eastern Crowned Warblers, Black-naped Oriole, the impressive Chinese (or Yellow-billed) Grosbeak, and Black-faced, Little, Chestnut and the range-restricted Tristram’s Buntings. Less regular migrants include Narcissus Flycatcher and Yellow-breasted Bunting.
At this time of year, in the right conditions, almost any passerines are possible, and rarities could include exciting species such as White-throated Rock-Thrush, Grey-backed Thrush, White’s Thrush, Zappey’s Flycatcher, Bull-headed Shrike, Japanese Paradise-Flycatcher, Citrine Wagtail, Yellow-browed Bunting or Daurian Starling.
Other species we may well see in this excellent area include Common Pheasant, Little Grebe, Grey, Purple, Chinese Pond and Black-crowned Night Herons, Eastern Great, Intermediate, Little and Eastern Cattle Egrets, Western Osprey, Peregrine, Common Kestrel (scarce), White-breasted Waterhen, Common Moorhen, Black-headed Gull, Little, Gull-billed, White-winged, Whiskered and Common Terns (the latter of the distinctive form longipennis), Oriental Turtle, Red Turtle and Spotted Doves, Common and Indian Cuckoos, Pacific (or Fork-tailed) Swift, the colourful Black-capped Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Eurasian Hoopoe, Brown (various subspecies are possible) and Long-tailed Shrikes, Black and Hair-crested Drongos, Eurasian and Azure-winged Magpies, Eastern Yellow Wagtail (three forms are possible including the distinctive taivana ‘Green-headed Wagtail’), Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail (the form here is leucopsis ‘Amur Wagtail’ though ocularis ‘East Siberian Wagtail’ also occurs as a migrant), Richard’s, Pechora and Olive-backed Pipits, Oriental Skylark, Sand Martin (or Bank Swallow), Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, Japanese Tit, Chinese Blackbird, Light-vented Bulbul, the bulky Manchurian Bush Warbler (the distinctive form here, canturians is placed by some authors in Japanese Bush-Warbler), Oriental Reed Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Plain Prinia, Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Japanese White-eye, Crested Myna, Black-collared, Red-billed and White-cheeked Starlings and Eurasian Tree Sparrow.
Eastern China: Day 11 After some final birding in the Rudong area, we will return to Shanghai and take a flight to Wuhan, situated on the Yangtze River in the province of Hubei, from where we will travel north to the Dongzhai National Reserve in He’nan province for a two nights stay.
Eastern China: Day 12 One of our main reasons for visiting Dongzhai is to seek out the extraordinary endemic Reeves’s Pheasant – surely one of the world’s most spectacular birds. With subtle, scaled, golden and chestnut hues, a vivid pied head pattern, and a tail that is unfeasibly long, this really is a must-see species! Our birding will concentrate on two areas of forest, as well as the rural areas adjacent to our hotel.
On the first morning, we will visit an area where we have an excellent chance of finding multiple male Reeves’s Pheasants, perhaps beating their wings in display from a log to attract one of the more sombre females that may also be lurking in view.
Another major speciality at Dongzhai is the beautiful Fairy Pitta, a rare and declining species that has become hard to find in most areas. Here at Dongzhai, it is still not difficult to locate.
Once we have sated ourselves with these glorious species, we will set about finding some of the other specialities of the area.
Close to the village, a population of the endangered and spectacular near-endemic Crested Ibis has become established, and we should be able to watch them feeding in the small paddies, or perhaps attending a nest. The Chinese population is currently estimated to be in excess of 1500 individuals and they are recolonizing some of their old haunts. Also here, the rapidly declining near-endemic Collared Crow is still fairly numerous, and we will make sure we get some good views of this charismatic species.
Adjacent to the village we are likely to encounter a number of other interesting species, including Grey-faced Buzzard, Chinese Sparrowhawk (which we may well witness in display flight), the smart Black Baza, the localized Grey-headed Lapwing, the smart Black-capped Kingfisher, the subtle Swinhoe’s Minivet, the noisy, near-endemic Collared Finchbill, the near-endemic Light-vented Bulbul, Brown-flanked Bush Warbler, Rufous-faced Warbler, the smart, near-endemic Red-billed Starling, the near-endemic Chinese Blackbird, the near-endemic Masked Laughingthrush, the cheeky little, near-endemic Vinous-throated Parrotbill, the stunning Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, the smart Daurian Redstart, Azure-winged Magpie, Russet Sparrow and the much-desired Chinese Grosbeak.
The forests here are mostly of non-native tree species and indeed more specialities occur around the villages than in the forest proper. Nevertheless, whilst looking for the pheasants in and around the remnant native forests, we may well come across species such as Besra, Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Oriental Scops Owl (they can sometimes be seen in their nests during the day here), Collared Owlet, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Black-naped Oriole, Hair-crested Drongo, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Brown-breasted and Mountain Bulbuls, the restricted-range Silver-throated Bushtit, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, the sweet-singing Chinese Hwamei and, with a bit of luck, the scarce and shy Orange-headed Thrush.
Along the adjacent watercourses, we may well come across species such as the impressive Crested Kingfisher, White-crowned Forktail, Blue Whistling Thrush (a black-billed form here) and Plumbeous Water Redstart.
More widespread species that we are likely to encounter during our visit to the area include Eastern Spot-billed Duck, Common Pheasant (the grey-rumped decollatus subspecies here), Chinese Pond Heron, Eastern Cattle, Intermediate and Little Egrets, Crested Goshawk, Common Moorhen, Oriental Turtle and Spotted Doves, Asian Koel, Indian Cuckoo, Asian Barred Owlet and Northern Boobook (both easier to hear than see around the villages), Common Kingfisher, Great Spotted and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Brown and Long-tailed Shrikes, Black Drongo, Ashy Drongo of the attractive white-faced form leucogenis, Eurasian Jay (the striking form here, pekingensis, is part of the ‘Brandt’s Jay group’), the spectacular Red-billed Blue Magpie, Eurasian Magpie, Japanese Tit, Black Bulbul (smart white-headed birds here), Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, the perky little Black-throated Bushtit, Plain Prinia, Japanese White-Eye, White-cheeked Starling, the declining Crested Myna, Oriental Magpie-Robin, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, White-rumped Munia, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail (of the form leucopsis, known as Amur Wagtail), Grey-capped (or Oriental) Greenfinch and the smart Meadow Bunting.
There are also likely to be a few migrants around, and these may include Green, Wood and Common Sandpipers, Dusky and Yellow-browed Warblers, Stejneger’s Stonechat, Asian Brown and Dark-sided Flycatchers, Eastern Yellow Wagtail and even a Blyth’s Pipit or Chestnut Bunting.
Eastern China: Day 13 Today we will travel to the city of Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi. We will travel on China’s fantastic modern ‘bullet trains’, travelling at a speed that is hard to believe for a terrestrial means of transport! From there we drive to nearby Jiaocheng for an overnight stay.
Eastern China: Day 14 During our time around Jiaocheng we will visit a reliable site for the endangered Brown Eared Pheasant. This endemic species was once widespread in northeastern China but is now reduced to a few fragmented pockets. By searching persistently in the juniper-clad rocky hillsides, we have an excellent chance of getting great views of this superb creature. Soon after dawn their rolling, barking calls ring out across the wooded valleys, and we will look out for these huge pheasants as they forage across the adjacent hillsides, digging up roots and tubers with their powerful bills and claws.
Other birds here may well include Common Pheasant, Common Kestrel, Marsh Tit, Yellow-streaked Warbler, the endemic Plain (or Père David’s) Laughingthrush, the endemic Beijing Babbler (formerly known as Chinese Hill Warbler, but now shown to be a babbler), the vocal Spotted Nutcracker, the lovely Long-tailed Rosefinch (the form here, lepidus, is potentially a good species), Grey-capped Greenfinch and Godlewski’s Bunting.
Later in the day, we will take a high-speed train to Beijing from where we will drive out to the west of the thriving metropolis to Jiangshuihe for a two nights stay.
Eastern China: Day 15 The rugged mountains that surround Beijing rise to over 2000m (at the summit of Wuling Shan) and form one of the northernmost outliers of the montane forests that extend across much of China. To the north the connection between the Siberian forest zone and the forests of China proper is broken by the dry, largely treeless Manchurian plain and the Mongolian steppes and deserts, while to the south the broad lowlands of the Yellow River (or Huang He) have served a similarly isolating function, resulting in the evolution of a number of endemic (or at least breeding-endemic) species and subspecies in the wooded uplands of this region. Nowadays the remaining forest cover in the area is decidedly patchy, but we will explore a couple of areas close to our accommodation which should give us a good chance to find most of the sought-after birds of the area.
The first of the major specialities here is the attractive and localized Green-backed Flycatcher, a form now widely recognized as a distinct species from Narcissus Flycatcher. (Indeed, the first-summer male plumage of this interesting form was even erroneously described as a new species to science by Chinese ornithologists in recent years, under the name Beijing Flycatcher, and given the scientific name ‘beijingnica’!) Another star attraction here is the rare and localized Grey-sided Thrush, a species now gravely threatened by habitat loss. This poorly-known bird, which only breeds in a small area of Hebei and adjacent Beijing municipal region, occurs here and we should obtain good views with a bit of effort. The localized Zappey’s Flycatcher also occurs in the lower, taller forests, and hopefully, we will be alerted to its presence by its melodic song, before setting eyes on its lovely azure plumage. The fourth localized endemic is the Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch which, after reclassification of some subspecies, is now restricted to some areas of moist montane scrub in northeast China.
While searching for these species we should find a number of other good species. More widespread Chinese endemics or near-endemics include Chinese Thrush, Yellow-bellied Tit and Chinese Nuthatch, while other specialities include Chinese and Claudia’s Leaf Warblers, the shy White-bellied Redstart and the handsome White-throated Rock Thrush (though this last is quite scarce). Another bird of particular interest is the isolated xanthospila form of the Koklass Pheasant (which occurs far to the north of the main range of the species), which we may be lucky enough to track down by listening at dawn for its harsh, far-carrying calls.
Other species we may well find here include Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Golden Eagle, Eurasian Hobby, Hill Pigeon, Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Lesser Cuckoo, Grey-capped Woodpecker, Olive-backed Pipit, Long-tailed Minivet, Eurasian Wren, the lovely Siberian Blue Robin, Eastern Crowned, Hume’s and Pallas’s Leaf Warblers, the elusive Asian Stubtail, Willow Tit (the form here is sometimes split as Songar Tit), Coal Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Jay, Red-billed Chough and Large-billed Crow.
Eastern China: Day 16 After a final morning in the mountains of the Beijing region we will head south, skirting the western side of Beijing, before making our way south on the fast expressway to the thriving industrial town of Hengshui for an overnight stay.
Eastern China: Day 17 Just south of Hengshui is a vast man-made lake that has now become well-vegetated, creating huge reedbeds and marshes. Recent explorations of the area by birders have thrown up a real surprise, as it seems to be home to a significant breeding population of Baer’s Pochards at a site well south of their former known breeding range! We should have little trouble finding this rare duck and should obtain good views of several drakes. (Typically much of the site is now under threat of development for leisure sports and recreation!) Also here is a population of the rare Von Schrenck’s Bittern, which, at this time of year, can be seen making their territorial flights over the reed beds. The fabulous Reed Parrotbill is also present in some numbers, though the elusive Blunt-winged Warbler, which also occurs here, is somewhat more difficult to see. Other new species we may see include Yellow Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Grey Heron, Ferruginous Duck (unusually this species meets Baer’s Pochard here and may even occasionally hybridize with them), the exquisite Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Common Kingfisher, the introduced Collared Dove, Asian Azure-winged Magpie and the sneaky Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler.
Afterwards, we will return to Beijing and take a flight to Wulanhaote (or Ulanhot) in eastern Inner Mongolia. The arid steppe here will certainly come as a complete contrast to everything we have seen before! From Wulanhaote we will drive the short distance to Baicheng, situated just over the border in Jilin province and part of the region once known as Manchuria, for a two nights stay.
Eastern China: Days 18-19 From Baicheng we will drive out across the wide Manchurian plain, real ‘big sky’ country reminiscent of the American prairies. The steppes in this area provide one of the last refuges for the near-endemic Jankowski’s Bunting. This almost mythical species was discovered breeding in this region in the 1990s and has subsequently been found at a scattering of locations where extensive areas of grassland or scrub-grassland survive. These are habitats which have been largely cleared for cultivation elsewhere in Manchuria, so the species is now thought to be highly endangered. We shall enjoy searching for and watching this unusual species, which very few people have ever observed. These grasslands also hold a remnant population of Great Bustards, as well as Japanese Quail, the huge Mongolian Lark with its striking white wing patches, Asian Short-toed Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Blyth’s Pipit, Bluethroat, Lanceolated Warbler and the smart Pallas’s Reed Bunting. With luck, we will also come across the nomadic Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Yellow-legged Buttonquail or Japanese Reed Bunting. If conditions are right, the shelterbelts may also attract a few migrant warblers, flycatchers and buntings or perhaps even something rarer such as a Japanese Waxwing!
We will also explore a mixture of dry, open grasslands, rivers, lakes and marshes surrounded by reedbeds and scattered elm woodlands. The Baicheng region is renowned for its breeding cranes (which have been kept going partly through a re-introduction scheme) and we can expect to see the striking Red-crowned (or Japanese) Crane during our visit. Watching the Red-crowned Cranes calling and dancing in their marshland home is an evocative experience. The threatened Swan Goose, Chinese Spot-billed Duck and the rare White-naped Crane all breed in the reserve, as does the rare Oriental Stork. There is even a chance for a lingering Siberian Crane or two!
Other interesting species we are likely to see include the striking Pied Harrier (now becoming uncommon in the area), the splendid little Amur Falcon which is common in this region, Daurian Partridge, Oriental Pratincole, Grey-headed Lapwing, Eastern Grey-headed Wagtail, Chinese Penduline Tit, the impressive Chinese Grey Shrike, Carrion Crow, Rook, the piebald Daurian Jackdaw and Chestnut-eared Bunting.
Other species we may well encounter at Xianghai include Little, Great Crested and Black-necked Grebes, Eurasian (or Great) Bittern, Great Egret, Purple Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill, Greylag Goose, Common Shelduck, Mallard, Gadwall, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Eastern Marsh Harrier, Common Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers, Northern Lapwing, Marsh and Common Sandpipers, Eastern Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Common and Little Terns, beautiful Whiskered and White-winged Terns, Common Cuckoo, Eurasian Hoopoe, Black-browed Reed Warbler, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, Sand Martin (or Bank Swallow), Richard’s Pipit, Brown Shrike, White-cheeked Starling, Eurasian Tree Sparrow and the gorgeous Yellow-throated Bunting. With luck, we’ll also come across one of the rarer species such as Asian Dowitcher or Manchurian Reed Warbler.
On the afternoon of our penultimate day, we will return to Wulanhaote airport and fly back to Beijing for an overnight stay.
Eastern China: Day 20 Our tour ends this morning at Beijing. An airport shuttle is available from our hotel.