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Eastern China:

5th - 22nd May 2021


Leader: Carlos Bocos

Max group size: 8

Day 1:
Arrivals into Shanghai International Airport (PVG). Night in Shanghai.

Day 2:
After early morning birding for Reed Parrotbill and Japanese Swamp Warbler at Nanhui (20-minute drive), drive to Rudong (300km / 4 hours), after a quick lunch head directly to the coast. Birding on the mudflats on the incoming high tide we have a reasonable chance of finding Spoon-billed Sandpiper among the thousands of shorebirds, most of which will be in stunning summer plumage, along with breeding Saunder’s Gulls. The nearby scrub and plantations provides shelter for passage migrants, with a whole host of buntings, starlings, warblers and flycatchers of various species possible. Night at Dongtai.

Day 3:
Morning birding at Rudong in search of migrants in the coastal bushes. After lunch depart for Shanghai Pudong Airport (300km / 4 hours), to connect with flight to Fuzhou. Night in Fuzhou.

Day 4:
Morning inside Fuzhou Forest Park. This popular park with locals is home to a small number of sought-after species including Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler and Rickett’s Partridge. In addition, we can also hope for Huet’s Fulvetta, Great Barbet, Chinese Hwamei and Fork-tailed Sunbird.
Afternoon visit to the Minjiang Estuary in search of one of China’s rarest species, the recently rediscovered Chinese Crested Tern. A handful are present most days during this period, as they feed, rest and congregate before moving to their breeding islets offshore, with larger numbers of Greater Crested Terns. A large number of waders are often present here, including Swinhoe’s Plover, and occasionally Black-faced Spoonbill. Night in Fuzhou.

Day 5:
Either early morning birding around Fuzhou once more or head directly inland to to Emeifang NNR (330km / 6 hours). Any free time in the afternoon will be spent exploring the lower slopes in search of Elliot’s Pheasant and Chinese Hwamei. Night at Emeifang.

Days 6-7:
We spend two days inside Emeifang NNR to locate the main prizes of this beautiful, isolated mountain range. The jewel in the crown is the Cabot’s Tragopan which regularly feeds by the roadside in the early mornings and by patiently driving slowly along the road that winds its way up we hope to get close views of this spectacular forest galliform.
For the remainder of our time we bird at a variety of altitudes along the single forest road in search of the other species endemic to south-east China’s mountain ranges; Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler, Rickett’s Partridge, Huet’s Fulvetta (part of the ‘Grey-cheeked’ complex), and we even have a chance of Elliot’s Pheasant, the most difficult of the endemics. Many other scarce but widespread species are possible; Moustached and Buffy Laughingthrushes, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Sulphur-breasted, Kloss’s Leaf Warbler, White-spectacled, Alstrom’s and Buff-throated Warblers, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Green and Blyth’s Shrike Babblers, Brown Bush Warbler, Elachura and Chestnut Bulbul. Night at Emeifang.

Day 8:
Depending on our previous days successes we drive north to Wuyuan. If we arrive in time we can search for any of the following Pied Falconet, Courtois’s and Masked Laughingthrushes, Swinhoe’s Minivet or Mandarin Duck (450km / 7 hours). Night at Wuyuan.

Day 9:
This morning we will visit one of the small colonies of Courtois’s Laughingthrush in the beautiful Wuyuan countryside. This critically endangered species is known from only 5-6 colonies, all within the Wuyuan county borders with the current known population numbering no more than 200 individuals. Driving around the local villages, seemingly trapped in a time warp while the rest of the country develops at neck-breaking speed, we will search for several scarce species including Short-tailed Parrotbill, Pied Falconet, Masked Laughingthrush, Chinese Bamboo Partridge, Swinhoe’s Minivet, Rufous-faced Warbler, Red-billed Starling and even the spectacular Mandarin Duck which has a healthy population along the riversides.
Once done, we drive north, skirting the outer edges of Wuhan to Dongzhai (625km / 9 hours). Night outside Dongzhai NNR.

Day 10:
A full day in search of one of China’s most recognisable endemics – the splendid Reeves’s Pheasant. Dongzhai has the largest population of this increasingly rare species but it is still difficult to find. Other species possible here include Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Chinese Hwamei, Oriental Scops Owl and even Fairy Pitta is possible. Night outside Dongzhai NNR.

Day 11:
Drive back to Wuhan Airport and fly or take the express train further north to Taiyuan. After a 90-minute drive we arrive at a monastery where Brown Eared Pheasant are often in view. During the afternoons the birds are less likely to be around, so we can search the scrub for Beijing Babbler, Silver-throated Bushtit, Yellow-streaked Warbler and Long-tailed Rosefinch. Night in Jiaocheng.

Day 12:
Full morning at the monastery for the Brown Eared Pheasants, followed by birding in the nearby scrub. After this we drive back to Taiyuan to Beijing. Night near Beijing Airport.

Days 13-14:
Depending on the previous days flight will decide which way round we do the birding in Inner Mongolia, as we visit two sites. One site, is a remnant grassland for one of China’s rarest specialities, Jankowski’s Bunting, which really is just clinging onto what habitat remains. Other species in the area include Amur Falcon, Chinese Grey Shrike, 'Mongolian' Pallas’s Bunting, Meadow Bunting, Asian Short-toed Lark and Japanese Quail.
The other site, a large wetland we have a chance of cranes - namely Red-crowned and an outside chance of White-naped. Also here is the possibility of Swan Goose, Oriental Stork, Japanese Reed Bunting, Daurian Partridge, and Chinese Penduline-tit.

Day 15:
Morning flight back to Beijing, and drive to Lingshan. Around Lingshan the possibilities include Grey-sided Thrush, Green-backed Flycatcher and Zappey’s Flycatcher. Night at Lingshan.

Day 16:
After mornings birding on the upper slopes of Linggshan, primarily in search of Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, afternoon drive south to Hengshui Lake. Night near Hengshui.

Day 17:
Hengshui Lake is now well known as one of the very few known breeding sites for the Critically Endangered Baer’s Pochard. Schrenck’s Bittern is also possible here, though we might be a little early for them still. Other possiblities here include Blunt-winged Warbler among the heavy throng of Oriental Reed and Black-browed Reed Warblers. Following lunch we drive back north to Beijing. Night near Beijing Airport.

Day 18:
Departures from Beijing International Airport.


Tour Photo Albums

East China May 2018

South-east China (and Taiwan), April - May 2016