Monday, 19 December 2016

China - Nanhui

Thanks to Virgin Atlantic cancelling our return flight we had the whole day to go birding around the Nanhui area and this turned out to be a very relaxed and enjoyable time for all. We picked up several new trip birds and Derek even found what is probably the first record of Grey-sided Thrush for this area! The small wooded area around the Holiday Inn also held several Pale Thrushes, Northern Red-flanked Bluetail and some Pallas’s Warblers. We then worked our way along the road that borders the seawall and found Intermediate Egret, Eurasian and Black-faced Spoonbills, Red Knot, Richard’s and Buff-bellied Pipits and a few Dusky Thrushes. There were several flocks of Eastern Spot-billed Ducks on the sea, mingling with some more familiar ducks, some Tundra Swans and Tundra Bean Geese

And whilst we were scoping these a flock of Common Teals flew in and amazingly we spotted a single male Baikal Teal. After missing it a few usually regular sites earlier in the tour it was a huge bonus to finally catch up with this bird. After a while we discovered another drake and two females in the same flock and we thoroughly enjoyed scoping these little crackers. At one point the whole flock took off and flew around in front of us and it was great fun to pick out the Baikals and watch them in flight, with the obvious vertical pale stripe on the rear of the bird making it a relatively simple task. 

We then spent some time trying to locate the reported Long-billed Dowitcher but the area was vast and in hindsight spent too long criss-crossing these huge wide-open plains and fields. But we did see two Oriental Pratincoles hawking for insects over the fields in the process, as well as a Brown Crake, Black Drongo and Eurasian Hoopoe. Returning to the coast after lunch a flock of 12 Swan Geese was a surprise. But by now it was 2pm and we didn’t pick up too much more apart from a Western Osprey, but everyone was pretty relaxed and we just enjoyed watching whatever was around - it was a thoroughly enjoyable way to end the tour. And that was it, the Fat Lady was singing so we headed back to the hotel (playing some cracking tunes....!) for our final evening meal together. And what a tour we had - many thanks to everyone for playing their part and being such good fun. I can't wait to return in 2018...!

Yours truly birding until the end.....

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