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YourPosition: Home > Beidaihe and Happy Island Birding Tour

Beidaihe and Happy Island Birding Tour

Duration: 14

Destination: Beijing, Beidaihe, Happy Island

Highlights: Migrant birds, Ibisbill, Siberian Rubythroat, Siberian Blue Robin, Bluethroat, Chinese Nuthatch

Tour Code: ECO-CBW-23

The summer seaside resort of Beidaihe is at the border of the Bohai Sea on China's east coast the region. It has become firmly established as the best places for watching the bird migration in all of East Asia.

 

There are totally about 410 species birds have been recorded at Beidaihe, and just a spring trip of a couple of week can see more than 220 species, some of them such as Japanese Swamp Warbler Relict and Saunders's Gull, and Manchurian Reed Warbler are globally threatened.    

 

The best birding seasons are from late April to the third week of May and again from late September to early November. Nearly all the species here are migrants with each species peaking at different times. Several species of shorebird such as Northern and Grey-headed Lapwings peak in April; and others such as Red-necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper and Grey-tailed Tattler not until mid- to late May. Similarly many songbirds and reed bed species don't reach their peaks until late May while cranes can be seen migrating from early March to mid-April.

 

Schedule:

Day 1 Arrive in Beijing

Today you will arrive in Beijing at the same time. Your guide will meet you at the Beijing airport. And then you will be transferred to your hotel.

 

After a short rest, you will visit Botanical Garden. Common residents include Chinese Nuthatch, Yellow-bellied Tit, Chinese Grosbeak, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker etc. Good migrant trap in spring and autumn. In winter, good for thrushes, waxwings and any unusual visitors such as Bullfinch, Chaffinch and any lingering Pallas's Warblers. The ridge to the north (accessible by walking up the tracks from the north end of the park) can be a good raptor migration watchpoint and also, in winter, good for buntings and occasional Pallas's Rosefinches. Ridge also holds breeding Chinese Hill Babbler, Pere David's Laughingthrush, Large-billed Crow and Red-billed Blue Magpie.

       

Day 2 Beijing to Beidaihe

We will depart in the early morning to Baihe. It's a reliable site for Ibisbill plus Crested Kingfisher, Brown Dipper, Black-capped Kingfisher. We also could expect White-browed Chinese Warbler, Plain Laughingthrush, Alpine Accentor, Siberian Accentor, Eurasian Sapprowhawk, Common Kestrel, Little Owl, Brown Dipper, Winter Wren, Godlewski's Bunting and Mallard etc. And then we will drive to Beidaihe directly. It’s about 300km from Beijing to Beidaihe. And it takes 4 hours around.

 

Day 3-6 Beidaihe

During your stay in Beidaihe, we will do birding at lighthouse poin, Beidaihe Friendship Hotel, Sandflat area, Wetland Bird Reserve, Lotus Hill Park, Qinglong River for Ibisbill and Long-billed Plover, and Shanhaiguan Great Wall etc birding sites.

 

The coast at Beidaihe is one of the world’s great migration traps, sandwiched as it is between the Bay of Bohai and the mountains and deserts of northern Hebei and Inner Mongolia. Even today, enough habitat remains to ensure that no ornithological pilgrim comes away disappointed. Scrub, a reservoir, tidal flats and a fairly extensive patch of hilly pine woodland vie for our attention as we get used to a selection of birds. The commoner migrants during early May include species such as Brown Shrike, Yellow-browed, Radde’s, Dusky and Pallas’s Warblers, Red-rumped Swallows, Little and Black-faced Buntings, Yellow-rumped, Mugimaki, Red-throated and Asian Brown Flycatchers, while Marsh, Wood, Green and Terek Sandpipers, Greenshank, Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers, and perhaps Oriental Pratincole and Little Whimbrel provide the main shorebird interest. Vega, Black-tailed and Heuglin’s Gulls loaf on the beaches, while Asian Stubtail, Japanese and Pallas’s Reed Buntings, as well as Red-throated and Pechora Pipits might be found in wetter areas.

 

With luck weather conditions will be conducive to overhead migration in The Lotus Hills of White-throated Needletails, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Hobby and Oriental Honey Buzzards. Thrushes use the quiet and well wooded grounds of various hotels and we will hope to see Eye-browed, White’s and Chinese Song Thrush during the early part of our stay, while dazzling Siberian Rubythroat and Siberian Blue Robins are beginning to arrive in numbers. Richard's and Olive-backed Pipits should be noted, Chinese Penduline Tit, Chinese Pond Heron and hopefully Chinese Egret should be around the wetter areas, while Tree Sparrows, Hoopoes, Common Swifts, Yellow Wagtails and Great Spotted Woodpeckers will be familiar. Other species we should see include Rufous-bellied and Grey-naped Pygmy Woodpeckers, Spotted and Rufous Turtle Doves, Black-naped Oriole, Crested Myna and Siberian Stonechat.

         

We will also take a half-day visit to the Great Wall of China at Shanhaiguan, an hour's drive north of Beidaihe. Apart from seeing the Wall, where it ascends the mountains on its way west away from the coastal plain, we shall search for Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Plain Laughingthrush, White-browed Chinese Warblers and Siberian Meadow Buntings, and if winds are favourable we may also see some raptors.

 

Day 7 Beidaihe to Happy Island

We'll start early for Happy Island, stopping a couple of times en route for birding. Masses of shorebirds should include flocks of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Red-necked and Long-toed Stints, Far Eastern Curlew, Pacific Golden Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Great Knot and with luck Grey-tailed Tattler, Greater Sand Plover, Grey-headed Lapwing and Asian Dowitcher will also be found in small numbers, alongside familiar species such as Spotted and Common Redshanks, Black-winged Stilt and Whimbrel, while we will always remain optimistic of finding an enigmatic Spoon-billed Sandpiper, though we shall certainly need some good fortune to find one! We also expect to see our first White-cheeked Starling, Eastern Marsh Harrier and a variety of terns, especially Little, Common and Gull-billed and we will also hope for Relict Gull and the endangered Saunders Gull breeds nearby and is seen most days. We will also stop at the small, but infamous migrant trap of Magic Wood, where as well as some of the much wanted species already mentioned for Beidaihe, we found our only Manchurian Bush Warbler of the last tour. We take the forty minute crossing to the island in the late afternoon.

 

Day 8-10 Happy Island

Situated on the superb 'East Asia flyway'. Happy Island measures a mere 4kms by 2.5 kms. For the birder, nowhere else comes close and the daily excitements that spring brings more than make up or any shortcomings in the island’s accommodation during our stay. Each day, we will see a new set of birds as one wave of migrants follows another - during our three and a bit days on the island, we expect two or three major falls involving large numbers of passerines. In addition, vagrants get caught up in the roving weather systems and turn up on the island, sometimes staying for several days. As the island is relatively small it is also the perfect place for anyone wishing to pursue special interests such as bird photography or regular wader counting. Our previous tour brought large falls of phylloscopus warblers that included Eastern Crowned, Arctic, Hume’s Leaf, Yellow-streaked and Two-barred Greenish Warblers, as well as the commoner species, while Siberian Thrush, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Japanese Quail, Spangled Drongo, Blue Rock Thrush, Chestnut, Chestnut-eared, Yellow-throated and Tristram’s Buntings and more Siberian Blue Robins and Eye-browed Thrushes were among the migrants. Dollarbird is a fairly scarce, but regular migrant and Yellow-bellied Tit can be found in the woods. Overhead passage can be heavy, especially if rain arrives, when large numbers of Richard’s and Olive-backed Pipits, Little Buntings and Common Rosefinches can pass. Other overhead migrants may include Forest Wagtail, Chinese Grosbeak, White-winged Black Tern, Grey Nightjar and with luck Pacific Swift and Pied Harrier.

 

Day 11 Happy Island to Beidaihe

Back at Beidaihe, we'll concentrate on marshes and reed beds, a habitat type better represented here than on Happy Island and only now, later in the spring, at its best. Early starts are called for, but we can expect some great birding: Yellow and Von Schrenck's Bitterns, Purple Heron, Baillon's and Ruddy-breasted Crakes, Amur Falcon, Lanceolated, Black-browed Reed, Oriental Great Reed and Thick-billed Warblers are frequently seen.

     

Dusky, Grey-backed and perhaps Grey-sided Thrushes feed quietly in the hotel grounds, while the more obvious species now include Bluethroat, Black Drongo, Blyth’s Pipit, Black-capped Kingfisher and perhaps a late Red-flanked Bluetail. Scarcer species include the endangered Chinese Egret, Asian Yellow Rail, and Pallas's Grasshopper, Manchurian Reed and Blunt-winged Warblers. In the woods, Dark Sided and Grey-streaked Flycatchers now dominate, while we were fortunate to find Spotted Bush Warbler, White-throated Rock Thrush and the rare Fairy Pitta last time here.

 

Day 12 Beidaihe

Today we will head off north westwards to Old Peak in the Laolin Forest Reserve, two hours from Beidaihe.

 

Old Peak, a scenic spot on a 1424m summit, is the highest of the mountains near the town. The ravine leading into the area is cloaked with deciduous woodland - a welcome sight after the polluting factories and scrubby hillsides en route - and above it there is a conifer plantation in a basin flanked by craggy peaks. Among other birds that breed or are thought to breed locally are the endemic Chinese Nuthatch, as well as Elisae’s Flycatcher, Chinese Leaf-Warbler, Chinese Song and Grey-sided Thrushes, Godlewski’s Bunting, Daurian Redstart, Koklass Pheasant, Large Hawk, Lesser, Indian and Oriental Cuckoos, Yellow-bellied Tit, Blyth’s and Pale-legged Leaf Warblers and Yellow-throated Bunting. We also hope to see passing raptors such as Oriental Honey Buzzard and Upland and Grey-faced Buzzards, but Chinese Hill Pigeon is now rare here and rarely seen. We stay in the recently refurbished well located hotel.

 

Day 13 Beidaihe to Beijing

This morning we’ll try to catch up with any missing species and then we’ll drive to Beijing. Time permitting, we will visit Summer Palace to try and catch up with any missing species, where we hope to encounter more migrants that might include Falcated Duck, Garganey, White-breasted Waterhen amongst others.

 

Day 14 Departure

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Beijing Airport for you flight back to home.

 

 

The tour could be tailor made. It's pleased to hear from you, please do not hesitate to mail us through info@pandachinatour.com