Beidaihe & Happy Island, China
AT A GLANCE
Bird Tour: Birds, more birds and bird photography.
Beijing (China) – Beidaihe, Happy Island, Old Peak and coastal strip – Beijing
A stunning collection of East Asian migrants, many of which occur in the UK and Europe as rare migrants or vagrants, the majority of which are in full spring plumage. Plus a selection of Chinese avian specialities.
Travel will be by 33 and 21 seat buses (for only 15 people), staying in Chinese tourist-class hotels, all rooms with private facilities.
Spring migration on the East Asian Flyway
Beidaihe has earned an enviable reputation among western birders for its consistently exciting spring migration. WildWings have led over twenty tours to this eastern mecca and each one has been outstandingly successful. We have been taking birders there for longer than anyone else, we have the best local contacts and know all the best sites including some we have exclusive access to only.
Despite pressures from development, which are beginning to seriously affect some of the habitats, the volume and variety of migration continues unabated each spring, with dramatic falls of regular Siberian migrants plus rare and unseasonal species, most of which will be in full summer plumage!
The main attraction of Beidaihe is the opportunity to see much-sought-after Siberian and other Far Eastern species in a country where the people, culture and way of life are so different from our own. Add a reasonable price, the sure knowledge that the group will include some top birders from around the UK to help to find the good birds, and it becomes irresistible. Whether you measure it in terms of new species, total number of species, or per mile travelled, the cost represents excellent value for money - a two or three week trip to the other side of the world, a round trip of some 10,000 miles, and about 240 species of birds.
And those species should include such mouth-watering goodies such as Siberian Rubythroats, Siberian Blue Robins, Siberian Thrushes, White's Thrushes, Lanceolated Warblers, Yellow-browed and Chestnut-eared Buntings, Yellow-rumped and Mugimaki Flycatchers, Needletail Swifts, Red-necked and Long-toed Stints, Great Knots, Asian Dowitchers, Little Whimbrels plus Relict and Saunders' Gulls to name but a few.
Although every spring is different, the pattern and timing of migration and the variety of species is consistent, and birds just pour through, day after day. If we have rain and strong winds, then dramatic falls can occur. The numbers of birds involved can be huge, and the spectacle extraordinary.
Each year we turn up something exceptional, from Spoon-billed Sandpiper to Oriental Plover, Fairy Pitta to Grey Bushchat, Blue Whistling Thrush to Blue-fronted Redstart .We've also seen Oriental White Stork, Red-crowned Cranes, Black Baza’s, Japanese Waxwings, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Mongolian Larks, Japanese Yellow Bunting, Fujian Niltava, Asian House Martins, Grey-crowned and Bianchi’s Warblers (splits from Golden Spectacled Warbler), Rufous-faced Warbler, Long-tailed Minivets and Gray’s and Styan’s Grasshopper Warblers.
Our 2016 trip yielded a group total of 273 species, a new record for WildWings! Mega highlights (amongst so many megas, all in full spring plumage of course….) included a flock of 70 Little Whimbrels, Japanese Reed Bunting, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Alstrom’s Warbler, Lesser Coucal (!), Swinhoe’s Crake, Elisae’s Flyctacher, Fujian Niltava, male Blue & White Flycatcher, Brown-cheeked Rail, Palla’s Sandgrouse, a flock of 4000 White-winged Black Terns and Reed Parrotbills (voted bird of the trip). The optional week’s extension yielded Kamchatka Warbler and a Baikal Bush Warbler. Mark’s fully illustrated report and species list (see reports tab above) also mention a few goodies we missed, the nature of migration birding.
The now included birding excursions will include one for Ibisbill and Long-billed Plover, our days based at Beidaihe itself, a multi-day trip down the coast to the south of Beidaihe to visit several estuaries and isolated woods and we now stay on the legendary Happy Island. The third week is now offered as an extension, we will return to happy Island and will also spend a night at Old Peak, a forested mountain, we will be looking for such local breeding species as Chinese Leaf Warbler, Chinese Nuthatch, Claudia’s Leaf Warbler, Manchurian Bush Warbler, Eastern Rock and Siberian Meadow Buntings, Grey-sided Thrush, Bull-headed Shrike, Yellow-streaked Warbler and if we are fortunate, Koklass Pheasant and White-bellied Redstart.
We stay throughout the trip in comfortable hotels with en suite facilities; we eat really good Chinese food as you have never tasted before; we have first-class ground agents and local guides; and we really enjoy ourselves. Join us for this unrivalled birding bonanza. Come now, while the woods, estuaries, wetlands, islands and headlands are still pulling in the birds.
Please note: This is an intensive birding trip with long days in the field, and a lot of travelling. It is not recommended for anyone with any mobility problems, or for beginners, we recommend that you are familiar with the commoner eastern vagrants. The trip requires a reasonable amount of stamina and offers little to non-birding partners, we will not be visiting any ‘tourist sites’ - its just birds, birds, birds!
Day 1: Afternoon flight from London Heathrow and Manchester via Germany.
Day 2: Arrive Beijing in the morning, transfer by bus to Beidaihe. Into the field!
Days 3-5: Birding around Beidaihe, with the group bus.
Days 6-10: Move south to visit estuaries, woods and Happy Island. Stay on Happy Island.
Day 11-12: Birding the Beidaihe area, with the group bus.
Day 13: Full day excursion for Ibisbill and more.
Day 14-15: Birding the Beidaihe area, with the group bus.
Day 16: Very early bus back to Beijing and flight back to UK, arrive late afternoon.
Day 16: Birding the Beidaihe area.
Days 17-18: Old Peak. Stay overnight.
Days 19 - 20: Move back south to visit estuaries, woods and Happy Island. Stay on Happy Island again.
Day 21: Last day birding the Beidaihe area.
Day 22: Very early bus back to Beijing for flights home, arriving back UK late afternoon/early evening.
NB: Exact itinerary in China subject to local conditions and government permissions.
Please note: All itineraries are subject to weather, local conditions and final approval by the relevant authorities.
Dates: May 2021
Previous trip reports and species lists are available in the Trip Report Tab above.