Happy Island & Beidaihe, China, 1-22 May 1999.


This report covers a birdwatching trip made by Svein Efteland, Leif Gabrielsen, Trygve Serck-Hanssen, Kasper Thorup & myself to E Asia's foremost migration hotspot.

Upon arrival at Beijing we travelled into town and went for a stroll after depositing our luggage at the train station. We spent a bit of time watching Azure-winged Magpies before diving into the Friendship Store, the dollar shop of bygone days, for provisions, souvenirs, and postcards - then it was time to jump on the train, and soon we were in Beidaihe. Having checked in at our hotel we found that we had time for a stroll before dinner - and duly went round Bunting Field and down to Lighthouse Point.

On 2nd we acquainted ourselves with most of the sites E of Lotus Hills, starting in the gardens of our hotel with an Oriental Scops Owl, and finishing many birds later in the same area with Pale and Chinese Song Thrushes going to roost. It was coldish in the morning, wind E/NE 2, with a bit of rain; from early PM it turned misty and the wind veered S.

We visited the Great Wall at Shanhaiguan on 3rd, seeing the endemic species plus a Grey-faced Buzzard before returning to Beidaihe for a second visit to Radar Marsh. The wind was NW initially but soon turned E; by 17h00 it was E 3 and clearing.

The next day we left for Happy Island, stopping en route for superb views of Little Whimbrel. The short boat journey across to the island yielded our first Great Knots and Saunders's Gulls, and from our arrival until we returned to Beidaihe on 19th migrants kept us busy. There were quiet but never birdless spells, and there were days which seemed simply too brief...

By 17h30 on 4th it was E 4-5, overcast, 20+ km visibilty, and it rained briefly. A clear night followed.

At 05h00 on 5th the wind was N 2, there was hardly a cloud, it was cool (1018mb) - by 12h00 WSW 3, and by 15h00 SW 4-5 (20h30: 1012mb).

6 May: W 2, 1/8 cloud cover (1010mb) at 04h45. The clouds had completely disappeared and wind increased to W/WNW 3-4 by 09h30; by 17h00 we recorded WSW 3-4, still cloudless, and by 21h00 1005mb. A windy night followed (E 6-7 at 03h00)...

The next day the wind remained E 5 at 09h30, turning NE 6-7 by 13h45, and ESE 3-4 by 18h00. At 20h30 it was calm, 16.7C, cloudless, 1012 mb.

8 May: NW 1, 3/8 (W sector) at 04h40. By 10h00 it was cloudless, and the wind E 3 increasing to 4. During the night there was a dramatic thunderstorm and heavy rain at c03h00 and the air pressure went down to c1006mb.

9 May: 6/8 shortly after dawn - a windy day (E 5-6); by 20h45 1016mb, E 4, and 15C.

At daybreak the following day NE 1-2, 11C, 1/8 cloud cover, and good visibilty (20+km at 09h10, by which time it was 1018mb, and NE 3).

11 May remained cloudless: 1014mb, 13C, SW 1, with 50+km visibility at 05h00 - 1012mb, 24C, SW 5, and just 2 km visibilty at 13h00, SW 5-6 (and 1011mb) at 15h45, and SW 3-4 at 21h30.

12 May: air pressure peaked at 09h30 at 1011mb (1010 at 04h30), and was down to 1006mb at 19h00 - it was misty throughout the day, and the wind was initially SW (1 at 04h30, 3-4 at 09h30), then SE (4-5 at 15h20, 4 at 19h00).

On 13th the wind stayed E, force 5 at dawn, increasing to 6-7 by 09h15, and remaining 5 at 21h00. At 05h00 it was "not cold" and the temperature reached 19C at 12h45; cloud cover was variable, mainly 1-3/8 though in late afternoon briefly 8/8, and visibilty good at 10-20+km once a morning mist had cleared. Air pressure rose slightly from 1011mb at dawn to 1014-1015mb from 09h15.

14 May: NE/ENE 4-5 at 05h30, 8/8 cloud cover (remaining most of the morning), 1013mb; by 19h00 the wind had veered to ESE 2-3, there was hardly a cloud, and visibilty was decreasing, 1012mb - it was a "calm-ish, lovely evening... at last, after so much wind!"

15 May: by 04h00 air pressure had risen to 1014mb (from 1011mb), it was 15C, NE 0-1. Visibility decreased from c2km to 500m at 07h15, and air pressure peaked at 1017mb at 09h15 to level at 1013-1014mb through to early evening. At 13h00 it was 3/8, by 17h15 6/8 (and S 3, visibility 2-5km) - and at 20h30 there was scarcely a breeze, it was 15C, and hazily 2-3/8.

16 May: Air pressure fell slightly from 1013mb (04h15 & 09h30) to 1011mb at 20h30, cloud cover increased from 4/8 at dawn to 7-8/8 at noon while the wind remained force 2 veering from NNE at dawn to SE (09h30 + 20h30). In late afternoon a few drops of rain over the island, though none over the mudflats where most of us were, experiencing a very high tide as we attempted to do the wader roost, the waters flooding newly dug trenches making for a tricky withdrawal...

17 May: Air pressure increased slightly from 1010mb at 04h30 to 1013mb (10h00 + 21h15), and the wind rose from SE 1 at 04h30 to SE 2-3 at 07h30, then veered to E 3-4 by 11h00. Cloud cover increased from a hazy 2/8 at daybreak to 8/8 by 10h00 - it rained from 11h00 until 18h00 (and intermittently until 21h15).

18 May: "wind picked up again during the night, dashing our hopes of one last productive morning for Kasper post-front" - early AM gusty NE 6-7, light rain. By 09h30 still NE 6-7, 8/8, 14C, 1014mb, visibility 5+km.... In the course of the day the front passed: by 19h15 WNW 3, 5-6/8, 15C, 20+km, 1012mb, and by 21h25 W 2, and cloudless.

19 May: 1010-1011mb throughout, NW 3 at 04h30 & NW 3-4 at 13h00, 0-1/8 , and 20+km visibility...

The following day found us back at Beidaihe, doing Lotus Hills from midmorning & Reservoir area from late afternoon.

On 21 May the weather was settled, 0/8 all day, and up to S/SW 3 in the afternoon.

22 May: cloudless, misty, calm until 08h00 when a S 2-3 started blowing - PM we departed for Beijing where a Grey Nightjar hawking insects under a street lamp near Tiananmen Square ended a fine trip.

In the species list the concept "bird-days" is used - it is the avian equivalent of man-hours: for example, separate flocks of ten and 15 Asian Dowitchers moving through score 25 bird-days, as would the same single individual seen daily for 25 days. The sum of day totals - a handy measure of relative abundance, no more.

Anyone interested in future trips to Happy Island/ Beidaihe, or to other places in China, should contact the author at:

Bei Ling Lu 4 Duan no.1

Apartment 3-402

Beidaihe 066100

Hebei Province


Phone/fax +86 335 403 4587 E-mail:  goodbird@heinfo.net

Finally I'd like to thank everyone for making this such an enjoyable trip: THANK YOU!

/ Beidaihe, September 1999.

Species list

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

Except for c5 en route on 19th noted only in the Reservoir/ Radar Marsh area, max 50 on 20th.

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

One on fishing stakes near Happy Island on 4th.

Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis

At Radar Marsh/ Reservoir area one on 20th, five on 21st, and six on 22nd.

Schrenck's Bittern I. eurhytmus

Two at Radar Marsh/ Reservoir area on 21+22nd.

Cinnamon Bittern I. cinnamomeus

A male at Radar Marsh on 21st was a good find.

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax

Six at Radar Marsh on 3rd, singles at Happy Island on 8+11th, and back at Beidaihe daily c10-c50 in the Radar Marsh/ Reservoir area.

Little Green Heron Butorides striatus

One at Great Wall reservoir on 3rd, 1-2 daily at Happy Island over 13-16th, and one at Lotus Hills on 20th.

Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus

c117 bird-days included five birds in Beijing on 1st. Quite scarce at Happy Island with just 1-3 birds recorded on six dates - over 20-22nd c20-40 daily in the Radar Marsh/ Reservoir area.

Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes

Three on the Dai river on 19th raised cheers... an endangered species.

Little Egret E. garzetta

Five en route to Happy Island on 4th, on the island just one seen (on 8th), seven en route back on 19th (incl five

with the Chinese Egrets), and daily 2-11 in the Radar Marsh/ Reservoir area over 20-22nd.

Intermediate Egret E. intermedia

One on Happy Island on 19th.

Great Egret E. alba

18 bird-days. None at Happy Island - at Beidaihe a daily max of ten on 20th (Radar Marsh/ Reservoir area).

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Five en route on 4th; on Happy Island singles on 11+13th.

Purple Heron A. purpurea

c30 bird-days: on Happy Island four on 7th, two on 19th - at Beidaihe singles on 2+4th, five on both 20+22nd, and nine on 21st.

Greylag Goose Anser anser

One at Happy Island on 5th was a good record...

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna

31 bird-days: 1-15 noted on five days at Happy Island.

Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata

Present throughout our stay on Happy Island a single female may have been the first ever there.

Falcated Duck Anas falcata

A female was seen on Happy Island on 14th.

Mallard A. platyrhynchos

25 at Beidaihe on 2nd, two there the next day, and daily c10 in the Radar Marsh/ Reservoir area over 20-22nd.

At Happy Island just two were seen, on 6th.

Spot-billed Duck A. poecilorhyncha zonorhyncha

Common at Happy Island: once we'd counted 130+ on 6th we ceased to record the species... At Beidaihe seen daily with max 15 on 2nd.

Garganey A. querquedula

At Beidaihe four males and two females on 2nd, and a pair on 20+21st.

Northern Shoveler A. clypeata

Four S of Beidaihe on 4th was the only record.

Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator

On Happy Island five on 5+7th, two on 8th.

Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus

Singles seen on 1th, 12th, and 22nd.

Black Baza Avecida leuphotes

One photographed on Happy Island on 19th as it landed briefly in the woods (LG, R. Barnes).

A first for the island, and not included as a Palearctic bird species by Beaman (1994), Black Baza was a totally unexpected & most gripping find - it was recorded nowhere nearer than Sichuan, well over 1,000 km away, by Cheng (1987).

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus

One was at Happy Island from 15th until our departure.

Another first for the island, and apparently only the second for Hebei (& N of the Yangtze: de Schauensee 1984).

Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus (aeruginosus) spilonotus

29 bird-days: recorded on 12 dates, max nine on 6th.

Pied Harrier C. melanoleucos

14 bird-days, of which eight related to adult males. This superb species was noted on ten dates.

Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis

A female at Happy Island on 16th was the only confirmed record.

Japanese Sparrowhawk A. gularis

95+ bird-days mainly at Happy Island where daily max c20 on 18th.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk A. nisus

Nine bird-days: 1-2 noted on seven dates with the last on 18th. Includes two at Great wall on 3rd...

Chinese Goshawk A. soloensis

Eight bird-days on Happy Island from 8th.

Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus

Singles on 3rd (Great Wall) and 6th.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus

One at Beidaihe on 2nd.

Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

One on 3rd was the only record.

Amur Falcon F. amurensis

31 bird-days. Daily max ten on 6th.

Hobby F. subbuteo

41 bird-days incl one at Great Wall on 3rd, and 6-7 in the Reservoir Area on 20th.

Peregrine F. peregrinus

A female calidus migr at Happy Island on 6th.

Japanese Quail Coturnix japonica

80+ bird-days: recorded almost daily from 4th - daily max c10 over 5-7th & on 10th.

Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

Three males heard at Great Wall on 3rd; at Beidaihe daily 3-5 in the Reservoir area.

Yellow-legged Button-quail Turnix tanki

Singles on Happy Island on 11+13th, and at Beidaihe on 21st.

Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca

In the Reservoir/ Radar Marsh area three on 21st, nine the next day.

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

c10-15 on each visit to the Radar Marsh/ Reservoir area; on Happy Island just two seen, on 14th.

Watercock Gallicrex cinerea

Nine bird-days over 20-22nd, all in the Radar Marsh/ Reservoir/ Sandflats area. Exceptional views were obtained, and a range of different calls were heard.

Coot Fulica atra

One was seen en route on 19th.

Common Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

37-39 bird-days on Happy Island, daily max nine on 18th.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

Five at Yang river on 4th, on Happy Island just one (on 8th), and a single en route on 19th.

Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum

17+ bird-days: 1-10 noted on five dates on Happy Island.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

11 bird-days: 1-2 noted on nine dates.

Kentish Plover C. alexandrinus

440+ bird-days: up to 50+ noted daily on Happy Island; at Beidaihe ten on 22nd.

Lesser Sand Plover C. mongolus

At the fishing settlement across from Happy Island 50 on 4th, 38 on 18th - on the island 1-12 noted on five dates.

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva

248 bird-days on Happy Island, daily max 74 on 6th. Most were on direct migration.

Grey Plover P. squatarola

Common on Happy Island - estimated daily max c500 on 4th, with as many as c200 remaining on 18th. At Beidaihe just three seen, on 22nd.

Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus

11 bird-days: recorded on seven dates, max four on 20th.

Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris

Seen most days on Happy Island, max 1,000+ on 16th.

Red Knot C. canutus

Seen most days on Happy Island, max 1,000+ on 16th.

Sanderling C. alba

100 bird-days on Happy Island: 1-50 noted on seven dates.

Red-necked Stint C. ruficollis

68 bird-days: 3-33 noted on five dates at Happy Island, maximum count on 16th.

Long-toed Stint C. subminuta

One seen extremely well at Radar Marsh on 3rd, two at Happy Island on 6th.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper C. acuminata

18 bird-days: 1-11 seen on four dates 6-16th on Happy Island.

Curlew Sandpiper C. ferruginea

Irregular until 14th when c30 noted on Happy Island - best day an estimated 500 on 16th.

Dunlin C. alpina

Noted on nine dates at Happy Island, max 300+ on 14+16th.

Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus

At Happy Island two on 5th, one on 16th.

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago

At Beidaihe c40 on 2nd, 25 (of which 15 migr) the next day, two on 4th, four on 20th, and just one on 22nd. Scarce at Happy Island with just four in total.

Pintail Snipe G. stenura

46 bird-days: the commonest Snipe on Happy Island with 1-6 noted on ten dates. At Beidaihe two on 2+3rd, five on 20th, and one on 22nd.

Swinhoe's Snipe G. megala

Seven bird-days 2-17th.

Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus

1,005+ bird-days: 1-310 (on 7th) noted on nine dates at Happy Island. Odd purring, growly noises were heard from roosting flocks...

Woodcock Scolopax rusticola

At Happy Island two on 9th, one on 13th.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

140 bird-days on Happy Island: 1-60 noted on eight dates 4-16th.

Bar-tailed Godwit L. lapponica

3,500+ bird-days: estimates reached 500+ on several dates.

Little Whimbrel Numenius minutus

12 en route S of Beidaihe on 4th included one which yielded prolonged scope views at close range. Swedish birders noted one over Happy Island on 13th...

Whimbrel N. phaeopus

288+ bird-days: 1-55 logged daily from 4th.

Eurasian Curlew N. arquata

c890 bird-days: noted daily except 12th on Happy Island, max 300 on 5th.

Far Eastern Curlew N. madagascariensis

192+ bird-days: noted almost daily on Happy Island, max c100 on 5th.

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus

Three en route on 4th - on Happy Island 21 on 13th, and one on 15th.

Redshank T. totanus

85+ bird-days: 2-10 daily on Happy Island.

Marsh Sandpiper T. stagnatilis

c25 en route on 4th, 1-11 on eight dates on Happy Island, and two at Beidaihe on 20th.

Common Greenshank T. nebularia

99+ bird-days: 1-20 noted almost daily.

Green Sandpiper T. ochropus

24 bird-days. Daily max 13 on 6th.

Wood Sandpiper T. glareola

Seen most days, 1-c25 except 6th when 465 moved through at Happy Island.

Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus

217+ bird-days: noted on 13 dates, max 90+ on 11th.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

11 bird-days: 1-2 noted on eight dates.

Grey-tailed Tattler Heteroscelus brevipes

One migr over Happy Island on 13th was the only record.

Turnstone Areneria interpres

Singles on 5+14th, two on 13th.

Relict Gull Larus relictus

56 bird-days: max 23 2nd cal-yr birds noted on ten dates at Happy Island.

Saunders's Gull L. saundersi

122+ bird-days logged on Happy Island, max 28 on 7th. Undoubtedly breeds nearby if not actually on the island,

and is frequently seen frame-fillingly close.

Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus

c1,000 bird-days: last seen on 19th... daily maximum c300 on 4th.

Black-tailed Gull L. crassirostris

51 bird-days logged on Happy Island. All but one (a 3rd cal-yr on 16th) were 2nd cal-yr birds. Seen on nine dates, max 17 on 16th.

Common Gull L. canus

An adult on Happy Island on 5th was the only record.

Vega Gull L. vegae

Noted on just four dates: an adult ssp. vegae on 5th, 11 ssp. birulai on 7th, a singleton the next day, and c30 on 16th.

Heuglin's Gull L. heuglini taimyrensis

Single adults on 13+16th.

Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica

c500 bird-days at Happy Island. Best counts 170 on 5th, 130 on 7th, and 50 on 18th.

Caspian Tern S. caspia

At Happy Island two on 7th, singles on 9+14th.

Common Tern S. hirundo

c96 bird-days at Happy Island: noted on eight dates 4-16th, max 36 on 13th.

Little Tern S. albifrons

590+ bird-days: recorded daily at Happy Island, usually c5-70 birds, but 225 on 16th.

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus

At Happy Island one on 5th & 12 the next day, then none until 13th when c50 were logged - the following day yielded c20, the 16th 30+, and the 19th three (with an additional three seen en route back to Beidaihe).

White-winged Black Tern C. leucopterus

Two on 11th, 50 on 13th, c15 on 14th, 410 on 16th, 160 the next day, 30 on 18th, and finally c100 over paddies en route on 19th).

*Rock Dove Columba livia [feral]

Not systematically recorded.

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

18 bird-days: 1-5 daily at Beidaihe, and five from the train on 1st.

Oriental Turtle Dove S. orientalis

75 bird-days: 1-12 seen most days.

Spotted Dove S. chinensis

One en route on 1st.

Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides

Singles at Happy Island on 6+16th.

Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus

One at Happy Island on 16th.

Common Cuckoo C. canorus

36 bird-days. Singles daily on 6-9th & 13+14th, then 2-5 almost daily 15-21st, and eight on 22nd.

Oriental Cuckoo C. saturatus

Nine bird-days: one on 8th, and 1-2 daily 14-18th.

Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia

17 bird-days: 1-3 noted on ten dates 2-20th.

Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata

At Happy Island singles on five dates 8-16th.

Little Owl Athene noctua

Two recorded.

Long-eared Owl Asio otus

One at Happy Island on 17th constituted a remarkably late record.

Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus

On Happy Island singles on four dates 7-15th.

White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus

14 non-lingering birds seen over Happy Island: singles on 10+14th, two on 13+19th, and eight on 15th.

Common Swift Apus apus pekinensis

Two in Beijing on 1st.

Fork-tailed Swift A. pacificus

c71 bird-days: noted on six dates from 4th, max 53 on 19th.

Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata

Singles on seven dates from 5th.

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

c24-25 bird-days: singles at Happy Island on 6+10+16th, daily max 6+ on 2nd at Beidaihe.

Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis

On Happy Island three on 15th, six on 16th.

Hoopoe Upupa epops

Singles on Happy Island on four dates, daily max c10 at Beidaihe.

Wryneck Jynx torquilla

18-19 bird-days 2-15th: two at Beidaihe on 2nd, recorded daily at Happy Island 6-11th (max five on 6th), with a last singleton there on 15th.

Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus

17 bird-days: a widespread resident at Beidaihe, with a single bird also at Great wall on 3rd.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major

One at Beijing on 1st; at Beidaihe 2-5 seen most days. Another resident.

Rufous-bellied Woodpecker D. hyperythrus

16-17 bird-days. At Happy Island recorded daily 5-12th (max 5+ on 6th) - back at Beidaihe 1-2 birds on 20th, and one the next day.

Grey-capped Woodpecker D. canicapillus

One at Lotus Hills on 20th - an elusive resident.

Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla

One migr at Happy Island on 8th (JH).

Asian Short-toed Lark C. (rufescens) cheleensis

Five S of Beidaihe on 4th, 29 bird-days on Happy Island.

Sand Martin Riparia riparia

67+ bird-days 2-19th, daily max 20+ on 10+11th.

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

15-c500 recorded daily.

Red-rumped Swallow H. daurica

Seen daily except 18th: less common than the preceding species with max c100 on three dates, and just 1-6 on six dates on Happy Island.

Richard's Pipit Anthus richardi

127 bird-days. At Happy Island almost daily 2-15; at Beidaihe three on 2nd, singles on 20+21st.

A somewhat disappointing score this year - it is not unusual to see 100+ on some mornings...

Blyth's Pipit A. godlewskii

11-12 bird-days. 1-2 birds noted on ten dates 2-21st.

Olive-backed Pipit A. hodgsoni

194 bird-days. Daily max 30 on 6th.

Pechora Pipit A. gustavi

21-22 bird-days. One at Radar Marsh over 2-3rd eventually yielded reasonable views - none were then seen until 14th after which up to four birds were seen most days.

Red-throated Pipit A. cervinus

At Beidaihe 15 on 2nd, ten on 3rd; at Happy Island 1-7 daily over 4-7th...

Buff-bellied Pipit A. rubescens

Ten bird-days over 2-6th.

Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus

14 bird-days from 14th. Best day 22nd when five birds were in the Reservoir area.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava

705 bird-days. Recorded daily except 18th with a maximum of 105 on 15th.

Particularly good viewing conditions at Radar Marsh allowed us to identify all the races known for the area: plexa/macronyx, simillima, and taivana.

Citrine Wagtail M. citreola

A female was present at Radar Marsh over 2-3rd, another was near the Reservoir on 20th.

Grey Wagtail M. cinerea

28 bird-days. 1-4 (on 7th) noted on 14 dates.

White Wagtail M. alba

15 bird-days. Daily max six on 2nd.

Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus

19+ bird-days. 1-4+ noted somewhat irregularly 5-19th. Superb views of a male which landed on a wire at the N end of Happy Island.

Chinese Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis

Seen almost daily, with daily max 31 at Happy Island on 10th.

Japanese Waxwing Bombycilla japonica

One at Happy Island on 8th.

An erratic species: not seen every spring.

Rufous-tailed Robin Luscinia sibilans

29+ bird-days from 7th. 1-c10 noted on ten dates until 21st, best day 15th.

Siberian Rubythroat L. calliope

110+ bird-days. Seen most days, max 25+ on 16th.

Bluethroat L. svecica

35 bird-days. 1-7 (on 7th) noted on 14 dates.

Siberian Blue Robin L. cyane

c225 bird-days. Seen on 16 dates, with 23-25+ on 7+8+10th, c50 on 15th, and c40 the next day.

Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus

19 bird-days. Daily max three on 4th, and last seen on 16th... a sickly individual present on Happy Island from at least 7th until 15th (when it died); the next day another single put in an appearance.

An early migrant, with peak numbers in first half of April.

Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus

Ten bird-days: singles on four dates 2-11th, four at Great Wall on 3rd, and two on 10th.

Stonechat Saxicola torquata stejnegeri

c360 bird-days. Recorded almost daily, max c100 at Happy Island on 7th. Single digit counts only from 16th on.

White-throated Rock Thrush Monticola gularis

23 bird-days 9-20th. Best days at Happy Island seven on 15th, and eight the following day. A good year for this superb species...

Blue Rock Thrush M. solitarius philippensis

22 bird-days on Happy Island during 5th-16th. Daily max four on 6+7th.

Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus

One on 19th was pleasing: the species is probably not annual.


White's Thrush Zoothera dauma

51 bird-days. One was at Beidaihe on the day we arrived, at Happy Island seen daily 5-19th (max ten on 8+12th), and finally one at Beidaihe on 21st.

Siberian Thrush Z. sibirica

13-15 bird-days: on Happy Island singles on 12+17th, 8-10 on 15th, and three on 16th.

A skulky species but frequently seen well, with the occasional individual indulging our team photographers to the extent of waiting around for lenses to be changed etc etc...

Chinese Blackbird Turdus (merula) mandarinus

Single males at Happy Island on 13+19th.

The Hebei coast is c1,000 km N of the species' official range but it is now recorded annually.

Grey-backed Thrush T. hortulorum

16+ bird-days: four at Beidaihe on 2nd, 1-2 noted on Happy Island nine dates 6-17th.

Pale Thrush T. pallidus

Six bird-days. A pair sitting out in a bare tree at roosting time on 2nd; singles on Happy Island on 6+7+11+15th.

A good series of records of a species scarce even during the second half of April, its peak passage period.

Eyebrowed Thrush T. obscurus

91+ bird-days. At Beidaihe one on 2nd, six on 20th; on Happy Island 1-20 daily during 6-17th, and one on 19th -

best day 16th.

Naumann's Thrush T. naumanni

64-65 bird-days. Recorded on 14 dates: daily max 24 on 6th, last seen on 16th. Ssp eunomus by far the commonest, naumanni being an early migrant (and winter visitor).

Chinese Song Thrush T. mupinensis

Singles on 2nd (with two Pale Thrush in the garden of our hotel), 8th, 10th & 14th.

Short-tailed Bush Warbler Urosphena squameiceps

Two at Beidaihe on 2nd, singles at Happy Island on 5+8+10th.

Chinese Bush Warbler Bradypterus tacsanowskius

One seen & heard singing at Happy Island on 15th.

Possibly only the 3rd spring record of the species for the Beidaihe/Happy Island area.

Fan-tailed Warbler Cisticola juncidis

c115 bird-days: a fairly common breeder noted daily at Happy Island & almost daily at Beidaihe.

Chinese Hill Warbler Rhopophilus pekinensis

c15 at Great Wall on 3rd. Endemic...

Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola

One on 15th (LG).

A late migrant mostly noted in late May/ early June.

Lanceolated Warbler L. lanceolata

66 bird-days: first arrival on 11th, then none until two on 14th after which the species was regular (best days c15 on 15th, 12+ the next day, and 22 on 21st).

Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps

c225 bird-days. Ones and twos irregularly from 2nd, then c15 on 15th, five the next day, and back at Beidaihe

c20 on 20th, 60 on 21st, and c120 on 22nd.

Manchurian Reed Warbler A. tangorum

One at Sandflats on 21st, eight at Radar Marsh the next day.

Oriental Great Reed Warbler A. orientalis

Just six at Happy Island from 12th; back at Beidaihe nine on 20th, c35 the next day, and 50 on 22nd.

Thick-billed Warbler A. aedon

First arrival on 14th (8+) - 5+ noted on 15th, and two on 17th. Back at Beidaihe c30 on 20th, c15 on 21st, and one on 22nd.

Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca

An elusive singleton present on Happy Island from 8th until 17th constituted the first record for the Hebei coast.

Blyth's Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides

21 bird-days: 1-3 daily at Happy Island over 4-14th, one at Beidaihe on 20th.

Eastern Crowned Warbler P. coronatus

17-19 bird-days: seen most days 5-20th.

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler P. tenellipes

53+ bird-days. Seen almost daily from 10th (when 8+ appeared on Happy Island) - best days 15-16th with 15+.

Greenish Warbler P. trochiloides plumbeitarsus

102+ bird-days. Seen daily from 4th - scarce initially, with 1-3 most days until 14th (when c10 noted). Daily max

20+ on 15th...

Arctic Warbler P. borealis

Nine bird-days: ones and twos seen irregularly from 8th. Peak passage is in late May...

Pallas's Leaf Warbler P. proregulus

c345 bird-days. Recorded daily 1-20th, daily max 50 on 8th.

Chinese Leaf Warbler P. sichuanensis

At Happy Island two on 8th, and singles on 12+13+16th.

A recently (1992) described endemic species.

Yellow-browed Warbler P. inornatus

680+ bird-days. Seen daily except 22nd with max c100 on 2nd.

Hume's Leaf Warbler P. humei mandellii

Nine bird-days on Happy Island: singles on 7+10+15+16+19th, two on 11+14th.

Ideal viewing conditions on the island facilitates the identification of this decidedly scarce species.

Radde's Warbler P. schwarzi

c280 bird-days. Noted daily except on 1st - 7th by far the best day with 75+ logged; 35-40 on 8+11th also respectable totals.

Dusky Warbler P. fuscatus

c290 bird-days. Noted daily except on 1st... best day 7th with c50 birds.

Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana

A male was seen briefly on 15th, pausing on its way N.

Sooty Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica

Two on 14th, singles on 15+16+20+21st.

Grey-streaked Flycatcher M. griseisticta

Ten bird-days: singles daily over 5-7th, and again over 12-17th, with two on 15th.

Asian Brown Flycatcher M. dauurica

62-64 bird-days. Recorded almost daily 5-22nd, daily max c10 on 11+15th.

Red-throated Flycatcher Ficedula (parva) albicilla

c145 bird-days. Daily max 40 on 6th, otherwise max 8-10 on seven dates.

Mugimaki Flycatcher F. mugimaki

c16 bird-days. Noted on six dates 9-17th, max c10 on 10th.

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher F. zanthopygia

35 bird-days. Seen almost daily 8-21st, max seven on 20th.

Elisa's Flycatcher F. elisae [formerly treated as a race of F. narcissina]

Eight bird-days: a female present on Happy Island 8-14th was joined by an immature male over 12-13th.

A scarce, possibly endangered endemic.

Vinous-throated Parrotbill Paradoxornis webbianus

2-3 on each visit to the Reservoir area at Beidaihe (where breeding proved in 1998), and five at Great Wall on 3rd. Endemic.

Pere David's Laughingthrush Garrulax davidi

Eight at Great Wall on 3rd. Endemic.

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus vinaceus

Three at Great Wall on 3rd.

Marsh Tit Parus palustris

Two at Beidaihe on 20th.

Yellow-bellied Tit P. venustulus

Recorded daily at Happy Island over 11-19th, one on 11-12th and 18-19th, two over 13-17th.

It was nice to get prolonged good views of this often elusive endemic.

Great Tit P. major minor

1-10+ daily at Beidaihe. A fairly common resident.

Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus consobrinus

c425 bird-days. Most common during our first week in the area: 125 on 2nd, 100 on 6th, and 95 on 8th.

Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus

c870 bird-days. Recorded most days, max 370 on 8th.

Japanese Whiteeye Z. japonicus

16 bird-days: 1-4 identified on seven dates.

Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis

85+ bird-days from 3rd. On Happy Island daily max ten on 14th - back at Beidaihe c15 daily over 20-22nd.

Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus

A male performed on Happy Island on 16th.

Bull-headed Shrike L. bucephalus

A female on Happy Island was eventually seen well and photographed.

Brown Shrike L. cristatus

280+ bird-days. Seen daily except 18th... somewhat scarce initially, but common from 7th (when 25 were logged on Happy Island): 5-10 daily over 8-14th and on 19th, 20-30 daily over 15-17th. At Beidaihe c40 on 20+21st, and 15+ at Radar Marsh on our last morning.

Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus

Five bird-days. A poor showing this year with singles on 11+21st, and three on 19th.

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius

Two at Great Wall on 3rd.

Red-billed Blue Magpie Urocissa erythrorhyncha

2-8 daily at Beidaihe and Great Wall.

Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyanus

c30 in downtown Beijing on 1st.

Common Magpie Pica pica

Common on the mainland; absent from Happy Island.

Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

Two over Great Wall on 3rd.

Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos

One in Beijing on 1st, three at Great Wall on 3rd.

Daurian Starling Sturnus sturninus

26 bird-days. Singles on 7+8th, then none until four on 12th, after which the species was seen daily until 17th.

Daily max 12 on 16th...

White-cheeked Starling S. cineraceus

25 bird-days. Singles on three dates at Happy Island, 2-6 seen almost daily at Beidaihe & en route.

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

Seen daily - not systematically recorded.

Brambling Fringilla montifringilla

Ten bird-days: recorded one nine dates at Happy Island, singles except two on 6th.

Oriental Greenfinch Carduelis sinica

Ten bird-days: singles at Happy Island on 13+17th, 1-5 noted on three dates at Beidaihe.

Eurasian Siskin C. spinus

One at Happy Island on 7th.

Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus

136+ bird-days. Seen almost daily 4-20th, max 30 on 19th.

Chinese Grosbeak Eophona migratoria

29 bird-days: 1-4 seen almost daily at Happy Island, and one in the Lotus Hills on 20th.

Japanese Grosbeak E. personata

Just one seen, on Happy Island on 7th. A poor showing this year for this stunning finch - 7-16 May 1997 yielded 40 bird-days!

Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes

25 bird-days: 1-14 daily in the garden of our Beidaihe hotel over 1-3rd, at Happy Island singles on 9+15+16th & two on 18th.

Black-faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala

179+ bird-days: 2-25 identified daily except on 1st.

Godlewski's Bunting E. godlewskii

Six at Great Wall on 3rd.

Meadow Bunting E. cioides

Ten showed well at Great Wall on 3rd.

Chestnut-eared Bunting E. fucata

30 bird-days. Recorded on 13 dates, max seven on 21st.

Yellow-throated Bunting E. elegans

Eight bird-days. 1-2 noted on five dates at Happy Island during 4-11th. Just one male, on the first date - the species is an early migrant (and winter visitor); May birds tend to be females or bleached, immature males.

Yellow-browed Bunting E. chrysophrys

28+ bird-days. During 3-15th seen daily except on 12th - best counts six on 4th, and 5+ on 10th.

Tristram's Bunting E. tristrami

71 bird-days. Seen most days, though scarcer during third week (just two after 17th) - daily max eight on 6th.

Little Bunting E. pusilla

c150 bird-days. 1-c50 (on 6th) recorded daily until 16th, after which just one on 21st.

Chestnut Bunting E. rutila

119+ bird-days. Seen most days from 6th - daily max 40 on 6th.

Yellow-breasted Bunting E. aureola

c385 bird-days. Seen most days, max 160 on 7th.

Pallas's Reed Bunting E. pallasi

29 bird-days. Recorded on nine dates, with a last two on 16th - daily max eight on 2nd.

Japanese Reed Bunting E. yessoensis

24 bird-days. At Radar Marsh/ Reservoir area one on 2nd, three on 3+21st; on Happy Island one on 11th, five on 14+15th, and three on 16+17th.