Monday, 23 April 2018

South-east China - 23rd April (Day 3)

Our first full birding day and we were raring to go, we were up at 05:00 and into the bus by 05:30 we were on site at the Dongtai seawall by 05:45 where we had breakfast of banana, Snicker’s bars and various bread with hot sweet coffee on the seawall. Scanning during our breakfast produced numerous Red-necked Stint running around on the sand, a flock of 60 Black-faced Spoonbill dozing on the lagoons, multiple Yellow-browed Warbler calling from the seawall scrub and best of all a flock of 15 Little Whimbrel that flew overhead. Once again, we began our birding in pursuit of Spoon-billed Sandpiper  and headed out over the sand flats to the waters edge seeing large numbers of waders with Long-toed Stint being new for the trip. Unfortunately, by the time we had reached the waters edge the tide was well on its way out and the birds remained a long way off and the hard sand was turning to sticky mud. So turning back inland we checked the large numbers of waders on the dryer sand seeing much the same range of species as yesterday but got much better views of many of them including great views of Lesser Sandplover, Greater Sandplover, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.

We spent much of the remainder of the day working the white flowered leguminous scrub that has been planted on the landward slope of the seawall. There were clearly good numbers of migrant around and we recorded Tristams Bunting, Yellow-browed Bunting, Black-faced Bunting, Pale-legged Leaf-warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Pallas’s Warbler, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Alstrom’s Warbler, Korean Bush-warbler, Olive-backed Pipit, Grey-backed Thrush, Pale Thrush and Dusky Thrush. One of the highlights for me was a stunning Rufous-tailed Robin found by Andy D which eventually showed well as it hung out with a female Daurian Redstart.

We had reserved the final part of the day to try for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper once again, but with heavy rain and a force 5-6 northerly wind most of us bowed out leaving Andy D to head out to the waters edge with Tang-Jun while the rest of us worked a different area of scrub. We didn’t add a great deal to the list of species we had seen earlier but for a skulking Siberian Rubythroat. Andy D managed to find a winter plumaged Spoon-billed Sandpiper right in the dying hours of daylight – he was very please with this and he certainly deserved his reward in the fairly dire weather conditions. We toasted Andy's success over some cold beers in the evening and planned to head back to this fantastic birding spot tomorrow for our final morning.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Curlew Sandpiper - Dongtai, Yancheng

Three Lesser Sandplover with Greater Sandplover (centre bird), Kentish Plover and Red-necked Stint - Dongtai, Yancheng

Greater Sandplover and Red-necked Stint - Dongtai, Yancheng

Greater Sandplover and Red-necked Stint - Dongtai, Yancheng

Lesser Sandplover - Dongtai, Yancheng

Red-necked Stint - Dongtai, Yancheng

Mixed wader flock with Red-necked Stint, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Greater Sandplover, Lesser Sandplover and Broad-billed Sandpiper - Dongtai, Yancheng

Exhausted Barn Swallows on the sand - Dongtai, Yancheng

 Merlin of one of the eastern subspecies, presumably pacificus - Dongtai, Yancheng

Breakfast - Dongtai, Yancheng

Birding at Dongtai, Yancheng

Birding at Dongtai, Yancheng

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - Dongtai, Yancheng

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Bar-tailed Godwit - Dongtai, Yancheng

Terek Sandpiper - Dongtai, Yancheng

Terek Sandpiper - Dongtai, Yancheng

Marsh Sandpiper - Dongtai, Yancheng

Light-vented Bulbul - Dongtai, Yancheng

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher - Dongtai, Yancheng

Yellow-browed Bunting - Dongtai, Yancheng

We were a bit stuck with the identification of this Bunting but believe it to be a female Black-faced Bunting - Dongtai, Yancheng

Altrom's Warbler - Dongtai, Yancheng

Yellow-browed Warbler - Dongtai, Yancheng

Korean Bush-warbler - Dongtai, Yancheng

Rufous-tailed Robin - Dongtai, Yancheng

Daurian Redstart - Dongtai, Yancheng