Beidaihe & Happy Island: Spring Migration on the East Asian Flyway

Spectacular East Asian bird migration

At a Glance

FOCUS:

Birds, more birds and bird photography.

WHERE:

Beijing (China) – Beidaihe, Happy Island, Old Peak and coastal strip – Beijing.

SAMPLE WILDLIFE:

A stunning collection of East Asian migrants, many of which only occur in the UK and Europe as rare migrants or vagrants. In Spring, however, the majority of these are in full Summer plumage, plus a selection of Chinese avian specialities.

Dates and Prices:

Dates: TBC

Leader: TBC

Prices: TBC



Travel to China is currently not possible as the border is closed for tourism.   Hopefully this will be possible in 2022 without too many restrictions and until there is greater clarity we do not recommend making bookings.

 
  • Lanceolated Warbler, Beidaihe
  • Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Happy Island
  • Lanceolated Warbler, Beidaihe
  • Radde's Warbler, Beidaihe
  • Ibisbill, Qinlong River
  • Oriental Honey Buzzard, Happy Island
  • Siberian Thrush, Beidaihe

Tour overview

Happy Island and Beidaihe have earned an enviable reputation for their consistently exciting Spring migration and WildWings has run over twenty tours to this eastern ‘birding mecca’, each of which has been outstandingly successful.  We have been taking birders there for longer than anyone else, have the best local contacts and know the best sites, including some to which we have exclusive access.

Despite the pressures from development, the volume and variety of migration continues unabated each spring, with dramatic falls of Siberian migrants plus rare and unseasonal species, most of which will be in full summer plumage.

The main attraction of Happy Island and Beidaihe is the opportunity to see Siberian and 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 knowledge that the group will include some top birders and it becomes irresistible.  Whether you measure it in terms of new species, total number of species or birds per mile travelled, the cost represents excellent value for money - a two or three week trip to the other side of the world and about 240 species of birds.

And those species should include plenty of mouth-watering goodies such as Siberian Rubythroat, Siberian Blue Robin, Siberian Thrush, White's Thrush, Lanceolated Warbler, Yellow-browed and Chestnut-eared Buntings, Yellow-rumped and Mugimaki Flycatchers, White-throated Needletail, Red-necked and Long-toed Stints, Great Knot, Asian Dowitcher, Little Whimbrel plus Relict and Saunders' Gulls to name but a few.

Although every spring is different, the pattern and timing of the 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 involving huge numbers of birds.

Each year we turn up something unexpected from Spoon-billed Sandpiper to Oriental Plover, Fairy Pitta to Grey Bushchat, Blue Whistling Thrush to Blue-fronted Redstart. Over the years, we have also seen Oriental White Stork, Red-crowned Crane, Black Baza, Japanese Waxwing, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Mongolian Lark, Japanese Yellow Bunting, Fujian Niltava, Asian House Martin, Grey-crowned and Bianchi’s Warblers (splits from Golden Spectacled Warbler), Rufous-faced Warbler, Long-tailed Minivets and both Gray’s and Styan’s Grasshopper Warblers.

Our 2019 trip yielded a group total of 245 species and WildWings Leader Mark Andrews’ trip report can be found if you follow the links above but the highlights included Schrenck’s Bittern, Chinese Egret, Pied Harrier, Amur Falcon, Ibisbill, Oriental Pratincole, Great Knot, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Relict Gull, Saunder’s Gull, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Japanese Hawk Owl, Crested Kingfisher, Mongolian Lark, Pechora Pipit, Rufous-tailed Robin, Siberian Blue Robin, Siberian Rubythroat, Red-flanked Bluetail, Daurian Redstart, White’s Thrush, Siberian Thrush, Eyebrowed Thrush, Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, Thick-billed Warbler, Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, Two-barred Warbler, Pallas’s Leaf Warbler, Radde’s Warbler, Dusky Warbler, Mugimaki Flycatcher, Reed Parrotbill, Tiger Shrike, Godlewski’s Bunting, Chestnut-eared Bunting, Yellow-browed Bunting and Yellow-breasted Bunting. 

The tour also includes birding excursions looking for Ibisbill and Long-billed Plover and a multi-day trip down the coast to the south of Beidaihe to visit several estuaries and isolated woods and an extended stay on the legendary Happy Island.  The third week is now offered as an extension and during this we will return to Happy Island and also spend a night at Old Peak, a forested mountain, where we will look for several local breeding species including 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, eat really good Chinese food and have first-class ground agents and local guides.   This truly is an 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 fair amount of travelling.  It is not suitable for beginner birdwatchers and we recommend that you are reasonably familiar with the commoner eastern vagrants.  The trip requires a reasonable amount of stamina and offers little to non-birding partners as we will not be visiting any ‘tourist sites’ - its just birds, birds and more birds.

Itinerary

Day 1: Afternoon flight to Beijing.

Day 2: Arrive Beijing in the morning, transfer by bus to Beidaihe.

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.

Days 11-12: Birding in the Beidaihe area with the group bus.

Day 13: Full day excursion for Ibisbill and more.

Day 14-15: Birding in the Beidaihe area with the group bus.

Day 16: Very early bus back to Beijing and flight back to UK.


Optional extension

Day 16: Birding in 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 in the Beidaihe area.

Day 22: Very early bus back to Beijing and flight back to UK

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NB: the exact itinerary will be subject to weather and local conditions and is subject to government and local permissions.

Potential Birds  (selected species only)

Horned Screamer, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Muscovy Duck, Little Chachalaca, Nocturnal Curassow, Crestless Curassow, Buff-necked Ibis, Green Ibis, Boat-billed Heron, Capped Heron, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, King Vulture, Hook-billed Kite, Swallow-tailed Kite, Black Hawk-eagle, Black-and-White Hawk-eagle, Ornate Hawk-eagle, Harpy Eagle, Black-collared Hawk, Sunbittern, Sungrebe, Black Skimmer, Hoatzin, Crested Owl, Spectacled Owl, Great Potoo, Common Potoo, Sand-coloured Nighthawk, Short-tailed Nighthawk, Band-tailed Nighthawk, Amazonian Trogon, Pavonine Quetzal, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Bronzy Jacamar, Great Jacamar, Guianan Puffbird, Black Nunbird, Red-necked Aracari, Toco Toucan, Varzea Piculet, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Ringed Woodpecker, Bat Falcon, Orange-breasted Falcon, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Scarlet Macaw, Red-and-green Macaw, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Red-bellied Macaw, Peach-fronted Parakeet, White-eyed Parakeet, White-winged Parakeet, Golden-winged Parakeet, Tui Parakeet, Orange-cheeked Parrot, Black-headed Parrot, Short-tailed Parrot, Blue-headed Parrot, Dusky Parrot, Festive Amazon, Orange-winged Amazon, Mealy Amazon, Red-fan Parrot, Parker’s Spinetail, Long-billed Woodcreeper, Zimmer’s Woodcreeper, Glossy Antshrike, Cherrie’s Antwren, Klage’s Antwren, Leaden Antwren, Leaden Antwren, Amazonian Black Tyrant, Spangled Cotinga, Screaming Piha, Pompadour Cotinga, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Capuchinbird, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Wire-tailed Manakin, Golden-headed Manakin, Oriole Blackbird, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, Turquoise Tanager and Opal-rumped Tanager.

Potential mammals (selected species only)

Bare-tailed Wooly Opossum, Grey Four-eyed Opossum, Brown-throated Sloth, Linnaeus's Two-toed Sloth, Pied Tamarin, Humboldt's White-fronted Capuchin, Guianan Brown Capuchin, Guianan (Common) Squirrel Monkey, Humboldt's Squirrel Monkey, Spix's Night Monkey, Spix’s Black-headed Uacari, White-faced Saki, Guianan Bearded Saki, Colombian Red Howler, Guianan Red Howler, Northern Amazon Red Squirrel, Brazilian Porcupine, Red-rumped Agouti, South American Coati, Lowland Paca, Giant Otter, Amazon (Pink) River Dolphin and Tucuxi.

Potential other wildlife (selected species only)

Spectacled Caiman, Black Caiman, Schneider's Smooth-fronted Caiman, Green Iguana, Amazon Tree Boa, Pink-toed Tarantula and Electric Eel.