CHINA: Happy Island, Beijing and Dalian

North of Huairou and the Ibisbill river in the background - May 13, 2008

This trip was a gift from the company I work for :-) I was to attend the naming ceremony of a new tank ship. It was delivered at Dalian Shipyard in NE China. But when going so far away I decided to take a couple of extra days to bird and do some sightseeing as well.

I flew in business class which is really a treat on such a long trip. My first port to call was Beijing. I had arranged all birding destinations through Jean ( at Beidaihe Jinshan Hotel. I can strongly recomend her for the amazing logistics and fair prices. I must say that her impeccable arrangents really made this trip to a joyous occasion. Thanks Jean!

She arranged for birding around Beijing with Mr. Li Ming ( He took me to the Shahe Reservoir, and Beijing University. We also took a trip to Huairou and photographed Ibisbill, Long-billed Plover, Crested Kingfisher and much more.

The last day with Mr. Li Ming we heard about the earthquake in southern China. It was devastating just as any major earthquake. But the Communist Party leaders were taking it seriously and there was a lot of coverage on the TV. But I was still on a schedule and travelled to Dalian for the naming ceremony. It was a really a nice reception both at the yard and at the fine lunch and dinner. The company I work for promptly made a donation to the earthquake victims which was a real nice gesture. But life continues on. I managed to squeeze in a walk up the mountain in the city park. It gave me many nice first looks at some flycatchers, warblers etc. But it was mostly time for dress up parties and nights without any sleep. This continued on back to Beijing and I was up again till 6 in the morning the last day with a couple of colleagues from work. Jean had arranged for a driver to take me from China World Hotel, all the way to Happy Island the next morning. I really don't know how I managed to pack, shower, and get ready for the 7AM pickup. But I did, probably still smelling of Cuban cigars and white russians.

The ride went well, though the landscape isn't much to look at here. It is over cultivated with a sandy soil and no trees to talk about. Absolutely no woods at all! Finally at the coast I took a short walk in the Magic Woods and met Jesper Hornskov, the local bird expert, with a group of foreign birders. But the boat would not wait so we headed down to the docks and got onboard the old fashioned boat which took me to the island in less than an hour. It was a short ride in very shallow waters. I was now ready for some serious birding and greeted Happy Island smiling.

I fired off my camera from dawn to lunch, and then again lunch to dusk. The lunch and dinner was taken in at the only restaurant together with the other birders on the island. Mostly Swedes, Danes, Irish, English and Dutch.

I also managed to jam into the tight schedule a visit to Beidahe and the Sandflats to the north as well as a trip to the Chinese Wall at Jiaoshan Mountain about an hour north of Beidaihe, north of Quinhuangdao. Birding was done at all locations. Below are a few pics taken at different localities, but mostly from Happy Island:

Dark-sided Flycatcher "Sooty Flycatcher"

Gray-streaked Flycatcher "Grey-spotted flycatcher"

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Mugimaki Flycatcher

Korean Flycatcher or "Tricolor Flycatcher" or "Yellow-rumped Flycatcher"

Taiga Flycatcher

Chinese Leaf-Warbler

Pale-legged Leaf-Warbler

Greenish Warbler

Lemon-rumped Warbler or "Pallas's Leaf Warbler

Dusky Warbler

Radde's Warbler

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