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WINGS Birding Tours – Photo Gallery

China: The Southeast in Winter

Paul Holt and Wang Qingyu will meet us… …in booming Shanghai… …where birds in open areas around the hotel might include Yellow-throated Bunting… …such widespread species as the noisy Light-vented Bulbul… …the fabulous-looking Red-billed Blue Magpie… …and perhaps a wintering Dusky Warbler or two. We’ll visit a lovely little village where the prize is Pied Falconet (sadly no image…). The many other birds here have included… Credit: Will Russell …the uncommon Bull-headed Shrike… …stream-addicted Plumbeous Water Redstarts… …and the stunning little Eurasian Kingfisher. There’s a shallow, meandering river west of Shanghai in Jiangxi Province… Credit: Will Russell …where we’ll look for Scaly-sided Merganser at its most reliable site in China. We’re likely as well to see handsome Spot-billed Ducks… …and birds are common along the river and could include smart-looking Brown-breasted Bulbuls… …flashy Oriental Greenfinches… …and the very local Long-billed Plover. Further west, at a small tea plantation, various buntings are numerous and there are always surprises… Credit: Will Russell …such as this watchful Crested Goshawk. Further west still there are some fine forested areas where we might see… Credit: Will Russell …the stunning Grey-chinned Minivet, usually in flocks,… …and the highly social Collared Finchbill. Poyang Hu is a major destination, reached by taking small boats down a tributary of the Yangtze River. Credit: Will Russell Along the way, we’ll probably see Ruddy Shelduck, perhaps from Tibet,… …the elegant White-throated Kingfisher… …and at every turn Pied Kingfishers. Our main destination is a lake packed with wintering storks, spoonbills, swans, geese and ducks. Adjacent to it are places where majestic and rare Siberian Cranes winter; here two consort with a White-naped Crane. We’ll return to Shanghai, where we’ll have time to visit the marvellous Shanghai Zoo… Credit: Will Russell …where birds like wild seed-destroying Yellow-billed Grosbeaks live adjacent to the captive corps. Yancheng is China’s second-largest reserve, supporting a vast amount of reed bed in which… Credit: Will Russell …one finds the endemic Reed Parrotbill… …and its charming and noisy cousin, Vinous-throated Parrotbill. Yancheng is perhaps best known for its wintering Red-crowned Cranes, ironically the national bird of both China and Japan… …but there are other wintering birds as well, sometimes including the ghostly Chinese Grey Shrike… and curious Bramblings. We’ll return to Shanghai in time to visit the delightful Forest Park, where among the various exercising groups and hikers we might see… Credit: Will Russell …quivering Red-flanked Bluetails… …and a delightful collection of wintering thrushes, including the shy Grey-backed… …the rare Japanese… …the oh-so elegant White’s (or Scaly)… …and the widespread Naumann’s. Travel on the Southeast China in winter tour is perhaps surprisingly easy with fine coaches… Credit: Will Russell …comfortable hotels, even in rural areas… Credit: Will Russell …and delicious food served in a seemingly endless series of dishes placed in the centre of the table on a “Lazy Susan.” Credit: Will Russell But of course not everything is elegant.  Here we use a riverside building offered to us as shelter from the rain for our typical picnic lunch of hot noodles (yummy…), breads, fruit, and yogurt among other things. Credit: Will Russell Here some local fishing boats that carried us up a tributary of the Yangtze River to a huge concentration of waterbirds. Credit: Will Russell Our travels take us to picturesque Chinese countryside… Credit: Will Russell …full of very friendly and curious people; the child here touching his nose may be reflecting one of the common local names for westerners, “Big Noses”… Credit: Will Russell …and see some imaginative local contraptions, here a wheeled device for bringing cut bamboo back to a small bamboo flooring factory… Credit: Will Russell …and spectacular scenes, here a fleet of fishing boats patriotically displaying a host of Chinese flags… Credit: Will Russell …and our roadside picnics often draw a crowd. Credit: Will Russell But the lasting impression of China is a country in the middle of stunningly quick development with a people in most ways just like us.  Here some early morning exercisers in a Shanghai park ride the Chinese version of an “Elliptical.” Credit: Will Russell