At the beginning of May I moved apartments to a suburb in northeast Beijing. It’s close to the metro, a new shopping centre, a good mix of Chinese and western restaurants and, importantly, it provides easy access to some of Beijing’s best birding spots such as Miyun Reservoir and Wild Duck Lake. A bonus was discovering a relatively wild area of scrub close by and, in just three short visits, it has produced some quality birds. Yet more evidence that the migration through China’s capital is on a scale that is hard to beat. At this time of year, almost any green patch will attract birds. Birding in Beijing continues to surprise and delight.
My first visit to the new local patch was when I was simply walking to the closest metro station, without binoculars. I stumbled across an Oriental Scops Owl roosting close to the path. Astonishingly I managed to photograph it using only my iPhone.
Not surprisingly, this chance occurrence prompted a more dedicated birding visit and so, during an early morning hour before breakfast the following day, I logged Oriental Turtle Dove, Dusky Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Pallas’s Warbler, Eye-browed Thrush, Stejneger’s Stonechat, Taiga Flycatcher, Red-flanked Bluetail, Siberian Rubythroat, Olive-backed Pipit and Little and Yellow-throated Buntings. Not bad!
A second dedicated visit produced singing Two-barred Greenish Warbler, more Olive-backed Pipits, Richard’s Pipit, Common Rosefinch and a flyover Oriental Honey Buzzard.
And on my way to the metro station this morning I encountered a stunning Radde’s Warbler, singing its heart out next to the path.
So far I have recorded 38 species and I am certain I am only scratching the surface. My target for the end of May is 50 species… and my (ambitious?) target for the end of the year is 75. Will I make it? Watch this space!