The south-east coast of China is one of the hottest Spring migration destinations anywhere in Asia. Every year this eastern birding mecca plays host to a mouth-watering selection of Siberian vagrants and in the right conditions can produce spectacular falls of migrants. The coast just north of Shanghai has a surprisingly good selection of habitats ranging from coastal marshes, reedbeds, lagoons, scrub, arable fields and pockets of woodland that can entice wave upon wave of tired migrants to linger. Quite often they are exhausted and birds that are extremely shy on their breeding grounds are remarkably tame here and allow unparalleled opportunities to study them up close and personal! We will begin by visiting what has been called the best site in the world for seeing Spoon-billed Sandpipers. This is their last staging post before leaving for their breeding grounds in eastern Russia and we have a chance of seeing one in its breeding finery if we are lucky. A multitude of other migrant waders should also be seen, such as flocks of Great Knots, Red-necked Stints, Little Curlew and hopefully a rare Asian Dowitcher or Nordmann's Greenshank. The coastal wetlands hold Black-faced Spoonbill and Chinese Egret and Saunder's Gulls patrol the area, whilst Chinese endemics Reed Parrotbill and Marsh Grassbird nest in the reedbeds.
We have timed our visit when Spring migration will be in full flow and we should see a good selection of 'eastern vagrants' as we explore the varied habitats. On previous visits we've been totally amazed at the number of birds moving through Temple Wood and Magic Wood and it's been hard to know where to look fIrst. All those near-mythical Siberian rarities we can only dream about seeing in the UK and Europe are possible such as Siberian Blue Robin, Siberian Rubythroat, Pechora Pipit, Thick-billed, Lanceolated, Two-barred Greenish and Pallas's Grasshopper Warblers, Siberian, White's and Dusky Thrushes, and Black-faced and Pallas's Reed Buntings amongst many others.
If you have ever dreamed of cleaning up on those eastern rarities that occasionally straggle to our shores, then this is the chance.