Oriental Plover

This Spring I have been fortunate enough to enjoy two encounters with Oriental Plovers, surely one of the best looking birds in China..!  These charismatic waders breed in north eastern China and south eastern Russia with the majority of the population wintering in north-west Australia.  The population is estimated to be around 160,000 individuals.

These birds pass through the Beijing area on passage at the end of March and early April and Wild Duck Lake (Ma Chang in particular) is a regular site.  They can be very confiding and, this year, I have been able to capture some pleasing images and a short video.  On 5 April I counted 19 of these stunning birds at Ma Chang in a variety of plumages.

Part of the flock of 19 Oriental Plovers at Ma Chang, 5 April 2012

One of the white-faced birds.

A bird still in moult.

Presumed female.

A very smart-plumaged individual but lacking white head (still moulting?).

This individual was very curious!

The same individual facing into a dust storm..

Same individual sheltering from the wind by 'kneeling'..

I took this video handholding my Canon EOS7D with 400mm f5.6 lens.  Image has been ‘stabilised’ using iMovie.


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About Terry Townshend

I am a British birder living and birding in Beijing from August 2010 until 2015. Through this blog I hope I can convey a sense of what it is like to live in this thriving, confident and contrasting city and the birdlife that can be found in its environs. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it! Terry Townshend, Beijing September 2010
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4 Responses to Oriental Plover

  1. Gretchen says:

    Nice pics showing the variety in the group! Some very handsome ones in there. Sorry to see the dust storm – hope its not too unpleasant there… (we get some of that here)

  2. John Holmes says:

    Nineteen Oriental Plovers !!! I’m jealous.

    • I was astonished by the number, too… There may have been more. I briefly saw a flock of 10 similar-sized plovers, unfortunately against the sun, at the same time as the 19 were on the ground. Ma Chang is clearly a good site for them in spring.

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