Another highlight from the trip to Dandong was the remarkable total of Nordmann’s Greenshanks (Tringa guttifer) that we observed at a high-tide roost. Totals of 17, 17 and 16 were recorded on my three visits and, on one of the days, local birder Bai Qingquan recorded at least a further 7 from a different location at the same time, making a minimum count of 24 at this important stopover site. Nordmann’s Greenshank is officially “endangered” with a population estimate of around 500-1,000 individuals. It breeds in eastern Siberia along the western and northern coasts of the Sea of Okhotsk and also on Sakhalin Island, wintering in south-east Asia (Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia etc) and is encountered on migration along coastal China from Hong Kong north to Liaoning Province. It’s population is declining, almost certainly related to habitat destruction primarily on its wintering grounds and stopover sites.
We did not try to get close to these birds for fear of flushing them from their roost but the occasional pass by the local Peregrine and even the odd Black-tailed Gull kept them on their toes and, on several occasions, the flocks took to the air, allowing us to hear the air through their wings as they wheeled around in front of us.. a spectacular sight and sound. It was interesting that the Nordmann’s seemed to associate with the Grey Plover.
Having North Korea as a backdrop added human interest to the birding here.
And other waders, most in splendid breeding plumage, were a sight to behold.
Now, you’ve all heard of the “Magic Woods” at Beidaihe…. well, not to be outdone, Donggang has its own ‘not of this Earth’ site. Here’s introducing the “Harry Potter Hedge”!
Out of thin air it produced a Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Rufous-tailed Robin, Siberian Blue Robin, Siberian Thrush, Eyebrowed Thrush, Mugimaki Flycatcher, Pechora Pipit, Siberian Rubythroat, Oriental Scops Owl and much much more..
Finally, just for fun, here are a couple of photos of wader flocks… Photo 1 is beginner level. It has four wader species.. can you identify them? Photo 2 is a little tougher… it contains 6 species. A *glittering prize* awaits the first person to list them all correctly.