BRENT GOOSE (Branta bernicla, 黑雁) is a rare bird in China. So when one was found at Huairou Reservoir (about 60km from the centre of the capital) by Beijing birder Ms Hou Xiaoru on Thursday 24 April, it caused something of a ‘twitch’ with several groups of birders paying it a visit over the following few days. And, as I write this, the bird is still present!
The form of Brent Goose found in east Asia is the subspecies nigricans or “Black Brant”. An initial trawl for China records shows it to be very rare with just four previous records in the China Bird Report database, Birdtalker:
29 December 2001: Rongcheng, Shandong Province
8 June 2007: Pikou, Liaoning Province
18-19 April 2008: Zhuanghe, Liaoning Province
29-30 January 2010: Danjiangkou, Hubei Province
Thanks to Zhu Lei for information about an additional record of 203 birds in Shandong Province in November 1998.
Birdtalker is not comprehensive, so there are almost certainly additional records in China but the scarcity of recent sightings in this database demonstrates that this is an astonishing record for Beijing and big congratulations must go to Hou Xiaoru for finding it and spreading the news! I believe it is species number 457 for the capital.
Here is a photo and a short video of the bird taken yesterday, 30 April 2014 using an i-Phone 5 and the Swarovski ATS95 at 70x magnification (simply awesome kit!).