Baer’s Pochard update

On Thursday I visited the BAER’S POCHARD breeding site with visiting Dick Newell, Lyndon Kearsley (from the swift project) and good friends Andrew and Rachael Raine.  It was one of the hottest days I have ever experienced in Beijing with the thermometer on my car peaking at 43 degrees Celsius as we drove south.  It was still 38 degrees C when we left the site at 8pm.

Lyndon, Andrew, Rachael and Dick enjoying views of Baer's Pochard.
From left to right: Lyndon, Andrew, Rachael and Dick enjoying views of Baer’s Pochard.

Despite the heat, it was a superb day.  One of the objectives was to see, and count, the BAER’S POCHARDS present.  As the spring wears on, these birds get more secretive but we were fortunate to see at least 18 of this “Critically Endangered” duck, 16 of which were males..  The predominance of males suggests to me that perhaps the females are on nests, which must be good news….

We enjoyed some excellent views of a male at close quarters by the side of the road and I was able to take this video using my iPhone 5 and the Swarovski ATX95 telescope.  I am continually amazed at the quality of the results using this set-up.

As well as the BAER’S POCHARDS, we also enjoyed excellent views of REED PARROTBILL and displaying SCHRENCK’S BITTERNS just before dusk.



10 thoughts on “Baer’s Pochard update”

  1. Loved his waggy tail: not noticed that on a duck before. Side to side, yes, but not up and down.

    Glad the females appear to be off doing their thing. Let’s all hope for a successful season.

    1. Thanks Ken. Yes, the waggy tail is not something I have seen before, either. I hope to visit again to see whether young have successfully fledged.. fingers crossed, as you say!

  2. Hey Terry, great stuff!!! Hopefully there’s 20 or more females off sitting on eggs:-)

    I met Dick and Lyndon when I bumped into them and Steve yesterday on the Wenyu. Very interesting chatting with them.

    You might like the looks of this:

    Happy Dragon Boat Festival🐉


    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Hi Andrew,
      Great that you bumped into them… it was their last day yesterday before flying back, having accomplished their mission.. Hope you had a good day on the Wenyu with them and happy Dragon Boat Festival, too! Cheers, Terry

  3. It was a terrific day Terry and a great trip. It was also really nice to catch up with Steve again – thanks for fixing it. Getting back into Chinese birding after so long away was enthralling. We will be back next year for the retrapping, and if that goes as well as this year – plenty of time left over for more birding.
    On the way home we found swifts breeding near the Kremlin as well as an Icterine singing outside the Kremlin wall.
    Thanks again so much for everything
    Dick – waiting in Amsterdam for a plane home.

  4. Hi Dick, Great that you were seeing swifts all the way home! It’s brilliant that this project worked out. Hopefully it will lead to more collaboration in future. The BBWS folks are very excited to find out where “their” swifts go. Lots of potential to use the results to raise awareness of not only swifts but other migratory birds and the importance of Beijing as a breeding and stopover site. I’d love to see education boards at the Summer Palace, for example, to explain the importance of the Palace to the swifts’ life cycle. Speak soon, Terry

    1. It was interesting that, since my previous visit just a few weeks ago, nearly all of the male Baer’s had lost some of the green tinge to the head… so I guess their breeding plumage is already beginning to fade… I think the bird in the video is a pure Baer’s but I am only now beginning to build up a gallery of images of what these birds look like throughout the year. Lots to learn about this species!

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