After ten new species were added to Beijing’s avifauna in 2016, it’s getting harder and harder to find new records for China’s capital city. However, it took only a week of 2017 before the latest addition was discovered. On 7 January, photographer 曲利军 (Qu Lijun) snapped a group of birds at Bulaotun that he hadn’t seen before and posted the photographs to the China Birdwatching Society’s WeChat group. The photos caused much excitement, showing the first documented record for Beijing of SNOW BUNTING. And it wasn’t, as is so often in the case of new birds, a single vagrant but instead a flock of at least 10 birds!
Unfortunately, the birds were not seen by visiting birders the following weekend, so they have most likely moved on. But have they gone far? Bulaotun is on the northern edge of Miyun Reservoir, much of which is now inaccessible.. so they could easily still be in the vicinity. Fingers crossed they are seen by more birders before the winter is out. In the meantime, congratulations to Lijun!
Thanks to Huang Hanchen for the tip-off and to Qu Lijun for permission to post the photos on Birding Beijing.