Snow Bunting – new for Beijing

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.

4 thoughts on “Snow Bunting – new for Beijing”

    1. Kate, I agree.. I used to get a thrill whenever I saw them on my local beach at Winterton-on-Sea in Norfolk when I was growing up. Would be very cool to see them in Beijing!

  1. Thanks for the posts. I don’t know if anyone is interested, don’t know if it is common or uncommon but I saw 2 pairs of Smews on the Wenyu river this morning. Can anyone tell me is it is common to see these birds here? Attached is a bad picture I took.




    1. Hi Wayne,
      Thanks for the comment and the sighting. Smew is a regular winter visitor to Beijing but it’s always a thrill to see it. The Wenyu River is probably the most reliable site for this species within the 6th ring road. Thanks again and please report what else you see!

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