On Friday 28th April the Irish Embassy in Beijing arranged the first Ambassadors for Nature field trip. Hosted by the Miyun District Foreign Affairs Bureau, the group of Ambassadors and senior diplomats visited the QingShui River, one of the rivers that drains into Miyun Reservoir, Beijing’s most important drinking water source and a hotspot for migratory waterbirds.
As well as a two-hour bird walk guided by local experts – Zhang Dehuai of the Miyun Reservoir Forest and Parks Bureau and local bird photographer 安妮 “Annie”, the group enjoyed lunch at a local restaurant, two expert presentations and a discussion on how the international community can share good practice in support of the local government’s efforts.
We totalled 26 species during the bird walk – see below for a full list – with the undoubted highlight being the sighting of two Oriental Scops Owls (Otus sunia 红角鸮 Hóng jiǎo xiāo) roosting close to the path. This species is a summer visitor to Beijing and it’s likely that this pair has recently arrived in the capital after spending the winter in S China or SE Asia.
The first presentation was by Zhang, including a short video of the rich biodiversity of Miyun Reservoir and a summary of the actions being taken to monitor and improve the habitat for water birds, especially cranes.
The second was by Tan Lingdi, leader of the urban conservation programme at ShanShui Conservation Center, who spoke about the recent ‘wildlife audit’ of the German Embassy compound and the recommendations developed to help make the compound more friendly for wildlife.
During the discussion there was a commitment from the diplomats to identify and share good practice to help inform the actions of the Miyun local government and great demand for ShanShui to conduct similar ‘wildlife audits’ of other embassies in Beijing. The next such audit will take place on Friday 5 May at the Danish Embassy.
Huge thanks to Ambassador Ann Derwin, Ambassador of the Republic of Ireland to China and her team, especially Fergus Scott and Li Meng, for the arrangements, to the Miyun Foreign Affairs Bureau for hosting, to Zhang and Annie for guiding the bird walk, to Tan Lingdi of ShanShui Conservation Center and to all the ambassadors for senior diplomats for participating.
List of bird species seen during the bird walk:
COMMON PHEASANT Phasianus colchicus 雉雞 Zhì jī
MALLARD Anas platyrhynchos 綠頭鴨 Lǜ tóu yā
CHINESE SPOT-BILLED DUCK Anas zonorhyncha 斑嘴鴨 Bān zuǐ yā
GREY HERON Ardea cinerea 苍鹭 Cāng lù
LITTLE EGRET Egretta garzetta 白鹭 Báilù
LONG-BILLED PLOVER Charadrius placidus 长嘴剑鴴 Cháng zuǐ jiàn héng
GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus 白腰草鹬 Bái yāo cǎo yù
ORIENTAL SCOPS OWL Otus sunia 红角鸮 Hóng jué xiāo
COMMON KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis 普通翠鸟 Pǔtōng cuì niǎo
GREY-CAPPED PYGMY WOODPECKER Dendrocopos canicapillus 星头啄木鸟 Xīng tóu zhuómùniǎo
GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos major 大斑啄木鸟 Dà bān zhuómùniǎo
GREY-HEADED WOODPECKER Picus canus 灰头绿啄木鸟 Huī tóu lǜ zhuómùniǎo
ORIENTAL MAGPIE Pica serica 喜鹊 Xǐquè
LARGE-BILLED CROW Corvus macrorhynchos 大嘴乌鸦 Dà zuǐ wūyā
LIGHT-VENTED BULBUL Pycnonotus sinensis 白头鹎 Báitóu bēi
MANCHURIAN BUSH WARBLER Cettia canturians 远东树莺 Yuǎndōng shù yīng
YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER Phylloscopus inornatus 黄眉柳莺 Huángméiliǔ yīng
PLAIN LAUGHINGTHRUSH Pterorhinus davidi 山噪鹛 Shān zào méi
VINOUS-THROATED PARROTBILL Sinosuthora webbianus 棕头鸦雀 Zōng tóu yā què
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW Passer montanus 树麻雀 Shù máquè
GREY WAGTAIL Motacilla cinerea 灰鹡鸰 Huī jí líng
WHITE WAGTAIL Motacilla alba 白鹡鸰 Bái jí líng
LITTLE BUNTING Emberiza pusilla 小鹀 Xiǎo wú
YELLOW-THROATED BUNTING Emberiza elegans 黄喉鹀 Huáng hóu wú
GRAND TOTAL 26 species
The Ambassadors for Nature is an informal network of ambassadors in Beijing committed to managing their diplomatic green spaces in a way that is consistent with the new Global Biodiversity Framework agreed by more than 190 countries at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in December 2022 under China’s presidency. See this dedicated page for more details.
Title image: the Ambassadors for Nature group at the Qingshui River, including ambassadors and senior diplomats from Ireland, Denmark, Japan, Latvia, United Nations and United States of America.