April 07 northerlies halt migrants at Beidaihe and in HK

Here's a message sent to Oriental Bird Club email group:

I'm here from 1st until 13th. Most European birders visit several weeks later in the spring; but, because of work constraints, I have to be here now. I thought a brief report of the first week of the month might be useful.

Worthy of note: Garganey have built up from 7 on 2nd to 29 now (lake N of Reservoir). Upland Buzzard on 3rd. 3 Black-winged Stilts from 4th (now 4)- same lake as Garganey. 5 Olive-backed Pipits on 4th. Oriental White Stork N over Sandflats on morning of 6th. 1st flava (macronyx) Wagtail on 7th. 1st Radde's Warbler on 8th.

A large agglomeration of diving and dabbling ducks and grebes was on the sea and close offshore between the Sandflats and several kilometers towards Qinhuangdao on 6th.This included hundreds of Goldeneye, Mallard and Great-crested Grebes, with smaller numbers of Common Teal, Shoveler, Pintail, Garganey and FIVE FALCATED DUCK. They were again present the next day, but viewing was more difficult in a choppy sea. The sun rises over the sea behind this location, so a heavily overcast day would be necessary if visiting in the morning or, even better, view from mid-afternoon on a sunny day.

Finally, a real surprise for me was a Hummingbird Hawk-Moth in Yuyuantan Park in Beijing on 29th March.

Zai jian, John.

I posted short reply (to the group):

Hi John:

Interesting to read your Beidaihe records.

I figure the duck gathering was result of birds being held up by arrival of powerful northerly winds ("northeast monsoon") that swept down east China.

Also halted some migrants in Hong Kong - led to major change in the weather, with temps falling from around 30C to 11-15C in a couple of days; followed by good numbers of birds inc flycatchers, also 94 Bar-tailed Godwits at Mai Po. Latter a new spring high count for Hong Kong; maybe birds that had been aiming for further north on China coast and encountered powerful adverse winds, so made landfall earlier than planned: can hardly blame them if had been flying for nigh-on nine days, as per satellite tracked birds from New Zealand.

Best regards, Martin

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