posted to Oriental Bird Club email group by Michael Rank:
An important migration passage site for Siberian crane, oriental stork and other species has been discovered in northeast China, OBC China rep Ding Changqing and Wang Qishan, crane and waterbird specialist with the China Ornithological Society, report in the Chinese Journal of Zoology (2006/3). They made a brief survey of the site, 150 km north of Shenyang, in April when they met members of the Liaoning Environmental Protection Volunteers' Association, who told them the birds stop off at Huanzidong (Badger Cave) reservoir in Faku county between March 15 and April 15 and October 1 and November 15. In November 2005 [up to] 213 Siberian cranes and 32 oriental storks were seen; on March 29, 2006, 423 Siberian cranes were recorded, together with 13 hooded cranes, nine white-naped cranes, 40 oriental storks and over 1,000 Baikal teal. On April 7, 2006 swan geese, mute swans, white-fronted geese, Eurasian spoonbills and ospreys were also seen (numbers not given). According to preliminary estimates the reservoir is a resting place for up to 20,000 waterbirds on spring migration, of which Siberian crane, oriental stork, white-naped crane, hooded crane and Baikal teal account for over one per cent of the global population, so the site meets Ramsar and IBA criteria. But the reservoir is not managed and there is uncontrolled fishing and many birds are caught in fishing nets, while others are baited with poison or illegally netted and land reclamation is also a problem, as is possible disease from poultry farming. In April the WWF agreed to assist the Liaoning Volunteers in their survey and propaganda work. Huanzidong reservoir covers 1,200 hectares as well as 200 hectares of wetland and 70 hectares of reedbeds. Most of the reservoir is about 0.5 metres deep, there are plenty of aquatic plants and fish for the birds to feed on.