Beidaihe among China coast bird sites suggested for World Heritage

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    Back in 1985, I led a small university expedition to study bird migration at Beidaihe, on the east China coast [east of Beijing]

    Idea seemed a bit crazy; we even wondered if could get into China [visa on arrival introduced only just before we turned up, luckily worked out – couple of guys at a small table just set up in Beijing airport, a lot different to today’s ultramodern place!], even asked by a sponsor if we’d be allowed to use binoculars…

    – there’s more info on this site.

    Proved a huge success; loads of migrants mid-March to 1 June, including numbers of several world rarities like Siberian Crane [ca 40% world population]. Led to follow up survey the next year, and I returned several times afterwards, leading shorter surveys, then birdwatching tours – and trying to push for conservation.

    Now, great to see Beidaihe among China coastal sites of importance for migratory birds, aiming for World Heritage listing.

    Also nearby Qilihai, Seven Mile Sea, which I helped discover as a place for migratory birds.

    (3) Beidaihe-Geziwo/Xin River Estuary, Hebei:

    The Geziwo Beach [ie “the Sandflats” by Eagle Rock] is an intertidal mudflat formed on the Xin River delta, a stopover site for numerous migratory birds. The Geziwo Beach is a world-famous bird watching destination. In addition to a large number of waders inhabiting the area throughout the year, during the migration seasons in spring and autumn, various rare birds migrate through the “Eagle Cape” on the Geziwo Beach, including numerous raptors, cranes (the endangered red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis) and the critically endangered Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus)), the Oriental stork (Ciconia boyciana) and the great bustard (Otis tarda). Almost all the rare and endangered birds migrating through the Yellow Sea coast could be observed here. It is identified by BirdLife as an IBA.

    (4) Qilihai in Beidaihe New District, Hebei:

    Qilihai is a lagoon located in the Golden Coast Nature Reserve, Beidaihe New District (formerly Changli). On the inland side of Qilihai, a large area of mudflat and waterbody has been reclaimed as shrimp/crab ponds. Qilihai is now mainly a habitat for gulls and waders, and an important wintering ground for relict gulls (Ichthyaetus relictus). It is identified by BirdLife as an IBA.

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