China snow storms 2008, bird movements and possible deaths

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    Martin W
    Participant

    Just sent this email to members of Oriental Bird Club Yahoo newsgroup:

    I expect most/all members have seen news re the snow storms and freezing rain that have hit much of south-central China from around 10 January. News chiefly re human misery; but there have been images of foliage coated in ice – in areas where winters normally mild. Recent news re around 90% of forests “destroyed” in worst affected areas:
    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hVWUVKqqO5_nUBI1XifdhtC5Uv9Q

    It’s been rather as if the Arctic had moved south into China.

    Here in Hong Kong, we’re in protracted cold spell – temps barely reaching 15C, and dipping to around 0C in high areas: downright chilly for us, esp given recent run of relatively warm winters.
    Lately, some evidence here of influx, chiefly thrushes, bluetails, red-tailed robin; also Siberian rubythroat, Daurian redstart. But not massive numbers; nothing of the sort I might have expected given parts of s China receiving worst snow falls in over 50 years.
    Perhaps, then, some birds have headed towards southwest, helped by prevailing winds from around northeast? – any signs of this, I wonder?

    Then, surely many birds have died, and deaths continuing, as temps yet to really rise.
    If so, perhaps situation exacerbated by relative dearth of forest in China’s lowlands [because of deforestation], where birds might have sought refuge during previous winters like this? [Sorry, just guessing; maybe there is much info on this already, but I haven’t seen, inc on OBC group here].

    If anyone has news on the storms’ impacts on the birds, from outside HK, maybe worth posting here.

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