China

Beidaihe and Happy Island

Spring migration on the East Asian Flyway

Beidaihe has an entirely justified reputation for its consistently exciting spring migration and WildWings has organised over twenty tours to this eastern birding mecca. We have been taking birders there for longer than anyone else, have the best local contacts, know all the best sites including some we have exclusive access to and all our trips have been an outstanding successful!!

Despite pressures from development, the volume and variety of the migration continues every spring, with amazing falls of Siberian migrants, plus rare and unseasonal species, most of which are in full summer plumage.

The main attraction, of course, is the opportunity to see sought-after Siberian and Far Eastern species which should include birds such as Siberian Rubythroat, Siberian Blue Robin, Siberian Thrush, White's Thrush, Lanceolated Warbler, Yellow-browed and Chestnut-eared Buntings, Yellow-rumped and Mugimaki Flycatchers, White-throated Needletail, Red-necked and Long-toed Stints, Great Knot, Asian Dowitcher, Little Whimbrel plus Relict and Saunders' Gulls to name but a few.

Although every spring is different, the pattern and timing of migration and the variety of species is consistent, and birds just pour through day after day. If we have rain and strong winds, then huge 'falls' can occur with incredible numbers of birds.

Almost every year we find something exceptional, from Spoon-billed Sandpiper to Oriental Plover, Fairy Pitta to Grey Bushchat, Blue Whistling Thrush to Blue-fronted Redstart. We have also seen Oriental White Stork, Red-crowned Crane, Black Baza, Japanese Waxwing, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Mongolian Lark, Japanese Yellow Bunting, Fujian Niltava, Asian House Martin, Grey-crowned and Bianchi’s Warblers (splits from Golden Spectacled Warbler), Rufous-faced Warbler, Long-tailed Minivet and Gray’s and Styan’s Grasshopper Warblers.

Our tour also includes birding excursions to look for Ibisbill and Long-billed Plover and we also stay on the legendary Happy Island.

For those wanting to maximise on the experience, there is also a third week extension where we return to Happy Island but also spend a night at Old Peak, a forested mountain, where we will look for breeding species including Chinese Leaf Warbler, Chinese Nuthatch, Claudia’s Leaf Warbler, Manchurian Bush Warbler, Siberian Meadow Bunting, Grey-sided Thrush, Bull-headed Shrike, Yellow-streaked Warbler and if we are fortunate, Koklass Pheasant and White-bellied Redstart.

Tour Dates & Prices

Sat 6th May 2023

Sun 21st May 2023

  • Contact Us

Sat 4th May 2024

Sun 19th May 2024

  • Contact Us

Tour Cost: 16 Days from £TBA excluding flights

Deposit: £tbaSingle Supp: £tbaGroup Size: 16Leaders:  Mark Andrews
Enquire about this tour

What's Included?

Group transfers Beijing to Beidaihe and return, accommodation in Beidaihe in twin rooms with private facilities, accommodation with private facilities at Happy Island (and Old Peak for those going on the extensio), breakfast, lunch boxes and dinner daily in China, one drink with dinner daily in Beidaihe, birding excursions as per itinerary, services of WildWings leader, local guides and interpreters, WildWings pre-tour information pack and daily checklist of birds.

Cost Excludes

International flights, other drinks, laundry and other items of a personal nature, travel insurance, visa fees, other transport around Beidaihe if applicable eg taxis.

Request Tour Info Pack

Notes

The Land Only Tour Cost is the amount you will pay WildWings.

For international flight details, we recommend that you contact Sacha Barbato who is a highly experienced independent travel agent working under the ATOL bonding of Travel Counsellors. Sacha’s contact details are as follows: [email protected] and 01603 360099

WildWings and Sacha have agreed which flights are most suitable for each trip and we encourage you to book through him as you then have support if there are any problems such as flight cancellations or delays.

Sacha will also be advised by WildWings when the trip is a confirmed departure and in many cases can hold flights for you until then.

Tour Cost: 16 Days from £TBA excluding flights

Deposit: £tbaSingle Supp: £tbaGroup Size: 16Leaders:  Mark Andrews
Enquire about this tour

The price will be confirmed in early 2023.

What's Included?

Group transfers Beijing to Beidaihe and return, accommodation in Beidaihe in twin rooms with private facilities, accommodation with private facilities at Happy Island (and Old Peak for those going on the extensio), breakfast, lunch boxes and dinner daily in China, one drink with dinner daily in Beidaihe, birding excursions as per itinerary, services of WildWings leader, local guides and interpreters, WildWings pre-tour information pack and daily checklist of birds.

Cost Excludes

International flights, other drinks, laundry and other items of a personal nature, travel insurance, visa fees, other transport around Beidaihe if applicable eg taxis.

Request Tour Info Pack

Notes

The Land Only Tour Cost is the amount you will pay WildWings.

For international flight details, we recommend that you contact Sacha Barbato who is a highly experienced independent travel agent working under the ATOL bonding of Travel Counsellors. Sacha’s contact details are as follows: [email protected] and 01603 360099

WildWings and Sacha have agreed which flights are most suitable for each trip and we encourage you to book through him as you then have support if there are any problems such as flight cancellations or delays.

Sacha will also be advised by WildWings when the trip is a confirmed departure and in many cases can hold flights for you until then.

Tour Highlights

  • nine night stay birding the migration hotspot of Beidaihe
  • see summer-plumage Siberian specialities with the possibilities including Siberian Rubythroat, Siberian Blue Robin, White's Thrush, Siberian Thrush, Lanceolated Warbler and Yellow-browed Bunting
  • excursion to look for Ibisbill and Long-billed Plover
  • spend five nights on Happy Island - another incredible place for 'Sibes' and other specialities
  • optional extension to Old Peak for speciality breeding species including Chinese Leaf Warbler, Chinese Nuthatch, Claudia’s Leaf Warbler, Siberian Meadow Bunting and potentially Koklass Pheasant

Outline Itinerary

  • Depart UK for Beijing

  • Arrive Beijing. Transfer to Beidaihe

  • Birding around Beidaihe

  • Move south to explore estuaries, woods and Happy Island.

  • Birding around Beidaihe

  • Full day excursion to look for Ibisbill, Long-billed Plover and much more

  • Birding around Beidaihe

  • Very early bus back to Beijing and flight back to UK, arrive late afternoon

  • ---------------------

  • :

  • Birding around Beidaihe

  • Visit to Old Peak. Stay overnight.

  • Move back south to visit estuaries, woods and Happy Island. Stay on Happy Island

  • Birding around Beidaihe

  • Very early bus back to Beijing and flight back to UK, arrive late afternoon

Overview
Itinerary
Trip Info
Trip Reports

Beidaihe has earned an incredible reputation among western birders for its consistently exciting spring migration. WildWings have organised over twenty tours to this eastern mecca and each one has been outstandingly successful. We have been taking birders there for longer than anyone, we have the best local contacts and know all the best sites including some we have exclusive access to.

Despite pressures from development, which are beginning to seriously affect some of the habitats, the volume and variety of migration continues unabated each spring, with dramatic falls of Siberian migrants plus rare and unseasonal species, many of which are in full summer plumage!

The main attraction of Beidaihe is the opportunity to see much-sought-after Siberian and other Far Eastern species in a country where the people, culture and way of life are so different from our own and those species should include such mouth-watering goodies as Siberian Rubythroat, Siberian Blue Robin, Siberian and White's Thrushes, Lanceolated Warbler, Yellow-browed and Chestnut-eared Buntings, Yellow-rumped and Mugimaki Flycatchers, White-throated Needletail, Red-necked and Long-toed Stints, Great Knot, Asian Dowitcher, Little Whimbrel plus Relict and Saunders' Gulls to name but a few.

Although every spring is different, the pattern and timing of migration and the variety of species is consistent, and birds just pour through day after day. If we have rain and strong winds, then incredible "falls" can occur with huge numbers of birds.

Almost every year we turn up something exceptional from Spoon-billed Sandpiper to Oriental Plover, Fairy Pitta to Grey Bushchat, Blue Whistling Thrush to Blue-fronted Redstart. We have also seen Oriental White Stork, Red-crowned Crane, Black Baza, Japanese Waxwing, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Mongolian Lark, Japanese Yellow Bunting, Fujian Niltava, Asian House Martin, Grey-crowned and Bianchi’s Warblers (splits from Golden Spectacled Warbler), Rufous-faced Warbler, Long-tailed Minivet and Gray’s and Styan’s Grasshopper Warblers.

On one of our trips not long before the pandemic, the group recorded a total of 273 species which was a new record for WildWings! Highlights included a flock of 70 Little Whimbrels, Japanese Reed Bunting, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Alstrom’s Warbler, Lesser Coucal, Swinhoe’s Crake, Elisae’s Flyctacher, Fujian Niltava, male Blue and White Flycatcher, Brown-cheeked Rail, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, a flock of 4000 White-winged Black Terns and Reed Parrotbill (which was voted bird of the trip). The optional week long extension yielded Kamchatka Warbler and a Baikal Bush Warbler.

During our time at Beidaihe, we will also offer birding excursions to look for Ibisbill and Long-billed Plover but our tour also includes several days exploring south of Beidaihe visiting several estuaries and isolated woods and staying on the legendary Happy Island.

For those with the time, there is then an optional third week extension where we return to happy Island but also spend a night at Old Peak, a forested mountain, where we will look for local breeding species such as Chinese Leaf Warbler, Chinese Nuthatch, Claudia’s Leaf Warbler, Manchurian Bush Warbler, Siberian Meadow Bunting, Grey-sided Thrush, Bull-headed Shrike, Yellow-streaked Warbler and if we are fortunate, Koklass Pheasant and White-bellied Redstart.

We stay throughout the trip in comfortable hotels with en suite facilities. We eat really good Chinese food and have first-class ground agents and local guides and, most important of all, we really enjoy ourselves!!

Join us for this unrivalled birding bonanza. Come now, while the woods, estuaries, wetlands, islands and headlands are still pulling in the birds.

Please note: This is an intensive birding trip with long days in the field, and a lot of travelling. It is not recommended for anyone with any mobility problems, or for beginners, we recommend that you are familiar with the commoner eastern vagrants. The trip requires a reasonable amount of stamina and offers little to non-birding partners. We will not be visiting any ‘tourist sites’ - its just birds, birds, birds!

Main tour

Day 1: Afternoon flight from UK

Day 2: Arrive Beijing in the morning, transfer by bus to Beidaihe and out birding!!

Days 3-5: Birding around Beidaihe with the group bus.

Days 6-10: Move south to visit estuaries, woods and Happy Island. Stay on Happy Island.

Day 11-12: Birding the Beidaihe area with the group bus.

Day 13: Full day excursion for Ibisbill and more.

Day 14-15: Birding the Beidaihe area with the group bus.

Day 16: Very early bus back to Beijing and flight back to UK arrive late afternoon.

Optional extension

Day 16: Birding the Beidaihe area.

Days 17-18: Old Peak. Stay overnight.

Days 19 - 20: Move back south to visit estuaries, woods and Happy Island. Stay on Happy Island.

Day 21: Last day birding the Beidaihe area.

Day 22: Very early bus back to Beijing for flights home, arriving back UK late afternoon/early evening.

NB: Exact itinerary in China subject to local conditions and government permissions.

GROUP SIZE

The maximum number of participants will be 16 plus the leader. The extension is based on a minimum of 6 participants. The group may break up into smaller parties and couples/ or singles at times. We encourage this independence in Beidaihe and Happy Island in particular, as we can cover more ground and hopefully find and see more species.

MONEY

The currency in China is the "Yuan", currently 8.5 to £1 sterling, and these can now be obtained from major banks and Post Offices in the UK. Sterling, Euros and/or US Dollar can be exchanged at the hotels you will be staying in or a nearby bank. We will also be able to change money at Beijing Airport on arrival where the rate is usually better.

Most payments in China will have to be made in Yuan.

Credit and debit cards are not widely accepted at all, cash is king! You will be able to change £ sterling, euros and US dollar bank notes in the hotels and at a local bank but only if the notes that you bring are clean and not torn, holed or defaced in any way. If you take cards with you contact your provider in advance to tell them you will be in China, they may block any transactions for ‘security reasons’ if you do not. There is an ATM machine in Beidaihe town that will accept overseas cards.

FOOD

The food you can expect on the trip is, of course, Chinese, but real and very good Chinese! Very little western-style food will be found at all.

Generally the food is excellent, with a huge range of meat and vegetable dishes.

A good self-service English breakfast is included at the hotel in Beidaihe every morning. Dinner is also included at the Friendship Hotel every night.

During the day, a lunch, lunchbox or a visit to a local noodle bar will be provided, more snacks and drinks can be obtained from shops or street sellers for a few yuan. Local bottled water and whole fruit is usually safe.

An electric kettle will be in your hotel rooms for making tea (Chinese tea leaves provided) but bring Teabags if you wish for something stronger. If you want any other tea, or strong coffee, take it with you. Sugar and fresh and powdered milk can be bought locally. Nescafe sachets, with sugar and powdered milk included, are available in most shops.

A small vacuum flask can be very useful during the day.

Vegetarians are well catered for on this trip, with a number of vegetable dishes chosen for every meal.

A suggested figure of £150 per person cash, should be more than enough to cover drinks, odd snacks and the occasional taxi fare around Beidaihe and any tips. In reality you are unlikely to spend much during the tour except perhaps on drinks, alcohol or otherwise. Please bear this in mind when exchanging currency, £50 in Yuan with the rest in sterling/dollars/euros in clean notes should be sufficient to keep going with.

HEALTH

As always see your GP for advice. You should be up-to-date for Polio and Tetanus inoculations. Recommended are Typhoid and Hepatitis inoculations. There is a remote chance of tummy trouble so bring some suitable tablets (Immodium are usually effective). A small basic First Aid kit would also be advisable.

HYGIENE

Standards of hygiene are different in China to those in the West. You will find some public toilets are smelly and sometimes primitive. Even in good hotels, they can lack toilet paper and are occasionally dirty (although rarely in your private rooms). Do not be surprised when out on the coast or in the countryside to find trees and bushes that have been used as toilets – watch the ground beneath your feet as well as the birds in the trees above. Lighthouse Point at Beidaihe used to be particularly bad but times are changing.

HEALTH & SAFETY

This is a concept which is rarely recognised in China. Pavements can be full of gaps and holes and electric wires and cables are sometimes hanging loose. You have to be vigilant at all times. Please also take care using any electrical appliances in your room. China uses various electrical sockets, types A, C & I. We suggest you bring an international/universal adaptor. The voltage is supposed to be 220v/50hz.

TRAFFIC & ROAD DISCIPLINE

The huge increase in the number of private cars does not appear to have been matched by the necessary training in road safety. Standards of driving are rather poor, and you will see some extraordinary examples of this. Be very careful at all times crossing roads even at pedestrian crossings.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

As with all our holidays, please ensure you have full travel insurance for this trip.

ACCOMMODATION

The hotels are modern, comfortable and clean for China. The Friendship Hotel which we use in Beidaihe has been refurbished over the last few years. Rooms have en-suite toilets, washbasins and a shower and/or bath.

Each room has a 220 volt power point (take a worldwide travel adaptor as sockets vary!).

This hotel does have Wifi in the rooms but the signal can be rather weak.

On Happy Island, the rooms are very modern, have en-suite toilet and shower, and on the last trip, did have wifi available.

The Friendship Hotel can also arrange a cheap laundry service, which is very good - laundry handed in before 09:00am is usually ready by that evening. This can minimise the amount of clothing that you need to take.

TRAVEL

Most locations around Beidaihe are easily done on foot and often this is an advantage as you can check different sites on the way. In addition to the bus, which we will have for ferrying the group around, taxis are also readily available and accustomed to visiting birdwatchers and their favoured locations. They are cheap, safe and fast when you need to get to the latest star find.

We will provide you with a card with all the localities in Mandarin and English.

It is advisable to get a good supply of 10 Yuan notes, the standard taxi price between birding sites.

COMMUNICATION

The hotels have international phone and fax connections; phone calls to the UK cost about £1 per minute. Experience has shown that it is advisable to keep a detailed record of phone and fax calls, particularly date and duration, to avoid problems when settling the account.

Email facilities are available in the hotel and in internet cafes in Beidaihe. Wifi is available at the Friendship Hotel and on Happy Island but do use a VPN on your Mobile.

Mobile phones can be used widely for calls and text messaging, but calls are expensive. Although technically we are not allowed to use them, we do carry walkie-talkies (cheap motorolas with a 8km range) for the leaders to keep in touch with bird news. Should you have one, it would be well worth bringing along.

Radios: UK frequency Motorola radios, eg model T60 or similar would be ideal - approx £50 a pair from Amazon.co.uk. Radios purchased in the US and some other parts of the world work on a different set of frequencies and may prove useless. In practice, we have found ‘Duracell’ disposable batteries last far longer than most ‘re-chargeable’ ones.

CLIMATE AND CLOTHING

May in China is rather like May in Britain. It can get quite hot, but it can also be very cold, especially in the early mornings. There is often a cool breeze which keeps the temperature down. It can rain (and as that produces migrant falls, we hope it does rain while we are there) and when it does this tends to be accompanied by a very cold wind. Rain gear is essential, including waterproof trousers.

Please do not wear white or very pale clothing in the field including your hat - it is not good when looking for rare skulkers such as Siberian Thrush for example!

FOOTWEAR

You may spend some time walking in wet vegetation and marshes, including rice fields with small amounts of human sewage, which is used as a fertiliser. Because of this, waterproof footwear is recommended. Gortex boots or trainers with Gortex socks inside work well. Wellies could be useful if you are intending to push the boundaries perhaps to walk out on to the mudflats at Happy Island for waders or out into wet and marshy areas at Beidaihe. Y

ou do need something else to wear on your feet at night in the hotel though, such as a clean pair of trainers!

PHOTOGRAPHY

There are good opportunities for bird photography throughout this trip, tired migrants are often ridiculously close when they first arrive.

Ask About This Tour

If you have any questions about this tour or wish to be added to our Wait List, please enter your details here and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Alternatively, contact us by email or phone. We look forward to hearing from you!

Or complete the contact form and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

* = required field