One of the benefits of my job is frequent travel! In December, with SheWhoMustBeObeyed to keep me in check we headed off to Exotic Cathay. As She is part of our business, it is great to share such experiences. She isn’t an avid birder like me – she heads for the shops when I head for the birds! But business first. Our first week was filled with meetings in Lianyungang, Jinan/Zhangqiu and Shenyang. However, we started our trip with a relaxing weekend in Shanghai.
On Friday Dec 12 we arrived in Hong Kong in transit to Shanghai. Our connecting flight was 4 hours late leaving Hong Kong. It was after dark when we eventually arrived in the Shanghai city centre apartment we had booked.
Saturday was sightseeing day. Not a lot of birds but then I had no time anyway. We saw plenty of the most ubiquitous of locals: Tree Sparrows and Light-vented Bulbuls. Sightseeing was good but exhausting as usual. It was sunny and cold at +3C.
Sunday saw us flying to our first business location at Lianyungang on the Jiangsu Province coast. This tourist hotel was of course quiet now. Late afternoon, after a huge lunch with our business partners, we strolled down to a causeway over the sea. This leads to an island that we could barely see in the distance through the smog. Most notable was the lack of bird life. Magpies and Tree Sparrows. China wasn’t being kind to us yet on the birding front.
Next morning after breakfast and before our business started, there was time for an hour to myself. I headed into the trees on the rocky hillside on Haitang Road and later crossed into the park. One of the first birds I saw was a male Daurian Redstart sitting on a pine branch. He was the first of 19 new life list birds on my trip, taking me over the 1,000 mark. Things were definitely looking up!
In the park, 7 Hoopoes flew into a tree nearby.
Our partners have a glass tower of an office at their industrial park site. No birds had diverted my attention from the meeting until an unexpected male low flying Hen (Northern) Harrier passed right by the glass tower.
Our partners treated us to a seafood lunch at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Chinese hospitality is excellent. We had an evening flight back to Shanghai so after lunch we wiled away our afternoon in a foot massage parlour. That was interesting and I got my toenails clipped too – a job I hate! I suspect that I had put that task off for too long, judging from the unintelligible comments between the giggling masseuse. At least it was warm. Lianyungang is a betwixt and between sort of place climatically, where heating is unnecessary for most of the year. We saw no-one with their coats off during our stay, in restaurants and offices, and even in the massage parlour! Heating was kept low everywhere. It was around zero outside and slightly above in buildings.
Lianyungang airport is 50km from the city. There were lots of magpies along the road, some doves (probably Spotted) and possibly a Kestrel.
Our flight was on time and, having booked an airport hotel at Shanghai for the night ready for an early start next day, we were all tucked up soon after landing.
Birds at Lianyungang:
More to follow…