On 20 May 2017 Gao Jingxin was visiting Yeyahu wetland in Beijing when she spotted a Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) sitting atop a bush. It was the first time she had seen cuckoos this spring and, as an accomplished photographer, she quickly snapped some photos. After studying the photos carefully, Jingxin realised there was something special about this particular cuckoo; an antenna was clearly visible protruding from the bird’s back. Jingxin had been following the Beijing Cuckoo Project since the beginning and immediately thought the bird in her photos could be one of the Cuckoos fitted with a tag last spring. She sent the photos to me via WeChat and asked the question. When I opened the message I was elated and, I must admit, emotional. Having received a signal from Meng’s tag on 20 May showing he had arrived back at Yeyahu, I simply replied “It’s Meng” !
Gao Jingxin’s photographs are…
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It’s been an eventful ten days for the Beijing Cuckoo Project Team. After the elation of Flappy’s and Meng’s return to the breeding grounds, following monumental journeys of 32,000 and 26,000km respectively, there was little time to take a breath before beginning phase two of the Beijing Cuckoo Project. The plan for this year was based on two aims. First, to increase the sample of tagged cuckoos from Beijing and NE China to strengthen the dataset which would enable scientists to make more informed conclusions about the migration of cuckoos from East Asia. And second, to build on the public engagement to reach more people in China and overseas about the wonders of bird migration.
It’s fair to say that this year has been challenging. Over the last ten days or so the Beijing Cuckoo Team has been valiantly navigating all manner of unfortunate incidents including Chinese visa issues…
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On Wednesday evening, birders in Beijing were treated to a brilliant lecture by Dutch Professor Theunis Piersma, the world-leading shorebird expert.
China’s east coast hosts one of the world’s most amazing natural spectacles every spring and autumn – the migration of millions of shorebirds from their wintering grounds in Australia and New Zealand to breeding grounds in the Arctic. It’s a journey that requires sustained physical exertion on a scale that is way beyond the best human athletes in the world. For many of these birds, the Yellow Sea and Bohai Bay on China’s east coast are vital stopover sites on this awe-inspiring journey. And yet, as we know, the reclamation of tidal mudflats along the Chinese coast is advancing at a rapid rate. Already, around 70% of the intertidal mudflats have disappeared and much of the remaining 30% is under threat.
A colour-flagged GREAT KNOT. Photo by Global Flyway…
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