Birding China-Min Jiang Estuary

Day 1. 28th May 2016

Wet and Windy Min Jiang Estuary
Wet and windy Min Jiang Estuary

Min Jiang Estaury.

Min Jiang estuary is about an hour’s drive west of the Fuzhou’s city center. In the summer, the world’s rarest tern, the Chinese Crested Terns made their way from their breeding grounds at Matsu Island to the estuary to perform their courtship and mate. There are only 50-60 breeding pairs clustered at two islands off the Chinese coast.

A pair of Chinese with a Greater Crested Tern
Mission accomplished. A pair of Chinese Crested Terns in breeding plumage.
Setting out to the estaury
Setting out to the estuary. Alfred and Bee Lan with Pah Liang and Ju Lin behind.

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A short boat ride took us to the mud flats.
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Our two intrepid ladies Ping Ling and Ju Lin rearing to go but not knowing what lies ahead.

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It was raining when we got there at noon. The only shelter were these reeds and our tiny umbrellas. Luckily the rain stopped after 2 hours.

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The Chinese Crested Terns flew in after two hours wait. It was both a relief and excitement for us. Menxiu, on the scope was also a relieved guide.

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Alfred washing the mud off his wife’s leg after the muddy ordeal. Surprised none of us slipped and fell.

The Chinese Crested Tern was one of the top targets of the trip. It was also the hardest. The mud flats were quite extensive which means that we have to trudge through ankle and sometimes knee deep mud to get to the coast. The wet weather did not help.

Shooting terns at Min Jiang Estuary
A Chinese bird researcher studying the terns at Min Jiang Estuary
Three Chinese ganging in on a Greater.
Three Chinese ganging in on a Greater. The fourth is out of the frame.
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A pair of Chinese Crested Terns bathing with a Greater Crested Tern. Flying in is the White-winged Tern.
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White-winged and Greater Crested Terns flying in to join the Whiskered Terns at the Min Jiang Estuary. The pair of Chinese Crested Terns are on the left.

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Chinese Crested Tern has a black tipped bill and a black forehead during breeding.

Greater Crested Terns mating
An interested third party at the mating of the Great Crested Terns.
A Chinese Crested Terns enjoying a bath with the Great Crested Terns.
A Chinese Crested Terns enjoying a bath with the Great Crested Terns.
A pair of Chinese Crested Terns with the Greater Crested Terns behind
From a distance the best way to separate the two terns is to pick out the lighter grey wings of the Chinese Crested Terns.

Next: Emeifeng National Park.

 

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