CAPE NANHUI: The coastal area east of Dishui Lake is the premier birding spot in Shanghai and one of the most famous birding sites in China. The microforests at the cape, the most southeasterly point of Shanghai, are astonishingly effective traps for migrating woodland birds such as Japanese Paradise Flycatcher and Siberian Blue Robin. In the wetlands, Black-faced Spoonbill, Asian Dowitcher, and even Spoon-billed Sandpiper have been found. In winter, Dishui Lake holds hundreds of ducks.
URBAN SHANGHAI: Century Park in Pudong offers good birding and is easily accessible on Metro Line 2. (For the all-time list of birds noted at Century Park, please click here.) Other large parks such as Gongqing Forest Park, Binjiang Forest Park, and Shanghai Botanical Gardens are similar to Century but harder to reach. Huangpu Park on the Bund is a good place to view gulls.
CHONGMING ISLAND: Large alluvial island at mouth of Yangtze. Boasts most important nature reserve in Shanghai: Chongming Dongtan National Bird Sanctuary and Nature Reserve. Here, about 100 Hooded Crane winter. Hundreds of other species, many of them passage migrants, visit the island.
LESSER YANGSHAN ISLAND: Technically in Zhejiang and home to Shanghai’s largest deep-water port. Known in Chinese as Xiǎo Yángshān (小洋山). Lies 25 km off coast of Nanhui and is accessible by car over Donghai Bridge. Migrating passerines, in particular buntings, are the major attraction.
HENGSHA ISLAND: Small alluvial island at mouth of Yangtze. Has huge, still undeveloped, reclaimed area that is a magnet to migrating birds and is one of the better places in Shanghai to view ducks.
DONGTAI: The birding area at Dongtai lies 250 km north of Shanghai. This major staging area is slated for development but for the time being is one of the finest birding sites in the region. Flocks of more than 700 Nordmann’s Greenshank have been recorded there, Spoon-billed Sandpiper is a regular visitor, and Black-faced Spoonbill rely on the vast spaces.
YANGKOU: Yangkou is in Rudong County, Jiangsu, 200 km north of Shanghai. The small fishing town is declining now in the face of rampant development and habitat destruction but once achieved fame for its mudflats, an important staging area for Spoon-billed Sandpiper.
TIANMU MOUNTAINS: Range W of Hangzhou offers refreshing contrast to Shanghai region’s mainly coastal environments. Interesting location at border of Indo-Malayan and Palearctic biogeographical regions.
YANCHENG: 300 km north of Shanghai, well-known as a winter home of Red-crowned Crane, Oriental Stork, and many species of goose and duck.
HANGZHOU: West Lake Scenic Area offers a good introduction to southeast China’s temperate forest. Nearby Xixi Wetland has a well-deserved good reputation. Fast, easy access by bullet train from Shanghai.
NANJING: One of the best places to bird in Nanjing is Nanjing Zhongshan Botanical Garden. Fairy Pitta breeds at Laoshan National Forest Park, on the northern side of the Yangtze River. Bullet train from Shanghai.