by Craig Brelsford
At Dongtai on Sat. 14 Nov., the Dream Team noted 80 Dalmatian Pelican. Black-faced Spoonbill once again were present at this great, unprotected wetland. Among the species appearing in considerable numbers were Common Pochard (300), Eurasian Oystercatcher (150), Pied Avocet (300), Grey Plover (2000), Kentish Plover (300), Eurasian Curlew (1200), Dunlin (800), and Saunders’s Gull (250). We noted Falcated Duck and Tufted Duck.
Michael Grunwell and husband-and-wife team Stephan and Xueping Popp left Shanghai at 03:30 and arrived at Yancheng at 06:30. Elaine and I met them on the Surf ‘n’ Turf Trail at Dongtai. Approaching from the south, we got a call from an excited Michael, who said, “Get up here! There’s a flock of 80 Dalmatian Pelican right in front of us!” Elaine and I arrived in time. In one eyeful I was seeing more pelicans than I had seen in my previous eight years in China.
We noted once again that the southeast corner of the sea wall is the last place in the area to be covered with the incoming tide. We were there as the tide moved in (it never reached the wall here), and noted the impressive shorebird numbers listed above.
The light was fading by 16:30. Elaine and I bade farewell to the trio and returned to our hotel. Michael, Stephan, and Xueping returned to Shanghai.
Featured image: Dalmatian Pelican at Dongtai, Jiangsu, 14 Nov. Listed as Vulnerable by IUCN, Pelecanus crispus breeds from Serbia to Mongolia, with Mongolian breeders wintering along the China coast. Populations in the western parts of its range are stable and even increasing, but the populations in Mongolia and China are in dire trouble. (Craig Brelsford)