It seemed a very short night's sleep! In fact I was quite correct. It was. It was less than three hours until I stumbled with all my luggage, down the hotel stairs & into a waiting minibus. I remember it being dark, but little else.
It was the 16th May & the final birding day of this excellent tour. Our first stop was the extensive coastal marshes & reed beds found on the eastern side of Chongming Island. We arrived just as dawn was breaking & this was necessary for one of our main target species, which displays at dawn. We were here to see two very rare & range restricted species: Reed Parrotbill & Marsh Grassbird (formerly known as Japanese Swamp Warbler). Both confined to this habitat & under threat from the expansion & development of what is modern China. However, this area is a reserve & no sooner were we out of the minibus than both species were seen & seen very well. The Marsh Grassbird was displaying at regular intervals, by fluttering into the air from a prominent reed stalk. At one point I counted 12 birds displaying in my arc of vision. The Reed Parrotbill turned out to be common & we all enjoyed quite close views. This is a large, monster of a Parrotbill species, with a wonderfully marked head pattern. Some members of the group voted it one of the birds of the entire trip! By now I had run out of workable cameras to obtain bird photos, so that is why there are not any bird shots in this post!