Bohai Bay 2024 Update 1

Posted on: 2024-05-15 15:28:18

Well, that’s a nice title to write after 5 years. I am back on the Luannan Coast with our work once again centred on the mudflats of Nanpu. Of course, we have had our colleague Katherine Leung keeping everything going in 2020, 21, and 23. And our excellent drivers and scanners Liu Jianfeng and Liu Yang who managed the work alone in 2022. The field team this year for the scanning is Katherine, The Lius and me. But the Nanpu mudflat and adjacent salt ponds has many visiting and regular Beijing Normal University (BNU) students studying various aspects of its ecology throughout the spring season. Katherine also had assistance from Fion Cheung for a few days at the start of the field work. Fion is from WWF- Hong Kong and they were involved in the set-up of the Luannan Zuidong Nanpu Provincial Wetland Park.

A thank you here too to the many and varied supporters who enables the work to continue during those years.
This year we are indebted, once again, to Professor Zhang Zhengwang of BNU for the funds to get Katherine and me to Nanpu and to cover our costs while we are here. Katherine and I are volunteering our time. Due to our fascination with the place and the hope for future studies to continue here.

And it goes without saying that we thank Theunis Piersma for still giving his time to Nanpu and the EAAF more widely when he is stretched, pulled, and has requested falling on him constantly. Theunis too, I know, loves Nanpu.
Katherine arrived on the Nanpu seawall on April 29 and I joined on May 6 along with Professor Zhang, Theunis, Zhu Bingrun and Lei Weipan from BNU. We did an extensive exploration of the coast of Hangu the first day. My first few minutes on the receding tide found me counting 1,351 Asian Dowitchers, a very nice introduction.

The following 2 days were visits to the Zuidong and Nanpu seawall, and the new visitor centre of the Wetland Park. Then Theunis and BNU left for Beijing and Theunis back to The Netherlands.

Katherine, Liu Yang and I are now into the routine of early morning scanning on outgoing tides. Alarms going off at 03:30 isn’t the greatest but once on the seawall, as the sunrises and the birds come back to the mud from their pond roosts it is magical, and the early morning light helps our work as we scan vigorously for marked birds from throughout the flyway.
The seawall is relatively quiet compared to last year. A few trucks rumbling by (of course) as a new platform for an oil derrick is constructed just behind the seawall. Not an ideal time to be building it during peak migration season but once the derricks are built, they are benign and don’t disturb the birds at all.

This is just a brief introduction to GFN’s 17th year (2007 to 2024 minus 2008) on the Nanpu Seawall. We will give more information on the Red Knots (spoiler – low but not the lowest ever numbers) in the next Update.
We wish you all in the north a productive spring and summer season and those in the south maybe enjoy a slight rest.

Chris Hassell and Katherine Leung.

May 12 2024.

Few places on earth stay the same.

29 04 2011


The images above are within 500 m of each other.

But sometimes change can be positive with carefully planned intervention. Spartina eradication has been a success. See below.



And the Nanpu mudflats ‘core area’ looks as it ever did.
And the Nanpu mudflats ‘core area’ looks as it ever did.