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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Shanghai Visa Free Transit Dec 23 (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
I had mentioned on this forum that I was thinking about taking the option to visit Shanghai and the surrounding area on the visa-free transit option. The opportunity came up in connection with a visit to Vietnam, so I took it. I flew from Brussels with China Eastern. At the airport in Brussels the check-in attendant went through my passport and asked where my visa was. I explained the scheme and showed her the information about it on China Eastern website. She looked over it and then asked me again "So where's your visa?" This went on for fifty minutes as she spoke to a colleague, made a phone call, and went away to talk to someone before finally agreeing that it was OK, and issuing me with my boarding passes. Clearly this is a bit of a high risk strategy.

At Shanghai airport, I again explained the situation to the immigration officer, and she replied "Your name's not on the list". But she did agree to let me in on the no visa scheme. I had to show evidence of hotel bookings for each night of my stay.

Anyway, I went to Hangzhou for two nights where I stayed at the Millennium Hangzhou, which is right in the forest, with rooms looking straight onto tall trees. The grounds held Indochinese Yuhina, Yellow-bellied Tit, Black-throated Tit, Grey-chinned Minivet, and about 40 Mandarin Duck on the pond. I hired a bicycle and headed to the botanical gardens where I found a flock of Japanese Waxwing and also saw Grey-headed Parrotbill among other things.

I then took trains up to Yancheng and the wetland reserve there. Over the next two days it was bitterly cold, -8C at dawn, with strong winds. I headed out to the marshes, wearing all the clothing I had, and found Red-crowned and Common Cranes, some distant Hooded and White-naped Cranes hiding in the grass, Chinese Grey Shrike, Swan Geese, Oriental Storks, more Smew than I had seen in my life to date, Hen Harrier, Bitterns, Baikal Teal and Reed Parrotbill. Some roosting Crested Ibis were presumably recent releases. Also some buntings which I have yet to identify, although other BF members are welcome to do so if they would like. Photos to follow.

So I think the visa free transit scheme can be a very good way to visit China. As long as you are prepared to argue your case and take the risk that it just might all unravel!
8863 may not be identifiable but I note that it has some of the chestnut flank of 8695 so may be the same. You will note that there is a Bohemian Waxwing in with the Japanese ones.


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Spoonbill and Brambling too.


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Nice report, always good when a risk pays off!

8832 - Pallas's reed
8695 - Rustic
8863 - possible Black faced, any more images?
8861 - probably Pallas's reed
Nice report, always good when a risk pays off!

8832 - Pallas's reed
8695 - Rustic
8863 - possible Black faced, any more images?
8861 - probably Pallas's reed
Thanks. No other images for 8863, but here it is brighter. It seems to have a dark throat and quite a few rufous tones. It was with the Brambling, in a brushy area away from the marshes.


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Interesting to read. I've been to the botanical gardens in Hangzhou in summer, so it was good to hear what was around in winter. A nice place and pretty easy to do independently.
Yes, I just took a bicycle to get there from my hotel. I didn't see all that much beyond the Waxwings and Parrotbills though - Orange-bellied Leafbird, Daurian Redstart, Siskin, Yellow-browed Warbler being the main other birds.

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