Thursday, 19 September 2013

A tough hike in the hills

I am writing this fifteen months after the trip. The reasons will become all too clear on a later post.
This morning started like all the others, in the dark! We drove to a pass and as dawn was breaking, saw 2 Tibetan Snowcock from the road, through the scope! I don't believe it after yesterday's efforts! Still a great bird to see again.
The much sought after Tibetan Snowcock!

We drove to a lower altitude and walked into a very steep, thickly wooded valley. We saw a pair of Szechenyi's Monal Partridge with a small chick. We all got extended views through the scope, before they disappeared over a rise. What a great start to the day! However, it then started to rain intermittently and the so-called trail through the forest was very steep. More holding on for dear life, than birding! There were some good birds here but all difficult to see in these conditions.

White-eared Pheasant
White-eared Pheasants were again numerous, a massive 24 birds being seen feeding on distant hillsides! I thought they were rare and hard to see? It is a fantastic species though, one of the very special birds of the trip so far.
Rufous-vented Tit

Rufous vented Tit was in the conifers, along with 3 Grey crested Tits. But best of the lot were 4 Crested Tit-Warblers, stunning birds! Elliot's Laughingthrushes were around, but difficult to get good views of. A Hodgson's Treecreeper also put in an appearance.

The stunning male White-throated Redstart
White-throated Redstarts were numerous. A male Slaty-backed Flycatcher was a nice find. This seems to be quite an uncommon bird in this region.

Male Slaty-backed Flycatcher

 A couple of Rufous browed Accentors were also seen along the path.

Rufous-browed Accentor

Pink- rumped Rosefinches were abundant and a few Chinese White-browed Rosefinches grinded out their call, from the tops of fir trees.

Male Pink-rumped Rosefinch

Female Pink-rumped Rosefinch

A pair of Chinese White-browed Rosefinches

White-winged Grosbeaks were quite common.

We finally got to the bottom of the valley and enjoyed bright sunshine for an hour. Then another storm came upon us and it was time to climb back up the valley. And what a steep climb it was! A nightmare in the pouring rain. Just as we got to the vehicles the heavy rain stopped! Everyone by this time had had enough, so we made the decision to return to Nangqian a little earlier than normal. We had a brief look at the river and then a couple of welcome beers in the hotel bar before our evening meal. There is always another day!

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