Thursday, 21 May 2015

Sichuan: Erlang Shan

Luding is at 1550 m above sea level, so it is a steep climb up the old forest road, to get to the top of Erlang Shan which is 2,120 m high.

Erlang Shang.

The Old Forest Road at Erlang Shan.

It was a dark & gloomy morning on 25th May, but the clouds eventually parted & the day proved to be an excellent one.

 Spotted Nutcracker

 Chestnut Thrush

 The incredibly skulking Firethroat.

 Buff throated Warbler

Buff barred Warbler

Large-billed Leaf Warbler

White-browed Fulvetta

White collared Yuhina.

 Male Mr's Goulds Sunbird.

 Olive-backed Pipit singing.

Rosy Pipit on the top of the mountain, 
in the low cloud.

Birds seen included: 2 male Lady Amherst's Pheasant; 4 Crested Honey Buzzard migrating over the pass; Himalayan Buzzard; 50+ Spotted Nutcracker; 20+ Chestnut Thrush; a superb male Firethroat; Buff throated Warbler; Greenish Warbler; 10+ Buff barred Warbler; Claudia's Leaf Warbler; 25+ Elliot's Laughing Thrush; Black-faced Laughing Thrush; 3 Chinese Babax; White-browed Fulvetta; White collared Yuhina; Mrs Gould's Sunbird; 15+ Olive-backed Pipit; 2 Rosy Pipit; Dark breasted Rosefinch; 2 Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch; 2 Grey-headed Bullfinch; 2 White-winged Grosbeak & 4 Yellow throated Bunting.

The next morning I drove up to the mid elevation forest. it was a beautiful morning will low cloud in the valley below & glimpses of high mountain peaks in the far distance.

Dawn from the mountain.

Spotted Nutcracker

Male Firethroat.

Sichuan Leaf Warbler

Aberrant Bush Warbler.

I slowly walked down the mountain, birding all the way. Best birds were: many Spotted Nutcrackers; another male Firethroat; 3 Daurian Redstart; Verditer Flycatcher; Japanese Tit; 4 Sichuan Leaf Warbler; 2 Spotted Laughing Thrush' 2 Black-streaked Scimitar Babbler; 2 Common Rosefinch;and White-winged Grosbeak.

As I descended the mountain,, the vegetation became progressively drier & agriculture became more prevalent. A Grey faced Woodpecker & a Moupinia were the avian highlights.

Then it was time to commence the long drive to Rilong. I was secretly dreading this journey as I thought it would be largely a waste of time. I couldn't have been more wrong! The road was lightly travelled & passed through stupendous scenery. It was one incredible vista after another.

There was a distinct Tibetan feel to the countryside.

The highest point of the road was over 4,000 m.

Himalayan Griffon Vulture.

 White-tailed (Himalayan) Rubythroat.

Rufous browed Accentor.

 Tibetan homes

Buddism is the norm here.

White capped Redstarts were common
 along the river.

Birding was surprisingly good along the way: Himalayan Griffon Vulture; Lammergeir; 3 Black-capped Kingfishers; 2 Hill Pigeon; 25+ Red-billed Chough; 30+ Daurian Jackdaw; 10 Kessler's Thrush; 5 White-capped Redstart; Russet Sparrow; Robin & rufous browed Accentors & Godwelski's Bunting.

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