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Old Sunday 4th March 2012, 07:49   #626
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I wondered about that too, without stopping to check properly.

Cheers
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Old Sunday 4th March 2012, 09:58   #627
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Wawu Shan - closed?

I was hoping to go to Sichuan next year and was going to spend a few days at Wawu Shan. I've heard worrying rumours that it could be closed this year or next, for 12 months, so hotels, roads etc can be built. If it ends up like Juizhaigou it sounds like a nightmare...

Does anyone know anymore?

thanks, alan
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Old Monday 5th March 2012, 02:03   #628
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Hi Alan,

Wawu was closed for 6 weeks during November for cable car maintenance.
For tourism attractions, i heard news about lot of improvements which sounds crazy like making roads for Golf carts and some construction near the mandarin duck pool.
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Old Monday 5th March 2012, 08:50   #629
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Originally Posted by thirudevaram View Post
For tourism attractions, i heard news about lot of improvements which sounds crazy like making roads for Golf carts and some construction near the mandarin duck pool.
Thanks, I think this is what people are talking about. Anyone know anymore?

cheers, alan
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Old Tuesday 6th March 2012, 02:10   #630
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Wawu Shan:
Just called the local tourism bureau.
Seems to be closed for the next two or three years. The whole scenic area is going to be upgraded. Looks really unpleasant.............

However, there might be alternatives which are equivalent, what needs to be proved the next couple of weeks..

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Old Tuesday 6th March 2012, 08:42   #631
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I'm in the UK at the moment - but this latest news over Wawu has come as real damper on our holiday. We were recently in touch with the park, and although we knew of proposed developments, the plan to close the park has come as a shock!!!!!!
The biggest worry is the development in the Mandarin Duck pond area - here is habitat for the very rare Grey Hooded Parrotbill. There are opportunities for the other parrotbill species in Wolong, Erlang and Moxi areas - but good opportunities for finding Grey-hooded seems confined to Wawu.
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Old Tuesday 6th March 2012, 09:07   #632
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Originally Posted by sichuan jiujiu View Post
Wawu Shan:
Just called the local tourism bureau.
Seems to be closed for the next two or three years. The whole scenic area is going to be upgraded. Looks really unpleasant.............

However, there might be alternatives which are equivalent, what needs to be proved the next couple of weeks..
Thanks for the update - anymore information on alternative sites would be helpful; it is certainly the key site for viewable Temminck's Tragopans and that is a key reason for my visit. I think they are much more diffiuclt at Emei Shan now.

Thanks again, alan
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Old Tuesday 6th March 2012, 12:59   #633
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From what I hear through some contacts (who told me this news end of 2011, and is still the case as of last week), that Wawu will be closed from June/July this year for 2-3 years as they do a loop road, and also 'improve' up top.

There are alternative sites for all species - as Sid says, though Grey-hooded is generally much more difficult at the other site/s I've seen it.

Cheers,

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Old Tuesday 6th March 2012, 20:15   #634
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There's actually a Chinese site for Wawu that has given updates on the the park - www.wawushan.cn
But I'm afraid the site currently seems to have been highjacked by another web address.

Quote:
Thanks for the update - anymore information on alternative sites would be helpful; it is certainly the key site for viewable Temminck's Tragopans and that is a key reason for my visit
My experience of spring/summer Wawu last year - with the increase in tourist traffic where park buses were already starting to drive the roads around 7.30, the construction of new concrete barriers on roadside locations where we've viewed Tragopan during earlier trips, increased human disturbance on the middle of the mountain with road repair and bamboo shoot collection (a Chinese culinary speciality) and a honey farmer who had set up hives and a tent (with dog) in one of the best gamebird areas - gave me the impression that Temminck's Tragopan were being scared away from the normal roadside viewing areas and also becoming more difficult at Wawu.
But Wawu is a far better site for tragopan than Emei.


One of the best sites for Tragopan must be around Wolong. Other easy to visit sites we've found this bird include Labahe and Hailuogou glacier park.
For an independent traveller Hailuogou Glacier Park could make a decent alternative site -
- easy to reach by bus from Chengdu
- accommodation within the park that means you can explore the park area by foot (cheapest rooms are bargained with touts at the park gates - don't go into the park without booking room prices from one of the touts)
- great birds that include - Temminck's Tragopan, Streaked Barwing, Gould's Shortwing (picture from park in OBC) Golden Bush Robin, Chesnut-headed Tesia, Spotted Laughingthrush, Red-winged Laughingthrush, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Collared Grobeak, Great Parrotbill, Sichuan Treecreeper, Sharpe's (Spot-winged) Rosefinch, Dark-rumped Rosefinch
- in the area outside the park (where you would need transport) we've found (among a lot of other stuff) - Lady A Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Tibetan Snowcock (Monal is in the area but takes a bit of hiking to get into suitable habitat) Pere David's Tit, Brown Parrotbill, Three-toed Parrotbill, Fulvous Parrotbill, Barred Laughingthrush, Solitary Snipe, Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker, Himalayan Rubythroat, White-browed Tit warbler

Biggest disadvantages with the Hailuogou glacier park are the crowds that turn up after 8am - during mid season, and on weekends they come in very noisy package groups - but at least by staying in the park you (just like wawu) you have those golden hours of early morning and late evening to yourselves. And lower areas away from the actual glacier are far quieter.

At the moment - due to the Tibetan new year, which for the last 3 years has brought travel restrictions during February/March - this area is also officially closed off to foreign travellers. But we hope as in the past years - this area will once again open in April.
I'm afraid birding in Sichuan can sometimes be a complicated task of dodging around problems - but I suppose that gives us an extra sense of achievement when when we finally get our ticks!!!!
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Old Tuesday 6th March 2012, 22:02   #635
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Good to have you back on BF Sid

Mike

PS can you send me a snail-mail address - I have some old hard copy reports for you
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Old Wednesday 7th March 2012, 10:44   #636
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Quote:
From what I hear through some contacts (who told me this news end of 2011, and is still the case as of last week), that Wawu will be closed from June/July this year for 2-3 years as they do a loop road, and also 'improve' up top
After phoning up the Wawu office - Roland was told that the closure has already started from March 1st.

Hi Mike - good to be back - I'll send you an address by mail
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Old Wednesday 7th March 2012, 20:44   #637
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A brief bit of research suggests that these are probably the most important birds for me at Wawu (aside from the Tragopan). Any useful hints at where I could see these in Sichuan would be helpful:

Grey-hooded Parrotbill,
Emei Shan Liocichla
Sichuan Treecreeper
Great, 3-toed, Brown, Ashy-throated & Fulvous Parrotbills
Emei Leaf Warbler
Chinese Blue Flycatcher
Lady Amherst’s Pheasant
Red-winged Laughingthrush
Rusty Laughingthrush
Dark-rumped Rosefinch
Golden-fronted Fulvetta (rare)

thanks, alan
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Old Thursday 8th March 2012, 09:06   #638
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Hi Lewis -

Emei Shan Liocichla - Emei, best areas in the bamboo on the access road to the summit

Sichuan Treecreeper - Emei (conifers in the area around the bottom cable-car), Wolong, Wanglang - must also be at JZ

Great, 3-toed, Brown & Fulvous Parrotbills - Labahe, Moxi, Wolong - I also suppose the bamboo areas around the 'ski-area' at Emei could be a likely Parrotbill haunt

Ashy-throated Parrotbill- the common parrotbill when you go west. Can find it in roadside scrub/long grass anywhere around Yaan. You should also be able to find this bird at Emei.

Emei Leaf Warbler - Emei and I've had them in the Erlang area.

Chinese Blue Flycatcher - Emei

Lady Amherst’s Pheasant - Labahe, Erlang, Moxi

Red-winged Laughingthrush - Emei, Labahe

Rusty Laughingthrush - difficult one - can find them in the deep SE around Yibin (Sichuan Hill Partridge country) and i've also found them in the NE. I suppose this bird must also be at Emei - I've never found them there but have seen likely habitat

Dark-rumped Rosefinch - Erlang, Moxi (Hailuogou)

Golden-fronted Fulvetta (rare) - Reported for the Sichuan Hill partridge reserves in the SE- I've seen once on the Old Erlang Road. You'd have been very fortunate to find this species at Wawu.

Grey-hooded Parrotbill - my only good alternative site outside the Wawu tourist park are the undeveloped western areas of Wawu that are accessed from Yinjing - but these areas are difficult for an independent birder and we're also not certain about current access to this area.

A few of these areas are off the main Sichuan birding route - but Emei and Moxi (the Hailuogou area) are quite accessible by public transport.
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Old Thursday 8th March 2012, 09:11   #639
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Hi Lewis -

Emei Shan Liocichla - Emei, best areas in the bamboo on the access road to the summit

Sichuan Treecreeper - Emei (conifers in the area around the bottom cable-car), Wolong, Wanglang - must also be at JZ

Great, 3-toed, Brown & Fulvous Parrotbills - Labahe, Moxi, Wolong - I also suppose the bamboo areas around the 'ski-area' at Emei could be a likely Parrotbill haunt

Ashy-throated Parrotbill- the common parrotbill when you go west. Can find it in roadside scrub/long grass anywhere around Yaan. You should also be able to find this bird at Emei.

Emei Leaf Warbler - Emei and I've had them in the Erlang area.

Chinese Blue Flycatcher - Emei

Lady Amherst’s Pheasant - Labahe, Erlang, Moxi

Red-winged Laughingthrush - Emei, Labahe

Rusty Laughingthrush - difficult one - can find them in the deep SE around Yibin (Sichuan Hill Partridge country) and i've also found them in the NE. I suppose this bird must also be at Emei - but I've never found them there.

Dark-rumped Rosefinch - Erlang, Moxi (Hailuogou)

Golden-fronted Fulvetta (rare) - Reported for the Sichuan Hill partridge reserves in the SE- I've seen once on the Old Erlang Road. You'd have been very fortunate to find this species at Wawu.

Grey-hooded Parrotbill - my only good alternative site outside the Wawu tourist park are the undeveloped western areas of Wawu that are accessed from Yinjing - but these areas are difficult for an independent birder and we're also not certain about current access to this area.

A few of these areas are off the main Sichuan birding route - but Emei and Moxi (the Hailuogou area) are quite accessible by public transport.
Great, thanks for that. Although Wawu sounds great (or was!), it sounds as if most of the species can be picked up elsewhere. It will be interesting to see how James, Hannu Jannes et al. do on their tours this year at alternative sites. I think we will still plan a Sichuan trip in May next year.

cheers, alan
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Old Monday 12th March 2012, 21:35   #640
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Hi all,

I’d like to ask a couple of questions regarding the practicalities of bird watching (or generally being in the countryside) in Sichuan. I’ve visited Sichuan a number of times, and I’ve had opportunity to explore local countryside around areas such as the forested foothills to the west of the Sichuan Basin. There are two things I’d like to ask about:

Firstly, I’ve repeatedly come across dogs, usually chained up, but sometimes running loose. Though not particularly nasty looking, I have on a couple of occasions faced dogs behaving aggressively. One time I felt threatened enough to pick up some stones, which after seeing, the dogs backed off. Basically, the question is, how is it best to deal with dogs in these situations? Is it all posturing and show, and the dogs would be best ignored? Or should a careful retreat be made? A number of times there have been paths I’d liked to have taken, but I’ve decided against it because of dogs, chained or loose.

The other question regards intrusion. The existence of the majority of the paths in the countryside is to provide access to people’s homes. When exploring, I regularly find a that a path appears to terminate at a house, but I know that often that the path will continue behind the house. To find out, I’d have to skirt round the property and scout around a bit to see if I could find if the path continues; I’d have to behave in a way that in the UK we’d find intrusive. It can be frustrating to retrace steps every time this happens because it occurs frequently. When I have met locals in circumstances when I have felt like I was intruding, generally after initial surprise, they have been very friendly and helpful. I’m pretty sure culturally people in the countryside in Sichuan have a more tolerant attitude to us in the UK about people crossing their land and even walking past their windows etc, but the question is to what degree? What exactly is acceptable, and what would people feel uncomfortable about? Knowing the answer to this question would help reduce the amount of backtracking I have to do.

Thanks

Ed
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2012, 16:25   #641
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Dogs

Hi Ed,

Dogs immediately react on stones or simply the gesture of throwing stones. It might sound a bit bizarre to us western animal lovers to throw stones at dogs, but this is the language they speak here; they grew up with this kind of 'education' after all.
Sometimes it may be enough to bend down and pretend to pick up a stone, this way you don't have to feel too bad about it

The only dogs I'd really advice to avoid always and ever are the Tibetan Mastiffs. These dogs usually are chained and watch nomad's tents on the Tibetan High Plateau; but sometimes they roam around in the tent's vicinity. Worst situation is to approach a sleeping dog without knowing; when he get up it might be too late already. A stone, best you always keep a big one in the pocket, might be a temporary solution, it at least gives you the chance to draw back; but it's always better to retreat as soon as you spot such a beast. Here some pictures of this dog:
http://www.thedogsbreeds.com/tibetan-mastiff/

I'll write something about your intrusion question tomorrow

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Old Tuesday 13th March 2012, 18:23   #642
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Originally Posted by sichuan jiujiu View Post
Hi Ed,

Dogs immediately react on stones or simply the gesture of throwing stones. It might sound a bit bizarre to us western animal lovers to throw stones at dogs, but this is the language they speak here; they grew up with this kind of 'education' after all.
Sometimes it may be enough to bend down and pretend to pick up a stone, this way you don't have to feel too bad about it

The only dogs I'd really advice to avoid always and ever are the Tibetan Mastiffs. These dogs usually are chained and watch nomad's tents on the Tibetan High Plateau; but sometimes they roam around in the tent's vicinity. Worst situation is to approach a sleeping dog without knowing; when he get up it might be too late already. A stone, best you always keep a big one in the pocket, might be a temporary solution, it at least gives you the chance to draw back; but it's always better to retreat as soon as you spot such a beast. Here some pictures of this dog:
http://www.thedogsbreeds.com/tibetan-mastiff/

I'll write something about your intrusion question tomorrow

roland
Christ, I'm a dog lover but I'd give that one a wide berth!
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2012, 18:33   #643
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sichuan jiujiu View Post
Hi Ed,

The only dogs I'd really advice to avoid always and ever are the Tibetan Mastiffs. These dogs usually are chained and watch nomad's tents on the Tibetan High Plateau; but sometimes they roam around in the tent's vicinity. Worst situation is to approach a sleeping dog without knowing; when he get up it might be too late already. A stone, best you always keep a big one in the pocket, might be a temporary solution, it at least gives you the chance to draw back; but it's always better to retreat as soon as you spot such a beast. Here some pictures of this dog:
http://www.thedogsbreeds.com/tibetan-mastiff/

roland



What a scary beast!

D
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Old Wednesday 14th March 2012, 02:53   #644
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The other question regards intrusion. The existence of the majority of the paths in the countryside is to provide access to people’s homes. When exploring, I regularly find a that a path appears to terminate at a house, but I know that often that the path will continue behind the house. To find out, I’d have to skirt round the property and scout around a bit to see if I could find if the path continues; I’d have to behave in a way that in the UK we’d find intrusive. It can be frustrating to retrace steps every time this happens because it occurs frequently. When I have met locals in circumstances when I have felt like I was intruding, generally after initial surprise, they have been very friendly and helpful. I’m pretty sure culturally people in the countryside in Sichuan have a more tolerant attitude to us in the UK about people crossing their land and even walking past their windows etc, but the question is to what degree? What exactly is acceptable, and what would people feel uncomfortable about? Knowing the answer to this question would help reduce the amount of backtracking I have to do.
It surely is a sensitive topic and I certainly don't want it to look like encouraging everybody to move like a burglar. But in general, it seems to be quite OK to cross farmer's land or pass their houses.
If there's anybody nearby, I usually ask for permission, ask for a cup of water or say some greetings. If they don't want you to continue, they'll tell you straight away.

If there's apparently nobody in or at the house, it sometimes helps to shout out some loud "hello". If still nobody shows up, it generally is OK to continue walking. Here it would be good to keep an eye on potential dogs behind the corner!
I have copied these methods from local people – villagers as well as urbanites, and it seems to be very common, not to pay too much attention on privacy.
By the way, following this pattern I've never encountered any unfriendly people.

In any case, I would not sneak into their doors or try to get a view through the windows. It is good to behave more loudly (than usual) to give them a chance to hear you and to obviate any suspicious behaviour.

Good luck
r
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Old Wednesday 14th March 2012, 12:47   #645
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Thanks for the tips Roland, exactly the answers I needed to know. I suspected the pick up a stone trick might deal with aggressive dogs, but I needed the reassurance to know this was the best way. I've not yet been high enough to encounter Tibetan Mastiffs, but of course I've heard of their reputation!
And the advice regarding intrusion will mean I will do less frustrating backtracking, or worry less that I was being impolite. Like you, (in my limited experience), when I've been out exploring countryside I've never met unfriendly locals (just dogs), and often they are very nice.

Ed
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Old Saturday 7th April 2012, 08:48   #646
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After a rather long silence we're back in business. At the Moment I'm just finishing a bird recording stint in NE Sichuan - and in just under a week I'll be starting 3 week trip, which, will be a real tester on conditions for the 2012 season.
So far the signs look promising, Roland has just driven out to Wolong/Balang with an English birder - and apart from a new one-way rule (one day in- one day out) there were no special complications - and, most importantly, no restrictions for foreign travelers. One potential problem, the checkpoint at Genda (about 40km before you get to Wolong village), which, this winter, required all travelers to register, is now unmanned. However we still don't know if the checkpoint at Rilong is operating - and if access to Mengbi is fully open.

As for me - well no travel restriction in the NE apart from some unbelievably bad roads. Most of our time has been spent in marginal farming land, between 400 and 700m in altitude, listening for calls of male Golden Pheasant. Still a lot of these birds left out here - but as ever a lot harder to see than hear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pictures -
1; caught somebody else who could have been doing a bit of Pheasant watching - a Crested Goshawk. Just after taking the pic the bird made a stoop from that branch onto something just bellow him - but we never got to see what it was.

2; at last a half decent photo of Tristram's Bunting - we had just one day where we had many sightings of this species, in ones and twos in Little Bunting flocks, and then nothing!

Calls
1; Speckled Piculet - drumming on cultivated bamboo - which gives a lot of resonance to the drumming of this tiny woodpecker. There were two birds. You can faintly hear the other bird giving a trill. Other calls in there are Eurasian Jay and Sulpher-breasted Warbler.

2; Another small bird from a couple of day's ago - Fork-tailed Sunbird. For most Sichuan trips Mrs Gould's is the common Sunbird - but you can pick up Fork-tailed in places like Emei. Background calls include - Hwamei, Brown-flanked Bush Warbler , Black- streaked Scimitar Babbler, and Rufous-capped Babbler, Collared Finchbill
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Old Saturday 7th April 2012, 13:16   #647
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Talking to Roland on the phone - today on the Balang Pass, after a lot of cloud, they finally got a hole through which they could see Chinese Monal. But craziest was yesterday - they got two male Temminck's Tragopan at the Monal stake-out!!!!!
Never heard of this bird being spotted up there - but they say there's still a lot of snow in the area - so this could be playing a part in this unusual record!!!!!! Last year we got Three-toed Parrotbill at the same spot - a bamboo species that is found in more typical Tragopan habitat - so there must be bamboo somewhere close.
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Old Wednesday 11th April 2012, 23:47   #648
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Finally got back from a tightly scheduled but successful trip to Wolong and Labahe.
Still got a lot of fresh snow up on Balang Mountain. However sun was melting it away quite quickly.

The pictures attached are both from Labahe. The park is open, however, some construction work still is going on: A four Star Hotel at the Sambar Deer feeding site.

Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler (Pnoepyga albiventer albiventer) was quite common in higher elevation.
Never seen so many Yellow-browed Tits (Sylviparus modestus modestus) at once. We got a decent flock (5-6 birds) quite a few times.
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Last edited by sichuan jiujiu : Thursday 12th April 2012 at 07:09.
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Old Monday 23rd April 2012, 12:23   #649
china guy
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We're out on our first big trip of the season, and so far have had no problems in getting into western areas such as Labahe and Moxi. We've now veered north and are at Wanglang.
Birding at Labahe gave us many of the birds we would have expected at Wawu - Lady A Pheasant, Brown, 3-toed, Great, Fulvous and Golden Parrotbills - and we got the bonus of some great views of Rufous-tailed Babbler.
Moxi gave us lots of Long-tailed and Plain-backed Thrushes - and we picked up Sharpe's Rosefinch and Emei Leaf Warbler on the Old Erlang Road.
At Wanglang we've just ticked off both Tit-Warblers, Sichuan and Hodgson's Treecreeper and Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush. From here we'll be hoping for open roads so we can bird our way back to Chengdu.

Attached is a recording of the Rufous-tailed Babbler at Labahe
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Old Monday 23rd April 2012, 12:40   #650
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hey sid, glad to hear that some areas in sichuan are still accessible and I'm incredibly envious of those birds (particularly the lady amherst's pheasant! what a marvelous bird). That sucks about Wawu Shan---out of curiosity, was it a 景区 (erm, "scenic area"?) or a proper protected area (保护区)? And if it was a protected area, I imagine that there might have been some form of ongoing research from local universities in Sichuan and perhaps even the CAS (Chinese academy of science) up in Beijing. Would those entities still have access to the area or is it completely closed?

best wishes for this upcoming season and looking forward to your posts (and photos)!

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