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The story of an idiot bird photographer

Posted Monday 2nd February 2009 at 05:30 by china guy
Updated Monday 2nd February 2009 at 13:59 by china guy
Chengdu Bird guiding – [email protected] - Chengdu, Sichuan, the gateway to Tibet - to see more travel pics of Sichuan go to my travel blog at -
To see more of our birding pics go to -

Crimson-browed Finch - this is a female bird. I got this one at Moxi - a lifer - but I really had to play the idiot before I got a decent shot!

After that last gloomy post, about the illegal trapping, I suppose I'd better raise the spirit of this blog with something a little more cheerful - and what better than some photos of great birds we've recently found.
The first is that Crimson-browed Rosefinch. Over the last couple of days I've been guiding a family around the Moxi/Kangding area - and although they weren’t birders - they didn't mind making a sudden stop when we hit a huge flock of winter altitude migrants. Large numbers of Black-faced laughers, Streak-throated and White-collared Yuhinas, Chestnut and Dusky Thrush were swarming through and then suddenly 3 large finches flew into a roadside berry bush. I quickly grab the camera (no room for Meggie on this trip) - get my shots before the birds flew off - and quickly got back to the van feeling satisfied that my non-birders weren't held up too much and I'd also got pics of a lifer.
One of my passengers also had got off some good shots with his compact and was interested to compare with mine - and then.....................
Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - my camera is set so that it can go through the motions of shooting without a memory card - I'd run off about 20 shots with no card, a DSLR with no internal memory - no !!#&**!! pics!!!!!!!!!!!!
The colour must of suddenly drained from my face - but luckily I was carrying caring guests - who were probably fearing a little for the mental health of their driver - and they quickly consented that it would be quite okay for me to have a second look for my birds - but this time sporting a camera with memory card installed.
Well it's a large area of scrub - and it contained a very large flock - and it’s not usual that I quick trot while birding - but among all those bushes and birds I eventually found a new berry tree where my birds had started their demolition work (those bills are almost up to Grossbeak power).
Steve and Alex (if you ever read this) - thank you guys for letting a birding-nerd restore his pride. Steve - you also got some great pics - but just put them down to beginner's luck - as you can see us 'pros' are so better organised!!!

Crimson-browed Finch - this I think is the male - maybe an adult in winter plumage or a first year bird which the book says is orange.

Well from the mentally challenged photographer lets quickly move onto the bird-pics of someone who seems to have far more check on her work - my wife.

Long-tailed Thrush (a Meggie pic) - a big bouncing ball of a Thrush, that reminds very much, in size and habits, of our Mistle Thrush from back in Europe. This one was pretty bold - wouldn't fly-off - even with flash - it just kept on with it's worm-hunting bounce.

Just before my Moxi stunt - me and Meggie had been to a very pleasant park close to Ya'an called Tian Tia. This is a typical Sichuan sub-tropical habitat that reminds of the middle levels of Emei and Wawu - but it has a nice stream/river that runs through - Brown Dipper and the 4 Forktails (Little, Slaty, White-crowned, Spotted) were a sinch here!!!
However our most interesting bird was that Long-tailed Thrush. We found it feeding on a hotel lawn in the twilight gloom - and according to the distribution maps this species shouldn't be around here. Can we put this down to global warming - or maybe a more likely change - tourist developments that see hotels putting in those areas of lawn, which become great feeding grounds for these birds.

Tian Tia is a very pretty place - and has easy level paths that suite those who don't fancy some of the more demanding Sichuan routes. It'll be interesting to see what species we'll find in here during spring.
Total Comments 1


Marmot's Avatar
Your memory card reminds me of our visit to Gibraltar to see the Apes, this was back in the days of cameras that needed film. Ian thought I was incapable of putting film in my camera [which I had always managed to do before I met him] well off we went to Gibraltar and was merrily snapping away at the Apes and took about 20 photos, our next place was somewhere scenic in Spain so I continued snapping and the counter got to 27 [at this point I should have realised I only normally got 24 exposure films - but for some reason I must have thought I got a 36 one instead] well off I went and it got to over 36 and then it suddenly dawned on me that something was very wrong. Ian was adamant he had put a film in, so I told him to open the back and sure enough no never had any photos of the Apes [ just the one I married].

Meggies photos are great, the scenery looks wonderful...I think I will sit there until the next blog comes along.
Posted Monday 9th February 2009 at 08:03 by Marmot Marmot is offline
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