It seems to me that many of the reports at this site contain a spirit and mood that reflects the excitement of being able to share in a type of wild and plentiful nature that still, despite all the ravages of change, can hang on, here and there, in odd corners of the world. We're all birders, but sometimes the sheer enjoyment of this type of rampant nature transcends our love of the ticklist. With Sichuan I feel particularity privileged in being still able to find a wild west of China - even though I realize that inevitable and, through the accepted norms of modern living,understandable development will eventually also tame this part of the world. My travel hero is a guy called George Burrow - who wrote a wonderful travel account of walking in the soon to be industrialized and changed for ever Wales of the 1860's - called Wild Wales. Traveling in the wilder parts of Sichuan - is my way of walking a little in George's footsteps.
One of places we got to on that last trip was Mengbi Mountain - and here we were lucky to find accommodation in a Tibetan village very close to the summit. The name of the village is Mucheng - and although basic in the western sense of Hotels living here is within 15 minutes drive of a Monal location - and it also enables you to walk straight out into some wonderful habitat that includes White-eared Pheasant (the villagers had seen a flock from their houses the day before we arrived), Verreaux's Monal-Partridge (Chestnut-throated Partridge), Blood Pheasant, Sichuan Jay and of course a host of other stuff.
Our birding was pretty snowy - but not more than a few hundred meters from the village we ran into a double tick - a Northern Goshawk making a kill on a Verreaux's Monal-Partridge. This area is often birded for Sichaun Jay - and when we played Jay calls we had a huge response - but I'm afraid from Giant Laughingthrushes. Even when we heard calls coming back that were Jay like there was always a Giant Laugher in the picture - these guys are pretty good at mimicking and really cause a lot of confusion!!!!!
Pics from the area are - a snowy landscape, the top part of Mengibi is in the distance - Northern Goshawk towing away the Partridge, poor old Partridge is still partly alive here - so it still officially counts as double tick - the Partridge about 3 hours latter, it was hollowed out, RIP - the other Tit Warbler, a few posts back I gave a bad pic of White-browed from Moxi, so here's a bad pic of Crested Tit Warbler from Mengbi - and a female White-winged Grosbeak from high forest found just on the Maerkang side of the Mengbi pass.