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Emei Shan, Sichuan, 29 December 2009 to 2nd January 2010

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Old Thursday 7th January 2010, 00:16   #1
Shi Jin
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Emei Shan, Sichuan, 29 December 2009 to 2nd January 2010

Here is the list of birds I saw on Day 1 of the trip to one of China's best mountains - in terms of birding and much more.

29th December 2009 - 12.30pm to 6pm (600 to 650 masl)

Chinese Bulbul c20
Red-billed Leiothrix c40
Slaty-backed Forktail 2
White-crowned Forktail 2
White Wagtail 2
Plumbeous Water Redstart 3
Collared Finchbill c50
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher 2
Indochinese (formerly "Striated") Yuhina c30
Spotted Forktail 2
Speckled Piculet 1
Grey Wagtail 2
Black-chinned Yuhina c30
Red-tailed Minla c80
Blue-winged Minla 2
Yellow-bellied Fantail 1
White-capped Water Redstart 2
Kingfisher 1
Pallas’s Warbler c10
Blue Whistling Thrush 1
Black-headed Sibia 1
Rufous-faced Warbler 1
Green-backed Tit 1
Fujian Niltava 1


Photos (including 3 species of Forktail on the same stretch of river) at:

http://www.chinesecurrents.com/emei1.html

I will post my records from the rest of the trip (and photos, including that of a male Temminck's Tragopan) in due course:

Last edited by Shi Jin : Thursday 7th January 2010 at 00:19.
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Old Friday 8th January 2010, 05:57   #2
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On Day 2 (December 30th), I took the longer, south-eastern route, up the mountain. Staying at the Hongchun Monastery (1120 masl).

Here is what I saw in the order I saw them:

Indochinese Yuhina c30
Black-throated Tit sev
Spotted Forktail 4
Red-billed Leiothrix c doz
Pallas’s Warbler few
Ashy-throated Warbler 1
Grey-cheeked Fulvetta few
Black-chinned Yuhina c15
Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler 1
Golden-spectacled Warbler sp. 1
White-browed Lauhingthrush c20
Blue-winged Minla few
Chinese Bulbul few
Hwamei 2
Fujian Niltava 1
Bush Warbler sp. 1
Grey-backed Shrike 1
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher 2
Red-flanked Bluetail 2
White-rumped Munia sev
Blue Whistling Thrush 1
Red-winged Laughingthrush sev
Emei Shan Liocichla few
Grey Treepie 1
Mountain Bulbul 1
Stripe-throated Yuhina sev
Plumbeous Redstart few
White-capped Water Redstart few
Slaty-backed Forktail 2
Little Forktail 1
White-crowned Forktail 2
Greater-necklaced Laughingthrush 1 1

And here are my best shots from the day:

www.chinesecurrents.com/emei2.html

Last edited by Shi Jin : Friday 8th January 2010 at 06:03.
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Old Friday 8th January 2010, 15:34   #3
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Ah Emei Shan - happy memories!

Great pic of the badminton monk

Is there another name for Indochinese Fulvetta?

Cheers
Mike
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Old Sunday 10th January 2010, 08:58   #4
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Day 3: December 31st:

I walked from 1120 to 2540 masl:

Birds were very few and far between on what was a bitterly cold, snowy day with very poor visibility.

However there were a couple of gems to write home about:


Snow was falling.

It had taken me the entire morning to climb up from Hongchun Monastery, where I had spent the night. I was tired and cold (at least the earlier noodles at Xianfeng Monastery had got me this far).

I stopped in my tracks.

A sound, coming from deep inside the thicket of bamboo that abuts the steps on this part of the long climb up Emei Mountain, made me get my camera ready for action.

Then I saw something - pehaps a bird, perhaps an animal - move. The shape reminded me of something I had seen before - two years ago on the adjacent Sichuan mountain of Wawu Shan. Could it really be a tragopan - this close?

I was alone on the mountain (or so I had thought), and was prepared to wait as long as I needed to, to find out. These things can't be rushed.

Then, perhaps 100 yards in front of me, I saw two men carrying supplies for the monastery on their backs, descending the steps. In perhaps a minute they would be down to where I was and would undoubtedly scare whatever it was away.

Just as I was cursing my luck (after all, they were the first people I'd seen coming down the mountain that morning), the subject of my interest emerged from the bamboo.

And what an amazing sight it was.

The most glorious bird in all of China - as far as I am concerend - was there not more than 10 yards in front of me.

A resplendant male Temminck's Tragopan no less. One of the world's most beautiful pheasants.

This amazing creature walked quickly across the snow-covered steps as I fired off 8 shots (at 4 frames a second). Then it was gone, disappearing into the bamboo thicket on the other side of the steps.

Incredible.

And what a wonderful way to finish the year

Other birds:



Large-billed Crow few
Golden-breasted Fulvetta c20
Crimson-breasted Woodpecker 1
Darjeeling Woodpecker 4
Red-billed Blue Magpie sev
Elliot's Laughingthrush sev
Chestnut Thrush 1
Vinaceous Rosefinch 1 male


Day 3 photos at:

www.chinesecurrents.com/emei3.html
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Old Tuesday 12th January 2010, 00:37   #5
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Emei Shan (Day 4)

January 1 2010

Walked fron 2540m to 3077m and down to 2200m

Very cold, but sunny above the clouds!

Day 4 pics at:

http://www.chinesecurrents.com/emei4.html

Please note that if you access the above links from mainland China you may not be able to see some of the pics (because they are linked by HTML to Flickr, which sometimes falls victim to the mood-swings of the stewards of the Great Firewall).

Grey-hooded Fulvetta c20
Grey-headed Bullfinch 7
Chestnut Thrush 2
Putative Hodgson’s Treecreeper 1
Grey-crested Tit 5
“Crested” Coal Tit few
Slaty Bunting 2
Rufous-vented Tit few
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Old Tuesday 12th January 2010, 07:43   #6
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Really enjoy your photos! But I do have to study my books to figure out some which I'm not familiar with yet.
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Old Tuesday 12th January 2010, 14:20   #7
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Thanks Gretchen.

I am also confused.

Please could someone tell me why the treecreeper in the link below is a Hodgson's

http://www.chinesecurrents.com/emei4.html

And the one in the following link is a Eurasian (ssp Bianchii supposedly).

http://www.chinesecurrents.com/gansu.html

The key ID criterium for both, as far as I've been able to work out, is that the former was photographed on Emei Shan, while the latter was on Xinglong Shan in Gansu (north of the Hodgson's / Eurasian dividing line apparently)
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Old Tuesday 12th January 2010, 17:58   #8
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Dear Shi Jin.....

I have just seen your Tragopan photo's..... What an incredible bird....fantastic photo's. That must have been quite an experience...!

Am hoping to visit Sichuan next year and if i were to see one of these birds i should be most happy. I have seen Satyr but not Temmincks Tragopan...
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Old Tuesday 12th January 2010, 20:35   #9
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Dear Shi Jin.....
I have just seen your Tragopan photo's..... What an incredible bird....fantastic photo's. That must have been quite an experience...!
Am hoping to visit Sichuan next year and if i were to see one of these birds i should be most happy. I have seen Satyr but not Temmincks Tragopan...
Same here - also hoping to visit Sichuan next year (last attempt was unfortunately prevented by certain regional events), and would be very happy to get views of Temminck's Tragopan like yours, Shi Jin!

Richard
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Old Tuesday 12th January 2010, 20:59   #10
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Same here - also hoping to visit Sichuan next year (last attempt was unfortunately prevented by certain regional events), and would be very happy to get views of Temminck's Tragopan like yours, Shi Jin!

Richard
Ditto Richard...we had to postpone our trip due to the 'events' you pertained to!

ps..i can't stop looking at those Temmincks photo's...the bird appears like a burning hot coal in the snow...amazing creature!
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Old Wednesday 13th January 2010, 05:46   #11
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Hey, thanks everyone!

Delighted that my photos have given people so much pleasure.

Will try to do a 2010 photo diary.

Would like to post "not bad" photos of 365 species (that's only one a day, can't be that difficult... ?!)

Let's see...
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Old Wednesday 13th January 2010, 09:39   #12
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I had an encounter with a male Tragopan at Wuyipeng research centre some years ago... Those sweet memories when I saw your picture, Shi Jin!

Walking silently along the track past the research centre, suddenly a Temmincks' Tragopan came stumbling on the track with just 10 meters between me and this stunning male. I could barely hold my breath when I was just standing, looking back from time to time to see where my GF was (she lagged a little behind in search for birds), and with no possibility to take my camera without flushing it.

The Tragopan must have noticed me from the first moment; it stood for like 5-10 seconds, before it held a more alarming pose, and quickly (but not in panic) it ran back in the bamboo. I could still see it going for like 10 seconds, I ran to get the GF, but we could only hear the bird in the bamboo by the moment we were back. It never came out again (I did not try to tape).
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Old Wednesday 13th January 2010, 10:02   #13
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Why dont you upload some of these photos to the gallery as there is some species that you have photos of on your site that we either have no photos of or that yours are better photos.

You can post 3 photos a day in the gallery.
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Old Wednesday 13th January 2010, 13:47   #14
Shi Jin
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Hi Temmie

I had a similar experience at Wuyipeng in May 2007. A male on the track about half a mile before the research centre. It stayed out in the open for about 10 minutes... at one point he even started display-posturing.

It was very close to me - about 15 yards away - and totally oblivious to my presence. Had a crap camera then unfortunately. Still, the memory is etched in my mind...

Which is just as well, because the bird on the Emei Shan steps was in view for just 2 seconds as it walked from one side of the steps to the other (and I saw it with the naked eye for a split second before I saw it through the viewfinder for the rest of the time).

That's sometimes the problem with photography... the urge is to pick up the camera before picking up the binoculars. And you are thinking of the shot instead of just enjoying the bird.

But, hey, sometimes you can't have it both ways.

Last edited by Shi Jin : Wednesday 13th January 2010 at 14:01.
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Old Wednesday 13th January 2010, 14:20   #15
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I thought that you may had seen Temmicks before Shi Jin..! When i read your account of the Emei Shan Tragopan...i did think that my first impulse would be to have put my binoculars on it! I am glad that you had seen this species before..otherwise you may not have got such good photo's during the birds brief appearance....

ps...i am a huge fan of Pheasant species and their allies....and this is probably because they can be so difficult to see so the joy of seeing them is that much greater....!
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Old Wednesday 13th January 2010, 15:01   #16
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Yes, well spotted. It was actually my fourth time (2 sightings at Wuyipeng and one at Wawu Shan). If it had been my first, I think there would have been far too much camera shake ;-)

Talking of difficult to see pheasants...

I had one experience, in Yunnan, where I was torn between picking up the camera or picking up the binoculars. A male Mrs Hume's Pheasant walked out in front of me. He looked at me, I looked at him and... I went for the binoculars. A few seconds later, it ran in to the undergrowth. No pictures... except in my memory.

A good reason to go back to the same place.

Last edited by Shi Jin : Wednesday 13th January 2010 at 15:08.
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Old Wednesday 13th January 2010, 15:12   #17
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Yes, well spotted. It was actually my fourth time (2 sightings at Wuyipeng and one at Wawu Shan). If it had been my first, I think there would have been far too much camera shake ;-)
I was shaking when i finally got my bins on a male Satyr Tragopan Shi Jin...[my friends could see it but i couldn't at first]....

ps...there seems to be a growing trend these days for folk to photograph first and then attempt to get 'views' second...[or identification]! I could never do this when seeking a species i hadn't seen before....but i'm sort of glad that some people seem happy to do so!
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Old Wednesday 13th January 2010, 15:19   #18
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Wow! That must have been an incredible sight! If it was in China, please let me know the precise location and I'll be off at the weekend (I'm not joking).
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Old Thursday 14th January 2010, 11:48   #19
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Wow! That must have been an incredible sight! If it was in China, please let me know the precise location and I'll be off at the weekend (I'm not joking).
Don't worry Shi.....my observation of Satyr was not made in China....but Nepal!
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Old Monday 18th January 2010, 12:02   #20
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Temminck's Tragopan in the snow !

Brilliant way to end the year...
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