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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

18 months in Shanghai: March 2012 - August 2013 (1 Viewer)

Just back from a day showing Rich around our local patch ably organised by Mr Dev of this parish...big :t: to Dev for an excellent August day's birding...Black-tailed Gull, Reed Parrotbill and a reasonable supporting cast of waders...passerines were, naturally, a little more challenging to find!

Now for a well earned B :) or B :)B :)

Nanhui West...

More non-sequitur nonsense...

Black-tailed Gull in wing, tail and limb moult...


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Tuesday 23rd April saw us up early for some more low-level birding and Roland's promise of a stiff climb decided me to give the cameras a day off and be a birder instead...

A short drive up the village and we picked our way through the back gardens to access the trail up to the Panda research station. Rufous-breasted Accentor and Buff-barred Warbler quickly showing themselves.

We slowly ascended the zig-zag trail up the hillside and new birds appeared as we gained altitude. I'll list the sightings at the end as I can't recall the particular order this far away in time!

Time spent at a promising location for Golden Pheasant was frustrating in that we heard the buggers but sightings came there none...Other skulkers calling but not showing today included Oriental Cuckoo, Collared Owlet, Streak-breasted Scimitar-babbler and Pygmy Wren-babbler (which may have a new name now? Chinese Wren-babbler??)

The ascent was tough on those of us with aging knees and over-ample ballast around the midrif but the birds came often enough to allow “rest stops” to be disguised as “birding”!

Good value birds included Barred Laughingthrush circling us before giving better than fleeting glimpes...a bird of character! Several small “warbler waves” brought new birds and frustration in equal measure as we tried to sort out who was who...associated Goldcrest and fulvettas added fun to the game...Golden-breasted Fulvetta being a little stunner.

Reaching, eventually, the summit we broke for lunchies and were joined by hordes of workers jostling for mobile signal positions so they could arrange the evening meal with the little ladies down below...

The summit trail added more ticks as Pere David's Tit joined a long list of tits seen today. More mixed flocks included Fire-capped Tit too and the Collared Owlet was calling up here but wasn't for coming to check our imitations of it's call...More of Mr Alstrom's confusing (to me) warblers popped up...and down without giving proper views or sounds beyond “it's one of those...”!

Deciding to descend we tool things slowly as we remembered, the hard way, that sometimes down is worse than up...Phil and I both had knee issues on this leg (ha!) of the journey...

Evening saw us at the same dining establishment as previously and I think the local firewater was sampled for the usual medicinal reasons...although it may have been wiser to treat it as a deep heat remedy rather than an oral application...tasty but with a definite raw edge!

The complete day list to be found in the attached file for the whole trip...may as well continue the randomness and drop it in here but that means you can see what we saw on subsequent days so...don't come running to me crying if you peek and and spoil the adventure!

More anon...with pictures!


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Wednesday 24th April: Balang Pass, Rilong, Road to Xiaojin

Wednesday saw us preparing for the high pass again and today would be our exit day as we moved on from Wolong, crossing Balang and descending to the town of Rilong for lunch. An early afternoon visit to a viewpoint above the town and then heading to the town of Xiaojin where we would overnight...a barbecue dinner being one particular highlight at the end of this day although the midday meal would take some beating!

Up early to settle our bill and gain altitude before the traffic, potentially, shoo'd the chickens off the road...before crossing it one assumes...we returned to the site of Monday's triumphs to see what a new day would bring...answer...another stunning, snow-frosted dawn...

We birded up and down the road hoping for those elusive chooks but our only success was a party of shy Blood Pheasant who wouldn't pose for pictures and gave frustratingly fragmented views before doing the disappearing act on us...

Unusual to my mind was a cracking male Mrs Gould's Sunbird and we had several encounters with the smaller passerines...Maroon-backed Accentor being another favourite...Elliott's Laughingthrush and Chestnut Thrush posed nicely and a pika spp. looked too cute for words as it fed in roadside scrub...A Blue-fronted Redstart looked suitably unimpressed with the snow it found itself in...

The chicken situation improved as a distant flock of Snow Partridge was found...dots on a ridge-top but later on over on the Rilong side we got better views during an off-piste excursion...White Eared Pheasant also joined the day list when two idiot car drivers flushed a pair at the roadside trying to take phone pictures...two minutes earlier and we'd have had point blank views ourselves...c'est la vie...

Alpine Leaf-warbler (another incongruous bird for those of us used to our phylloscs in warmer locales!) and Grey-headed Bullfinch joined the day list. Another charismatic laughingthrush of the Giant Laughingthrush variety gave good views and good entertainment as a small party worked the bushes for breakfast...a female rosefinch popped up and then disappeared...likewise brief visits from Spectacled Fulvetta...Grey-backed Shrike surveyed from the overhead wires and a more obliging Blue-fronted Redstart posed for pictures...a little stunner it was too...

Moving to the head of the pass we stumbled across a few more goodies...Red-fronted Rosefinch, Alpine Accentor and, almost too electric for the eyes, male Grandala...wow! Some bird! Crossing the summit we took ourselves off up the snowy slopes in pursuit of Snow Partridge and got those better views and pics of partridgey footprints for posterity!

A lone Lammergeier cruised by to check on our progress towards it's larder and more Grandala entranced...pictures just don't do this bird justice...!

Descending we stopped at a viewpoint but things were quiet so lunch was taken in a Rilong restaurant that had Wallcreeper )(missing from the day list I now notice...) flitting along the stream opposite...the food was equally excellent and much welcomed after the high-altitude exertions of the morning...sated, we exited town to retrace our steps to the view point for some of the local sacred mountains...four of the buggers but Roland or Sid will have to explain to us what they were as my sieve-like brain has misfiled that information!

Sitting out a short rain shower at the viewpoint paid dividends as post-shower birds appeared from everywhere...rosefinches, Himalayan Bluetail, White-throated Redstart/Songar (Whatever They Are) Tits and, best of all...maybe...a pair of Crested Tit-Warbler working their way quietly around a few pine trees...corkers!

Eventually we had to move on and an uneventful journey saw us arriving in Xiaojin with just enough time to find a confiding Amur Falcon on roadside wires before we checked in for another short night of sleep preceded by a barbecued feast sourced by Roland from the street vendors outside...nom as they say...!


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Wednesday 24th April: Balang Pass, Rilong, Road to Xiaojin

Bird pics from the Wolong side...set 1


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Wednesday 24th April: Balang Pass, Rilong, Road to Xiaojin

Bird pics from the Wolong side...set 2


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Wednesday 24th April: Balang Pass, Rilong, Road to Xiaojin

Bird pics from the Wolong side...set 3


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Wednesday 24th April: Balang Pass, Rilong, Road to Xiaojin

Bird pics from the Wolong side...set 4


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Wednesday 24th April: Balang Pass, Rilong, Road to Xiaojin

Four Sister View Point & lunch...Rilong side set 1


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Wednesday 24th April: Balang Pass, Rilong, Road to Xiaojin

Rilong side set 2 lunch


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Wednesday 24th April: Balang Pass, Rilong, Road to Xiaojin

Bird pics from the Rilong side set 1...rosefinch opinions welcome!


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Wednesday 24th April: Balang Pass, Rilong, Road to Xiaojin

Bird pics from the Rilong side...set 2


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Wednesday 24th April: Balang Pass, Rilong, Road to Xiaojin

Bird pics from the Rilong side...set 3


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Thursday 25th April:
Journey: Xiaojin > Mengbi > Barkam (Maerkang)
Birding: Mengbi
Overnight: Barkam (police visit)

Ah yes...Barkam...the town with no streets, no rooms at the inn and nervous teenage policemen...

But before that a day of travel punctuated by birding stops. Four lifers today: Himalayan Buzzard, Plain-backed Mountain Finch, White-winged Grosbeak and the main prize...Sichuan Jay...yay...

Otherwise repeat sightings of goodies such as Blood Pheasant, White Eared Pheasant, Snow Pigeon, Himalayan Griffon and Lammergeier; more redstarts and tits and those charismatic Giant Laughingthrushes...

Mengbi Pass and another high-altitude day, our birding consisted of stops on the ascent, at the summit and on the descent...Great Tit (of whichever variety) and White Wagtail were seen in picturesque settings; Himalayan Buzzards cruised about the tree-clad slopes...a lifer of some sort or another depending on taxonomy I think?

One pit-stop produce our first proper lifer of the day as a pair of White-winged Grosbeak dropped into roadside pine trees...

At the summit we spent time with Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, Giant Laughingthrush, Kessler's Thrush and a lone Lammergeier. Eventually a single Plain Mountain Finch gave itself up quietly feeding in the grassy slopes below the summit...

Descending on the other side of the pass we stopped at a small settlement and began the search for our main target...hearing them first and, eventually, getting views of a perched bird lower down the road...Sichuan Jay gave itself up to mixed relief as Phil decided afterwards his views were of the UTV kind...displaying Crested Goshawk's soon after helped heal that pain a little

Descending from the high peaks a bend in the road offered a chance at some passerine action and we explored the valley...after spooking a roosting buzzard, White-capped Water and Plumbeous Redstarts and a White-throated Dipper were soon found and then some of those silent phylloscs...suggestions welcome...

Less expected were two or three White Eared Pheasants that we disturbed...they weren't for hanging around sadly and the excitement took it's toll on two members of the team...

A final stop delivered Chinese Song Thrush and a confiding Grey-backed Shrike before...

So...a day of travel, quality birding and then came...Barkham...a city of change and most of that change involving digging up the streets...but not in a genteel fashion...no the road was dug down to its bare bones...one way about a metre lower (or higher, depends which way you travel) than t'other...a recipe for traffic chaos that delivered in spades!

Add to this our favoured hotel being full and the next one open to us round eyes likewise unable to provide for us we found a reasonable one and checked in...no problems with the little cutey on reception duties...wash and scrub up and off to eat...success on that front although quite what we ate now escapes me...

Returning to our rooms at c.2100 we settled down to do the daily log whence comes a tapping on the door...Roland opens it and we are faced with our dear friends...PC Plod...two nervous young constabules obviously sent to find out why we were in this hotel (who told someone then we wondered after...)...

Passports pliss and much writing and scrutinising and a call for reinforcements...these young lads were not up to the job and Roland skilfully arguing our case in Chinese helped their nerves not one bit...

Bossman duly arrives and the discussion to'd and fro'd while the juniors continued their examination of our paperwork...writing less information down with each of us in turn...

So it seemed we shouldn't be in the hotel as it wasn't for non-Chinese. Trouble was none of the hotels for non-Chinese could accommodate us...what to do? What to do?? A compromise! That's what. We promised only to stay one night and they could have a copy of our passport...Roland disappeared downstairs with them and our poassports to the copier machine...where he proceeded to photocopy the front page of our documents...you know...the one that says this person is the bearer of...all the pictures and details being, generally, towards the rear of the document...

Finally, honours even and face retained we were able to finish the log and get to kip in preparation for the all too quickly arriving next day...

Barkam...you should go there...

Pictures: Scenery first, birds after...


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Thursday 25th April:
Journey: Xiaojin > Mengbi > Barkam (Maerkang)

Scenery # 2 including Roland at work...some job eh?!


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Thursday 25th April:
Journey: Xiaojin > Mengbi > Barkam (Maerkang)

Scenery # 3 avec self in Oirish Bar O'Connells hat (that's a pint you owe me girls for the advert) and Xisuo village in panorama-vision


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Thursday 25th April:
Journey: Xiaojin > Mengbi > Barkam (Maerkang)

Bird pics # 1: Great Tit; 'personata' White Wagtail; Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch x 2; Giant Laughingthrush


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Mr Loma Man...Spicy, Sexy Sichuan

Thursday 25th April:
Journey: Xiaojin > Mengbi > Barkam (Maerkang)

Bird pics # 2: Crested Goshawks


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