• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

A weekend in Lijiang 921-24 June (1 Viewer)

MKinHK

Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
Last weekend I went with my sister and nine-year-old niece to Lijiang in northern Yunnan. We chose Lijiang because the city is up on the edge of the Tibetan plateau at 2400metres and is pleasantly cool with low humidity, unpolluted and mosquito-free, making it an ideal break from the humid and sometimes smoggy fug that characterizes Hong Kong’s summers.

We flew in on China Eastern, who were so tight they did not turn on the aircon while the plane was delayed for an hour on the ground. It is worth noting that Lijiang has no international customs and immigration facilities, so we had to do that in Kunming, adding a further hour to the trip.

While the main aim of the trip was for my niece to practice her Chinese, I did get a few hours of early morning birding close to our B&B on three mornings, plus a day trip to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, which delivered a few more good birds. I did not have the time to go chasing after the real quality birds here – Biet’s Laughingthrush which has been seen an hour to he north of Lijiang and Yunnan and Giant Nuthatches (both of which I’ve seen previously on Elephant Hill in 2003), which abuts the Black Dragon Pool on the northern edge of the old town.

We arrived in Lijiang on Friday evening and were met by a taxi (100RMB) to the excellent Bruce Chalet, a B&B set in a beautiful garden on the SW corner of Shuhe, a smaller bt equally beautiful town just to the north of the city. When I woke up in the morning and looked out from the sun terrace the first birds to appear were a couple of juvenile White Wagtails, which clearly liked the hotel and were always around.

The recently harvested fallow fields just outside the gate held a delightfully approachable flock of 25-odd Black-headed Greenfinches, a pair of Grey-backed Shrikes, a couple of dozen Barn Swallows, a few Collared Doves and three or four pairs of Black-faced Buntings. Both Brown-breasted and Sooty-headed Bulbuls were always around, along with a mess of Tree Sparrows and a solitary Hoopoe. I also saw many of these birds in and around the garden of the hotel during our midday pit-stops.

More to come . . .

Cheers
Mike
 

Attachments

  • IMG_5885 Black-headed Greenfinch (m) @ Shuhe.JPG
    IMG_5885 Black-headed Greenfinch (m) @ Shuhe.JPG
    142.9 KB · Views: 55
  • IMG_6031 Black-headed Greenfinch (f) @ Shuhe.JPG
    IMG_6031 Black-headed Greenfinch (f) @ Shuhe.JPG
    142.8 KB · Views: 50
  • IMG_6045 Black-headed Greenfinch (juv) @ Shuhe.JPG
    IMG_6045 Black-headed Greenfinch (juv) @ Shuhe.JPG
    145.1 KB · Views: 42
  • IMG_6055 Black-faced Bunting sordida (m) @ Shuhe.JPG
    IMG_6055 Black-faced Bunting sordida (m) @ Shuhe.JPG
    193.4 KB · Views: 50
  • IMG_5839 Grey-backed Shrike @ Shuhe .JPG
    IMG_5839 Grey-backed Shrike @ Shuhe .JPG
    125.6 KB · Views: 60
Last edited:

MKinHK

Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
On my second morning I walked over to a patch of forest on the hillside to the west of the plain. On the way I picked up a single Plain Prinia, a couple of distinctly dark-backed przewalskiiSiberian Stonechats (at least according to Cheng) that are definitely not the same as the stejnegeri birds that winter in HK. Other bits and pieces on the cultivated floodplain of the small river included a family party of Grey-backed Shrikes, more singing Black-faced Buntings and a couple of Oriental Turtle Doves.

As I began climbing the birdlife swiftly changed – a Long-tailed Shrike with an all-dark head perched on a pine, four or five White-browed Laughingthrushes scrambled noisily around in a hedgerow and a superb male Verditer Flycatcher popped up hunting on a roadside tree just as the first of three Grey-headed Flycatchers sang out and ten Oriental Turtle Doves crossed the road and dropped down to feed in a field. As I got into the forest edge above the new holiday village, I immediately pished in a fulvetta with distinctive rich brown cap above a dark supercilium. They didn’t fit at all with my mental picture of Brown-capped Fulvetta, which doesn’t have pale edges on the closed wing and the cap was just too distinctive for them to be either Chinese or Streak-throated Fulvettas, so with a bit more research when I got home I was delighted to confirm them as Spectacled Fulvetta both from pix and the fact that sound recordist Frank Lambert appears to have recorded them from exactly the same spot. There were also a couple of curious Black-headed Sibias that came in very close, Long-tailed Minivets, a briefly seen pair of Godlewski’s Buntings and a tiny Collared Owlet that materialized in front of me but disappeared before I could get either bins or the camera onto it. Pishing a bit futher in I pulled in a couple of Green-backed Tits and a Greenish Warbler before regretfully retracing my steps as the area held huge promise . . .

Cheers
Mike
 

Attachments

  • IMG_5912 Long-tailed Shrike @ Shuhe.JPG
    IMG_5912 Long-tailed Shrike @ Shuhe.JPG
    205.6 KB · Views: 44
  • IMG_6002 Sooty-headed Bulbul @ Shuhe .JPG
    IMG_6002 Sooty-headed Bulbul @ Shuhe .JPG
    241 KB · Views: 52
  • IMG_5996 juvenile White Wagtail @ Shuhe.JPG
    IMG_5996 juvenile White Wagtail @ Shuhe.JPG
    255.1 KB · Views: 41
  • IMG_5825 Tree Spug @Shuhe.JPG
    IMG_5825 Tree Spug @Shuhe.JPG
    102.5 KB · Views: 64
  • IMG_5942 Siberian Stonechat @ Tiger Leaping Gorge.JPG
    IMG_5942 Siberian Stonechat @ Tiger Leaping Gorge.JPG
    117.9 KB · Views: 54
Last edited:

MKinHK

Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
My disappointment was mitigated by the fact that this was our day to go to the Tiger Leaping Gorge. The world’s deepest gorge – with an average drop of some 4,000 metres – is an impressive sight, which was made even better by the breeding Crag Martins and Salim Ali’s Swifts – a fairly recent and not yet universally recognized split from Pacific Swift. The martins gave great views as they came into the nest in a sheltered cleft just above the path, spreading their tails to show the distinctive pale spots, and rested on the rockface about eight feet above the path. The swifts were doing what swifts do best - swirling around in screaming groups and diving into vertical clefts in the rock face where they were obviously nesting.

Despite the quality of the views of these birds the real highlight was an astonishingly green hawk moth from the callumbulyx family, which was doing an appalling job of hiding itself on the marble rock-face of the gorge.

Other birds seen in the gorge and on the journey included a male Blue Rock Thrush singing from a high thin branch, a good forty Russet Sparrows that were tumbling about in the willows below the path, singles of both Blue Whistling Thrush and Plumbeous Redstart, and three different Black Bulbuls.

Anyone considering a trip here should also be aware that Wallcreeper winters in the gorge – my Mum pointed one out to me on my previous visit here in November 2003!

Cheers
Mike
 

Attachments

  • IMG_5951 Crag Martin @ Tiger Leaping Gorge.JPG
    IMG_5951 Crag Martin @ Tiger Leaping Gorge.JPG
    216.2 KB · Views: 59
  • IMG_5979 Blue Rock Thrush @ Tiger Leaping Gorge.JPG
    IMG_5979 Blue Rock Thrush @ Tiger Leaping Gorge.JPG
    213 KB · Views: 52
  • IMG_5992 Russet Sparrow @ Tiger Leaping Gorge .JPG
    IMG_5992 Russet Sparrow @ Tiger Leaping Gorge .JPG
    100.6 KB · Views: 60
  • IMG_5955 Inside the  Tiger Leaping Gorge.JPG
    IMG_5955 Inside the Tiger Leaping Gorge.JPG
    312 KB · Views: 65
  • IMG_5974 callambulyx hawk moth @ Tiger Leaping Gorge.JPG
    IMG_5974 callambulyx hawk moth @ Tiger Leaping Gorge.JPG
    273 KB · Views: 71

MKinHK

Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
Sorry Kevin - short and sweet this time.

Me too Jeff - and still hoping to get a specific ID

Cheers
Mike
 

lewis20126

Well-known member
Moth looks like a bit like an Oleander Hawk-moth (ultra rare UK vagrant) but it probably isn't that species. I've not checked.

cheers, a
 

MKinHK

Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
This one's an Oleander Hawk Moth Alan (which I found outside my office building at HK airport).

FWIW HK's top moth-er Roger Kendrick said the following of that record:

This species wasn't recorded in Hong Kong until c. 1997
First record was from Lantau - possibly introduced coincidentally due to planting of oleander all along the N.Lantau expressway [which connect the airport with the rest of HK]; though it's also quite possible the moth arrived under it's own steam, as the species is a known migrant and is expanding its range throughout the Pacific region. Now well established in HK.​

I'm still waiting for an answer from i-Naturalist on the exact species of the stunner from Lijiang.

Cheers
Mike
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0593 Oleander Hawk Moth @ HKIA.jpg
    IMG_0593 Oleander Hawk Moth @ HKIA.jpg
    150 KB · Views: 53
Warning! This thread is more than 8 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top