Sunday, 30 May 2010

CHINA May 2010: Xiaolongmen

Thursday 27 May.  Early start heading for Xiaolongmen National Forest Reserve, southwest of Beijing, guided by Lemon.  We stopped a few times on the way arriving at the reserve guesthouse early afternoon.  The rest of the day was spent birding the road down from pass but it was not special (and not very warm either).  Unfortunately Lemon, who was rather out of his depth, could find no one at the reserve that had seen or heard Brown-eared Pheasant this year.  Thirty-three species were recorded by me, the more notable included a few migrants in one of the damp river valley bottoms on the way, and were Amur Falcon 3, Relict Gull 7 including 1 adult flew N over a nearby hillside, Black-capped Kingfisher 1, Yellow-bellied Tit 3, Chinese Hill Warbler 1, Thick-billed Warbler 1, Black-browed Reed Warbler 1, Claudia's Leaf Warbler 1, Daurian Redstart 7 (5 males), Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 1 male, Chinese Flycatcher 1 young male, Meadow Bunting 8 and Godlewski’s Bunting 4.

Amur Falcons
Friday 28 May.  Birded forest trails at Xiaolongmen up to and along the ridge in the morning and the forest directly above Jiang Shui He village in the afternoon.  Birding was somewhat disappointing despite seeing a good variety of species and it being excellent looking habitat, although low cloud didn't help at times.  I messed the afternoon up by returning unsuccessfully to look for an OBC cap dropped while failing to see a singing Chinese Thrush.  I then inadvertently took a different track to the others, who went on to see the thrush well.  Birds included Koklas Pheasant 1 male, Ring-necked Pheasant 2, White-thorated Needletail 2, White-backed Woodpecker 1, Yellow-bellied Tit 3, Songar Tit 3, Chinese Leaf Warbler 8, Yellow-streaked Wabler 2, Two-barred Greenish Warbler 1, Claudia's Warbler 1, Chinese Thrush 2 heard, Daurian Redstart 3, White-throated Rock Thrush 2 males (1 badly), Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 2 males, Chinese Flycatcher 3 (2 males), Blue and White Flycatcher 1 male cumatilis, Godlewski's Bunting 2 males.

White-throated Rock Thrush (and Godlewski's Bunting) in low cloud
forested hills on road to Jiang Shui He  

Yellow-streaked Warbler (with thorn appearing to be an oddly placed wingbar)
Saturday 29 May.  Birded lower forest trails at Xiaolongmen in the morning before getting the chair lift into higher, more open habitat above Jiang Shui He village.  We walked back down to the village and Barry and I returned to the forest directly above the village while Alan and Pete birded further down the road.  The Chinese Thrush was singing again and Barry spotted it through a gap in the foliage and we had good scope views.  Another look for my cap was unsuccessful.  Birds included Yellow-bellied Tit 6, Songar Tit 6, Long-tailed Tit 2 vinacens, Asian Stubtail 1, Yellow-streaked Warbler 4, Pallas's Leaf Warbler 3, Hume's Leaf Warbler 6 mandelli, Eastern Crowned Warbler 5, Claudia's Warbler 1, Wren 1, Chinese Nuthatch 2, Grey-sided Thrush 1, Chinese Thrush 1, Siberian Blue Robin 1 male, Daurian Redstart 5, White-bellied Redstart 1 male, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 3, Chinese Flycatcher 6, Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch 4, Godlewski's Bunting 1, Little Bunting 1 and Yellow-throated Bunting 2.

Chinese Nuthatch

Yellow-bellied Tit

mandelli Hume's Leaf Warbler

Songar Tit
Sunday 30 May:   We left Xiaolongmen, after a last hopeful look for pheasants on the nearby hillside, with plenty of time to get back to Beijing for our flight to Xi’an.   We encountering no delays on the return journey and as the flight was a couple of hours late departing we regretted not spending longer birding, even if only to boost the day list.  Birds seen included Amur Falcon 1, Golden Eagle 1, Chinese Hill Warbler 1, Two-barred Greenish Warbler 1, Vinous-throated Parrotbill 2, Daurian Redstart (2) and Meadow Bunting 2.


Meadow Bunting

sights inside Beijing Airport

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

CHINA May 2010: Fuzhou

Tuesday 25 May:  The Min Jiang Estuary was reached by taking a small boat from a jetty up a creek to a beach which we crossed to reach the sea.  The tide was just starting to go out when we arrived and we walked along the shore seeing a reasonable selection of roosting waders, and what appeared to be breeding White-faced Plovers.  A distant Chinese Crested Tern was picked up perched on the top of a fishing post offshore and several soon flew towards the shore to rest on the edge of exposed sandbanks.  The tide then dropped very quickly and we waded out after the terns as they followed the retreating tide.  At one stage nine CCTs were resting on the tide line while Barry had two more flying over.  Sadly one of those seen was slightly oiled.  A fantastic morning finished with us wading through mud, in places over a foot deep, before getting a boat back across the creek to the jetty.  The afternoon was spent visiting a site Forest knew for Collared Crow some two hours drive inland of Fuzhou.  After checking a few areas around Da Hu we were finally successful, although it took some time to get prolonged views.  Birds included Yellow Bittern 1, Crested Serpent Eagle 1, Chinese Sparrowhawk 1, White-breased Waterhen 1, Little Ringed Plover 2, Kentish Plover 10, White-faced Plover 20, Greater Sand Plover 25, Terek Sandpiper 50, Sanderling 50, Red-necked Stint 75, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper 1, Broad-billed Sandpiper 5, Oriental Pratincole 1, Chinese Crested Tern 11+ present (9+ seen by me), Crested Tern 150, Little Tern 1, White-winged Black Tern 6, Collared Crow 5, Chinese Hwamei 1 and Richard's Pipit 1.

Alan, Forest and Pete on the way to Min Jiang beach
Terek and Broad-billed Sandpipers

White-faced Plovers (in not so white-faced breeding plumage?)
White-winged Black, Crested, Chinese Crested and Gull-billed Terns
Chinese Crested and Crested Terns

Chinese Crested Terns
Collared Crow habitat at Da Hu
Collared Crow
Wednesday 26 May: This was pretty much an insurance day in case we failed at Min Jiang on our first attempt.  Forest was reluctant to return to the estuary as he seemed to have only got a permit for one day (a confidence we’d not had the luxury of sharing!) so we visited Fuzhou Forest Park instead.  It was probably the best location for general birding around Fuzhou although it involved crossing town to get to.  A rather flat day after the highs of the estuary although it produced the hoped for Fork-tailed Sunbird.  Our evening flight to Beijing was delayed by two hours (volume of air traffic due to the Shanghai Expo?) and we didn’t arrive until midnight.   Birds included Crested Goshawk 2, Little Ringed Plover 2, Asian Koel 1, Rufous Woodpecker 5, Large Wood Shrike 1, Chestnut Bulbul (7), Himlayan Black Bulbul 3, Masked Laughingthrush 3, Chinese Blackbird 10, Orange-bellied Leafbird 1 and Fork-tailed Sunbird 3 males.
Chestnut Bulbul (better than expected)
Fork-tailed Sunbird missing named feature
Fork-tailed Sunbird with fork

Monday, 24 May 2010

CHINA May 2010: Wuyuan and Wuyishan

Wednesday 19 May:  We started the day in poor weather with an unsuccessful attempt to find Elliot’s Pheasant at a sub-optimal site that Laolin knew, his better site being inaccessible due to flooding.  The rest of the day was spent birding in rural areas and around small villages.  Birds included Mandarin 4, Pied Falconet 2, Black Baza 2, Brown Crake 1, Grey-headed Lapwing 2, Barred Owlet 1, White-throated Needletail 2, Crested Kingfisher 3, Great Barbet 2, Swinhoe's Minivet 3, Tiger Shrike 2, Red-billed Blue Magpie 12, Collared Finchbill 6, Chestnut Bulbul 1, Rufous-faced Warbler 1, Grey-sided Scimitar-Babbler 2, Masked Laughingthush 5, Blue-crowned Laughingthrush 20, White-browed Laughingthrush 1, Chinese Hwamei 1, Vinous-throatd Parrotbill 3, Chinese Blackbird 12 and White-crowned Forktail 2.


Blue-crowned Laughingthrushes

Pied Falconet
Thursday 20 May:  We had a morning of not very productive rural birding before saying goodbye to Zhang Lin.  Laolin then drove us south to Wuyishan NNR where we arrived in the early evening, just in time for an hour birding in the conifers above the guest house.  Birds included Black Baza 1, Brown Crake 3, Long-billed Plover 1, Large Hawk Cuckoo 1, Crested Kingfisher 3, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler 1, Hartert's Leaf Warbler 3, White-spectacled Warbler 2, Alstrom's Warbler 2, Rufous-faced Warbler 2, Chines Hwamei 2, Chinese Blackbird 12 and Crested Bunting 1.

Friday 21 May:  We drove the dirt road up into Wuyishan as far as possible being stopped by a landslide about 4kms short of the tree line, but not before we’d seen our first Cabot’s Tragopans.  All day was then spent walking the road above and below the landslide.  The day started with low cloud making birding by the tree-line and ended with showers.  Birds included Chinese Bamboo Partridge 2, Cabot's Tragopan 8 (3 males, 3 females and 2 chicks), Lesser Cuckoo 1, Collared Pigmy Owl 1,  Yellow-cheeked Tit 1, Yellow-browed Tit 4, Mountain Bulbul 5, Yellowish-streaked Bush Warbler 3, Brown Bush Warbler 4, Buff-throated Warbler 1, Hartert's Leaf Warbler 1, Kloss's Leaf Warbler 2, Bianchi's Warbler 3, Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler 1, Grey-hooded Fulvetta 6, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch 3, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush 3 and Rosy Pipit 1.

Brown Bush Warbler in the clouds
birding the road at Wuyishan
Saturday 22 May:  Another full day inside Wuyishan walking the road, often in the rain.  Two Bamboo Partridges from the car in the conifers between the guest house and entrance gate and more tragopans on the road.  Birding was similar to, but quieter than, yesterday with three male and two female Cabot's Tragopans the obvious highlight.

Sunday 23 May:  Another full day inside Wuyishan walking the road, sometimes in the rain.  A female Elliot’s Pheasant from the car in the conifers between the guest house and entrance gate and more tragopans on the road.  I concentrated on the area below the tree-line hoping for Golden Parrotbill but the bamboo there looked to have died and I was unsuccessful although seeing Silver Pheasant was some compensation.  Birds included Cabot's Tragopan 17 (7 males, 6 females and 4 chicks), Silver Pheasant 4, Elliot's Pheasant 1 female, Speckled Piculet 1,  Yellowish-streaked Bush Warbler 1, Buff-throated Warbler 2, Hartert's Leaf Warbler 4, White-spectacled Warbler 4, Alstrom's Warbler 1, Chestnut-crowned Warbler 4, Grey-hooded Fulvetta 5, Indochinese Yuhina 7, Vinous-throated Parrotbill 4, Blue Whistling Thrush 3 and Small Niltava 1.

Barry on the road at Wuyishan

Cabot's Tragopan

Monday 24 May: A final morning along the dirt road at Wuyishan produced more tragopans and a superb White-necklaced Partridge taped in by Pete.  Laolin drove us some way down to a station and put on train to Fuzhou.  The train was very long and very slow taking 5.5 hours and not arriving until 8pm.  Lin Chen (Forest) was standing on the platform to meet us at exactly the point we disembarked our carriage.  Very impressive, even when we realised that Laolin had phoned him with our carriage number.  We then took a taxi to a hotel near Min Jiang.  Thirty-seven species were recorded including White-necklaced Partridge ),  Cabot's Tragopan 3 (2 males and a female), Crested Kingfisher 1, Hartert's Leaf Warbler 3, Kloss's Leaf Warbler 2, Spotted Wren-Babbler heard, White-crowned Forktail 1 and Fujian Niltava 1 male.