We left the hotel at 4.30am and drove up the mountainous road to towards the summit of Huangang Shan. The day dawned clear and promised to be full of birds, and began promisingly with several new species and some nice mixed flocks. A female Cabot’s Tragopan with four chicks crossed the road in front of us was a good way to begin, and was followed by a couple Barred Cuckoo-doves flying by, and an extremely cooperative Pygmy Wren-babbler giving point-blank views.
|Pygmy Wren-babbler/Pygmy Cupwing|
Higher up the mountain a Buffy Laughingthrush was watched singing in a tree, Fujian Fulvetta showed well, and then a pair of Blyth’s Shrike-babblers (now split from White-browed Shrike-babbler) were seen feeding beside the bank right next to the road, plus two male Small Niltavas were perched on the same branch singing at each other!
|Blyth's Shrike-babbler (female)|
|Blyth's Shrike Babbler (male)|
Lots of other birds were seen on the drive up including Yellow-cheeked Tit, Collared Finchbill, Hartert’s and Kloss’s Leaf-warblers, White-spectacled and Chestnut-crowned Warblers, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Red-billed Leiothrix, Black-chinned Yuhina and Chestnut-bellied Rock-thrush. Unfortunately the weather deteriorated rapidly and by the time we had reached the summit was pretty bad with dense mist, high wind and visibility down to just a few metres hampering our attempts at some of the goodies present here. Yet several Brown Bush-warblers were seen at very close quarters and a Yellow-bellied Bush-warbler was lured in as well, but a singing White-browed Shortwing failed to reveal itself. So we headed back down but couldn’t escape the rain until much later in the day. During a break in the weather we walked a few kilometres but the pattern for the rest of the day was a lot of legwork for little reward. Yet a flock of Indochinese Yuhinas was very nice and a fine Spotted Wren-babbler performed very well around its damp gulley. The lower down the mountain we got the better the weather, but bird activity was very low although we still had Spotted Forktail, a pair of Red-billed Blue Magpies, Mountain Bulbul and a Brownish-flanked Bush-warbler. We walked the last few kilometres back to the hotel seeing a close Pallas’s Warbler, and after much perseverance found a Brown Dipper feeding on the fast flowing stream, and we ended the day with the endemic Yellow-bellied Tit.