It was a cold start to the day as we waited patiently on the
road that borders Baxi Forest, an area of mature pine forest at the edge of the
Tibetan Plateau. The sun didn’t really peak through the blanket of cloud so we
really enjoyed our hot coffee this morning as we waited for the Blue Eared-Pheasant
to show. And show
it did, but not before a couple of hours of nervous waiting during which time
we scanned the openings in the forest and the hillside above the trees. Some Black-eared Kites
kept us entertained,
as did a pair of Godlewski’s Buntings
and White-throated Redstarts
, but we
only half-heartedly glanced at them. Eventually Graham spotted a pair of
pheasants slowly walking through the forest below our vantage point and they
crossed several open areas on their route and which prompted some frantic
directions and some anxious moments until everyone finally got onto them. It
was such a relief to finally get this bird and we could then enjoy our birding
as Pete picked up a Three-banded
which Frank had seen earlier, and then a Eurasian Wryneck
was scoped as well.
But when a Sukatschev’s Laughingthrush
calling we couldn’t believe it when it repeatedly showed in some bushes in the
narrow valley below us, and even came up to within ten metres of us briefly.
Then we drove lower down and walked into the forest where Chinese Leaf-warblers
were common, and we also saw several Grey-headed Bullfinches
and a Golden Eagle
flew over. Returning to
Roergai for lunch we checked out a site for Chinese Grey Shrike
but sadly found a dead adult beside the road.
So after lunch we drove to Flower Lake, checking out every White-rumped Snowfinch
colony along the way for something rarer but
only succeeded in finding numerous Hume’s
and a rather
amazing sighting of an adult Rosy
which is way off course and a vagrant here.
|Rosy Starling - a long way from home!|
At the lake we were
soon watching a huge Tibetan Lark
the short grass and when it took flight and chased a Common Redshank
it wasn’t that much smaller! A monster indeed!
Several new birds for our list were waiting for us on the lake as we scanned
from a viewing platform, such as Common
, Great Crested Grebe
, Northern Pintail
and Common Pochards
, Tufted Duck
and Wood Sandpiper
– just like being back in the UK!
|Black-necked Cranes in 'dancing' display - awesome!|
Some Black-necked Cranes
were patrolling the
edge of the marsh accompanied by some small chicks, whilst Greylag Goose
and lots of Ruddy
were also present. Leaving here we continued our snowfinch hunt
but just got more cranes, this time ‘dancing’ quite close to the road and was
marvellous to watch. A last-minute decision to recheck the shrike site resulted
in Pete again spotting the bird, when a Chinese
was scoped on the hillside above us. What a way to finish a day
full of quality sightings.