Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Labahe to Rilong

We left the mountains at Labahe this morning after one last try for Golden Parrotbill that resulted in a few of the group getting another glimpse. The drive down to the lowlands was certainly spectacular and we didn’t really stop anywhere too long, just getting a brief flight view of a Grey-faced Woodpecker, along with Yellow-bellied Tit and a few other common species along the roadside. Breakfast was typically Chinese in the nearest town and then we headed across the arable landscape, but still quite ‘birdy’ as we had a confiding Rufous-faced Warbler, a Chinese Goshawk, and called in a Chinese Bamboo-partridge that flew down the hillside towards us. A Russet Sparrow also put in an appearance here, whilst both Indian and Eurasian Cuckoos called in the distance. 

Himalayan Griffon Vulture

Moving on we drove through spectacular gorges with huge peaks dominating the skyline and saw our first Himalayan Griffon Vultures soaring over in this dramatic landscape, and continued our best raptor day so far with a few Himalayan Buzzards later in the day. Stopping for fuel added Daurian Redstart and our lunch stop added Blue Rock-thrush in a large town. A nice sighting came when stopping for vultures, a Godlewski’s Bunting perched on a roadside telegraph wire was joined by a Black-faced Bunting. With time passing all too quickly we made a number of relatively quick stops, first of all when a Wallcreeper flew across the road in front of us. 



We jumped out and had amazing views of a bird feeding on the slope below us before treating us to an aerial display for several minutes. At this spot we also called in a Yellow-streaked Warbler and had a brief view of an Alpine Leaf-warbler. A few Hill Pigeons followed, along with Eurasian Crag-martin, Blue-fronted Redstart and Elliot’s Laughingthrush. And before the Jianshan pass amidst nice pine forest we found Rufous-vented Tit, a few Hodgson’s Treecreepers and Yellow-browed Tit, whilst a few Kessler’s Thrushes were present on the pass. As we approached Balangshan the local police stopped us proceeding any further and we had to spend the night in  the town and await instructions in the morning!

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