Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Rilong to Mengbi Shan

We had the luxury of a 6am breakfast in the restaurant before checking out a few sites close to Rilong, and which turned out to be an extremely pleasant few hours. Around some conifers we saw Goldcrest, Bar-tailed Treecreeper, plenty of warblers, and best of all a pair of superb Crested Tit-warblers that gave very nice views. 

Streaked Rosefinch (female)

Along the road we saw several Common Rosefinches, as well as a single Streaked Rosefinch that literally dwarfed its commoner cousins and was clearly a third bigger again. With the sun shining and wonderful scenery as always in Sichuan we set off on our Black-browed Tit hunt which was only successful for Trevor and I, and I have no idea why the pair we saw shot off down the slope never to be seen again. 

Rufous-bellied Woodpeckers

So we left on the 5 hour drive to Mengbi Shan, passing through quaint Tibetan-style villages along the way and at one of which we enjoyed a delicious lunch. 

Mengbi Shan

It was mid afternoon by the time we made it to the mountain and in bright sunshine there wasn’t much singing at all, so we made the best of it with nice views of White-browed and Pink-rumped Rosefinches, Rufous-vented Tits, White-bellied Redstart and our first Collared Grosbeaks

Collared Grosbeak

As we watched a pair of these huge birds at least 3 Sichuan Jays emerged from the slope below us and clambered around the conifers, at one stage being chased off by the grosbeaks. 

Sichuan Jays

Unbelievable! I spent two whole days last year searching this site for these very special endemics, and we had nailed them within the first half an hour of arriving here. In fact we enjoyed repeated views of them for a long time before they flew up the hill and out of sight. 

So a great start to our time on Mengbi Shan and with a whole day tomorrow I’m hoping we can do quite well….Weather permitting…

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