Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Moving on, Rarities and Rice

A long drive today, but the scenery was outstanding as we passed through huge steep-sided river valleys and up to Jiajin Shan at 4155m at the pass. We saw a few birds such as Brown Dipper, Crested Myna and a migrating Arctic Warbler that shouldn’t have been here, before reaching the mountain. Once the road began to rise and lunch beckoned we hit paydirt with a small group of totally unexpected Spectacled Parrotbills – try saying that really quickly! I was amazed that they were here but there was a reasonable stand of bamboo and the birds responded quickly to the ipod and came to check us out. An Alpine Leaf-warbler showed here as well before we drove on up into the pine forest.

We had several Himalayan Griffons, as well as more migrating Oriental Honey-buzzards, Eurasian Kestrel, Himalayan Buzzard and a Lammergeier as well to boost our raptor list. A huge flock of White-collared Yuhinas and Buff-barred Warblers came down to check out the owlet tape and a Rufous-vented Tit was also with them. But then Peter C spotted a pair of Przewalski’s Nuthatch on the other side of the road and we could watch these delightful birds for several minutes below us.

Pallas's Reed Bunting - an extremely rare bird in Sichuan

Further up above the tree line a couple odd-looking birds crossed the road in front of the coach and we pulled over to check them out. Unbelievably they were Pallas’s Reed Buntings, on their way north to Siberia or further east no doubt, and I was blown away as we were at around 3400m….!!!! There was also a few Rosy Pipits and our first Blue-fronted Redstarts. Frustratingly the pass at 4155m was shrouded in low cloud and when a Tibetan Snowcock began calling things got even more frustrating as we just could not see it in the poor visibility. Oh well, will have to leave that one for tomorrow…. Continuing on we had a few Eurasian Crag-martins as well.

We eventually arrived at our comfortable hotel in Rilong at 6.45pm and that left just enough daylight for a few of the group to see Hill Pigeon and White-throated Redstart behind the hotel.

Oh the rice in the post title.... Just sick of it really!

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