Thursday, 5 June 2014

Tibetan Plateau

This is the day everyone truly looks forward to as we travel up onto the Tibetan Plateau, not only for the fantastic scenery but some great birds of course! We left Maerkang at 5.30am and drove for around an hour and a half through wooded river valleys until we reached a small ‘restaurant’ for some omelette and noodle breakfast. Some of the guys birded outside and found a pair of Hodgson’s Redstart feeding around a log pile.

Hodgson's Redstart

Continuing on we checked out a nice looking river where Alan had a pair of Mandarin Ducks fly past. As the road wound ever upwards we saw our first Common Pheasants, plenty of Kessler’s Thrushes and some Eurasian Cuckoos on the telegraph wires. 

White-browed Tit

Chinese Fulvetta

A nice scrub covered hillside above the treeline gave us Godlewski’s Bunting, Pere David’s (Plain) Laughingthrush, Chinese Fulvetta, a pair of cracking White-browed Tits, whilst nearby a pair of Severtzov’s Tit-warblers showed very close to us. A Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, and several Himalayan Griffons flew over. A Dusky Warbler showed well, but a Greenish Warbler was something of a surprise in the low scuba.

White-browed (Severtzov's) Tit-warbler

And then we were on the plateau and a wide open vista of broad grassland and rolling hills where we saw many new birds. There were Black-necked Cranes, Upland Buzzards, 3 Sakers,  2 Black Storks, Ruddy Shelduck, Little Owl, Eurasian Cuckoo, Eurasian Hoopoe, Azure-winged Magpie, Horned Lark, Oriental Skylark, Tibetan Wagtail, Brown Shrike, White-rumped and Rufous-necked Snowfinches and some distant Ground-tits.

Black-necked Crane

With storm clouds getting closer a flock of Asian House and Pale Martins flew low over the road and we ended the journey in driving rain. Lovely!

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