Monday, 7 July 2014

Culture - whatever next..?

Was really looking forward to visiting Beizha Forest the next day and it did not disappoint as we saw a number of great birds. We started in a side valley where a Blood Pheasant responded to the ipod but remained at the top of a ridge above us and not everybody managed to see it well enough.  We needn’t have worried as after breakfast we drove down into the valley and a group of 7 were feeding beside the rushing stream and we were able to watch them for a long time. 

This Buddhist monastery overlooks the forest we were birding

We then continued driving, eventually stopping beside a nice looking piece of forest, which we walked up into and then spent the rest of the morning birding in one small area. We began with a close Chinese Fulvetta, and then found Sichuan Leaf-warblers to be reasonably numerous, but a Buff-barred Warbler was somewhat of a surprise here. A pair of Himalayan Bluetails put in an appearance, whilst a high pitched call led us to a pair of Maroon-backed Accentors – another surprising find. Then a Grey-crested Tit flew in and as we watched this, a male Crested Tit-warbler appeared right next to us. In fact there were at least two males and a female in the trees around us and we were fortunate to be able to watch them for a good half an hour, with one male in particular giving absolutely stunning views. 

Crested Tit-warbler
Crested Tit-warbler

There was also Greenish and Hume’s Warblers here, as well as Rufous-breasted Accentor, Rufous-vented Tit, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, and numerous Daurian Jackdaws. It was a pity that a pair of Three-banded Rosefinches didn’t hang around long enough for everyone to see them.

The scenery was once again stunning, with a Buddhist monastery perched high up on some rocky crags and the setting was made even better with a family of Lammergeiers 
constantly on view.


From our picnic spot we could scope numerous Blue Sheep on the slopes above as well as more Lammergeier views, with one immature perched on a ledge on the cliffs above.  

Watching Blue Sheep......

So with lunch over we began walking down the road through nice forest but it was so hot there was absolutely zero bird activity. A good decision then was made to drive up to the monastery where we were fortunate to be there when one of the ‘living Buddhas' had just returned from exile a few days before our visit. So the place was buzzing with excitement and we were allowed entry and given an audience with the monks who invited us into their communal area for food and drink. A tour then followed into their main prayer and chanting room which was fascinating and decorated in typical Tibetan Buddhist architecture and design. It was a truly memorable experience and one which will live long in the memory.

Tearing ourselves from here we drove down into the forest but it was still hot and not much bird activity, although we saw a few bits and pieces but nothing new. So we left and returned to the hotel for a delicious hotpot dinner.

No comments:

Post a Comment