The following morning we left our hotel at 5.30am and drove back up through the main valley until we reached the start of a trail that led into a scenic side valley. Had breakfast at the roadside, during which we saw Elliot’s Laughingthrush, a flock of Salim Ali’s Swifts & Asian House Martins, Common Rosefinch and a pair of Godlewski’s Buntings. Then we headed up into the valley in search of Chinese (Severtzov’s) Grouse and walked for a couple of hours through a type of birch forest before reaching the pine forest. Although the grouse were non-existant we did see some good birds and found Chinese Leaf-warbler to be very common here, along with yet more Gansu Leaf-warblers. There was also Northern Goshawk, Grey-crested Tit, Eurasian Treecreeper, Grey-headed Bullfinch, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, Large-billed Leaf-warbler, and yet more Siberian Bluetails.
By 9.30am we were done here and decided to drive higher up and check out the scrub and bush covered hillsides, but a fine male Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch was found before we boarded the coach. An nice path led us across the hillside through good habitat, and we got the ball rolling here with a pair of White-browed Tits and the first of many Alpine Leaf-warblers.
Yet more Siberian Rubythroats were present and we were probably in double figures for sightings of them during this walk. I was surprised to see many Hume’s Leaf-warblers in this habitat, whilst Chinese White-browed Rosefinches were more expected. A male and two female Streaked Rosefinches and Blue-fronted Redstart were seen, and towards the end of the walk a pair of Severtzov’s Tit-warblers, Greenish Warbler and White-browed Tit were seen well.
We drove back down the valley and had lunch in a nice little restaurant and whilst waiting for our food we saw Red-billed Chough, Plumbeous Water-redstart and a Brown Accentor.
The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring another superb side valley but this walk was all uphill and rather quiet. That was until we heard Verreaux’s Monal-Partridge calling and eventually had a couple of very close fly pasts from them. The walk back down produced our first Claudia’s Leaf-warbler and Eurasian Crag-martin, whilst a Black Woodpecker was seen from the bus on the drive back to the hotel.