Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Pere David's At Last

Left Maduo after a rather interesting breakfast of some black rice porridge – yes it was as disgusting as it sounds and I didn’t partake! We then drove north basically and went in search of the two remaining snowfinches that had so far eluded us. I found this particularly frustrating as I wasn’t totally sure where to find them having been in the alleged best sites for them already. Well we made a few stops to look at Black-necked Crane, Upland Buzzard, Lesser Sandplover, Tibetan Gazelle, Tibetan Fox etc. At one particularly interesting spot we walked across a Pika-laden field and into some scrub and found a Pink-tailed Bunting – totally unexpected actually. But we were escorted ‘off the premises’ by the alleged landowner who wanted a large sum of money from us. So we left! The rest of the day was spent stopping, scanning and walking a little bit, especially at Er la Pass where we saw White-winged Redstart, Tibetan Lark and all the usual suspects.

Another Tibetan Fox - but he's got his lunch....!
Towards the end of the day a big storm was brewing....

By early evening we were driving across the sandy plateau approaching Gonghe when I decided to stop and have one final scan. Fortunately, and boy we earned it, there was a Pere David’s (Small) Snowfinch in the distance feeding alongside some sheep. Wow! Can’t explain the elation I felt at this point as I’d really given up finding anything new today. So we walked closer and managed really nice scope views, but a strong fence lay between us and it so couldn’t get closer for decent photos. Anyway, everyone was really happy and we also had a few Mongolian Larks – in fact our best views to-date to really add a little icing on the cake. Plus several Isabelline Wheatears as well.   And that was our day…!

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