Saturday, 5 July 2014

Will we see Ibisbill.........??

We left our comfy hotel in Maduo at 6am and then spent the day predominantly driving along a terrible road that was mainly under construction the whole 300+ Kms, eventually reaching a brand new hotel in Yushu around 8pm.

Anyway, after an hours drive we stopped for breakfast along the road, at a point overlooking a large lake and surrounded by snow covered rolling hills all round. Our crew provided a fitting plate of mixed delights and hot coffee whilst we watched a Black-necked Crane quietly feeding at the water’s edge. There were also plenty of other previously seen species here before we set of again and had good numbers of Tibetan Wild Ass and Tibetan Gazelles from the road.

This is a Kiang, also known as Tibetan Wild Ass.

Tibetan Gazelle
Upland Buzzard
Lesser Sandplover

We made a few stops before our picnic lunch for roadside Saker, Ravens, Upland Buzzard, an out-of-place White-cheeked Starling and just to admire the scenery. Our lunch was taken overlooking a river where Rufous-necked Snowfinches, Ground-tits and a pair of Lesser Sandplovers were seen, and where this Tibetan Fox gave point-blank views as he chased pikas across the grassland. 

Tibetan Fox

By the time we had reached a high pass at 4350m it was 4.30pm and we walked out to a scrub covered hillside where we saw several White-tailed (Himalayan) Rubythroats singing, as well as Robin and Rufous-breasted Accentors, Common Rosefinch and Alpine Leaf-warbler

White-tailed Rubythroat

Alpine Leaf-warbler

As we headed lower down through a very scenic gorge with tall cliffs all around the road followed the Yangtze River and then we drove up into a side valley where we saw 3 Ibisbills feeding in a grassy pasture. We spent around an hour watching them feed, preen and then get disturbed by a herd of domestic Yak and it was a real privilege I can tell you. 

Told you we'd see Ibisbill
And what great views we had... See the tail barring....?

This was a nice scenic valley with a Buddhist temple and prayer flags adorning the hillside, with Tibetan Wagtails, Marmots and a herd of 45 White-lipped Deer grazed and Himalayan Griffons, Red-rumped Swallows and Salim Ali’s Swifts flew over. Driving lower we saw Eurasian Hoopoes, Eurasian Crag Martins and many, many Kessler’s Thrushes were present. Our first Tibetan Partridges feeding beside the road were also much appreciated.

Got to the hotel in the new town of Yushu late but enjoyed another fine meal and cool beer!

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