Monday, 22 June 2015

The Golden Lining....!

So can you believe it is 6.30am when we meet up at the coach for a short hop up into the hills? Honest! Walking along a nice trail into great forest there isn't much bird activity until our first Black-chinned Yuhinas appear, and then a few previously seen species such as Emei Leaf Warbler, Red-billed Leiothrix, Yellow-bellied Tit, and even more Brown Bullfinches

It was looking like a very quiet morning until Derek said he might have THE Fulvetta and I put my bins on one of the Chinese Holy Grail birds – Golden-fronted Fulvetta. Literally all hell breaks loose as at first the bird disappears into the dense foliage, only to reappear moments later in a different part of the tree. In fact there are two adults carrying food to a nest that remains hidden to us. The adults keep bringing bugs to the same spot and with these stunning birds constantly in view for half an hour at least and no more than 10 metres above our heads you can say the views are not too bad at all! From a personal point of view I am too excited to get a decent photo as the birds are in a particularly shady area of foliage  and have to calm myself down and get over that old shaky hand syndrome. Eventually when I’ve given up hope and most of the group have retreated, one of the birds comes down to just a metre above the ground and into a sparsely leaved bush right beside me and I get these photos…..

This Golden-fronted Fulvetta is one of the rarest birds seen on our tour - wow!!

Anything else after that is always going to be a poor second but a calling Bay Woodpecker shows reasonably well, and amongst numerous Chestnut-crowned Warblers a pair of David’s Fulvettas are a good find for the list. I must say our field breakfast tastes particularly nice after all of this excitement. A Brown-breasted Flycatcher a little later is also good, and Mountain Hawk-Eagle and Crested Goshawk are also spotted as well.  

Chestnut-crowned Warbler

David's Fulvetta

Returning to the lodge late morning a Grey-headed Woodpecker is watched flying overhead before we say our farewells to this great little lodge and begin driving towards our next port of call – Erlang Shan. The scenery as we drive along through enormously deep sided river valleys is truly stunning and the time passes quickly. From the window of the bus a pair of Black Bazas are seen perched on telegraph wires - pretty cool. Close to our good hotel a nice little stop below some huge slopes results in a pair of Godlewski’s Buntings, Blue Rock Thrush, Eastern Stonechat and Ashy-throated Parrotbill.

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