Thursday, 2 July 2015

Moving on to Mengbishan

Leaving at 6.15am felt like decadence this morning but we only went a few kilometres uphill and spend a pleasant couple of hours birding along the road. There are some notable sightings such as Golden Eagle, Snow Pigeon, Speckled Woodpigeon perched up for a change, White-bellied Redstart, Sichuan Tit, Giant Laughingthrush, and other common species. Just as we are leaving, the distinctive call of a Przevalski’s Nuthatch is heard and there it is at the top of a fir tree, but only a few people get tickable views before it disappears despite much effort to relocate it. So we return to the hotel for breakfast and then set off towards Mengbishan, stopping along the way for lunch in a small restaurant.

We arrive at the Mengbi Pass at around 3pm, having just seen a Himalayan Griffon feeding on a carcass right beside the winding road – boy they are really big! The view from here is superb with forested hills and snow-capped mountains dominating the horizon and after some obligatory photos of the view and prayer flags we drive down the road. 

There's a nice view from Mengbi Pass

Tibetan Prayer Flags at Mengbi Pass

A short stop results in Chris finding a Streaked Rosefinch, and there’s also a few Common Rosefinches but not a lot else. So we head into the forest that here is dominated by conifers and begin our Sichuan Jay hunt. There are Goldcrests, both Hume’s and Sichuan Leaf Warblers, Rufous-vented and Grey-crested Tits, Hodgson’s Treecreeper, and a flyover Himalayan Buzzard. Meanwhile a group of Blood Pheasants are called in and watched scuttling across the road before calling back at us from the moss-covered forest floor above us. Nice! A Tufted Deer is also spotted on a far slope, and a little later a White Eared Pheasant is scoped on a distant slope – and that is our day.

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