We drove back up to look for tragopans early this morning but a near gale force wind hampered our search and all we had to show was another brief sighting of a female along the road. Another Elliot’s Pheasant and a Silver Pheasant were seen, along with a couple of White’s Thrushes but the wind was really strong and birding here was practically pointless. So we decided to cut our losses and set out on the four and a half hour drive to Fuzhou earlier than we had originally planned.
Along the way we stopped at a couple of service stations and the second one provided us with a very unexpected bonus. Derek and I were checking out the bushes and bamboo behind the buildings when a flock of parrotbills appeared close by, but not the vinous-throated I was expecting as they had black chins and all rufous heads - Short-tailed Parrotbills. Holy cow!! Yes a flock of Short-tailed Parrotbills!
|Short-tailed Parrotbill by Steven An|
A previously unrecorded flock of these rare birds methinks. Just goes to show you can never stop birding! Many thanks to Steven An for letting me use his photos above. After a few frantic minutes gathering everyone up we watched them for quite a while before following a trail across some fields and into the farmland beyond, seeing Black-faced Bunting, Chinese Pond-Heron, Greater Coucal, both White-browed and Masked Laughingthrushes, and a pair of Chinese Hwamei. There was a really odd-looking phylloscopus warbler here that i couldn't quite get to grips with. With several rather odd sightings of summer breeding species so far on this tour I couldn't rule out Kloss's Warbler, but it just didn't feel right and the views were inconclusive.
So a good end to the day and it was only another hour or so to our great hotel in Fuzhou.