Friday, 16 December 2016

China: Emei Feng

With our re-jigged itinerary we now had a full day on Emei Feng instead of the intended single night stay so we had a good long time to look for ‘chickens’. We started off birding the lower slopes and driving around the area looking for Elliot’s Pheasant but couldn’t have anticipated how successful this would be. We began with a male and female appearing at the roadside before melting into the undergrowth without everyone getting a view. So we quietly got off the bus and made our way to a point where we could scan the bamboo slope below us and unbelievable we watched 4 females and a male walking below us about 30m away. Wow! But even better was to come when Steven spotted a male on a grassy slope above us, this time much closer and from the coach we watched him pick his way across the slope above us and was on view for a good ten minutes. I managed to get this record shot despite the autofocus not working on my camera again...

Elliot's Pheasant

This was unbelievable for such a truly skulking and shy creature and after all of the elation had subsided we continued driving up the mountain. Next up was a female Silver Pheasant, followed a short while later by a male. 

Koklass Pheasant by Steven An

Then a Koklass Pheasant appeared by the roadside before we reached Cabot’s Tragopan habitat higher up and the first of a frustrating 4 brief tragopan sightings of the day. At the top we had an encounter with 7 Chinese Bamboo-Partridges at breakfast before we began walking down the mountain in the hopes of a better tragopan encounter. We never got a classic view, just a few more brief sightings but the weather was perfect with sunshine and clear blue skies all day. 

Emei Feng

Passerines were few and far between in this tragopan habitat but we still saw Northern Goshawk, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Grey-headed and a brief Bay Woodpecker, White-bellied Erpornis, Japanese White-eye, Spotted Forktail, Red-flanked Bluetail, Mugimaki Flycatcher, Dusky & Pale Thrushes

Cabot's Tragopan by Steven An

Driving lower for a short time we found some fruiting trees where the white-headed form of Black Bulbul was seen, along with several Chestnut and Mountain Bulbuls. At the end of the day we had a look along the river where a Slaty-backed Forktail was found.

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