Our first full day in Longcanggou turned out to be a really good day where we scored with a number of key target species, several of which often take a few days to find here. So we left the lodge at 5.15am and dove up in our coaster to our usual breakfast spot, and after an eighty minute bumpy drive we were just about ready for it. It was an overcast day and a little cool but this meant that bird activity continued right through to lunchtime, when the mist came in and we had drizzle that lingered for the rest of the afternoon. Anyway, we kicked off proceedings with a Brown Bush Warbler skulking at the edge of a small stand of bamboo. Then we hit the first of many flocks today that gave us our first Mrs Gould’s Sunbird, Yellow-browed, Green-backed and Coal Tits, Short-billed Minivet, Red-tailed and Blue-winged Minlas, the first of many Large-billed Leaf-Warblers, Sichuan Leaf-Warbler, and best of all a pair of Fire-capped Tits. This latter species would be seen very well several times during the day. Whilst we were stood here watching the flock I heard a few more good birds just a little further down the track and sure enough we pulled out a confiding pair of Golden Parrotbills that gave repeatedly close views, plus Yellowish-bellied and Aberrant Bush-Warblers, and there was a flock of Brown Bullfinches flying overhead as well.
|Brown Bush Warbler|
After our picnic breakfast we spent the rest of the morning walking along a wide track that took us through great habitat with plenty of bamboo. We had a few attempts at seeing Red-winged Laughingthrush and little by little a few of the group managed tickable views, but boy they are true skulkers. Our walk was very productive and we saw several fine Grey-hooded Fulvettas, flyover Speckled Woodpigeon and Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush, Vinaceous Rosefinch, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Blyth’s Shrike-Babbler, Buff-barred, Ashy-throated and Claudia’s Leaf-Warbler, White-browed Bush-Robin, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, White-collared and Stripe-throated Yuhinas, a very showy White-bellied Redstart perched right out on an open branch of a small conifer, Elliot’s Laughingthrush, Collared Grosbeak, Olive-backed Pipit, and best of all a pair of Three-toed Parrotbills spotted by Julian and an Emei Shan Liocichla posing nicely in a small conifer.
|A poor photo of Emei Shan Liocichla|
|A distant Vinaceous Rosefinch|
By the time we had returned to the coach it was midday and lunch already felt overdue, so after some hot noodles we all felt fortified enough to make another short walk. I really wanted to keep our hot streak going by nailing Great Parrotbill. As we walked along the track that passes through the bamboo zone we came across a big flock with Red-tailed and Blue-winged Minlas, several Golden-breasted Fulvettas, and another Golden Parrotbill. As we watched all of the action a Great Parrotbill was found feeding low down inside a stand of bamboo. It was really tucked in and obscured but for those in the right position it gave some decent views. So with the drizzle getting heavier we returned to the coach and drove lower.
We walked along a side trail through some great forest and found a few more flocks with Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Yellow-bellied Tit, Ferruginous Flycatcher, Chestnut-crowned Warbler and both Ultramarine and the rare Sapphire Flycatchers all in the first flock. We followed the trail but activity was quite slow but we still picked up Himalayan Swiftlet, Emei Leaf-Warbler, a Fujian Niltava, Eurasian Nuthatch and a confiding Pygmy Wren-Babbler.
Once we were back on the main track we tried to get a view of a singing Marten’s Warbler, when all of a sudden a flock of Buffy Laughingthrushes passed by and we chased them along the track and were rewarded with good views eventually. As we continued down the track it was apparent that the drizzle had literally dampened bird activity so we hopped onto the coach and returned to the lodge, extremely satisfied with our day.