A BIRDING BLOG -
hong kong AND
hong kong AND
SICHUAN, CHINA 1-15 JUNE 2019 (4)
On the morning of 9 June, we drove east back towards Chengdu, but then diverged south towards the montane sites of Labahe, Erlangshan and Longcanggou.
Labahe is a scenic area that has fairly recently re-opened to the public after being off-limits for several years. There is a fine four-star hotel beside a river and a road up the mountain accessible by park bus. After lunch, we took the bus to the top of the mountain, and then got the cable-car even higher – up to 3500 metres. Unfortunately, the peak was covered in a rain cloud; it was cold and wet and visibility was severely limited. At the upper station we found a female Golden Bush Robin and a singing Spotted Bush Warbler, but there was no sign of Summer's main target species, the Sichuan Treecreeper, a bird which was only described in 1995. The idea was mooted to walk down the steps that ran parallel to the cables, but I was not keen, so we caught the cable car back down to the lower station and walked down the road from there. The habitat here was mainly birch woodland with an understorey of bamboo. Aberrant Bush Warblers were common and there were a number of Phylloscs including Claudia’s, Large-billed Leaf, Sichuan Leaf, Ashy-throated and Bianchi’s Warblers. We had brief views of a Fulvous Parrotbill. Other birds of note were four Stripe-throated Yuhinas, several Fire-capped Tits and four Mrs Gould’s Sunbirds. In the evening, I went for a stroll along the river opposite the hotel and saw Brown Dipper along with White-capped and Plumbeous Water Redstarts. A Sambar Deer grazed on hillside not far from the hotel.
On the morning of the 10th, we headed back up the mountain, taking a couple of trails off the main road in the upper-middle section of the mountain. In one area we heard a couple of singing Blue-fronted Robins but I only managed an inadequate glimpse of one of them. Temminck’s Tragopans were more obliging and we had excellent views of at least three of them. Back at the main road, we had good views of a male Lady Amherst’s Pheasant. Along another quiet trail, we found the endemic Pere David’s Tit, as well as a pair of Yellow-bellied Flowerpeckers. Flycatchers in the area consisted of Verditer, Dark-sided, Ferruginous and Slaty-backed.
We hitched a lift up to the cable car station and decided to walk a little way up the steps parallel to the cables. Here, we had good views of a male Golden Bush Robin and c. 200 metres up the steps, Summer found a Sichuan Treecreeper which also provided excellent views as it foraged on tree trunks, presumably collecting food for its young. Walking back downhill, we turned up a Firethroat and four Fulvous Parrotbills.
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