Monday, 30 April 2018

South-east China - 30th April (Day 10)

We awoke once again to thick fog at the summit of Emeifeng but today without the wind or the rain which was somewhat of a relief. While packing bags Andy D was doing a little birding around the grounds of the accommodation and located a singing Hartert’s Leaf-warbler which eventually showed moderately well from the balcony of our rooms albeit that It was difficult to make out any colour in the foggy conditions. Andy D then found a singing White-spectacled Warbler just outside of our rooms which also showed well albeit in the fog. We loaded the bags onto the bus and headed down hill checking for Cabot’s Tragopan as we went. Being a holiday for the Chinese there were far more cars on the road and after a brief search we decided to have breakfast and get on the road towards Wuyuan, a drive of around eight hours.

Our accommodation in the fog clad Emeifeng Mountain

Song of Hartert's Leaf-warbler - Emeifeng Mountain

Hartert's Leaf-warbler showing near constant oscillating nature of song
Song of White-spectacled Warbler - Emeifeng Mountain

We arrived in Wuyuan at 15:30 and immediately visited a site for Blue-crowned Laughingthrush to the north of Wuyuan and just off the road to Qiukou at Meitian Zhou. We approached the site through small arable fields of rape, rocket, chilli and tobacco to a small island linked to the ‘mainland’ by a footbridge. Unfortunately, due to the recent heavy rains the footbridge was partly flooded and the last 50m or so was impassable so we viewed the island from the end of the bridge. Very quickly we picked up a small group of five Blue-crowned Laughingthrush feeding high up in the trees and while the views were a little distant we enjoyed reasonable views of these very rare laughingthrush. Blue-crowned Laughingthrush is Critically Endangered currently being known only from around Wuyuan, close to R Le’an, here stands of tall trees which are required for nesting remain. The total number of birds in this area is estimated to be 250–280 individuals.

Blue-crowned Laughingthrush - Meitian Zhou, Wuyuan

Swollen backwater of the Duanshen River - Meitian Zhou, Wuyuan

Watching Blue-crowned Laughingthrush in mature trees across the river

Graffiti on the underpass at Meitian Zhou reflected local scenes where Blue-crowned Laughingthrush featured heavily

We birded the general area for a short while seeing Brown-rumped MinivetGrey-capped WoodpeckerRed-billed Blue MagpiePlain-capped Jay and Masked Laughingthrush. We finished the day with a drive to the village of Xiao Qi which I had last visited on 11th November 2016 and headed to the top of one of the local restaurants. Here, we enjoyed views of up to five Pied Falconet showing very well and eating various butterflies and dragonflies. We ordered some beers and enjoyed the views from the roof and these fantastic little birds before heading to our hotel in Wuyuan.

Chinese Blackbird - Wuyuan

Red-billed Blue Magpie - Wuyuan

Masked Laughingthrush - Wuyuan

Oriental Turtle-dove - Wuyuan

Pied Falconet - Xiao Qi 

The crew at Xiao Qi, from left to right, Andy D, myself, Martin, Volkert, Ian, Barry and Andy B

Links to Other Days of the Trip (Click to View)
Day 1 and 2 – International flight and Dongtai.
Day 3 - Dongtai.
Day 4 – Dongtai and Magic Wood.
Day 5 - Nanhui then fly to Fuzhou.
Day 6 - Shanutan Island and Fuzhou Forest Park.
Day 7 - Fuzhou Forest Park then Emeifeng Mountain.
Day 8 - Emeifeng Mountain.
Day 9 - Emeifeng Mountain.
Day 11 - Wuyuan.
Day 12 – Drive Wuyuan to Dongzhai.
Day 13 - Dongzhai.
Day 14 – Dongzhai then fly Wuhan to Korlor.
Day 15 – Taklamakan Desert.
Day 16 – Taklamakan Desert then Urumqi.
Day 17 and 18 – Nanshan in the Tien Shan Mountains then fly Beijing. International flight.