Friday, 27 April 2018

South-east China - 27th April (Day 7)

As Fuzhou Forest Park did not open early we had a relative lie-in and were up at 05:30. We headed to the park gate and despite trying to bribe the park guard were not allowed to drive into the park, the first couple of kilometres of which allows vehicle access. So, after a quick breakfast, we walked the first part of the park passing 'Bird Paradise' which appeared well stocked with cage birds and to the start of the trail. We birded the same section of trail as yesterday, up some very steep concrete steps for several kilometres - our legs certainly paid for this for the next few days. The highlight of the morning was a pair of Collared Partrridge with at least three chicks which we watched foraging in a gulley along the trail. We also reciorded Chestnut Bulbul, Black Bulbul, Grey-sided Scimitar-babbler, Grey-cheeked (Huet's) Fulvetta, Collard Owlet, Scarlet Minivet, Fork-tailed Sunbird, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Grey Treepie, Grey-headed Parrotbill and a couple of escaped species Grey Laughingthrush and Black-throated Laugingthrush. Come 10:00 we headed down and begun the five hour drive to Emeifeng departing at 11:00.

Surely one of the best Bulbuls, the stonking Chestnut Bulbul - Fuzhou Forest Park

 Chestnut Bulbul, stonking bird but monotonous song - Fuzhou Forest Park

Large Wood-shrike - Fuzhou Forest Park

Collared Finchbill - Fuzhou Forest Park

Collared Finchbill - Fuzhou Forest Park

Grey-sided Scimitar-babbler - Fuzhou Forest Park

A duetting pair of Grey-sided Scimitar-babbler - Fuzhou Forest Park

Female Scarlet Minivet - Fuzhou Forest Park

Female Scarlet Minivet - Fuzhou Forest Park

Fork-tailed Sunbird - Fuzhou Forest Park

Fork-tailed Sunbird - Fuzhou Forest Park

Grey Treepie - Fuzhou Forest Park

Collared Owlet, this is the rear of the head which is remarkable as it looks like a pair of fierce eyes with a large bill which must look pretty scary for any potential predator - Fuzhou Forest Park

Collared Owlet, this is the frontal view and at times it was difficult to appreciate which way round the bird was facing given how convincing the rear of the head was - Fuzhou Forest Park

Song of Grey-cheeked (Huet's) Fulvetta with Black-throated Tit in background - Fuzhou Forest Park

Song of Black-throated Laughingthrush - Fuzhou Forest Park

Song of Grey-headed Parrotbill - Fuzhou Forest Park

Much of the drive to Emeifeng was on highway and after four hours we branched off to Shangsheng where we stopped for supplies for the next few days. On the river from the road leading from the town to Emeifeng three Brown Dipper were seen from the bus as were Plumbeous Water-redstart and White-crowned Forktail. Entering the lower slopes of Emeifeng at around 17:15 we began a slow drive up-hill. Soon after entering the forest we came across a pair of Chinese Bamboo Partridge feeding next to the road and which gave prolonged and close views. Thereafter, we saw little else. Reaching the Tragopan zone higher up the mountain we drove slowly, carefully scanning the roadsides, suddenly a female Cabot's Tragopan appeared in the headlights no more than 5m from the car and while views were brief, and under poor light conditions, the bird was so close that most of the features could be seen. We arrived at our accommodation, the Garden Inn, at the top of the road in the dark with foggy and wet conditions developing. I was last at Emeifeng on 14th November 2016 and was looking forward to a return visit with my main hope being to get good views of Cabot's Tragopan, a species we had failed to see last time. The Garden Lodge was even more run down than I remembered from my first visit with beds very damp and mouldy and generally low levels of cleanliness and upkeep, but located amongst prime habitat at 1,500m. We settled down with a basic meal but at least the beers were cold and we looked forward to birding the mountain tomorrow.

Birding in the Fuzhou Forest Park consisted of walking these steep steps for much of our two sessions here, our legs paid the price for several days after

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 8 - Emeifeng Mountain.
Day 9 - Emeifeng Mountain.
Day 10 - Emeifeng Mountain then Wuyuan.
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.