5 June 2019

Wanglang NNR, Sichuan - 25th - 29th May 2019

Blue-eared Pheasant - Crossoptilon auritum
Wanglang National Nature Reserve is in Pingwu County, north Sichuan, and has a contiguous border with the much more-visited Jiuzhaigou to the west.

Wanglang lacks the picturesque lakes of Jiuzhaigou,  but from a birding point-of-view it has a lot of similar habitat at similar elevations.

Access

We travelled with Carrie Ma and Yann Musika, and Carrie had arranged a car and driver from Chengdu.  Thanks to Carrie too, for her bookings and other pre-planning !

There are buses to Pingwu town (Road no:205) from Chengdu and Mianyang, and a local bus terminates at the reserve entrance but the reserve itself is not served by public transport.

Most visitors arrive in their own cars, or by Tour Coach.

Chestnut Thrush - Turdus rubrocanus

White-throated Dipper - Cinclus cinclus

Scaly-breasted Wren-Babbler - Pnoepyga albiventer

Chestnut-headed Tesia - Tesia castaneocoronata

Blanford’s Rosefinch - Carpodacus rubescens

Accommodation

We last visited in 2009. Some of the old blocks have been renovated, and there is a grand new “Bai Ma Wanglang Eco-Hotel” phone 0816-5113359, which appears to be bookable online. Electricity (local hydropower) appears reliable.






Cost was RMB 588, which included reserve admission for two persons (RMB 120 each), breakfast, dinner and use of the shuttle buses to the scenic areas.

Along the road to Baixionggou

Along the road to Baixionggou
Getting about

From Reserve HQs, a shuttle bus system operates to take visitors to the scenic sites and boardwalks at the end of the paved roads.  These are at around 3,000m elevation - HQs is about 2,500m.




Right at the road fork (7km) was Baixionggou, where we saw Blue Eared Pheasant. There is a boardwalk there.

Blue-eared Pheasant - Crossoptilon auritum

Blue-eared Pheasant - Crossoptilon auritum

Blue-eared Pheasant - Crossoptilon auritum

Baixionggou boardwalk

Grey-crested Tit - Lophophanes dichrous

Bianchi’s Warbler - Seicercus valentini
Greenhouse-like pavilions are being provided for the less-actively inclined.




Elliot’s Laughingthrush - Garrulax elliotii
Goldcrest - Regulus regulus

Vinaceous Rosefinch - Carpodacus vinaceus
Left at the fork, at 6-7 km was Dachoping (Grand Meadow)...




...and 4km beyond that, Zhugengcha, - an area with Golden Eagle, White-winged Grosbeaks and rhododendrons beneath the pines.

Zhugengcha, Wanglang NNR - about 3,100m

Chinese White-browed Rosefinch - Carpodacus dubius (f)


Chinese White-browed Rosefinch - Carpodacus dubius (m)

White-winged Grosbeak - Mycerobas carneipes

Purple daisy


Golden Eagle - Aquila chrysaetos

Slipper Orchid - Cypredium sp.

Rhododendron

The road between the reserve entrance and park HQs was quite birdy, with “phylloscs” and flycatchers - among others- singing and nest building in the misty conditions.

Rufous-gorgetted Flycatcher - Ficedula strophiata

Claudia’s Leaf Warbler - Phylloscopus claudiae

Claudia’s Leaf Warbler - Phylloscopus claudiae

White-collared Yuhina - Yuhina diademata

Rosy Pipit - Anthus roseatus



Rusty-breasted Tit - Poecile davidi

Slaty-backed Flycatcher - Ficedula hodgsonii

Long-tailed Minivet - Pericrocotus ethologus


Sooty Tit - Aegithalos fuliginosus

Sooty Tit - Aegithalos fuliginosus

Sooty Tit - Aegithalos fuliginosus

Yellow-bellied Tit - Parus venustulus

Slaty-backed Flycatcher - Ficedula hodgsonii
Ferruginous Flycatcher - Muscicapa ferruginea

Great Spotted Woodpecker - Dendrocopos major

Bar-tailed Treecreeper - Certhia himalayana

Bar-tailed Treecreeper - Certhia himalayana

Bar-tailed Treecreeper - Certhia himalayana
Temperatures were around 20c, much more comfortable than at sea-level in China in late May…. The woods were very active with breeding birds, and all these shots were taken during four-and-a-half days of birding.

Thanks again to Carrie Ma (whose idea the whole trip was) and to Yann Musika for the pleasure of their company.


16 May 2019

Spring 2019 - "Boat Trip season" in Hong Kong's Southern Waters

Bridled Tern - Onychoprion anaethetus
The are umpteen species of tern of the HK “list” and we are lucky enough to get three handsome species (Bridled, Black-naped and Roseate) breeding on some of the weathered granite rocks that dot Hong Kong’s southern and eastern waters.

Bridled Terns - Onychoprion anaethetus

Bridled Terns - Onychoprion anaethetus



Bridled Tern - Onychoprion anaethetus (11th May)
By early May the islets are populated with noisy, quarrelsome terns in the process of pairing, securing nest spaces and breeding.

Bridled Tern - Onychoprion anaethetus (11th May)
They can often be seen carrying fish as offerings to potential mates. 

The Agriculture, Fisheries and conservation Department (HK Government) puts up signs in an attempt to stop careless humans from landing on the islands and disturbing the birds, but this doesn't always work.

(11th May)


Black-naped Tern - Sterna sumatrana (11th May)

Black-naped Terns - Sterna sumatrana and Roseate TernSterna dougalli

(mostly) Black-naped Terns - Sterna sumatrana (11th May)

Roseate Terns - Sterna dougalli (11th May)

Black-naped Terns and Roseate Tern (11th May)
Mid-April to mid-May is usually the ideal time for boat trips in HK waters to look for migrant terns and other seabirds as well.  

2019 was not as spectacular as some previous years, but a few migrant terns and other seabirds were tallied, too.

Aleutian Tern - Onychoprion aleuticus (11th May)

Great Crested Tern - Thallaseus bergii (28th April)
Common Tern - Sterna hirundo (21st April)

Common Tern - Sterna hirundo (21st April)

Arctic Skua - Stercorarius parasiticus(21st April)

Arctic Skua - Stercorarius parasiticus(21st April)
Short-tailed Shearwater - Ardenna tenuirostris (28th April)

Sometimes, not everything at sea is a seabird. 

Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus (20th April)
Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum (20th April)

Grey-tailed Tattler - Tringa brevipes (27th April)

Swinhoe's (left) and two Little Egrets (27 April)
Swinhoe’s Egrets - Egretta eulophotes (11th May)


Examples of "VizMig" - "Visible Migration" !

I know long-distance landbird migrants may have to fly over stretches of open sea, but it is still a thrill to see them actually doing it.