19 August 2012

Grin and Bear it...CHINA (May 2012)


I want to reflect on a landmark day on the Sichuan/Qinghai tour that I led this year for Tropical Birding...We begun at dawn looking over alpine meadows at the edge of spruce forest in Northern Sichuan. The temperature was low with the bitterly cold wind making it feel a dam sight colder. However, just moments after arriving we latched on to a regal pair of Blue Eared-Pheasants "grazing" in an alpine meadow. This warmed us up for a time, before we fled back to van where our local man Frank was waiting with a welcome cup of tea. We then underwent a long journey, cutting across the Tibetan Plateau as we traveled to the colorful Tibetan town of Maerkang. This brought us a ton of new birds, which were kicked off by a super White-browed Tit and a pastel-pink White-browed Tit-Warbler sharing the same scrubby area on the edge of the plateau. Other highlights included a majestic pair of Black-necked Cranes with a couple of bright ginger chicks in tow. However, the ultimate highlight was this shock Asiatic Black Bear by the roadside near Maerkang. On seeing it for the first time my brain could not comprehend what I was. my first EVER bear anywhere, and then once our van pulled us virtually on top of it my brain and mouth caught up with what my eyes were seeing and I shouted "bear" to the group. We were soon out of the bus ogling this magnificent beast, and were joined within minutes by a crowd of some 30 or so noisy Chinese, who had got word in miraculous time.

2 comments:

john said...

My friend Gary got a Spectacled Bear right above the Tanager trail at Trop. Birding's Tandayapa Lodge.
I missed it, but I see both Brown, and Black Bears in my AK. neighborhood.

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