24 June 2013

REAL Pheasants...CHINA (1st June)

Leaving Chengdu at the crack of dawn we hunkered down in the van, and prepared for the Long Drive north into Tibetan country. Our destination was to be the bustling tourist Mecca of Jiuzhaigou, although we planned some stops en-route. Lunch in Songpan, one of the key stop off places on Mao's famous Long March, was interesting for the variety of Yak elements on offer to eat, such as these rows of Yak testicles for sale. For the group at least, they remained unsold!
After lunch we began scouring the agricultural fields which were being toiled in by many a Tibetan going about their daily business. Accompanying them were a fair number of Ring-necked (Common) Pheasants, here in their native home looking more appealing than some other places I have seen them over the years.

Finally, we rose up to the pass, Gong Gang Ling, where a passing flock alerted us to the presence of a pair of Crested Tit-Warblers foraging within the tall spruce trees. Down lower, near ground level, Chinese White-browed Rosefinches, a cerulean-backed male Himalayan Bluetail, and a blue-and-orange Slaty-backed Flycatcher provided an eye-catching supporting cast to avian events. As ever a merry band of leaf-warblers was also present, with Buff-barred, Greenish, and Sichuan Leaf-Warblers all present that chilly afternoon.

At the end of the day we checked into our Jiuzhaigou hotel, and readied ourselves for our first foray into the park of the same name the next day...

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