Sichuan, China, May 2016 (Part 1)

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In mid-May 2014 I spent 2 weeks on a wonderful (see birding-trip) to Sichuan, China. This time I was invited by my friend and bird-guide Summer Wong to search for some of the species that were missed on my first-trip in 2014. We were accompanied by my great pals Mike and Linda Lewis who were intending to take another tour to Mongolia later in the month. I hope you find this report enjoyable but please note that at Summer’s request I haven’t been too ‘specific’ or accurate with locations of species that she showed us.

Arriving in Chengdu on May 1st I met up with Mike and Linda in an economical hotel near the Airport and we spent the next day locally searching for bird-life in the area. We were pleasantly surprised to see White-browed Laughingthrush fairly close and approachable (a species I only saw briefly from the bus in 2014) Chengdu is a rapidly-developing city of 14 million people and Mike was rather impressed with the new and efficient road-system and I was surprised at the density of the tree-lined verges on most of these, in fact I was amazed to get numerous sightings of Black-throated Tit (which I had missed two-years before)

Throughout this account I will post links to relevant ebird lists from areas visited, this one is here

On Tuesday 3rd, Summer arrived with her driver Shaow-Feng (… I hope that’s the correct pronunciation of his name.) and we set-off to explore the grounds of the Chengdu Panda-base, a non-profit research and breeding facility for Giant and Red Pandas.

Giant Panda
Giant Panda

The habitat here is dense woodland and bamboo-forest so there are some good birds present, Summer swiftly got on to a calling Rufous-capped Babbler and Rufous-faced Warbler and despite good views I failed to photograph either.  Although we got excellent views of Golden Pheasant I was not so lucky with the Chinese Bamboo-Partridge (..apparently the easiest place to observe them in Sichuan!)

Around lunch-time we left the panda-base after seeing around 25 species, probably the most interesting being the Collared Finchbill, a frugivorous bulbul. Summer had received some exciting news that a rare-migrant had just been reported from the University grounds in Chengdu so we headed back into the city to check this out, the bird in question was a Firethroat, a scarce-relative of the Nightingale, and we were over-awed by the numbers of photographers present….I counted at least 90!

Although the campus-grounds were quite-developed there are abundant trees and some small lakes so birds were relatively plentiful, Chinese Blackbird (recently-split by some authorities) and Eurasian Tree Sparrows were numerous and we came across a single Rufous-gorgetted Flycatcher. Near one lake a small group of Chinese Grosbeak turned-up, most unexpected….but a ‘lifer’ for me.

Next

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4