(Note: These maps can be viewed with different options (Mandarin, English, Satellite etc) by clicking the ‘layer-box’ in the top-right and making another selection)
After spending the night near Wolong we were up early again to get to Balangshan at dawn, just in time to see it’s spectacular-scenery but sadly failed to see the performing Wood Snipe (…as I did two-years previously) but soon we had Chinese Monal and another Temminck’s Tragopan under our belts.
Balangshan is one of my favourite birding-areas but can be quite exasperating as it is currently used by a high-volume of traffic driving over the pass, Summer mentioned a plan to build a tunnel through the mountain to alleviate this….here’s hoping! Soon we were around the snow-line and amongst great-birds like Grandala, White-throated Dipper, Rosy Pipit, White-throated Redstart, Alpine Accentor, Barred Laughingthrush and Red-fronted Rosefinch and it wasn’t long before our guide found the first Snow Partridges (a species that I missed in 2014)
Near the summit I heard the call of Tibetan Snowcock and found a fairly-close pair on a ridge but only metres away spotted a movement in the rocks and a small group of Snow Partridges were trying to use their ‘cryptic-plumage’ to hide. Several thousand images and a ‘celebration’ ensued (…a very early-lunch!)
The next couple of days were spent on and around Balangshan and several other good species were added to the list, Alpine Chough, Sichuan Tit, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Himalayan Griffon, another singing Firethroat, Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch, White-tailed Rubythroat, ‘phylloscopus’-warblers and a very altitude-challenged Chinese Pond-heron. Wandering up the creek-lines, we tried to find the long-lost Wood Snipe but there was no sign…has this species been seen there recently?