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CHINA TOUR
Photo Album

 

                  

A series of photos from our 2011 Shaanxi Panda Tour

 

all pictures by

Phil Palmer   

 

 

  Our spring 2011 tour took us to Xi,An to see the birds found near the city as well as a visit to the wonderful Terracotta Army. We then headed into the Qinling Mountains in search of wild Giant Panda.  We managed to see two animals, but they were a small part of an excellent itinerary. From the mountains, we headed to Yang County where we located Ibisbill and Crested Ibis before returning to Beijing to visit the Great Wall. A few of us remained to see some of the other cultural highlights.  

 

 

 

 

Golden Monkeys are one of the mammal highlights near Foping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Terracotta Army was an incredible find and it is nice that the old man that discovered the figures is still living in the area.

 

 

 

The forest at Foping is a wonderful atmospheric place. Full of fungi, mosses and twisted trees.

 

 

 

Little Forktails were seen as we walked into the forest reserve.

 

Dusky Thrush are winter visitors and migrants here. It was nice to compare them with the closely related Naumann's Thrushes

 

Small numbers of Hodgeson's Redstarts dropped in on migration. They breed at higher elevation.

 

 

Rufous-breasted Accentor is a star bird that is found around the houses in the local village.

 

 

 

Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker was the smallest woodpecker seen on this tour. They liked the orchards.

 

Planting spuds is a precise art here!

 

Asian Brown Dippers are common in the streams and rivers of the Qinling Mountains.

 

At the end of the silk route, the ancient city of Xi'An has various cultural sites that one can visit. This is inside the old Bell Tower.

 

Migrant Red-flanked Bluetails turn up anywhere. This was in a town park.

 

Ok, so shopping is not a highlight for most people, but some people opted to do a little anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sooty Tit is very similar to our own Long-tailed Tit; cute & inquisitive. But much more sought after on account of its endemic status.

 

 

 

Barred Laughingthrushes turn over the leaf litter below dense stands of bamboo, so are devils to see well.

 

 

 

Our second forktail species, the White-crowned, was harder to see than its smaller cousin, despite being a big bird.

 

 

 

Daurian Redstarts are everywhere and one of 5 redstart species seen on this trip.

 

 

Naumann's Thrushes arrived in flocks with Dusky and Black-throated Thrushes.

 

 

The Giant Red & White Flying Squirrels were without doubt the highlight of the trip.

This animal looks as big as a fox & has a 'wing'-span of a metre!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A flying carpet!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Magpies are found everywhere and are really inquisitive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The woods offer other highlights, not just birds.

 

 

Hoopoes are very common and the ones by our accommodation were stupidly tame.

 

 

Elliot's Laughingthrushes greeted us each morning on the way to breakfast. They were always there before us, like German tourists I guess?

 

Probably the brightest Red-flanked Bluetail I had ever seen!

 

 

 

The open aspect of the local village allowed us to watch for raptors and Nutcrackers while the accentors and redstarts graced the fence line.

 

 

 

 

San Guan Miao village shows a calm, peaceful rural side to China that is rarely portrayed by the media.

 

 

Being so remote, the villagers have to be self sufficient in most things. Making baskets, tools, building their own houses and growing their own food.

 

 

 

An atmospheric shot.

Ok so it was drizzling, but actually the wet weather brought down loads of good migrants for us!

 

 

 

A small group of Little Buntings were grounded by the 'low cloud'

 

 

Naumann's Thrushes dropped into gardens.

 

Some Blue-fronted Redstarts winter, while others pass through.

 

 

The paths around the research station are well maintained.

 

 

 

 

 

Can you spot the panda?

 

No snakes here, but spooky-looking trees.

 

 

 

 

 

Young bamboo brings the panda down to feed.

 

 

The local race of White-backed Woodpecker is seldom seen and little known. It is certainly very well marked.

 

 

Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys live in large family units of more than 80 animals at times.

 

 

 

 

The massive Crested Kingfisher is noisy and hard to miss. This one was excavating a nest hole.

 

 

IBISBILL !!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not so exciting, but the Collared Crow is a very localised species.

 

 

The route through the mountains is very scenic.

 

 

 

 

 

Yang County is a rural agricultural area.

 

 

Asian Barred Owlet lives close to houses in Yang County where they hunt small birds.

 

 

 

Crested Ibis was once thought to be extinct. We were able to find plenty on our visit, including a nesting bird.

 

 

 

 

 

Citrine Wagtails fed in the river through the fields.

 

 

 

Plumbeous Redstarts were around every river bend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our final day we visited the Great Wall.

 

 

 

Godlewski's Buntings were singing here.

 

 

 

 

Being spring, the blossom was quite special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our hotel in Beijing was a quiet haven from the hustle & bustle of the big city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shhhhhhhh! -  Don't tell anyone but this is the secret valley where we went to look for the flying squirrels.

 

 

 

More pictures from the previous trip are HERE

 

 

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